Not a hint of exaggeration. I might not have seen that many, but those Irish boys certainly do know how to put on a show. I was going to wait until I had my photos ready to put up, but it’s late and I can’t be bothered doing all that when I could be sleeping. Should get them up sometime tomorrow. Might even just make a Flickr category for them or something. I’ll let you know.
Now – onto the concert. For those of you who are a little bit slow, or not from Melbourne, U2 came to town on Saturday and Sunday night, and I was one of the people who were online for four hours, about a year ago when the tickets went on sale, and so I had General Admission tickets (aka – standing room out on the arena). Which meant that it was going to be worthwhile getting there early.
So I rocked up at about 4:15 (having had to drive to Box Hill, because they were running buses from Ringwood to Box Hill, grumble grumble) and got sat in a glorified pig pen with about 200 other people to demarcate our place in the queue. It was about the most sensible way I’ve ever seen of setting out a queue, you didn’t feel like you needed to watch your place like a hawk: the whole thing was very well organised. So after about an hour and a half we got moving, and 15 minutes later I was inside. I found a decent spot – about 35 metres from the stage – they had a barricade to stop us going any closer (I think you had to be there before lunch to get those spots, so had about as sweet a spot as I could hope for and then just sat around for another hour and a half.
Kanye West came on and he was alright without being inspiring. I’m not really a hip-hop fan, but I’d decided that I was ready to be converted, but it didn’t happen. I don’t think Kanye’s sound is quite big enough for Telstra Dome with the roof open. He did have plenty of bass though. Could feel my shirt flapping with every “doof”, so that’s a win! Then there was another big wait – about 45 minutes, and the show was on!
While I was about 35 metres from the main stage, I was much, much closer to the U-shaped catwalk stage they had set out. So when the lights had gone dim, and Bono emerged out of nowhere to suddenly be about 10 metres in front of me wrapped in an Australian flag (yes, I know, cheesy and cheap, but it somehow seemed to work) – everyone just went absolutely mental! And the show had begun!
Did I mention that they know how to put on a show? “City of Blinding Lights” was their first, and from that moment on I was in musical paradise. There was a pretty good mix of new stuff along with the songs that you desperately want to hear them play were there (see the set list at the bottom of the post), and it just hit the spot. There were plenty of really pumping songs, as well as a few of the slower, swaying songs. I almost cried when they played “One” – it’s been my favourite for years and I almost thought they weren’t going to play it for a little bit.
I might have mentioned that they know how to put on a good show. It amazes me just how conscious Bono is of the images he makes. He understands symbolism better than any performer I know of, whether it’s crawling blind for the microphone, wrapping himself in the Australian flag, the iconic “CoeXisT” headband, or even just the deliberate decision to always wear sunglasses.
And I felt so close to them – at one stage or another I was within under-arm gumboot chucking distance of each of them, often more than one at a time (band members, not gumboots, I didn’t actually throw any gumboots). The set was just unbelievable, they had a massive, low-res screeen, with two pretty big screens off to either side, and as big a freaking speaker tower as you are ever likely to see.
I can’t come close to describing how much fun I had – it was certainly one of the most entertaining nights I’ve ever had, and as worth the money as any night’s entertainment can ever be. There might even be a “The Greatest Show I’ve Ever Seen Part Two” – we’ll see how assignments go. But it was SO GOOD! (and I may have got two T-Shirts and a poster as mementos). I don’t care what anyone says – I LOVE BONO!
City Of Blinding Lights
I Will Follow
New Year’s Day
Beautiful Day / Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (snippet) / Here Comes The Sun(snippet)
Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of
Angel Of Harlem
Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
Love And Peace Or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday / Rock The Casbah (snippet)
Bullet The Blue Sky / When Johnny Comes Marching Home (snippet) / The Hands That Built America (snippet)
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Where The Streets Have No Name
With Or Without You / Never Tear Us Apart (snippet) / Love Will Tear Us Apart (snippet)
The Saints Are Coming
(Set list stolen verbatim from Analise, mostly because I’m lazy)