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by Johnny

Well first of all, I have seen U2 many times since the Croke Park show in 1987 during the Joshua Tree tour.
The claw is very impressive, both in size and in the range of lighting and special effects that it can produce, but only after dark - and it didnt really get dark until about an hour into the show.

Despite the excellent close-up pictures of the band on the 360 video screens, the actual stage is too low for anyone standing back a bit on the pitch to see the band live - apart from Larry on the drums.

Croke Park does not suit the 360 concept, as first the claw was not in the middle of the stadium, but at one end, and the area behind it ('Hill16' to GAA fans) was empty because it is an open terraced area which was not available for use - Croker strangely only has covered stands on 3 sides - the fourth side is open.
So as you view the stage from the pitch, all you see is empty grey concrete steps behind it - not a very beautiful backdrop.
The sound quality is truly awesome - the sheer number of speakers and power of the amplifiers was the best i have ever heard in a large open arena.
The first 4 or five opening songs were all from the new album, and from where i was standing did not go down with rapturous applause - mor eof a muted response really. Very few people standing in the stands. It wasnt until the band moved into their back catalog of greatest hits - really starting with 'the unforgettable fire' that the crowd really got involved. You could sense the same realisation with the band, that the new songs were just not capturing the crowd, other than the die hard fans in the pits. Probably the best of the new songs played was 'unknown caller', with accompanying video karaoke on the screens.
It was the first time that I have seen U2 play live wheer they seemed to be a little 'loose' with the continuity, perhaps it was due to it being early in the tour, or a lack of enough rehearsals, but there were several occasions where you knew that they made mistakes - not as polished as usual.
I was disappointed that the band only returned for one encore, which started with 'Ultraviolet', and ended with 'Moment of surrender', again another new song which was a disappointment, not just to me but the thousands of other fans who started to leave the stadium half way through the song - I have never seen that before at a U2 concert !
It would have been a much better ending to use '40' or 'Kite' or 'Walk On'.
Still a very good show, but not legendary anymore. Saved by a very clever and expensive stage show and a blinding series of old favourites, but they need to bury that new album where they buried Zooropa and Pop if they want to keep attracting the crowds back.

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