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By Camilla Andersson, Staff Writer
“Thank you for waiting!” Bono said to the Hawai‘i audience after U2 opened its very last Vertigo tour show with a bang Dec. 9 at the Aloha Stadium.

The original April 2005 concert was postponed due to illness in the immediate family of the band, so when U2 finally took stage at Aloha Stadium it was obvious that the crowd had been waiting.

Finally, the show begins The lights go out, and the Vertigo Tour introduction plays to screaming fans and videos of previous tour show played on the enormous screens behind the stage. One can see the shadows of the Edge (guitar), Adam Clayton (bass), and Larry Mullen (drums) as they enter the stage and start the introduction to the first song. As the music grows, the lights go up and the audience goes ballistic as Bono enters the stage on one of two catwalks that reach into the audience. He waves an American flag over the audience. U2 pounds out the first song at an intensity that, amazingly, they hold for the entire concert.

U2 rocks the audience for two and 30 minutes, playing songs from both new and old albums. The audience knows the lyrics to all of them, and the stadium quivers when the band gets the audience to sing and dance to some of their greatest hits: “Vertigo,” “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “With or Without You,” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” which is dedicated to U.S. Military Personnel.

Bono invites a lucky fan up on stage at the end of a set, and after walking him around the stage, Bono burst into laughter, turns to the audience, and says: “This man tells me he knows the keys to one of our songs.”

The fan says he knows the chords to “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses,” and Bono sends him over to the Edge who sets him up by the keyboards. After finding that the guy can actually plays the song, although in a different key than what the band is used to, they all laugh and start to play it while the fan, smiling like a maniac, pounds the keys. The number obviously isn’t planned but it turns out OK, and the audience can’t stop screaming.

The show continued on with Bono honoring his dead father. Alone in the spotlight, Bono stands in the middle of the audience with thousands of camera flashes going off around him, and as he turns, the screens behind the stage show a man walking towards him.

“ You’re the Reason why the Opera is in Me,” sings Bono as a tribute to his father, a man who loved the opera himself.

“ Love and Peace or Else” follows, and Bono dons on a headband on which are written the symbols of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism He selects a young girl from the audience to represent that we are all “sons and daughters of Abraham.” He sits down with the child, and together they end the song by making the crowd scream “No More!” into the night. Bono wraps it up by stating that “You don’t have to become a monster in order to defeat one.”

The other three band members rarely talk to the audience during a concert, but tonight they do, and the moment they leave their positions on the main stage to take a walk out to the crowd, it goes wild, letting them know what they think by screaming their hearts out in appreciation.

The Declaration of Human Rights scrolls on the screens, and, after the crowd quiets, the voice of a young African girl is heard reading it aloud. The audience is, briefly, silent.

HPU’s Marina Karlsson indicates how they are moved. When U2 played “Pride (in the Name of Love)” and “One,” and the stadium vibrated again with the unified voice of audience and band, she said: “I have never heard a band with such a powerful message.”

Involving the whole audience in “One,” Bono asked everybody to flip open their cell phones, and the stadium turned into a big, shimmering sea of light. He then asked the audience to text their names to the ONE campaign in the fight to make poverty history. As they did, the names scrolled across the big screens.

“ The journey of equality goes on!” Bono shouted out, then, as African flags scrolled down behind him and he started the last song. Karlsson added “I never expected this from a rock band. No words can describe what they have made me feel tonight.”

The audience called the band out twice for encore performances of two extra songs, and then U2 was joined by Pearl Jam and later by Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day to play “The Saints are Coming.” The crowd sings, dances, screams, jumps, cheers, and cries as the U2 fireworks go on and on.

Then, when the band is getting ready to leave the stage for the final time, it’s Bono who calls them back to play a very last song.

After that, Bono puts his hands over his eyes, shaking his head; he moves his hands to his heart and bows to the audience. Then he walks off the stage for the last time ever for the Vertigo tour. The other band members leave the stage, and last of them all is the drummer Larry Mullen who tells the audience “Thank you for waiting. See you soon.”


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