Sunday 16 August 2009

U2 360 Tour - Review

I'd seen U2 three times previously and each gig had been progressively less affecting than the last. Zoo TV in August 1993 was the monster of all gigs even if U2 now talk about the one I went to being, 'The gig that died,' after a live link up with war torn Bosnia went horribly. Two women told the Wembley audience, 'We're going to die, and you don't care.'

Popmart was a great show four years later but the huge screen lacked the impact of Zoo TV's visual overload and the Vertigo Tour in 2005, whilst a great gig, lacked the emotion I'd been used to.

Yesterdays gig was different. Why?

Because the political grand standing was almost non existent? No, it was still there, just done with balance and built into the songs. Desmond Tutu's introduction to One was beautifully done. Because the new album is a work of genius? No, it's just U2 being U2. Although the new songs worked well in the set.

It was different because after 29 years of releasing albums U2 looked comfortable in their own skins. They loved this gig. I've never seen Edge and Bono look so happy to be on a stage.

I get the U2 hate. But honestly, I think that a lot of that is about it not being cool to like U2. But frankly if not being cool means you miss out on days like yesterday then f*** being cool.

'The Claw' stage was absolutely breathtaking. If you've seen it in the daytime photographs they don't do it justice. Lit up it's unbelievable.

They started with four new songs which was a brave start even by U2's standards. It worked though, Breathe is my favourite song from No Line on the Horizon and it's a great opener. After that the hits just came one after the other. What's clear is that someone, either in the band or close to it, has pointed out that The Unforgettable Fire is actually a rather good album after all, they played more songs off that album from 1984 than they did from Joshua Tree. I've seen them play Bad before. But not like that. DE who drove AT and I up said afterwards that he was stunned by Bono's passion. I've seen them before but I've never seen him live and breathe every song like he did last night.

At any great gig there's always one moment that stands out. One snap shot that'll stay with you for the rest of your life. One? With or Without You? Sunday Bloody Sunday? Nope, although all were amazing. Walk On is not, by any means, my favourite U2 song but when at the end it segued into You'll Never Walk Alone I lost it a bit. Those that know me will understand that I think. Those that don't, maybe one day I'll explain why a few tears rolled.

The sound of 88,000 people singing I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For was like a religious experience. It was a beautiful moment and it felt like the band were so connected to their audience.

After seeing 'Basterds' yesterday morning this was about as perfect as a day could get. U2 were absolutely stunning last night. They finished up with Moment of Surrender and 10 minutes later AT and I were stood at the urinals singing it with a bunch of blokes we'd never met.

An incredible day then. A massive thank you to Su for sorting out the tickets for AT and I, we are in your debt. A big thank you to DE and CH for driving us up and back, cheers guys. And really big thanks to AT who got the emotion of it all. Thanks bud.

Whatever you think of Bono and U2 if you get the chance to see them on this tour don't knock that opportunity back. Grasp it with both hands, I promise you won't regret it.


All my pics from the day are available to see here. Some are better than others.

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