First off: If you don´t care about U2's music, care too much about spoilers or are only gonna comment something like "U2 sucks", you better stop reading now. I´m open for discussion about how good/bad U2 is, but retarted one-liners are gonna be deleted as soon as I get to them. So don´t bother writing them.
If you have anything else to say to me, chit-chat or whatever, you can also comment here if you like. You can still recommend me some DVD's if you want to for example (see my former blogpost).
Yesterday I visited one of the two concerts U2 gives this year in the Amsterdam ArenA. I went together with my parents, brother, my girlfriend and my brothers girlfriend. My gf was pretty excited since it was her first time at a big concert and all. I just hope I haven´t ruined all her future concerts with this. Since once you´ve seen U2 live, you really stop being impressed by most of the live performances you see after it :) At least, that´s how it goes with me.
Anyway before I get started about the main act, U2, I´d like to say a few words about the supporting act which was Snow Patrol. Snow Patrol is one of favourite bands and I was really excited that they were also gonna be there. I´ve seen them earlier this year and I was very impressed by their live performance back then. But since they were only a supporting act this time, there wasn´t such a big show with animations and videos and all. It was just a dry performance without much spectacle and it only lasted about 45 minutes. I was slightly dissapointed by this to be honest, but it was still a good supporting act overall.
I´d say, if you´re very much into hard rock and metal you might not like them, but otherwise I recommend you give them a listen sometime :)
Alright, on to the main act. First, here´s the setlist for those who are interested. Including a bunch of high-quality vids of the performances I found on youtube. To give you a better idea of what it was like.
intro: Space Oddity (by David Bowie)
No Line On The Horizon
Get On Your Boots
Beautiful Day / Blackbird (snippet)
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Movin' On Up (snippet)
Angel Of Harlem / Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough (snippet)
In A Little While
The Unforgettable Fire
City Of Blinding Lights
Let's Dance (snippet) / I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Walk On / You'll Never Walk Alone (snippet)
Where The Streets Have No Name
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
With Or Without You
Moment of Surrender / 40 (snippet)
Starting with Breath was a bit of a suprise for me. I was pretty sure they were gonna open with Get On Your Boots, like they always opened with Vertigo and Elevation on their former shows. I was glad they did it this way though, since I don´t like Get On Your Boots that much and Breath is one of my favourite songs from their new album.
But obviously they were gonna play Get On Your Boots somewhere, it being the promotional single for their latest album and all. It came right after No Line On The Horizon as the third song performed. I must say, GOYB does pretty well live and the show they build around it was nice. Lot of light effects and epilepsy stuff and all, gave it a lot of energy.
After that Magnificent came and that concluded the opening of the show, which is probably the same in every show of their current tour. During these four songs, I was fairly overwhelmed by the whole event. Even though this is my third time at a stadium concert, it´s still very impressive to see such a large stage, crowd, show, everything.
Anyway, now the suprising part of the show came and after some vague singing by Bono (couldn´t make out which song due to the bad sound in the ArenA), Beautiful Day started. I was a little dissapointed by this, because Beatiful Day is one my least favourite U2 songs. At the end of the song Bono did a snippet of Blackbird (by The Beatles). My gf is a Beatles fan and I told her they might cover something from The Beatles because they do that sometimes. So that was pretty nice, even though it wasn´t a full song :)
Then Bono said something like "Let´s get some funk in here". I was a little worried for a moment they were gonna play Stand Up Comedy, a terrible song from their latest album in my opinion. Fortunatly he meant Mysterious Ways. I was really happy when I heard The Edge strike the first notes. I really wanted to see this song performed live and not from a video. People around me also seemed to like it. Everybody started dancing and moving and cheering, it was really nice.
