by Mark Pontello
Yesterday was the second occasion that I had been fortunate enough to see U2 live. The first time was four years ago during the Elevation Tour (August 22nd at Earls Court). On both occasions I went with my friend, who like me, idolises and worships the ground these four men walk on. Before the concert we both felt nervous, that due to the mixed reviews the tour had received so far, we would not get to feel as elevated as we did during the Elevation tour. Also our tickets were seated, so we thought we could have the possibility of poor audio. On both accounts we were absolutely wrong.
The concert last night was amazing in every sense of the word. The audio was faultless; we could perfectly hear the instruments of Adam, Larry and The Edge, as well as the vocals of Bono. Before I review the concert, the support acts last night were mixed. Idlewild were only average, but Ash rocked! As soon as I heard the opening chords of 'Arcade Fire - Wake Up' the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, as I knew U2 would soon be on stage. These were feelings that can only be created by the sense that you know you are about to witness the biggest band in the world live. The roar was amazing when U2 took to the stage.
They opened with 'Vertigo', which got 70,000 people rocking Twickenham Stadium. Next followed a surprise in 'All Because Of You' for two reasons. Firstly, because this was only the second time on the whole tour it had been played so early in the set. Secondly, because it sounds so much better live than it does on the album. Next, was 'The Electric Co.', which got a much better response than I expected. What were memorable during this song were The Edge and Bono interacting with the crowd at the front of the stage. While The Edge went crazy with his guitar solo at the tip of one b-stage, Bono threw water on the crowd that was at the front of the stage, who must of been absolutely roasting after being positioned at the front for at least four hours in the blistering heat.
Then came 'Elevation'. This was memorable for Bono including the appropriate lyric from Nelly’s ‘Hot In Here’ of 'It's Getting Hot In Here, so take off all your clothes!’ that had the crowd in stitches of laughter. Next was the duo of anthems in 'New Years Day' and 'Beautiful Day', which were well received. Then came another surprise in the duo of 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' and 'Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses'. The older crowd absolutely loved 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For', which must of brought back floods of memories for them.
With 'City of Blinding Lights' the stage screen effects became visible. 'Miracle Drug' was again dedicated to doctors and scientists, who keep us all alive. 'Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own' made everyone realise why we love U2. This particular performance was especially moving and reminded the 70,000 in Twickenham of people we have loved and lost. This was an unforgettable moment.
Next came the war trilogy of 'Love And Peace Or Else', 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' and 'Bullet The Blue Sky' which rocked Twickenham Stadium to the core. I was incredibly surprised by the response to 'Sunday Blood Sunday', which was absolutely mind-blowing. The sight of 70,000 people jumping to the opening drumbeat of 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' is a sight I will most likely behold forever. 'Running To Stand Still' reminded us why we all love political Bono, dedicating the performance to Aung San Suu Kyi, who was sixty yesterday but has been under house arrest for ten years. At the end of 'Running To Stand Still' Bono sang 'Happy Birthday' on her behalf and then the chorus of 'Walk On', a song originally dedicated to her.
Next came the 'Bill Of Human Rights’ that was well received by the audience. Then, the foursome returned to the stage for 'The Africa Moment'. They performed the trilogy of 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)', ‘Where The Streets Have No Name' and 'One'. Bono during 'Where The Streets Have No Name' reminded us of our duty to Make Poverty History. Tonight, Sir Bob Geldof is in the audience and Bono dedicates 'One' to him. During the small break, I texted 'Africa' and 'My Name' to show my support for the ‘One’ campaign.
Next, was the part I had most been looking forward to, the Zoo TV part. The songs 'Zoo Station' and 'The Fly' were brilliant live, as were the visual effects. I finally had the chance to live the Zoo TV visuals, as I was only seven years old when the Zoo TV Tour originally took place. 'With Or Without You' was mind blowing. Particularly memorable, was when Bono called a girl up on stage and added to the song parts of 'Take Me To The Clouds Above'.
The final encore consisted of a relaxing 'Yahweh' and finally a monster performance of 'Vertigo', which added parts of 'London Calling'. This concert was something I thought I would never say, better than the Elevation concert of four years ago.
Before I finish my review I must make a special mention to Willie Williams. Last night the visual stage effects were mind blowing and kept the U2 show fresh and original. Willie Williams and his team, I salute you!
Also, after all the negative reviews of the organisation at the City of Manchester Stadium during the week, last night the staff at Twickenham did an immaculate job of controlling the event and I was very pleased that due to them the day went very smoothly.