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"It's the most un-rock 'n' roll thing you could do, so I never ever talked about it, but that was actually my obsession before rock-and-roll." — Bono, on playing chess

by Noel Bell

On the hottest day of the year so far I queued up for hours in the sunshine to get the coveted inner circle wristband and at 4pm entered the arena with mission accomplished. I was at the opening night of the UK tour in Manchester but was stuck up in the second tier with side access viewing of the stage. The intro on this tour is weak compared to Zoo TV, Popmart and Elevation. At Twickenham, despite being drained by the roasting temperatures for most of the day, I felt more part of the show rather than a spectator like at Manchester. From the start it was obvious that the band were also up for this gig. The sound was also better on the pitch in front of the stage rather than from the seats. There was no evidence of the apparent sound problems from the previous night. Bono looked at the Edge and smiled in awe of the crowd’s participation during the opening chords of “Elevation”. Each song in the set was special and “The Electric Co” brought back memories of Slane Castle in 1981 and the RDS in January 1982 even if “Out of Control” was more powerful on the last tour in 2001. “Wild Horses” was a complete surprise tonight and therefore stood out as a highlight for me. “Running to Stand Still” with the birthday greetings to Aung San Suu Kyi was also special and having Bob Geldof and Steve Lillywhite in the crowd also made “One” a highlight. The concluding version of Vertigo made it a party atmosphere and demonstrated the passion and energy of the band. The set could perhaps have benefited from more of that energy and less of the slower melodic songs but that’s just a personal choice. One of our group was picked out by Bono to join him on stage for “With or Without You” and that made her day. See pic. Heres to Croker on Friday.

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