It was never my intention to go to see U2 on their current world tour being just a casual fan but I wanted to have a quick look at the Ticketmaster site to see if all dates had sold out and when I found myself on the checkout screen with 2 good seats available I just said what the hell, might as well go!
I’d only been to see U2 once before in Slane and was a bit knackered having to stand in a field all day (my last outdoor/field type concert!). The sound was a bit crappy too so I wanted to make up for that by seeing them in a more comfortable venue. I managed to get good seats for the first night in the lower Hogan stand at the end of the stadium where they had to put the stage/claw. Croke park couldn’t allow the stage to be centered due to safety restrictions on Hill 16 but it suited us as we ended up right in front of the action!
The support acts, Damien Dempsey and Glasvegas were odd choices with the later completely boring the crap out of both of us! U2 came on at about 9pm after Space Oddity by Bowie and with a little less fanfare than previous shows (remember the Lemon!?) or the mighty stage setup suggested. They started off with a few songs off the new album “No line on the horizon” which I’d been listening to for a week or so before hand and loving. I’d been looking forward to hearing “Magnificent” and it was a pretty good version.
As the show went on U2 seemed to pick up pace and the crowd, a lot of which were pretty late arriving, came alive. Bono’s vocals were better than expected and the overall sound was pretty good. Highlights for me were “Magnificent”, “The Auld Triangle”, the Acoustic sets, Bloody Sunday and Bono’s Laser Coat and Mic Dangling!
Lowlights included whatever song that was were Larry came out for a walk with a bongo and the nonsense with the masks!I was also a bit surprised that there was no encore. I can’t remember the last time I was at any kind of gig and the band didn’t come out to do 1 or 2 more songs although in fairness, they played a long set and the audience didn’t really demand more.
However, the undoubted highlight of the show was not a performance, song or event but the actual stage itself! As it got darker the ridiculous thing lit up in all sorts of amazing ways and you couldn’t take your eyes off it. At one point about midway through and almost imperceptibly, the massive 360 degree screen expanded downwards to about 3 or 4 times its original height!
Towards the end, the glitter ball I’d noticed at the top of the spike emanating from the claw and rising above the height of the Croke park roof, came alive and drenched the audience and possibly most of Dublin city in beautiful sparkles. About the only thing the stage didn’t do was get up and walk about! Maybe for future U2 gigs..
All in all it was a memorable show and proof that U2 are still the biggest and most original band in the world.
Here’s some photos from the night:
Here’s the setlist for the night, a pretty good mix of old and new:
No Line on the Horizon
Get On Your Boots
Stuck in a Moment That You Can’t Get Out Of
Desire (Bono and the Edge acoustic)
The Auld Triangle
Until the End of the World
City of Blinding Lights
I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Pride (In the Name of Love)
Where the Streets Have No Name
40 (Tease) >
Fool to Cry (Tease) >
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender