Luis Carruthers has “dragged” a group of the gang out to New Jersey to see a concert of an “Irish band called U2.” The group includes Luis and Courtney, Paul Owen and his girlfriend, and Bateman and Evelyn – though Bateman mentions trying to bring along Marcus Halberstam’s girlfriend just for Owen’s sake. The girls, Bateman notices, really don’t want to be there, and it seems as if Courtney is ready to claw Evelyn’s face off (it is the better of their two faces, Bateman notes, but Courtney has a better body).
Bateman displays his distaste for live music, and his sentiment is shared by his friends (though Luis seems on an entirely different page, as usual). He gets entertainment from the potential conflict between Evelyn and Courtney, likely even more so because he is the orchestrator of it, but is still focused on them more as objects than anything else.
The concert drags on, with Courtney repeatedly asking “Which one’s The Ledge?” Luis motions for her to switch seats with him, so he can talk to Bateman. She tries to ignore him, squeezing Bateman’s thigh tightly, but is eventually ousted from her position. Luis suggests they’ll need drugs, and starts discussing with Bateman where they should go for dinner. Bateman is livid that Luis hasn’t already made a reservation. Meanwhile, he describes U2’s lead singer Bono running about the stage, even reaching an arm out to Bateman’s group, only to be shooed away.
Courtney’s questions about “The Ledge” are a funny jab at her intelligence – U2’s second front man, after Bono, is The Edge. The group’s overall disinterest in their front row seats to a big concert is a comical display of their self-obsession; they see their conversations amongst themselves as the most important things happening in the room. In another play for superiority, Bateman scolds Luis for not having made a reservation. Though he does things like this often, he is especially cruel this time because of his condescending view of Luis.
Bateman gets up to move to sit next to Paul Owen when all of a sudden something catches his eye. Bono has followed him as he’s moved. Bateman can’t stop staring at the man as he sings. Suddenly, everything else disappears, as the world around Bono and Bateman grows red. The music slows and quiets, engulfing every one of Bateman’s senses, as a message appears, written in space above Bono’s head: “I… am… the… devil… and I am… just… like…you.”
This is one of the Bateman’s clearest moments of hallucination. Though he isn’t in a heavy drug haze at the moment, he hallucinates and sees the devil coming from the pop culture icon in front of him. Is this hallucination a materialization of repressed guilt over Bateman’s actions, or a fear that that he will someday have to face consequences for the way he’s living? These questions are never really resolved, as Bateman never (at least not in front of the reader) thinks about this moment further.
As quickly as the vision appeared, everything is back to normal, though Bateman still feels that he has received this important, personal message from the devil and finds that he has a pulsing erection. He tries to pick up a conversation with Paul Owen. Owen has noticed some men standing on the sides of the stage who have been pointing to the girls in their group; he tells Bateman they’re “trim coordinators,” trying to find girls to come backstage to party with the band. Bateman tries to bring up the Fisher account to Owen, but he doesn’t take the bait. They leave the concert early, and in the limo ride to a restaurant, the men tell the women about being “trim coordinated.” They find it funny and pour more champagne.
Bateman’s erection ties this demonic hallucination to sex, but also just shows what an arousing and intense physical experience it was for him. Just like Bateman and his friends, Bono and his bandmates treat women like objects, having the attractive ones chosen for them. The women find it comical, showing just how used to this kind of treatment they are, and perhaps illustrating a subconscious devaluing of themselves (or internalized misogyny) as well.