Opening Act(s): Ash
Mofo, I Will Follow, Gone, Even Better Than The Real Thing, Last Night On Earth, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love), I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Stand By Me, All I Want Is You-Stand By Me, Staring At The Sun, Suspicious Minds, Miami, Bullet The Blue Sky-America, Please, Where The Streets Have No Name. Encore(s): Discothèque, If You Wear That Velvet Dress, With Or Without You, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, Mysterious Ways, One, Unchained Melody.
U2 leave peace to politicians
by Carmel Robinson
Bono decided to “leave peace to the politicians”. U2 blasted Belfast last night with the loudest, the biggest, the most spectacular gig in the city’s history. About 40,000 people crammed the Botanical Gardens. The fans went wild as U2 pranced onstage at about 9 p.m. Bono entered in a boxer’s robe. The Edge wore an oxygen mask.
MoFo, their first number, sent the fans crazy. Speaking at Aldergrove Airport earlier, Bono said the band were excited about playing Belfast.
“It’s taken us about 10 years to figure phone codes. But it’s just going to be a great night in a great city with 40,000 of our closest friends.”
Bono said the Belfast gig was the easiest of the tour. “That kind of says a lot about Belfast and says a lot about the people. Everyone co-operated really well. People have been really cool to us and we really appreciate that.”
They would leave peace to the politicians, but Bono added: “We’re going to be making a lot of noise actually at the Botanical Gardens, but there will be no politics there. A lot of shrubbery and a lot of tropical fruit.”
But during the concert they dedicated one song to Tony Blair, Mo Mowlam, Gerry Adams, Paisley and everyone involved in Northern politics. It featured the line “caught in a trap”.
On the problems with the Dublin events, Bono said: “We got there in the end. It was a little tricky for a while, but it was easier than our hometown to put this [Belfast] together, and that says a lot really, doesn’t it?”
It was not a sacrifice, he said, for the band to give up their week’s holiday to do the Belfast gig. He added: “The last two weeks of this tour have been as good as I think we have ever got. We had a “#FFof a rocky start the first month … It was a little dodgy … We were a bit crap. But … we can be crap if we want to. It’s not Broadway. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll show.
“Right now, we are the biggest, baddest, boldest band on earth. It’s going to be a big night,” said Bono. He would not comment on whether the tour was making a loss and he denied it would be their last. “We are just looking for the greatest show on earth.”
The band was amazed at the reaction in Belfast. “We have been all over the shop with our supermarket. It’s coming home and we feel part of Belfast too. We’ll have the clapometer on in Dublin and Belfast and we’ll see who comes out top.”
There were thousands of people in the streets listening to the music. One man canoed along the Lagan river to hear the band.
© 1997 Irish Times.