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"It's easy to do angst and anger, but happiness is a whole other struggle." — Bono

80,000 fans welcome U2 home

- July 25, 2009

by Anonymous

U2 kicked off the home leg of their world tour in style as 80,000 hardcore fans from all over the globe landed in Ireland for an unforgettable night.

The atmosphere was electric as one of the world's greatest rock bands arrived back in Dublin's Croke Park last night and belted out their first track Breathe.

There were more huge cheers when Bono launched in to Magnificent while walking across a moving bridge before he performed Beautiful Day.

"In the words of our good friends the Corrs, we are so young," he shouted, at the start of Beautiful Day.

"As a nation I mean," he added pointing to the crowd.

U2 had promised fans a night and a stage show to remember - and they weren't going to let anyone down.

Once they performed tracks from their latest album, the band launched into their greatest hits. Bono also paid tribute to Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners, who died last year, by playing one of their tracks the Auld Triangle.

U2 dazzled fans from inside a giant steel claw that rose to 60 metres high above the crown - almost as tall as the stands surrounding it.

It took a week to construct the impressive setting, that included 550 tonnes of steel, 56 tonnes of video screens and spanned across a third of the pitch.

Music aside, the band's political allegiance was clear - with a dedication to jailed Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, currently on trial charged with breaking a draconian security law.

Thousands of concert-goers wore a mask bearing her image when the band played Walk On.

Fans queued from midnight on Thursday in torrential rain to catch the band up close.

Over the coming days more than 240,000 revellers from as far as Japan, Canada and America will descend on the north Dublin stadium - the equivalent to three All Ireland's finals back to back.

It is estimated the series of gigs - last night, tonight and Monday - will boost the city's economy by 50 million euro.

Celia Braga, 36, from Lisbon, Portugal, visited a friend who lived in Dublin to catch the show.

"I am a big fan," she said.

"This is my first time seeing them. It will be a fantastic night."

Before the gig Bono told fans via a website link-up: "The 'rehearsals' have been going really well. We've been rehearsing in Barcelona, Milan, Nice, Berlin and Amsterdam, but we expect that the main event in Dublin will be better than any of them."

The Edge added: "It's not just another show, for us or for the fans. They travel from all over the world to see us perform in Dublin. Most of them believe it's the best gig for them to attend."

Concert promoters MCD and gardai again appealed to concert-goers to follow traffic plans in the area and respect residents.

(c) Belfast Telegraph, 2009

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