Opening Act(s): Lone Justice
Where The Streets Have No Name, I Will Follow, Trip Through Your Wires, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, MLK, The Unforgettable Fire, Bullet The Blue Sky, Running To Stand Still, Exit, In God's Country, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Electric Co. - Light My Fire, Bad, October, Springhill Mining Disaster, New Year's Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love). Encore(s): Mothers Of The Disappeared, With Or Without You, 40.
By Mark Stevens
Later immortalized in bootleg from as "Joshua Tree On Fire", this show had a much calmer start than the previous night, with no attempted mass stage-rush during "streets". The good start allowed the band to achieve lift-off and cruising speed without the worry of watching out for fans being hurt down front. Larry was in better spirits and burst out laughing while shaking his head, after accidentally beginning the intro to "Bullet" rather than "Trip through your wires" (In fairness to him, the night before this show I saw Larry interact with a critical fan in the band's hotel lobby, he calmly crossed his arms, made good eye contact, and heard her out, then gave his side of the story. I could't hear the conversation, but I saw a genuine level-headedness and none of the fabled Mullen temper that he so often gets knocked for) Getting back to the show, there was a giddy atmosphere, with Bono remarking "people dancing at a U2 concert, what's happening?", while at one point some fans on the right side of the arena cracked several of us up when they raised a large banner reading "HEDGE YOU'RE #1!" Bono freely improvised vocal riffs at the end of "Still Haven't Found", and was visibly enjoying U2's newfound #1 status in the charts, which had just happened that week. In an unusual touch, Edge added some nice harmony vocals to the last half "MLK". After a somewhat speedy version of "Unfire", Larry kicked into "Bullet" with Edge's guitar triggering an eerie electronic treatment that Brian Eno may have come up with for him, adding an spectral drama to the song. Bono used his hand-held spotlight, and when that thing hit your section of the arena you could almost feel the heat! "Running To Stand Still" was a nice surprise and translated well this night because the audience let it happen (which isn't always the case with quiet songs) "Exit's" threatening psychotic energy was in full force, and it was a new experience to feel the band's darker side let loose like that, a little unnerving but exhilirating nonetheless. "Spring Hill Mining Disaster" was a spine-tingling experiment that showed a musical adaptibility and courage to try new things live that I hadn't seen from them before. The audience was fantastic and cooperative, letting the whole song come across without loudly screaming or clapping through it (only to be matched later by the audience 4/20/01 in san jose). This was my sixth U2 show, and the deep connection between the bay area fans and the band was palpable out in the audience. This was the last show the band were to do at the Cow Palace, which had almost become a home for us locals after the Unfire, Amnesty, and these two Joshua Tree shows. It was the end of one era, what with stadium shows looming on the horizon, and the beginning of coming to grips with one's favorite band becoming the biggest on the planet.