Just utterly unbelievable … it’s almost too hard to put into words how bloody fantastic this concert was, however we’ll give it a shot ! We’ve seen U2 live a few times now over the decades but this one has to take the cake. Like a good wine – they keep getting better with age.
“This is Ground Control to Major Tom …”, Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ introduced the boys as they very casually strolled out from the rear of the stage in open view to the cheers of everyone while being projected on the revolutionary 360 degree screen- very cool. Edge then launched into ‘Return of the Stingray Guitar’ just to warm the crowd until Bono welcomed us with “G’day”. With an afternoon that saw hours and hours of torrential rain, Bono whipped the crowd into a frenzy to launch into ‘Beautiful Day’ as the blue skies miraculously appeared overhead. The ever familiar ‘I Will Follow’ was next before a gutsy ‘Boots’. ‘Magnificent’ was just that.
U2′s 360 degree set design is affectionately referred to as ‘The Claw’, however as Bono asked “What do you think of our space station? It’s taken us all over the place and tonight it brings us down under”. A crowd favourite: ‘Elevation’ followed the hip swaying ‘Mysterious Ways’. The two bridges that connected the centre stage to the outer ring stage both moved towards one another, Bono on one and The Edge on the other as his guitar solo crescendoed in ‘Until the End of the World’. With out-stretched hands they lean towards one another but fail to connect …
‘Mercy’, one of the last songs to be cut from the ‘Atomic Bomb’ album, is a welcome addition to the set list – almost as good as the inclusion of ‘Bad’ – what a treat ! It’s one of those tracks that you seriously doubt you will ever hear live – but we did. ‘In A Little While’ saw Bono take a girl from the Red Zone to join him on stage in song. Lying on their backs together side by side and ending up on one of the bridges to finish with a longing hug. Continuing with the Space Station theme Frank DeWinne from the International Space Station appears on the 360 screen citing the song’s lyric:
“A man dreams one day to fly
A man takes a rocket ship into the skies
He lives on a star that’s dying in the night
And follows in the trail, the scatter of light”
Listening to Bono sing Pavarotti’s Italian Operatic lines in Miss Sarajevo is always special and so too was watching the 360 screen expand for ‘Blinding Lights’. Vertigo was always a cracker rock song and it literally left our heads spinning while the club beat of the ‘Crazy’ remix began. ‘Walk On’ was the back drop for Amnesty International, Affirmative Action and One volunteers campaigning for the release of another 2203 political prisoners who still remain under house arrest in Burma. This follows the recent release of Nobel laureate: Aung San Suu Kyi – who was given the 2009 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award announced by U2 in Dublin in July of 2009 Aung San Suu Kyi – Released.
Humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner; The Most Rev. Dr. Desmond Tutu introduces the first encore via the 360 screen, showing us how much progress has been made in Africa in the last 10 years in fighting AIDS and how much more we can achieve together as ‘One’ – this was particularly poignant as the date of this concert was December 1st – World AIDS Day. And if that wasn’t enough – Bono then goes into a soulful solo rendition of Amazing Grace to launch into ‘Streets’. This just has to be the best start to any song to witness live – with The Edge cranking out his sound and when the drums kick in the crowd just jumps – fan ‘bloody’ tastic ! (check out the video below)
We just barely catch our breaths and the boys are back with another three songs for their second and final encore; Batman Forever’s ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’; the haunting favourite ‘With or Without You’; and to conclude ‘Moment of Surrender’. We don’t want it to finish, but it’s finally come to an end. The Irish lads have given their all and so have we. Dare we say that this concert will be untoppable ? Thank you so much U2 for sharing the joy with us for so many years. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
Return of the Stingray Guitar
I Will Follow
Get On Your Boots
Until The End Of The World
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
In A Little While
City Of Blinding Lights
I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (Remix)
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Amazing Grace – Where The Streets Have No Name
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
With Or Without You
Moment Of Surrender