Opening Act(s): Jay-Z
Return Of The Stingray Guitar, Beautiful Day, I Will Follow, Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, Mysterious Ways, Elevation, Until The End Of The World, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, One Tree Hill, Pride (In The Name Of Love), In A Little While, Miss Sarajevo, City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Remix) - Relax - Two Tribes, Sunday Bloody Sunday - Get Up Stand Up, Scarlet - History, Walk On - You'll Never Walk Alone. Encore(s): One - Fall At Your Feet, Amazing Grace - Where The Streets Have No Name, Ultra Violet (Light My Way), With Or Without You, Moment Of Surrender.
The U2 360 Tour kicks off in New Zealand after a 6 week break. "One Tree Hill" is performed at tonight's show and is dedicated to victims of the Pike River mining disaster (that occurred on November 19). As the 29 deceased victims' names scroll down the video screen, Bono modifies the lyrics of the song to mention the tragedy. Opening act Jay-Z comes on stage to join U2 on "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (just like he did back on November 5, 2009 in Germany). Jay-Z also performs "History", rapping the lyrics to this unreleased song as U2 play "Scarlet" for the first time since September 3, 1981 (on a BBC radio show).
Review: U2, Mt Smart Stadium, November 25
By James Murray
When I was 10 years old a friend of mine called Tim made me a copy of the U2 album Achtung Baby.
On the flimsy tape inlay he had drawn a picture of a car, a detail from the Achtung Baby album cover.
It was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for my pre-teen self and I listened to the album incessantly. I devoured the back catalogue and eagerly bought the next album - Zooropa.
I saw them live in '98 or '99, on a tour where they appeared from inside a giant lemon. It was a bit lame, even at the time; I left disillusioned and haven't really liked any of their music since.
In the time between that gig and last night's show in Auckland, Bono has transformed himself into a sort of freedom-fighting eco-popstar. He sometimes comes across as a bit of an idealist, but I think those that level criticism at him for his political posturing should ask themselves what they would do if they were a ridiculously rich and successful musician.
At least Bono is trying to do some good. I suspect I might spend my time whittling diamond plectrums or sourcing guitar strings made of unicorn hair.
The Mt Smart stadium is a nightmare to get to. First there's the slow, packed train and then the interminable walk from the station. A few scalpers flank the roads like cheetahs looking for tired wildebeest. They all have the same East London accent - I think they must fashion scalpers there out of jellied eels and wartime spirit.
Once inside Jay-Z is already underway. He puts on a good show, does Mr Z, but I am not really qualified to judge.
U2 walk on to David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' and take up their stations underneath the giant, space-like claw that forms the centrepiece of their show.
The claw is an impressive beast, with three lighting technicians hanging from each corner and a cameraman tucked underneath. A massive circular screen makes sure all can see, but I don't want to give too much away here - the antics of the claw are half the fun.
They kick off with a boisterous version of 'Beautiful Day', a crowd favourite that goes down well but isn't really my cup of tea.
'I Will Follow', the first track on their debut album Boy, is more like it; the crowd lap it up.
The roaming, circular stage allows Bono, The Edge and Adam Clayton to spend a good deal of time strutting around and interacting with their fans.
Larry Mullen Jr looks a bit left out - they should put his drum kit on a golf buggy and allow him to do a circuit.
A little later in the show he gets to do a walk-round with some bongos - perhaps that's the compromise they came to.
A few songs in they pay tribute to the miners who lost their lives in the Pike River mining disaster.
Bono dedicates the song 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' to the miners. He says different people deal with grief in different ways - some stay silent, some show anger, but in Ireland they sing.
After 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' he dedicates a second song to the miners - 'One Tree Hill' from the album Joshua Tree, a song that has a special place in the hearts of New Zealand fans.
"This is for your 29, lost to this earth, but not to the eternal," he says before starting the song.
While he sings, the names of the 29 miners scroll over the screens. It is a moving moment that proves to be the most powerful of the evening.
'Miss Sarajevo' was another highlight - Bono managing to fill Pavarotti's vocals admirably.
Jay-Z returns for 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'; Bono takes the opportunity to plug Amnesty International and the recent release of Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi.
The encore brings 'One' (beautiful), a slightly pretentious 'Amazing Grace', 'Where The Streets Have No Name' and 'With Or Without You'. They finish a little flat on a song I hadn't heard of before. They should have played 'New Year's Day' instead.
Last night's gig was a thousand times better than the lemon in '99.
The sheer spectacle has been ramped up exponentially. When they play their big songs U2 are nothing short of excellent - if the test you are comparing them to is bombastic stadium rock.
Their newer stuff is a little staid, with a couple of livelier exceptions, but I think U2 should be applauded for writing new music for so long. Many bands of their generation are busy touring greatest hits shows or playing through their most successful albums. While all this is fun, it's not as ambitious as U2.
If there are still tickets to tonight's show, pick one up; it manages to be both a nostalgic and a memorable show. If it's sold out, go and badger one of those scalpers. A word of advice though: always get your offer in first and make it less than the face value of the ticket price; they'd sell their own grandmothers if they thought they could make a small profit.
© 2010 3 News