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U2 Tours (formerly part of AtU2): A Comprehensive Guide To U2’s Live Performance History
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by NealP

4 years ago, as a Fathers Day gift I was supposed to go to Slane Castle to see my favorite band. I chickened out (the cost, the time from work) and always wondered if i made a mistake. Well, for those wondering about seeing the boys in Dublin and if 12 hours of travel, expensive cabs and accomodations (by their own admittance, lodging and cabs were double for this weekend and still very difficult to get), and all the hassle is worth it the answer is ABSOLUTLY YES!. I always had kind of a secret fantasy to see U2 where EVERYONE was fully into it, singing every word etc. I hate when i look up at the luxury boxes or in the stands and see people sitting or seemingly indifferent to this music-or worse-leaving for a beer just because they aren't playing a "big hit". Well, if you have a similar desire because you want that crazy, fanatical, sing every song and every word atmosphere, Dublin is your city folks. 80,000 screaming, singing, shaking, adoring fans. I have NEVER heard a louder crowd and this was my 21st U2 show and probably 300th concert-it was AWESOME. A couple comments-especially for those travelling to Europe to see them. I went to friday's show and que'd (thats standing in line for Yanks) from 10 am on and was probably about the 700th person in and was 3 feet off the rail inside the b stage on Edge's side. I went to this show at 4 pm and walked right onto the front part of the pitch about 25 feet back from friday. My point is if you want to be within 20 feet of the front stage or near the rail on the b stages a bit further back (a better view IMO-especially for the visuals)-get there in the morning-otherwise don't stress, your vantage point will be great and it's easier to get in and out for drinks etc..Apparently it will take until 4ish to fill the 4500 paces in the front section, so plan accordingle-it was the same experience at the Twickenham show I reviewed last week. Now on to the show(s)-I will compare sat night to friday in terms of things I observed that die hard fans might find interesting but let me say if you are on the pitch and especially in the front section-the sound, visuals etc are fantastic-and both shows were equally powerful. Also, in general the band-especially Adam- spend more time walking and coming out front and really seem to be enjoying themselves. Finally, they do the wave here and sing "ole, ole ole " before they come on and it is neither cliche nor silly-the crowd is just that excited... VERTIGO-played in the light it is not as powerful as in the dark but the crowd love this song-seeminly as much as any other. T shirts are sold that only say "hello, hello" on them and they are everywhere. Tonight Bono does the introduction in Gaelic and doesn't need to stop the song as he did friday to ask Larry what "14" is. "No Spanish lessons tonight, Irish lessons"-I love it. OUT OF CONTROL-when you travel so far you hope for a something special and for me this was one of many. I Will Follow had the crowd bonkers on friday- but this gets the nod saturday for the funny story Bono tells in the middle about "18th birthday...the Edge has come from Wales...The Edge might be St Patrick-seriously" listen to the boots, you'll crack up-as funny as Bono's "The Edge never sweats " line in London and Edge is laughing, embarassed and absolutly KILLING it on guitar-total mayhem in the pit-WOW! ELECRIC CO-a perfect example of a song that-unlike the States-everyone seems to sing too. I realize this has become a mini UTEOTW in that Edge comes to the end of the b stage and Bono joins him for a pseudo bullfight (both nights) ELEVATION-this is where I realized fri night that the crowd would be almost as much of the story as the music. There was no prompting at all by Bono to do the "woo-woos" and it was LOUD-it makes this song absolutly take the show to another lever-INCREDIBLE BEAUTIFUL DAY-Bono changes the lines in night 2 from see the beduin fires to something about Dublin I didn't get. He did this both nights in many areas..lots of smoke here on night 2-maybe for the cameras?? ALL I WANT IS YOU-as good as Wild Horses was friday (and it was brilliant) this was another pleasant surprise and bringing the girl on stage from right in front of me I just love-he did the same on WOWY friday night-it's just special.... COBL-my favorite song from an album I love a lot. Before it Bono (from the b stage in front of me) calls out all the countries he sees flage for (there are a lot) and it makes for a special feeling. People truly come from all over. MIRACLE DRUG-A fantastic introduction about how 25 years ago they would not have even written a song like this but now they understand how precious life is, how important medicine is. I told my wife on the phone after fridays show that 25 years ago-I wouldn't have even listened to a song like this and now his introductions make me cry (one of our daughters is ill) and again the crowd LOVE IT-Sundays paper details why Bono dedicated it Friday night to the children in attendance from the hospital and how Edge gave them all VIP treatment etc and how at Christmas Bono went there because the kids requested itbut didn't want it publicized-honestly how can anyone doubt these guys sincerity/charachter?? SOMETIMES-no intro to dad tonight just a perfect version in a city where he must feel it the most... Love and Peace-because I was in front of Edge's side I noticed that this is where Adam actually changes sides and begins the song with bass held out in a bit of a rock star pose with a big grin on his face-then Edge joins him as Bono and Larry sing/drum on the other b stage-graet fun and powerful SBS-as loud as you would expect, both nights RUNNING/WALK ON-dedicated both nights as it was in London with happy Birthday added. On night 1 Bono says "I see 7 towers but they left one out"-a different review said something different but this is what it was. i know they are redeveloping the area but I dont know the reference. PRIDE-Bono changes into a shirt that I realize is an out line of Africa with a "O" in the middle. The crowd go nuts both nights of course. STREETS-well this is what you travel for! I had a small hope that they would-for these shows only-turn all the lights on but they really don't need to-everyone in the place-to the last row-is singing and sstanding and dancing-truly joyous..... ONE-the second night Bono calls out Bertie Ahern and implores him-as he did Tony blair thew week before "to step up, I know these are hard choices etc both nights beautifully poignant.... ZOO STATION/THE FLY: Finally it's dark...the slot machine intro with different faces comin up until finally all 4 show the zooropa face is hysterical it cries "mama" as Zoo Station just explodes-smoke everywhere, Bono strutting-the other 3 end up on the bstage in front of me and they are visibally chuckling.... MYSTERIOUS WAYS-the crowd obviously love it but how good would A Sort of Homecoming been here....? PARTY GIRL!!!! All day I read Matt's sign pop up periodically and when Bono called an audible on the b stage in front of me i thought he might pull him up...it's been discussed elsewhere but let me say that he played perfectly and the crowd saluted him like a hero-IT MADE MY NIGHT.(Side note to anyone who saw them pull the girl at Anaheim/Elevation from the U2 cover band to do Angel of Harlem-it really does "pay to advertise") Bono asks Edge if he's nervous and Edge says yes! There is always that moment where you are afraid it wont go off and when it does...YEAH! Bono makes the comment that they are "the world's worst wedding band but the best rock n roll band!-big agreement from the crowd! ABOY/YAHWEH/VERTIGO-beautifully done, both nights. On night 2 Bono again gives a nod to Thin Lizzy adding bits of "jailbreak" to Vertigo on night 2 he explains there is building not far from here that is closing down..." It is dark, the visuals are so bright they trult almost make you dizzy and I personlly love it as an ending What a week! What a group of shows! Final thought-people are comparing this tour to Elevation-I love them both. But if I had to choose it would be this tour if for no other reason than the songs. I mean would you rather have COBL or Stuck in a moment? LAPOE or New York? Yahweh or Wild Honey? SYCMIOYO or In a Little while?The only thing I wish for in the 3rd leg is the return of Walk On-it would work in this context-thanks for reading-Neal

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