U2 Elevation Tour
Elevation Tour 2nd leg: Europe
: Waldbuehne - Berlin, Germany
U2 WALDBUHNE, BERLINStuart Bailie (published on 2001-07-30)
The venue is a mosquito-riddled outdoor bowl that once showcased Nazi muscle during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Tonight of course, there’s a different kind of power play, as Bono makes a starling case for all that is inspiring, giddy and great.
Succoured in America, the Elevation tour is now doing the business across Europe, aiming to keep things intimate and soulfully simple. Tonight is a rare occasion when the action happens under the stars, and it takes a while for the mood to settle, for Bono’s personable energy to enliven the joint. He gets there, sure enough, and by the time the coolest moon rises over the rim of the venue, we’re party to another expansive communion of hearts and hopes.
The songs from the new album ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ have grown a lot over the last few months. ‘Kite’ has matured the most, as the singer hunts for precious content in difficult times. And there’s the ghostly import of ‘Stuck In A Moment’, in which Bono argues with the soul of Michael Hutchence, willing him to accept those better possibilities.
It's an urgent tour, based on the idea that the flesh decays and time hurtles past. ‘In A Little While’, a song that was originally written about a hangover, has now come to define the last days of Joey Ramone. So it’s fitting that Bono should pull a girl out from the crowd who’s wearing a Ramones T-shirt. He’s slow-dancing with her around the heart-shaped rim of the stage, pulling her close when she starts to wave at her mates, willing it to be special.
‘Stay’, a decent enough tune from the ‘Zooropa’ record, is now another giant tour song, relayed with an acoustic guitar and revving the crowd with the mention of "London, Belfast and Berlin". Again, it fits with the theme, and there’s a likelihood that the entire show will be upbeat, consensual and bright.
Enter ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’, fresh after an encore break. We’ve just been watching a film clip of Charlton Heston, making a repulsive case for the gun lobby. And the song works as a fierce rebuttal of this idea, backed up with blazing guitar and images of corpses, kids with guns and idiots across the world with shooters, aiming for trouble.Bono starts raving about John Lennon and then he morphs into Mark Chapman, stalking the former Beatle outside the Dakota Building, mad as hell.
One’ is an immensely plastic song that changes according to the emotions of the event. In Berlin, Bono uses it to remember the recent G8 Summit in Genoa and the death of a protestor. "It was a warzone," Bono recalls, "And I was ashamed to see politicians hiding behind a wall, a very high wall. Violence is never right, but… we have a right to be angry".
Onwards, he raves, past ‘Wake Up Dead Man’, and signing off with ‘Walk On’, a summation of the trip. Private pain, global ills, jubilation, sickness, fear and faith are all coloured in the experience. Like Bono says, the heart is a bloom. And this one is especially radiant.
Often plagiarised, never matched.