Opening Act(s): Glasvegas, Damien Dempsey
Breathe, No Line On The Horizon, Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, Beautiful Day - Blackbird, Elevation, Desire, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Auld Triangle, One, Until The End Of The World, The Unforgettable Fire, City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride (In The Name Of Love), MLK, Walk On, Where The Streets Have No Name, Bad. Encore(s): Ultra Violet (Light My Way), With Or Without You, Moment Of Surrender.
At the first Dublin show here in Croke Park, Bono and Edge surprise the crowd with “Auld Triangle” (a traditional Irish folk song written by Dominic Behan about social occurrences surrounding a prisoner’s execution). Stuck In A Moment is performed with The Edge on acoustic guitar. The W.H. Auden poem “Funeral Blues” is delivered in computer voice during the encore break.
80,000 pack in for U2 home gigs
They have been rocking for 33 years, but U2 showed there was still a spring in their step in Dublin on Friday.
The Irish rock superstars played in front of 80,000 fans in Croke Park in the first of three concerts at the stadium.
“In the words of our good friends the Corrs, we are so young,” lead singer Bono, who turns 50 next year, shouted, at the start of Beautiful Day.
“As a nation I mean,” he added pointing to the crowd.
U2 had promised fans a night and a stage show to remember - and they weren’t going to let anyone down.
Once they performed tracks from their latest album, the band launched into their greatest hits.
Bono also paid tribute to Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners, who died last year, by playing one of their tracks the Auld Triangle.
U2 dazzled fans from inside a giant steel claw that rose to 60 metres high above the crown - almost as tall as the stands surrounding it.
It took a week to construct the impressive setting, that included 550 tonnes of steel, 56 tonnes of video screens and spanned across a third of the pitch.
Music aside, the band’s political allegiance was clear - with a dedication to jailed Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, currently on trial charged with breaking a security law.
Thousands of concert-goers wore a mask bearing her image when the band played Walk On.
Fans queued from midnight last night in torrential rain to catch the band up close.
Over the coming days more than 240,000 revellers from as far as Japan, Canada and America will descend on the north Dublin stadium - the equivalent to three All Ireland’s finals back to back.
It is estimated the series of gigs - tonight, tomorrow and Monday - will boost the city’s economy by 50 million euro.
Celia Braga, from Lisbon in Portugal, was in the audience.
“I am a big fan,” said the 36-year-old.
“This is my first time seeing them. It will be a fantastic night.”
Ahead of the gig Bono told fans via a website link-up: “The ‘rehearsals’ have been going really well. We’ve been rehearsing in Barcelona, Milan, Nice, Berlin and Amsterdam, but we expect that the main event in Dublin will be better than any of them.”
The Edge added: “It’s not just another show, for us or for the fans. They travel from all over the world to see us perform in Dublin. Most of them believe it’s the best gig for them to attend.”
Concert promoters MCD and gardai again appealed to concert-goers to follow traffic plans in the area and respect local residents.
© 2009 BBC
U2’s joyous homecoming: Spectacular Dublin show restores faith in Irish rock heroes
Believe the hype. Choose joy. The questions were asked of U2, and they were answered in pretty spectacular fashion at Croke Park last night. Magnificent, if you will.
“I surrender” Bono told the masses as he walked along the outer circle of the famous stage, arms outstretched, wallowing in the adulation. But, in fact, he had already won us over.
This band has been under pressure in recent times. Granted, it is the kind of pressure many of us tipping the couch to help pay the mortgage would probably revel in, but the self-styled ‘biggest band on the planet’ have been struggling, relatively-speaking.
They are hardly flavour of the month in Ireland, partly because of their tax affairs, partly because of an inbred suspicion of success, and partly because, like everything else, they were better in the old days. It meant that they didn’t sell out 240,000 tickets for Croke Park in an instant.
There are suggestions of in-fighting. The latest album was coolly received both here and abroad. Over the hill, some argued.
The latest tour has had mixed reviews, with one of the shows in Amsterdam earlier this week getting panned by critics and fans alike.
Never mind getting on their boots, perhaps it was time for this lot to hang theirs up? And so U2 were left in the slightly-surreal situation of having to prove themselves again… and to their own.
They delivered in spades, making us feel stupid for ever having doubted them — at least when it comes to performing.
“I haven’t even bought the new album so any of the first few songs I’d only know from hearing on the radio,” fan Cormac Slattery said. “But I was immediately caught up in it. It is pure theatre, and every time U2 want to put on a show they put on a show. When ‘the Claw’ came into life during Magnificent I was already fully on board.”
He wasn’t the only one, and that was just three songs into the blistering set. Mr Slattery was on the right side of 50 — “but only just” — and there was no shortage of people around who had packed the kids off to the Oxegen mud two weeks ago.
There was also no shortage of people from sunnier climes, many of them squeezed into the ‘pit’ from early evening.
For them the loo was not an option. Others left it much later, grabbing a sneaky last pint before piling into the ground, many arriving after Bono, the Edge, Larry and Adam had taken to the stage shortly before 9pm.
They immediately launched into Breathe from No Line On The Horizon, followed by the title track from the same record. It was only then that this famous stage really came to life.
“Hill 16 right behind you,” as Bono sang during Beautiful Day. Pity it was empty.
And it would take the first chords of Desire, and the sun starting to set, for those in the seats to start truly bouncing, rolling back the years while looking at the future.
Stadium rock, indeed, with all the pomp and ceremony you could hope for but which we take a little for granted with these guys.
Love them or loathe them, you can’t ignore them. Well, you certainly couldn’t last night, even if you were dragged to Croke Park by the ear. In truth, many of the natives in the 80,000 crowd manage to love and loathe U2, depending on the circumstances.
“Perhaps it’s because you guys have to listen to Bono telling you what to do more often than we do,” Laura Pfeifer from New York said. “I think you want him to shut up some of the time.”
However, he kept the preaching to a minimum last night. He could probably feel the love because of it. But, paradoxically, we wouldn’t like it if Bono ignored the activism completely. Thousands donned a face mask — inserted in the concert programme — of Burmese freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi. Walk On was dedicated to her, as it is on every night of the 360 Tour, and it was a quiet highlight.
Another positive was the sobriety of the crowd — although it’s possible some of them didn’t feel the same way.
Last night, however, was one that those there will like to be able to remember. Bono spoke during the week about the “joy” that’s inherent in U2’s music. Last night was a joy to behold.
© 2009 belfasttelegraph.co.uk
Photos by Belfast Telegraph, AP