U2 –3Arena, Dublin, Ireland – Saturday 28/11/2015


A sort of homecoming, as Damian flies to Ireland to watch Bono and his mates

The lights dim and with the Patti Smith anthem “People have the Power” blasting out the band arrive onstage with just a large lightbulb lighting the arena. “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” from the latest and much discussed offering *Innocence + Experience” opens the show.

They might have given it free to the whole world, but it is U2`s most personal album to date and whether you love or loathe them, they always cause a stir. This is not all about the present, though and there’s an eye for history, as tracks from 1980 debut album Boy are next, The Electric Co” and “I Will Follow” with the wonderful “Vertigo” sandwiched between them.

The show then takes a quite emotiional turn with “Iris (Hold Me Close)” a song about the death of the then 14 year old Bono`s mother, with images of this young woman beamed on the screens in the auditorium. He jokes about the megalomaniac she created but how much different would things have been if this young woman had lived!! “Cedarwood Road”, the Glasnevin street where Bono grew up follows with the singer talking about walking down it , complete with evocative imagery of its Cherry Blossom trees.

There’s an animated glimpse into the house projected on screen as Bono is there looking up at his young self, and continuing his journey, “Song for Someone” is a lament to Alison Stewart , the lady who he wooed and has shared his life for over forty years.

A contrast then as “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is augmented with images of bogside streets.
“Raised By Wolves” a song that looks back to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 when 33 were killed. Photos of the victims murdered on this fateful day are shared on the screen and the song finishes with a message urging ‘Justice of the Forgotten’
This sort of first set concludes with “Until The End Of The World”

A short interlude follows, then the band appear within the screen and play “Invisible” and “Even Better Than The Real Thing” before returning to what I think is referred to the “E” Stage or catwalk , where “Mysterious Ways” rings out and “Queen of Ireland’ Panti Bliss joins the band to dance along. “Desire” is belted out with the aid of the “Queen of Dublin” Imelda May, quickly followed by “Angel Of Harlem”.

A stripped back version of “Every Breaking Wave” with the Edge accompanying Bono on piano, is followed by the wonderful “October” , then there’s more effects, this time aerial shots of a ruined Kobani, Syria on the screens with “Bullet The Blue Sky” ringing out.

One of the most anthemic bands imaginable, and this has a trio of U2 anthems to prove that point. . Where The Streets Have No Name”, “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” and “With Or Without You” closing procedures.

So imagine how bombastic the encore is! And it starts with “Beautiful day” followed by “Bad” and ending with “40” with near enough all of the 14000 strong crowd singing, chanting “How long to sing this song”

It is as intimate as you can get seeing U2 these days, sharing the event with 14000 others. The pyrothechnics are stripped back but there’s still some amazing graphics shared on screens that wouldn`t be out of place in an IMAX cinema. This was the last date of the current tour and it was a treat to be present in the bands home town to witness this event.

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