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by Jeff Thornhill

Well, after a wait of some 9 years since their last visit to Perth (Western Australia), the Dublin foursome finally made a welcome return to the city! The 'Zoomerang' tour missed us in 1993, so the hype leading up to the PopMart tour was plenty!

The band arrived in Perth to start their Down Under Tour, and made a suprise stop to mingle with fans at the airport when they landed at about 11:00am Monday morning. The small crowd of some 50 people were fortunate enough to have all 4 memebers take time out to sign autographs, have photo's taken and do one or two TV interviews!!

The Popmart show-day finally arrived, Tuesday 17th February and the indoor venue chosen (Burswood Dome) opened at 7:30pm. The support band "Sidewinder" did their best to be seen underneath the enormous construction about them, but unfortunately they had little interest from the crowd. Although putting on a good performance, the stadium was still filling up while they were performing, so little attention was given to them!

There were apparantly some last minute technical problems, so the concert itself didn't get underway until about 9:15pm. The Dome itself only had a capacity for some 20,000 people, so the atmosphere was pretty electric....at first. Many of the people there obvioulsy weren't quite sure what they were in for, and the general age group represented were very much "Joshua Tree" fans; not having kept up with U2's music since.

The main lights stayed on while the recorded 'Mission Impossible Theme' was played, then this rolled into the start of Popmuzic, the unmistakeable beginning of "The Greatest Show on Earth"!! As usual the guys walked through the crowd during the song, and as Larry, Edge, and Adam made their way from the B-stage to the main stage, Bono stayed up on the B-stage playing up to the crowd, teasing those nearby as he reached out to them, and generally lapping up the atmosphere!

The show kept to roughly the main theme of previous shows, with "Pop Muzic" leading into "Mofo", followed by "I Will Follow", "Gone", and then "Even Better Than The Real Thing."

One surprise to the list was 'Bad' which was played early on in the show, and caused a big reaction from the crowd. Unfortunately this is about the last Bono and the 3 others probably heard from the crowd; for some reason many lost the enthusiasm. Bono mentioned this later in a press conference, when he asked if maybe everyone there was on drugs! I think it was a case of many people paying so much money for the show, and expecting something along the line of the 1989 'LoveTown' tour! One dissappointment about the set up was the fact that the entire 'lounge' area had everyone in allocated seats, which restricted the involment of the crowd to some extent. But personally, I think the main reason why the crowd was so unresponsive was because very few people actually knew any of the songs after the 'Achtung Baby' album!! It became quite obvious as the show progressed, and in reality the crowd was really shit!!

But for those that actually got into the whole event, it was a night to remember. Although I can't remember the entire set list in order, they did play every song from Pop except for "Miami", "Do You Feel Loved", "Playboy Mansion", and "If God Will Send His Angels".

"Until The End of The World" was huge, along with Edge's Sunday Bloody Sunday solo, which led into "Bullet The Blue Sky".

The show didn't end until about 11:45pm after 2 encore's and a jam-packed set-list of songs. There were no covers played this time, only one at the end of Discotheque. The only piece of equipment missing for the night was the huge cocktail stick with the olive, but Bono had his own pocket-sized replica, which he proudly displayed to the crowd!

In all, just one huge night with a great performance. The show finished after a second encore, which featured "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" followed by Mysterious Ways. The mood of the evening quickly changed for the last 2 songs of the night, "One" and "Wake Up Dead Man". These were both dedicated to the late Michael Hutchence of INXS, who was born in Perth and in fact started INXS here. Bono was obviously close to Michael, as he seemingly struggled for words to convey his feelings. While the intro to "One" was played, Bono told the crowd how he missed him, and how he regreted not being able to say 'certain things' to him he had wanted to say. He went on for some time, and the crowd was quite moved by his show of emotion.

Wake Up Dead Man finished the night, with 5 pictures of Michael Hutchence up on the screen. The song was played with Bono and Edge on guitar, while Adam and Larry stood still in the background...the entire song almost a karaoke version of the song.

Later on in the evening, there were reports of all 4 of the guys going to a few Irish Pubs around town, but I didn't personally get the chance to see them this close. My brother had a friend who was lucky enough to be at "The Bog" (the name of one of the Irish Pubs!) when the guys were there, and shouted Bono to a drink!! Well, that's his 'claim-to-fame', and probably as close I will get to seeing them!

And that's basically it. The Perth Show was on Tuesday night, and the band are taking the unusual move of spending quite some time between shows. Their next show isn't until Saturday night at Melbourne, followed by one Wednesday night show up at Brisbane, and their last Australian show being at the Sydney Football stadium on the following Friday night. As with everyone who has seen the show, its almost undescribable as to how great the show really was. Here's hoping this isn't the last time we get to see them Down Under!

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