The next song was Still Haven´t Found What I´m Looking For and again I got a bit dissapointed. It was performed in almost exactly the same way as they performed it four years ago. With a speech beforehand while the guitar is already playing and all. SHFWILF was followed by Angel of Harlem. Not such a great song imo, but it was a nice performance. The Don´t Stop Till You Get Enough-snippet afterward was kinda funny.
A little speech by Bono came which again I couldn´t understand due to the bad sound in the ArenA. I think he wanted to dedicate In A Little While to some friend, but I´m not sure. Anyway, In A Little While is a nice song and perhaps my favourite non-single from their ATYCLB-album. But like the former two, it is a slower, more relaxing song. So the energy I had after the first six songs faded a bit at this point.
The next song, Unknown Caller, was introduced with a short scene where they made contact with the space station. Unfortunatly the microphone of the astronauts didn´t work, but they showed some papers where they quoted the line "The future needs a big kiss" from Get On Your Boots. "Okay" was all I thought. Unknown Caller had a bit of karaoke-ish performance and it was a nice wake up call to me.
Next up was The Unforgettable Fire. I was glad to see this, since the last performance I saw of it was from 1987. The big screen above the stage started to stretch making it look like a whirlpool (see City of Blinding Lights video). It looked nice, but weird. Anyway, it was a good performance of this song.
City of Blinding Lights then started, a good song from their last album, but since I already heard and saw it on their last show I was hoping for something different. On top of that, I thought the Vertigo Tour performance was better. The same goes for Vertigo which they played after.
Then my favourite part of the show came (see video). The whole arena started to turn into one big discotheque. Larry grabbed a Bongo and Adam got himself a fancy, sparkling, golden bass guitar. I had no idea what song they were playing. I thought it was gonna lead to Discotheque from their Pop album, then I thought it was a Pop or Zooropa song that I didn´t know about. Turns out that they a discoïfied I´ll Go Crazy If I Don´t Go Crazy Tonight from their latest album. I really loved this part and I wish they made a similar version on the album.
Unfortunatly after this, all the usual songs started to pass by. The songs of which I told my gf that they were definitly gonna play them. Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride, Where The Streets and One with Walk On and MLK as a change. I was hoping that they were gonna skip these for once and in my opinion the show kinda died here. I noticed that people around me started to sit down and everybody was getting a little tired. Where The Streets Have No Name always does really well live though, I can´t really get tired of that one.
After those songs, they said their farewells and left the stage. But obviously they were gonna come back for an encore. I was really glad to see them come back on stage with Ultraviolet. A song that I haven´t seen performed live since 1993 or so. What I especially liked about this live version is that it was sung in a way where it reminded me of MacPhisto in the ZooTV era (U2 fans probably know what I mean when they see the vid).
When Ultraviolet was over, With Or Without You started. Another song they almost always perform on their shows. I wasn´t very interested in this song, since I must´ve seen at least 30 live performances of it by now in reality, on youtube and on DVD's.
The final song was Moment Of Surrender. A pretty good ending in my opinion. They finished it with a snipped of 40. At that point I knew it was the end of the show. They again said their farewells and left the stage. The nice thing was, they walked off stage and walked through the gate almost directly below us. So I got to see them from up close, about 10 meters away from me. It was a bit dark though, so I couldn´t see them too well.
I thought it was a really good show again and another very nice experience to be at such a big event. A bad point I´d like to mention though is that beside Ultraviolet and Crazy Tonight, none of the live performances sounded that special this time. Most songs performed sounded very similar to how they sounded on the other tours of this decade. I was hoping they were gonna change the sound and performance a bit more, but alas.
Another bad point in my opinion was the lack of Boy, Zooropa and Pop songs and the relatively high quantity of All That You Can´t Leave Behind and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb songs. Like I mentioned earlier, I´ve already seen a lot of recent live performances of those songs. I´d much rather hear songs from the earlier era´s.
But all in all I really enjoyed it and I´m glad my girlfriend loved it as well :) Both of us sure had a great experience.
To finish this report, here´s one of the pictures I took: