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, All I Want Is You, Staring At The Sun, Desire, Dancing Queen, 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-MLK.
This concert marks U2’s first and only concert ever performed in Israel as well as the Middle East.
By Eran Bar-lev
WOW!!! I came back from Tel-Aviv a few hours ago and I’m sleepless because I just can’t stop thinking about the incredible concert I saw tonight!!! It was definitely the best concert I’ve seen in my whole life!!!!!
I arrived a little after 7 PM. I thought I was late, but nothing had started yet, and surpisingly I easily found a place 10 meters from the center of the stage. Later I understood this a BIG mistake to stand there…
The opening act was Apollo 440. In the beginning the crowd didn’t seem to pay much attention to them, but this changed on the last song they played - Let’s Go Back To The Rock, which is their biggest hit in Israel. People started dancing and some even sang along. They went down a little before 8 o’clock, and then we had to wait almost an hour for the real show to begin.
At 8:45 the sounds of “Pop Music” started playing, and an animation based on the word POP showed up on the huge screen. Then the screen showed the four boys walking to the stage. I looked around but I couldn’t see where they actually were, but when they came on the stage I understood that they passed through the crowd just a few meters away from where I was standing but I couldn’t see them because it was so crowded!!! The Edge came on stage first, then Adam wearing a helmet and a white breathing mask covering his mouth and nose (huh??? The air in Tel-Aviv is not THAT polluted, and nothing ever falls down from the sky on people’s heads!!!), then Larry, and last came Bono wearing a blue gown which also covered his head. By that time it was really crowded. I don’t know exactly how many people were there, but to me it looked like a few tens of thousands!
They started with “Mofo” and immediately the people around me started jumping and dancing, although there was very little space between people. That wasn’t so pleasant and ruined my fun of the first few songs because I was distracted by all the chaos around me. Soon the jumping and dancing became pushing, and I even got the elbow of the guy who was standing in front of me in my stomach (unintentionally of course). I couldn’t stand this anymore and had to step back a few meters to run away from that chaos. On the way back home I heard on the radio that 34 people in the concert needed medical care. I’m glad I was smart enough to step back and not be one of them. And even from my new location Bono looked very close when he came to the center front, and he did that a lot :) The stage was really large, because they looked very far when they weren’t in the center front.
This was the first time U2 ever played in Israel, and naturally the first time I’ve seen them, although I’ve been a fan for 14 years! Bono told us that Israel was a place he has always wanted to visit, and even planned to come twice before but it never worked out :( He greeted us for the Jewish new year which starts tomorrow, and then they did New Year’s Day. The crowd was singing along most of the songs, but it became really loud in New Year’s Day, and in Pride (one of my personal favorites) the crowd just continued singing the “O O O O” at the end long after Bono finished the song, and he looked really amazed of the crowd reaction! Bono came to the center front again during Still Haven’t Found and stayed there for a beautiful quiet All I Want Is You. Then he called The Edge over too and they both played a wonderful acoustic Staring At The Sun 15 meters away from me!!!! That was the highlight of the concert for me.
Then The Edge said: “OK, cut out the crap now, it’s time for some rock music!” That was ironic, because then came a karaoke version of ABBA’s Dancing Queen… I don’t understand why they had to pick such a cheesy song. This was the lowlight of the show for me. I would enjoy it much better if they did a karaoke version of one of their old favorites. After all, we’re U2 fans, not ABBA fans!
They continued with Miami, where Bono pulled a girl from the audience onto the stage. He danced with her and I think he even French-kissed her, but I can’t be sure from where I was standing.
Next in Bullet The Blue Sky the lighting aimed some spotlights to meet in one point in the sky. And in the middle of the song a plane went over Tel-Aviv right through this light spot! I’m sure it wasn’t planned but it was truely amazing! I hope the pilot’s eyes are OK with all those spotlights aimed at him… At the end of this song he sneaked a line from that West Side Story song, I forgot its name.
At the end of Please, Bono tried to get the crowd singing along “Please… get up off your knees”, but it didn’t work so well. Aparently many people in the crowd didn’t know this song, probably because it hasn’t got a lot of airplay here. Hopefully that will change now that it has come out as a single.
After Where The Streets Have No Name with Edge’s wonderful guitar, they took a little break. Then came a playback of Lemon, and the huge yellow lemon which had been to the right of the stage suddenly turned silver and ‘floated’ to the center of the stage as if it was a landing spaceship. Then it opened up and the four guys came out of it and down to the stage. For the next three songs - Discoteque, Velvet Dress, and With Or Without You, all four of them were in the center front just 15 meters from me, including Larry’s drums system!
Then they took another short break, and came back with Hold Me Thrill Me. On one occasion that Bono got to the “kiss me” part, he turned his back to the crowd, bent over and pointed at his ass. Ahem… Then came Mysterious Ways with another great sing-along of the crowd. When they started playing the intro to One, there was a huge scream of enthusiasm in the crowd. Bono dedicated this song to our late Prime Minister Rabin, who was murdered 2 years ago by a Jewish religious fanatic who hoped to stop the peace process by that. Bono said he as an Irishman can understand the suffering of the people here, and that he understands a little of Israel and he can understand a little of Palestine. After “One” he again dedicated the first lines of MLK to Rabin: “Sleep, sleep tonight, and may your dreams be realized.” they didn’t do the whole song though. That was the end of the concert. The crowd continud cheering, asking for a second encore, and even started to sing Sunday Bloody Sunday to let the guys know what we wanted, but that didn’t help us. The lights went on and that was it.
Thank you guys for one incredible night, and I hope you’ll be back soon!!!