The first surprise of a night filled with surprises actually came before we'd even entered the Fleet Centre; in fact, it came before the night had even begun. Despite the fact we'd shown up at around midday to receive numbered wristbands to join the line later, we found ourselves much further back in the queue than Axver and Matthew were when they arrived at 5:30pm at the previous show!
The second surprise came not long after we had entered the Fleet Centre. Having gotten into the ellipse at the previous show, Axver was doubtful he'd have such good luck as to get in a second time. As we are a bit on the nutty side, we nonetheless chose to ask our tickets for good luck, Axver trying tactics of worship and threats like he had so successfully done at the previous show, while Kate offered love and understanding to hers. Her method seemed to work much better, as lo and behold, we somehow had the incredible luck to be selected, AGAIN for Axver.
After Axver was recognised by the guy putting on the wristbands as someone who got in last time, we charged down into the ellipse, wondering how full it would be in comparison to the other show. Unfortunately, the spot in front of Edge was already taken, but there was a wonderful spot nearby, beside the ellipse entry but on the other side, on the rail beside the ellipse walkway, as depicted in the diagram below:
Tonight was the last night Kings Of Leon would be supporting U2 on tour and we decided that we'd give them a chance and try to enjoy them. Alas, they did not go out with a bang, or even a wimper. Oh no, they went out on a rather dull and boring note; as a matter of fact, they were so boring that they drove us to play games such as (Axver name/Kate name) paper, scissors, rock/rock, paper, scissors and peaknuckle war/thumb war. They made Axver look obsessively at his watch and prompted Kate to want to go to sleep. All in all, U2 couldn't get on stage quickly enough!
Finally, it was U2 time. We wondered what would be first: City Of Blinding Lights had opened the last two shows, and as this was the third night in the same city, a change was on the cards. Would it be Vertigo, as at the fourth Chicago show, or Love And Peace Or Else, a former regular opener that had only been used once in the month of May? André decided to guess the former while Kate picked the latter, and as it turned out, she was correct (Because she is the coolest). The arena went completely dark, and then the next thing we knew, walking on the ellipse straight in front of us, were the band members, one at a time with Bono last, each shining hand-held spotlights into the crowd as the Love And Peace Or Else intro rumbled through the building. They made their way to the very tip of the ellipse and burst into what Kate puts as a flood of total awesomeness. Edge rocked out the solo, Bono whacked at his bass drum, and then the next thing we knew, the band shot into a roaring rendition of Vertigo. It was followed by a song both of us remember as arguably one of the most fun moments of the night, an exhilarating performance of Elevation. We both think it rather incomprehensible how this song is insulted in some quarters, with people calling for its removal from the setlist - singing and rocking along with the entire crowd was an immensely exciting and enjoyable experience.
The main set turned out to be the former set that U2 had been using in April when Love And Peace Or Else opened; Edge rocked out in front of us during The Electric Co., beautiful lighting filled the venue during a sensational rendition of An Cat Dubh, Kate thought it particularly cute when Bono brought a little girl and boy on stage during Into The Heart, and City Of Blinding Lights was the highlight of Kate's night, especially when Axver sung the chorus to her. More awesome lighting came during Beautiful Day, and after the emotional double hit of Miracle Drug and Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own was a song Axver had been hoping would be played, the incredibleness that is New Year's Day, characterised by Edge's triple duty on guitat, piano, and vocals. It was hard to know where to look: Edge and his fancy work, Bono and his charisma, or Adam as he worked the crowd while strolling around the ellipse, walking straight past us. New Year's Day's conclusion merged into the thumping military drums of Sunday Bloody Sunday, performed with a perfect amount of passion, anger, and hope. Only one thing could top Bono leading the crowd in a ferocious chant of "NO MORE!", and that was the scintillating transition directly into Bullet The Blue Sky. Kate in particular appreciated the new, slower, more mournful version that U2 are playing, and it was followed by Running To Stand Still. Axver is convinced everyone else in the audience really missed out as he was the only one who had the privilege of hearing Kate as she sung gorgeously along with Bono. Why wasn't the girl on stage with a microphone? Axver will probably never figure out why.
As with the last three shows, the main set closed with Pride, Where The Streets Have No Name, and One. There is something truly special about singing Pride along with everyone else - stadium renditions of that song must be incredible! - and waving Axver's mobile phone together as we watched other phones light up the arena during One was beautiful, but both songs were well and truly topped by the best performance of Streets in Boston. Axver was pretty much overcome. Experiencing the epic power of Streets in the ellipse with the band right in front of you is something you just can't forget: there's a reason why this song is considered by many, including Axver, to be the best song ever made. Bono was right when he said Streets has the power to turn any concert around: although this show didn't need to be picked up from any doldrums as it was already the equal of the previous concert, it was raised to a higher plane with this performance.
The setlist surprises for the third night, it seemed, were to come in the encore, and when it opened with The Fly as it did at the previous show, we knew something was going to happen. The Fly rocked an incredible lot, but Until The End Of The World was even more incredible: from the wailing guitar intro through to the heavy, distorted conclusion, it was an exciting and intense ride. Then came probably the greatest surprise of the night. As Until The End Of The World hit its conclusion, Axver wondered what it was going to segue into - Edge continued playing, and for a second, "11 O'clock Tick Tock" popped into Axver's brain before Bono announced "this is a song we haven't played", and Axver was just starting to think of Mercy when Bono added "for ten years, maybe more." That was followed by a scream of "WHO'S GONNA RIDE YOUR WILD HORSES!" from Axver, and as it became evident that U2 really were playing the first full band, electric rendition of this song since 12 August 1992 and the first full performance whatsoever since 24 November 1992, he couldn't help but exclaim "OH MY GOODNESS!" repeatedly. One has to wonder whether Kate watched the band or Axver more during this song, as he switched between stunned shock, exclamations of "oh my goodness!", yelling when it was last played, and totally enjoying what was a truly special performance. The last minute was particularly magical - it was as if the song was not going to finish but continue on its merry way with wonderful work on Edge's behalf.
U2 didn't even bother to leave the stage for a second encore; instead, Wild Horses had barely ended when the opening note of All Because Of You rang out and the band launched into a typically rocking rendition. The tempo of the concert was then lowered to a tender, heart-touching note with a performance of Yahweh, which Kate said was pretty. After the song's conclusion, Bono stopped to draw the audience's attention to something on stage - he had a plaque where the mayor of Boston had declared 24 May to be U2 Day. In celebration, Bono sprayed the audience with champagne and the band launched into Party Girl, one of less than fifteen performances of the song since 1987. It was an incredible amount of fun, singing, dancing, and celebrating with the band and some twenty thousand others. Axver was very much hoping that the show would conclude with 40, not the least because he was tired, but instead, Bono chose to give the crowd a lesson in Italian, explaining the origin of encore and its use at the opera where the crowd like a song so much that they request a second performance, and then U2 launched into another performance of Vertigo. Unfortunately, both Kate and Axver were very exhausted and couldn't rock along with it nearly as much as they would've liked, but it was a very high-energy way to conclude a concert that had been full of all sorts of powerful energy. Axver chanted for 40 after the band left the stage, and the lights remained down for a good deal of time, but they were eventually turned on and the show was over.
Was it worth the trip from Tennessee for Kate and Australia for Axver? The answer is a very loud and resounding "yes!"