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by Mark

Walked into the arena at 7pm (no queues) and expected the floor to be full but the place was virtually empty. We got to within a few feet outside the heart on Edge's side - this was close and this was going to be good!
Support band Kelis were poor but it passed the time
At the mixing desk a notice said U2 were due on at 8.45pm, but after PA songs (stereo mc/stevie wonder/St peppers) they were on at 9pm

we've seen U2 on previous tours but always outdoors and always from a distance. This was different - indoors and up close - and the end of an 18 year wait!

I'll try to remember highlights song by song:

As the excitement mounted and the elevation mix started, the place went wild
fans jumping/dancing to music is fine, but with drunken yobs pushing to the front it became dangerous
in fact the first 3 songs were a blur of pushing and shoving in our area - not nice!
found some space to the side (still close to the heart) to enjoy the music and not worry about safety

elevation/BDay/end of the world - the goal was survival, cant remember much about the music, apart from being very LOUD!!
discotheque - not a favourite song but a cool new arrangement ending with Staring at the Sun
Kite - an emotional rendition dedicated to Bob Hewson and ending with an acoustic Bono for a few lines
Things picked up again with Follow/Sunday with the crowd going wild - everybody was dancing and singing (safely and loudly) - fantastic!
In a little while dedicated to Joey Ramone
Full band at tip of heart for Desire - good new arrangement with Larry on single drum
Stay - Bono/Edge acoustic - with the whole arena on backing vocals
Bad/40, Streets - the highlight of the show
The new Fly intro is great - basically the Edge playing the chorus chords with Bono ad-libbing. The song ended with Bono running laps of the heart, stopping at the video screen, fly like.

The encore was shorter than I expected - they played an anti arms message on the video
Bullet - Bono with a spotlight, "outside its Zooropa"
W/W You - screens dropped down (as in New York) - great lighting, plus the ZooTV Love is Blindness "starfields" were shown on the video screens - great effect

Another short encore, then One, a short version of Wake up Dead Man, Walk On - a good song to finish

Bono/Edge seemed to use Edges side of the heart ramp more than the other side, stopping right in front of us many times. Even Larry walked past - so I would recommend it if you cant get into the heart or dont want the crush outside the heart tip
Plenty of Bono talk about New Order/Frank Sinatra/Joy Division/Manchester before various songs. Noel Gallagher also mentioned
At the end Edge was handing out set lists and picks to the front row. Bono and Edge also shook hands with some of the front row

Saw Paul McGuinness outside the heart watching part of the show and Willie at the mixing desk at the end
A sign at the mixing desk had answers to their most common questions ie. 'No Willie is not here yet', 'No we dont know the next city', 'Or this one', 'Yes the small fat bearded bloke does the sound'!!

A great show although the sound quality was not great, (probably due to our position). Might try near the mixing desk at Birmingham on Tuesday.

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