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), Molly Malone, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, All I Want Is You, Staring At The Sun, All Kinds Of Everything, Miami, Bullet The Blue Sky-America, Please, Where The Streets Have No Name. Encore(s): Discothèque-Slave To The Rhythm-Black Betty, If You Wear That Velvet Dress, With Or Without You, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, Mysterious Ways, One-MLK.
By Matt McGee
If a concert can be any better than tonight, I’m fucked.
I had tears falling down my face most of the night — that’ll only mean something to the various folks who’ve sat with me for previous shows on this tour. (Mike R., Mike C., Donna, Dale, Bob, Henry, etc.)
If you’ve never seen U2 play their hometown, please start saving money now. The sight of 40,000 Dubliners going nuts when Bono came out in his (blue) Boxing robe, going nuts when the “O” in POP on the big screen becomes a soccer ball, going nuts when the Lemon slowly opens with the band inside (had they not heard about it already?) … and I thought they were worshipped like gods in the States? Ha!
For those who keep track of this sort of thing, there are new (read: better) visuals for many songs. Mofo had big, bright closeups of the band — different from before, take my word. Pride includes video of burning crosses, and new shots of MLK. Last Night On Earth had a cool effect with Bono on one-half the screen facing left, and Edge on the other half facing right, like they were singing to each other. During Miami, the word “Miami” flashed on during the chorus. Bono was staring like a lunatic right into the camera during Hold Me…, like he was in a padded cell, and when he was done with that routine, he placed his sunglasses over the camera and walked away. Excellent stuff.
Notes on a cigarette butt (by the way, all of Dublin smokes):
POP MUZIK: I’m amazed at the reception. I’m sitting to the rear, right of the stands (Adam’s side) … there’s maybe 200 people sitting farther away, and I’m looking down on what looks like the followers of Christ. Unbelievable.
MOFO: Bono is on fire, the boys are back in town. There’s a statement to be made, the hometown is watching. The tears start to fall.
I WILL FOLLOW: Incredible to see Dubliners react to the oldest song of the show.
GONE: Opens like a hammer. Wow! More tears. I notice that Edge is now echoing “Dooowwwnn” in the chorus, not the “Nooooooo” I recall him echoing during the US shows.
EVEN BETTER: Bono introduces this one by saying, “We pulled it off! Paddy Power!”
LAST NIGHT: During the bridge, Bono sings “It’s not the last night on earth, it’s just a rock show at Lansdowne Stadium. Tonight, we’ll have our fill, but it’s not the last night on earth.” Hope the local residents were listening. End of the song, Bono goes off the b-stage stairs into the crowd and is practically torn to shreds.
UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD: Bono comes out of the crowd as the song is starting, and starts violently swinging his red guitar by the neck round-and-round. Quite mesmerizing somehow. Wow!
NEW YEAR’S DAY: Sounded terrific. Crowd reaction is amazing, better than “I Will Follow.” It occurs to me that everything I see in front of me started about 5 miles up the road when these guys couldn’t play music to save their lives. How they’ve made it so far from so close … I can’t believe it. More tears. Getting overwhelmed by the Dublin-thing.
PRIDE/MOLLY MALONE: Crowd goes crazy-nuts, and I mean crazy-nuts. Unreal. I think of the first time I heard this song live, April 24, 1985, when it the THE U2 song. Crowd ends the song with all the “Oh-oh-oh-oh”s, the band stops playing, and we all keep singing “Oh-oh-oh-oh”, singing it faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster. Awesome!!!!!! More tears. Didn’t know much about Molly Malone … but it was fun to see the Irish singing one of their old pub songs. Huge party!
STILL HAVEN’T FOUND/ALL I WANT: Obviously, no need for the “bits and pieces of America/peace in the neon” speech so that was gone. “I wouldn’t have you in my back yard, either,” Bono jokes. “Look what we brought you back from Las Vegas,” he says, pointing at the POP Mart stage. Crowd finishes the chorus, band stops, crowd keeps singing and singing and singing. Beautiful moment. More tears. Natural segue into “All I Want,” sounded great … band started while we were still finishing “Still Haven’t Found.”
STARING AT THE SUN: Bono and Edge, as always. Bono dedicated it to “George Harrison, and all the patients at the Sunshine Home of The Bewildered.” Ha! Edge played a new guitar line, more like a lead guitar sound on his acoustic. They extended the “happy to go blind” lyric and repeated it about a dozen times, absolutely beautiful.
ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING: Super-strange song that apparently won a Eurovision contest way back when, very 80s sounding, but I don’t know how old it really is. Edge introduces the song by saying, “This could be our National Anthem in November.” I understand the singer, Dana, is running for President of Ireland or something.
MIAMI: Bono’s not wearing his multi-color jacket anymore that we saw in the States. Brought a girl on-stage, gave her the hat and cigar routine. Cool.
BULLET/AMERICA: Bono did the “How much to save your soul” routine along with counting 100, 200, etc. Video images were terrific — half-fades of Bono’s face up there with the Liechtenstein cartoon fighter jets.
PLEASE: Well, to see and hear this song played in Dublin was incredible. Bono wasn’t with us as he sang … he was in his own world. I start to think about all the shit that brought about the song. Many more tears. (Such a wuss, eh?)
STREETS: Crowd going absolutely berserk!!!!!!! The hand-clapping was as loud as the music. My favorite U2 song. Unreal!!!!!
DISCOTHEQUE: As good as always. Best part is looking at the faces of people who’ve never seen the Lemon entrance before. The Irish have a good sense of humor, they eat it up!
MYSTERIOUS WAYS: Best version of this I’ve ever heard. Bono added lyrics toward the end. Sounded great, I’ll listen for the tape.
HOLD ME, ETC.: Bono comes out on-stage with this maniacal laugh … which quickly turns into this wheezing and choking cough. Very funny, but it can’t be good on his throat! I like the new intro, but I still wish he’d do the “Riddle me this, riddle me that” line I heard once in the US.
ONE/MLK: Crowd was terrific again. The band absolutely nails “One” perfectly. More tears. I’m left with one thought, maybe you’ve felt this way before: it is a privilege to be a U2 fan.