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Rock legends electrify, dazzle fanatic fans

Red lights filtered through the dense fog revealing an advancing silhouette. Drums boomed as the amplified guitar screamed out the lead. Twenty thousand fans thundered their approval as The Edge stepped through a glowing multi-colored cloud.

The rock band U2 certainly lived up to their world-renowned fame in concert as the Irish legends continued their US Vertigo Tour in San Jose on April 9 at the HP Pavilion. Not only does the quartet play great rock music, but their visual performance is also appealing.

The opening number, ?City of Blinding Lights?, seemed appropriate to the setting as the elaborate stage was brilliant, almost distracting the audience. It was a ?Beautiful Day? that night.

The adrenaline began to rush long before the concert began. Hoards of excited fans formed lines outside the H.P. Pavilion long before 7 A.M. The atmosphere was more that of a giant backyard than a rock concert. Coolers and empty to-go boxes littered the sidewalks and people threw footballs, played cards and relaxed in lawn chairs and sleeping bags as they waited for the show to begin.

Fans belted out lyrics from ?Vertigo?, U2?s hit title song from their latest 2004 album, while jostling in the ticket lines, hoping to secure a floor spot near the stage rail.

When the concert began at 9 P.M., the arena vibrated with cheers and whistles as lead singer Bono climbed onto the elliptical runway. U2 members, Bono, The Edge, Adam and Larry, spend concert time walking amongst the audience.

Not only does Bono walk into his audience, but the famed vocalist also is known to invite a fan up onto the runway. To the delight of the spectators, Bono fulfilled this anticipated tradition in addition to dancing a full number with his special, lucky guest.

Colored, beaded curtains glistened on the stage, the backdrop atmosphere aided by a portable fog machine. Multiple lighting choices also entertained the eye in the forms of lit maps, flags, flashing words and sporadic color patterns.

One noticeable difference that set U2 and other rock bands apart is revealed in the lyrics of several of their songs. Songs such as ?Yahweh?, ?All Because of You? and ?40? sing out messages based on Bono?s Catholic background.

U2 may not be self-proclaimed Christians, Catholics or even faith based, but the messages in these songs certainly emulate religious ethics.

Another religious incident occurred before the song, ?Miracle Drug?. Bono opened the number talking about his 2004 visit with the late Pope, Jean Paul II, and dedicated the song to the deceased Catholic priest.

While parts of the concert were emotional, the dedication certainly gave U2 fans something to cheer about. Fans screamed, shouted and sang most of the lyrics to old and new favorites including ?Vertigo? and ?Boy?. Bono, on two occasions, seemed to loose a step under the deafening chants of the crowd.

Over the course of the 2-hour concert, U2 preformed 23 songs and three encore numbers with no intermission. They seemed to wind down the concert towards the end, as the last three songs had a social-religious message.

Single tickets are still available for the Nov. 8-9 shows at the Oakland Arena. Go online to for more information.

To find out more about future concerts, tour dates and other information about U2, go online to

To learn more about U2?s ?Vertigo? album, read the article ?Atomic age hits home? written by Christa Williams on Dec. 13, 2004, on this website.

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