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"It is my ambition to travel to America and give it what I consider it wants and needs." — Bono, 1981

by CT

This was my 5th U2 concert, after Lovetown 1989, ZooTV 1993 (twice) and PopMart 1998. Got to the stadium at 5pm and got inside just before 6pm. Bit too late for the front section, but I managed to find a spot against a fence that separated the front section and the rest of GA. Right in front of the left side main speaker stack. Very much a side view but it was a completely unobstructed view. I wasn't even this close when I saw them indoors!

Kanye West came on and did a good job entertaining the crowd. Somehow I still think Franz Ferdinand or Interpol would have been MUCH better.

It was a rather humid day but it didn't rain, unlike Fri night. The wait was agonising, especially because this time I was by myself as my other friends queued up from 9am and I couldn't make it that early. Bass tech Stuart Morgan was all smiles and mingled with the crowd when he was soundchecking on one of the ramps. Guitar tech Dallas Schoo spent a LONG time making sure Edge's equipment were all working properly. I heard about some guitar malfunctions at the previous couple of shows so that's probably why.

The Arcade Fire song came on and there was a great cheer as many people knew what that meant - especially if they had a copy of the Live in Chicago DVD!

The lights gradually went off and the tension was released when Edge's guitar signalled the start of City of Blinding Lights. The band built on that with Vertigo, and had the crowd singing along. I didn't think Bono's voice was in top form, as he skipped some words or even lines to seemingly catch his breath. He did tell the press that he's not in top shape yet and needed a few shows to warm up. Not wrong there.

I was hoping for the mini "Boy" set the band were doing in some shows. No luck with that tonight. Until The End of the World and New Years Day were played well and the crowd responded in kind. Somehow I felt that they could have perhaps selected some "surprise" songs instead of those two old warhorses.

The band did quite a few songs from ATYCLB perhaps to compensate for the fact that they didn't tour here for the Elevation tour. Beautiful Day sounded anthemic as usual, but the surprise standout was Stuck In A Moment. A wonderfully warm version performed as a tribute to Michael Hutchence. I used to really dislike the song but this version got me teary. Well done lads!

I thought the concert lost momentum a bit after that. Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride and Bullet The Blue Sky remained great songs but there's a sense of "overexposure" in my opinion. Miss Sarajevo was played well but didn't do much for me.

The familiar strains of Streets then came up and blew my lethargy away. The mobile phone trick with One should be well known among fans by now, but I still wasn't prepared for the truly breathtaking sight of thousands upon thousands of flickering mobile phone lighting dotted around the stadium like stars in the sky. Yes, you just had to be there.

I really loved the first encore. Zoo Station and The Fly were genuinely exciting renditions, and With Or Without You, even though we had all heard it so many times before, was still an astonishing song, whether listening with your headphones on the train or belting it out with thousands or others in a stadium.

The second encore, by contrast, just didn't do it for me. The Saints was fun but insubstantial, Desire looked like they were still rehearsing, and Kite prepared all for the imminent goodbye.

The band was as ever tight, professional and aimed to give fans value for their hard earned cash. Couldn't help but feel that they were going through the motions a bit and they didn't really push themselves to the max like in the past. The audeince, including me, still adored and admired them, and sang to every word. Perhaps we should just be thankful that 26 years after Boy was released, their new stuff was still vital, and fans could still judge them using the highest standards as a live band, rather than seeing them purely as a nostalgic act.

Another performance for me to treasure like all the previous ones!

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