Halftime at Super Bowl XXXVI. Being the first Super Bowl to take place after 9/11, it featured a memorial to those lost on that day, with U2 singing "MLK" and "Where The Streets Have No Name" while the list of names scrolled upwards against a stark black background. The capper occurred right as Bono sang the final chorus of "and when I go there, I go there with you..." — revealing a US Flag sewn into the lining of his jacket. As if to say, "It's all right, America. We've got your back."
Bono's rant during a performance of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" condeming the Remembrance Day Bombing that had occurred earlier that day.
And let me tell you somethin'. I've had enough of Irish Americans who haven't been back to their country in twenty or thirty years come up to me and talk about the resistance, the revolution back home...and the glory of the revolution...and the glory of dying for the revolution. Fuck the revolution! They don't talk about the glory of killing for the revolution. What's the glory in taking a man from his bed and gunning him down in front of his wife and his children? Where's the glory in that? Where's the glory in bombing a Remembrance Day parade of old age pensioners, their medals taken out and polished up for the day. Where's the glory in that? To leave them dying or crippled for life or dead under the rubble of the revolution, that the majority of the people in my country don't want. No more!
Recently, the U2 360 tour was delayed due to Bono's back injury. Fortunately, he was able to recover in time for the European leg, but there was speculation among fans that he wouldn't be as athletic as he was at recent shows, and that the (awesome) "wheel mic" might even be cut because a large part of its appeal was that it allowed Bono to swing around. Cut to August 6th in Turin, where not only was the wheel mic back in full splendor, but Bono used the thing as a swingset. Just months after major back surgery.Wow.
"Dublin city, it has its good, it has its bad. This song's called Bad". And that was the last time anyone doesn't know about U2.
While the PopMart tour might not have been U2's finest hour, the 1997 concert in Sarajevo has quite a few:
The whole thing started during the Zoo TV tour in the early nineties, when aid worker Bill Carter asked U2 to use the tour's facilities to spread awareness of the Yugoslavian conflict. After setting up a transmission system in the besieged Sarajevo, videos of the war victims were transmitted via satellite to the Zoo TV screens for twelve shows in a row. To do this, Carter and a crew of two had to sneak past an area known as the Sniper Alley to broadcast the videos for each shows. While the linkups were heavily criticized by the British press (and even the band had moments of doubt, Bono describing it as the most difficult thing they had done, and Larry worrying about the perception that they were exploting Bosnians' suffering for entertainment), they helped spread awareness of the conflict and increase coverage of the conflict.
The buildup to the concert itself. Having endured through years of civil war and ethnic cleansing, the city rejected U2's original plan to do a small benefit show and requested a full PopMart show, giant lemon and all. In spite of a $4 million offer to play in Sweden at the date of the concert as opposed to the inevitable financial loss from a performance in Sarajevo, the band went in anyway.
The Edge's solo performance of "Sunday Bloody Sunday".
The Bosnian government, after being unable to operate the railway network thanks to bureaucratic problems, actually running the trains for the concert-goers.
The audience turning to the 6,000 off-duty UN peacekeepers and applauding at the end of the show.
The show, after years of warfare and failed efforts by peacekeepers and diplomats, brought together thousands of Bosnians, Serbs and Croats, putting away all differences for a return to normalcy. As Bono appropriately described it, "It was one of the toughest and the sweetest nights of my life."
The pantomimed heroin hit in U2's live version of "Running To Stand Still" in their concert film: "Zoo TV Live From Sydney" could be considered a little Narm - ish, but this troper finds it rather chilling and sums up the whole point and awesomeness of Zoo TV in a few minutes of theatricality. Also, the entire Red Rocks show that marked their change from post-punk nobodies to world eating megastars could be considered the Crowning Moment of their career.
During the Zoo TV tour, Bono's stage personas Mirrorball Man and Mr. MacPhisto would make humourous prank calls to various public figures for the audience to listen to. During the encore of the London show, MacPhisto told the audience that he was going to call the notorious author Salman Rushdie, who had hidden in the country to avoid assassination. Unlike the case with many other recipients, Rushdie answered the call himself. It turned out that he was actually in the audience all along, much to everyone's surprise. MacPhisto invited him onstage and eventually declared:
"Ladies and gentlemen, I bow to the superior man!"
The Elevation music video. Most expensive music video ever made featuring each memeber of the band doing remarkably bad-ass things.
The song itself, especially the more rock-oriented "Tomb Raider Mix" (which is how it is played live.)