Opening Act(s): Skunk Anansie
Mofo, I Will Follow, Gone, Even Better Than The Real Thing, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love)-Neon Lights, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For-Stand By Me, All I Want Is You, Staring At The Sun, Radar Love, Miami-Happiness Is A Warm Gun, Bullet The Blue Sky, Please, Where The Streets Have No Name. Encore(s): Discothèque-Whole Lotta Love, If You Wear That Velvet Dress, With Or Without You-Love Will Tear Us Apart, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, Mysterious Ways, One-Unchained Melody.
By Caroline Von B
Bono Kicks Balls
‘We’re still the four same fuckers. We love what we’re doing, do you love what we’re doing?’ A rhetorical question if ever I saw one. There was love in the house tonight - no question about it. For u2’s second night in Rotterdam, band and audience formed the perfect match. At times, it was unclear who was entertaining who, who was getting under who’s skin.
Last night’s soundproblems were overcome, or maybe the sun finally dried out the machinery. Mofo, therefor was dead on - from there to EBTTRT is one long slide down, up and under the surface of things. Then came Last Night on Earth, - with Bono making reference to the fact that you don’t really have to go far from home to find what you are looking for.
New Year’s Day was the start of massive community singing - tacky in a way - but Bono doesn’t mind a bit of that. In fact, he was tripping out on it - shaking his head in disbelief - and at one point mumbling something about us being fucking amazing. He went into the audience several times, crowd surfing and spitting his pick at the audience. With hands all over his body, Bono at one point groaned ‘aaah, that’s better.’ The look on hi face after Pride was classic - pure fucking ecstasy.
After New Year’s Day, the ‘ol ol’ chanting inspired Bono to a mimed penalty kick, scoring a virtual goal for Ireland in Rotterdam’s Feyenoord stadium. I Still haven’t Found was followed by a moving Stand by Me - Bono asked Willie to turn off all the lights in the stadium and he started to thank us for all our support over the years - he mentioned older venues such as The Ahoy, The Paradiso and the Milky Way. ‘There’s the Milky Way’ he said - pointing out the lighters that had been switched on on cue.
While Adam, clad in black hoodie, watched Bono and Edge go accoustic on the ministage, Staring at the sun was hijacked by the audience - less subtle than the night before.
Edge went on for the ‘surprise’ of the night - his karaoke version of Dutch band the Golden Earring’s ‘Radar Love’. Lyrics weren’t important for this one - and the track was stopped halfway when the drumsolo kicks in. ‘There are no drumsolo’s in U2 concerts,’ he said, ‘I’ll take you to Miami.’
Miami has become a monster of a song - and the recent murder on Miami Beach of designer Gianni Versace - set the song against reality - uncomfortable as it may be. Bono was ranting - his fingers formed a gun to his head, killer and victim in one.
No girl got to dance with Bono tonight - the mood did not lend itself to romance. Screaming for his mammy the one moment, whispering Gianni’s name the next and then taking the song into the his own world, back home.
Ending the song, walking back towards the main stage - his umbrella morphed into a baton, his gait more military - Bono became the Orangeman in the country that lent that order its name… while he sang some words from the Irish protestants’ song ‘The Sash My Father Wore.’ It was both funny and scary… but not too many people picked up on it.
Bullet came next - Please followed, the Sunday Bloody Sunday drumlines ever so subtle. Then U2’s new Heart of Darkness came to an end, and we could all cheerfully sing along to Streets.
Discotheque was long and mad and… disco, and Bono didn’t seem able to stop - forcing the Edge to follow him into Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love. We got a glimpse of U2 as they must work off eachother in the studio - Edge trying to strum Bono’s hummed riff and Adam at one point audibly being ordered to drop down to an #A. Larry was enjoying this - the corners of his mouth might have twitched… we’re not too sure about this.
Velvet Dress still isn’t what it could be - it’s shorter than on the record. Bono’s balls definitely haven’t dropped low enough to master the mood. The audience are unsure about this song as well, nobody seems to know the song well enough.
With or without you hasn’t changed since its conception - and the add on ‘Love will tear us apart’ hinted at the appearance of Ian Curtis a la Warhol on the screens during HMTMKMKM.
Bono showed his innie bellybutton, the close up on screen did not reveal the presence of any lint, during Mysterious Ways.
One and Unchained Melody ended the concert - MLK unfortunately dropped from the set. The end was abrupt - no ‘Rain’ to send us home, the skies kept dry, despite the Popmartician’s predicitions.
Caroline von B, Ben Hopkinson and Patrick Lynch Utrecht, Holland, 3.44 am, Sunday July 20, 1997