I was as giddy as a school girl after her first kiss… Perhaps that’s how best I can explain the excitement I felt seeing one of my favourite bands in the world live tonight. I wasn’t phased by the prospect of bad weather (predicted rain and possible thunder storms), as I entered Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium and was overwhelmed by the space-like stage arrangement that hovered high above me in the sky. U2’s 360° tour was in town, and I – as a long-time fan – was eagerly awaiting the chance to get carried away with it! I had never seen them live, and I was living a dream.
With my position in the arena, (roughly 10m from the stage where Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr would be) secured, I waited. I’d been told that the monstrous structure serving as the centrepiece to the concert takes five days to construct (a day to lay the foundations, three days to build and another day to attach the lighting and sound) and that the theory behind it is to make the stadium seem small so that the audience felt a sense of intimacy with the band during the show.
Had I not been there to experience it for myself, I wouldn’t have believed it, but from the moment Return of the Stingray Guitar led to Beautiful Day and opened the show, I knew I was in for something memorable. It’s hard to consider yourself in an intimate occasion when you’re one of 55,000 fans, but when those fans are singing the same lyrics you are because they are just as loyal, then it’s fair to say Bono had achieved something special.
Performing on the 30th Anniversary of John Lennon‘s death, Bono wanted us all to know that the Spirit of Lennon was with us. The band delighted us with a snippet of Stand By Me during I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For as part of a tribute. Further tributes were made in Pride (In the Name of Love) and the unreleased tune, North Star during the show. Dear Prudence announced Where the Streets Have No Name with a snippet of All You Need Is Love at the close, to which Bono declared ‘Good night Brisbane, Good night John Lennon’.
Songs from 11 of U2’s albums (not including the snippets) peppered the two and a half hour show. The lighting and visual effects above were beautifully married with the movement of bridges and catwalks that allowed Bono, The Edge and Adam to get within inches of those lucky souls in the Red Zone, and had the crowd screaming and cheering for more, myself included.
So many of my U2 favourites were performed tonight, including Mysterious Ways, Elevation and With Or Without You. However, I must acknowledge Bono’s triumphant performance of Miss Sarajevo. In the album version of the song, the late (and great) Luciano Pavarotti mightily sings the Italian and has been known to bring me to tears for its beauty and yet Bono expressed those words with as much passion as I had hoped for.
With more than 30 years together, U2 highlighted that the reason for their longevity is because they can evolve their music without losing themselves. As expected, there was talk of politics and religion, and yet it was still the best party I’ve attended! They are a powerhouse, and tonight’s show proved that. U2 is the benchmark other bands can only hope to achieve.
I should probably mention that Jay-Z added a little hip-hop support to U2’s mammoth roadshow. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get into the beats pre-show, but for the life of me I cannot fathom why he was there. It is/was such an unusual mix.
The Verdict: 4.5 out of 5
The full set list was as follows: Return of the Stingray Guitar, Beautiful Day, In My Life (snippet), I Will Follow, Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, Mysterious Ways, Rain (snippet), Elevation, Until the End of the World, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Stand By Me (snippet), North Star, Pride (In the Name of Love), In a Little While, Miss Sarajevo, City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, Thunderstruck (snippet), I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight, Two Tribes (snippet), Sunday Bloody Sunday, Scarlet, Walk On, You’ll Never Walk Alone (snippet).
Included in the encore: One, Dear Prudence (snippet), Where The Streets Have No Name, All You Need is Love (snippet), Ultra Violet (Light My Way), With Or Without You, Moment of Surrender.