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"Look at the hole in your heart." — Bono

by Amber

Hello hello...Manchester 15/06/05 - City of Manchester stadium, dubbed by Bono, 'The Stadium of Lights'.

Firstly, let's just say what a good job Idlewild and Athlete did last night!! Idlewild opened to a 'bare-bones' crowd and performed brilliantly, a hard job well done! Athlete were better received (though they had a larger crowd to play to), and the playing of 'Wires' to end had me all dewy-eyed!

U2 burst upon the stage a little after 8:30 and it was non-stop till gone 11. Vertigo proved a blinding opener, steaming full throttle into the 'Boy' section of 'I Will Follow' and 'Cry'/'The Electric Co' (This last one seemed to stump a few people, who obviously were not familiar with the early material..c'mon people!!). Elevation, New Year's Day, and Beautiful Day followed (all definite crowd-pleasers). From my position up in the 'Gods', it was a pleasure to see the frantic 'pogo'-ing of the fans in the 'bomb shelter'.

What followed was breath-taking. Bono, playfully announcing that they "haven't played this one in a long time...", suddenly leads the crowd ( a 50, 000 strong gospel choir) in a heart-stopping rendition of 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For'. Audience participation doesn't get much more 'goosebump' enducing than this!! This was followed by an equally awe-inspiring 'All I Want is You'.

A block of HTDAAB numbers followed (Bono nailing SYCMIOYO, I tell you, this song is somthing else live) then the big war '3': Love and Peace, Sunday Bloody Sunday and Bullet the Blue Sky. This section was awesome. Love and Peace is fast becoming a performance centrepiece. With Larry drumming out on the walkway and providing backing vocals, the interaction between the entire band was amazing. The simplicity of this song's stage production really highlighted the intensity of the band's performance and the song's message, proving that this 'new boy' desrves its place beside the old stalwarts of U2 activism.

The intensity of the big war '3' carries over into the profundity of 'Running to Stand Still' (accompanied by the Declaration of Human Rights) and back up tempo through heart-ponding renditions of 'Pride' and 'Streets'. The crowd were up on their feet... clapping, shouting, jumping... a general hysteria swept the 'Stadium of Lights'...Africa, Africa, Africa...

The mobile-phone light up during One was both beautiful and poignant as Bono, reassuring us he wasn't after more of our money, asked us for our voice. (After 'One' and before the encore, the huge screens scrolled name after name of some of those who had texted the Make Poverty History campaign).

Zoo TV returned for the first encore, and the huge screens really came into their own through these amazing visuals. From the postmodern extravagance of Zooropa, the band made a daring leap in tone and tempo for a beautiful performance of 'With or Without You'.

The second encore featured an acoustic 'Yahweh' and a blistering 'encore' of Vertigo that made full use of the impressive lighting and visual production, something they could not do during the opener, due to the light of early evening (A lyrical homage to 'Stories For Boys' was thrown in for good measure.)

From 'Vertigo' in the light to 'Vertigo' in the dark, this was a non-stop bombardment of virtuoso performance and visual spectacular that has whetted my appetite for Twienham at the weekend! Fantastic.

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