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

Well, i've waited a long time to see them (i got into U2 in 1993 during their Zoo TV tour when i watched the Sydney broadcast on TV) but it was worth it alright!

Started off travelling from Loughborough at around 13:30. Although we didn't have GA's we wanted to get there quite early so we could soak up some of the atmosphere and have a look around the city centre. We managed to arrive in Manchester at about 16:00, parked (and got ripped off with expensive parking!) and walked the 3 minute walk to the arena.

Inside the arena it was great, people chatting, standing in line for the heart and generally having a good time. We picked up our tickets from the box office and went for a walk around the city.

Headed back to the arena at about 18:30 and went inside. I have to say at this point that i wasn't impressed at not being allowed to take a bottle of water in with me, just so they could sting me 1.60 for a 500ml bottle of Coke!

Went to our seats and had a sit down for 5 mins just looking around the arena. The first thing that struck me was how "small" it seemed. I realise that the MEN arena is the biggest indoor arena in Europe, but it just didn't seem that big. We were sitting on the Edge's side of the stage (lower tier) with a pretty awesome view!

We sat down for a while, just soaking up the atmosphere/expectation that was slowly building inside the arena, and then went to the bar just before Kelis started (but didn't everyone ;)). Now i realise that she's a good singer, but i have to say i thought Kelis bombed and barely anybody in the crowd seemed interested in her music. I know it's hard being a support band for a band like U2, but really, the only good thing about Kelis' performance was the drummer, who was flair.

Kelis finished making her racket at about 20:15 and the techies came out to finish setting up for the boys. It amazed me how long it took them to set up (i'd have thought it would all be nearly done before the support went on), nearly 40 mins!

Finally Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Band (or whatever it's called) came over the loud speaker and i turned to my mate and said: "It's time!". Shortly after, the opening bars of Elevation started up and the boys walked out on to the stage. At this point everyone in the arena went beserk, except me! I just stood there, totally in awe, grinning like an idiot! I just couldn't believe i was in the same arena as Bono and the rest of the lads!

Elevation was awesome, everybody singing along and jumping up and down. Beatiful Day followed, and i have to say, i turned to my mate and said: "His voice is knackered already!". 2 songs in and Bono was sounding VERY hoarse.

Next up was UTEOTW. I've always loved this song, and live it's a whole new experience. The song just gets better and better as it progresses into it's chaotic climix and the crowd were loving it.

Discoteque/SATS followed and to be honest i would have preferred New Years Day. Don't get me wrong, i love both Discoteque and SATS, but i don't feel that this version does either of the songs justice.

Kite was next, together with a really heartfelt dedication to Bono's father. At this point i was welling up, i admit it, it was so touching. Not only the fact that Bono had dedicated it to his dying father, but also that this was the best live performance i'd heard of Kite all tour.

New York is a song that doesn't work on the album i always feel, but live is a completely different story, IT ROCKS! The rest of the crowd seemed to enjoy it too.

I have to own up now, i've never really liked I Will Follow, but it totally blew me away tonight. The crowd were well into it, singing along and clapping, and it was one of the highlights of the night for me.

Sunday Bloody Sunday followed and can only be described as awesome. Bono was totally into this song tonight and the crowd made one hell of a noise (clapping, singing along and generally raising the roof!).

The next 2 songs (Stuck in a Moment and In a Little While) were received quite well by the crowd, and i must say that Stuck in a Moment exceeded my expectations. It's always been a song off the album that i liked, but i really liked it performed live.

Desire was next up. I loved the version of Desire they played during the Zoo Tv tour and so this version is a little tame for me, but my mate (and most of the crowd!) went wild. My mate loves it and sang along as loud as he could!

Stay was beautiful and remains a favourite (you could almost hear the crowd waiting for the "Miami, New Orleans, London, Belfast......Manchester" bit!) and what else can possibly be said about Bad that hasn't been said! Awesome. It was the song i wanted to hear the most and i wasn't disapointed. Bono was too hoarse to do the "woo-hoo"'s, but the crowd were MORE than happy to do it for him! Bad finished with the chrorus from 40, which echoed around the arena for a few minutes.

If ever there was going to be a song to take the roof off the arena it was Streets. The crowd went ballistic for this, and i don't blame them! Awsome.

Mysterious Ways followed and the Edge produced a pretty much unbeatable solo, though i wish they would perform it more like the Zoo Tv version (which is the best ever live version of this in my mind).

The Fly finished off the main set and was, for me, the highlight of the show. From the slow start, the Edge rips into his guitar and the song just plain ROCKS! At the end of the song, with the crowd verging on the hysterical side, Bono runs into the video walls at the back of the stage and stands there (like a fly on a wall) until the lights cut out.

At this point the crowd break out into a rendition of 40 until the band come back on!

BTBS starts with a new intro, which is nowhere near as good as version they have used in America, but it still rocks with Bono shouting Zooropa at the end of the song.

With or Without You sounded a little bit "going through the motions" for me, but it's still one of my top 5 U2 songs and so i was glad they played it. The crowd loved every minute of this one.

One was dedicated to Noel Gallagher, who was in attendance and, again, the crowd loved it (hmm, a patern emerging here!). Wake Up Dead Man followed, and i just wish the whole band would play a full version of this. I love the album version and i would love to hear them play it fully live.

Walk On closed the set and, as always, was very uplifting and anthemic. Probrably my favourite song on the album and a natural choice to finished the set.

The minute Walk On finished i knew they wouldn't be coming out to do any more so me and my mate left quickly to avoid the crush. Didn't help us though, we still got lost in Manchester trying to find our way to the M6 (bloody Manchester road signs! :))

Got home at 2am, thoroughly exhausted, but still buzzing from the performance.

Hopefully i can score tickets to at least one more gig before they leave the UK. If not, at least i know i've seen the best band in the world live! :D

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