2001 was one of the best years of my life, but it started just over two months prior with the release of All That You Can’t Leave Behind in October 2000. That album was an instant favorite. I didn’t have to listen to it a few times to fall in love with it like I had with Achtung Baby and Pop. My favorite songs off of All That You Can’t Leave Behind are “In a Little While,” “When I Look at the World” and “Walk On.”
U2 went on the road in support of All That You Can’t Leave Behind with the Elevation Tour that started and ended in America, more specifically in Florida. I saw both the opening and closing shows in Florida and 25 shows in between. From March 24th in Ft. Lauderdale to December 2nd in Miami, I saw 27 magnificent U2 shows, had my first encounters with Larry, traveled to 17 cities across the U.S. and met many great people with whom I am still friends today. U2’s Elevation Tour changed everything for me.
Although I knew the U2 show on March 24, 2001 was going to be special because I had never been to the very first show of a U2 tour before, I had no idea I was about to embark on the greatest musical journey of my life. I woke up early that bright, sunny Saturday morning in my parents’ condo in Ft. Myers, Florida and drove two hours over to Ft. Lauderdale. Before going to the National Car Rental Center for the U2 show, I went to the Baltimore Orioles Spring Training game, which they won, and then watched the Maryland Terps NCAA game, which they won sending them the Final Four for their first time ever. It was a Beautiful Day for sure and about to be a beautiful night. At the time, the Elevation Tour Opener was the best U2 shows I had seen, out of the eight from ZooTv and eight from Popmart. But I would say that after every Elevation show, because they just kept getting better. The Corrs opened. My seat was on the first level side stage, Edge’s side, about 12 rows up from the floor. U2 walked onto the stage with the lights up – very subtle. Not the ostentatious setting I was used to from ZooTv and Popmart. Bono spent a lot of time on the catwalk, which he fell off of that night. U2’s set list was a great mix of new songs and old hits.
The set list for Elevation Opening Night in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on 3.24.01: Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until the End of the World, New Year’s Day, Stuck In A Moment, Gone, Discotheque-Staring at the Sun, New York, I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday-Get Up Stand Up, Sweetest Thing, In A Little While, Ground Beneath Her Feet, Bad, Where the Streets Have No Name, Mysterious Ways, The Fly, Bullet the Blue Sky, With or Without You, One, Walk On.
Two nights later was the second show of the Elevation Tour, still at the National Car Rental Center in Ft. Lauderdale. I again went to the Orioles spring training game, but I left early so I could get to the arena by 3pm to see U2 arrive. After a few minutes of searching, I found out where the band was coming in – as well as the other twenty people waiting for them. Bono drove in first just before 3:30, saw us and walked over to speak with us and sign autographs. Unfortunately people kept circling him and pushing, so I wasn’t able to get an autograph or actually speak with Bono one on one, but I got a whole roll of film. I was basically one person away from him, and I was able to shout out things. Bono asked us if we had been to the show Saturday and if we liked it – uh YES! And he said that “Bad” was very special and he’s glad they worked it in again. Bono said he thought “Bullet” was the best song of the night. He commented on falling off the catwalk. When asked how Ali was feeling, Bono responded ‘big’ (Ali was pregnant at the time). The concert that night was just as fabulous as opening night! The Corrs opened. My seat was next to the catwalk about 15 rows up. Lenny Kravitz was at the show. During the band introductions, Bono said Larry was the “son and father of Elvis.” (Here, Bono was referring to Larry’s love for Elvis, remarking on Larry’s similarities to the 1950’s singer as well as the fact that Larry named his son Aaron Elvis.) The set list differed from opening night. U2 played “Angel of Harlem,” but did not play “Gone,” “I Will Follow” or “Ground Beneath Her Feet.” Bono sang “Unchained Melody” at the end of “One” and “Sympathy For the Devil” at the end of “Bad,” reminiscent of Rattle and Hum.
The set list for the second Elevation show in Ft. Lauderdale 3.26.01 was as follows: Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until the End of the World, Discotheque-Devil Inside-Staring at the Sun, Stuck In a Moment, New York, New Year’s Day, Sunday Bloody Sunday-Get Up Stand Up, Sweetest Thing, In A Little While, Angel of Harlem, Bad-Sympathy For the Devil, Where the Streets Have No Name, Mysterious Ways, The Fly, Bullet the Blue Sky, With or Without You, One-Unchained Melody, Walk On.
Check back next Friday as I travel to Charlotte for my first U2 GA show. And then check back every Friday to follow me on the road with U2 on the Elevation Tour.
02 Beautiful Day
03 Until the End of the World
04 New Year’s Day
05 Stuck in a Moment
08 New York
09 I Will Follow
10 Sunday Bloody Sunday
11 Band Intros
12 Sweetest Thing
13 Story of Sweetest Thing (chatter)
14 In a Little While
15 Ground Beneath Her Feet
17 Where the Streets Have No Name
18 Mysterious Ways
19 The Fly
20 Bullet the Blue Sky
21 Without or Without You
23 Walk On