Sound: Bono is still an amazing singer espescially considering he's managed to keep his voice sounding great for more than 20 years. Edge's guitar leaves nothing to be desired, and the Mullen/Clayton combo are no doubt the best rhythm section out there at the moment. Both Bono and The Edge do falsetto pieces in this concert, most noticably "City Of Blinding Lights," another song with amazing guitar and drumming. I would have given this 9/10 had it not been for one or two problems during the first half of the concert. The volume was up a little too loud, just enough so you could hear the speakers vibrating and buzzing, which was a very minor interference to an otherwise flawless performance. They turned down the volume slightly in the second half, and there were no further problems after that. Bono's voice failed him once or twice, but I found that this, rather than being a setback, enhanced the feeling of the live performance as opposed to the recorded versions of the songs. It underlined the fact that U2 always play an honest concert, with no miming. // 9
Perfomance: I'm going to start by going straight to the visual effects, because they were absolutly unbelievable. They had about 10 giant led displays (coloured lights which form pictures) which displayed both graphics and actual film from the concert. No, I'm not talking about big TV screens, I'm talking about huge led displays, like the ones used in Coldplay's "Speed Of Sound" video, but alot sharper and more detailed. The walkways out from the stage also had coloured lights on each side which flashed along with the songs.
Towards the end of the concert, the focus turned to Bono's ongoing fight against world poverty and political corruption, with the megapixel display displaying graphics of all the African flags, followed by a voiceover of the deleration of human rights, accompanied by the text of each article scrolling down on the backdrop in huge letters. When Bono played "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own," a song dedicated to his late father, everyone held lighters and glowing mobile phones in the air, and croke park was filled with fireflies for a few moments. The backdrop for this song featured a graphic of a man in a suit walking accross, from one side of the backdrop to the other. We can only assume this is meant to represent Bob Housson, Bono's father. Several times throughout the political section of this concert, a sign appeared on the backdrop telling people to text their names to a mobile phone number in order to support "Make Poverty History." At the end of the concert, the backdrop was filled with a list of names, eith everyone who texted appearing on the backdrop. It took at least 15 minutes to scroll the entire list, and that's with each section of the backdrop being about 5 storeys high.
The crowd was probably the most enthusiastic I have ever seen at a concert, and this was a crowd of about 83,000. And despite the size of the crowd, not one fight or incident occured. The crowd joined in with each song, everyone seemed to know the lyrics, and in some songs it was actually slightly hard to hear Bono. Amazing. Bono made lots of jokes during the concert, including one hilarious remark about a banner being flashed around near the front of the crowd - "Larry Mullens band. Ok, I'll pretend I didnt see that..." Said banner was refrencing the fact that while Bono is the undisputed leader of the band, it was actually Larry who brought them together in high school, posting notices around that he needed fellow musicians to form a band. When the backdrop went dark, no one wanted to leave, and just as well, because the band came back out to do an encore, "Vertigo." "The End" flashed up on the backdrop and the crowd realised, however unwillingly, that it really was time to go. It wasn't a concert, nor was it an event. There is no word to describe a phenomenon like this. It was an experience, an unforgettable and unmissable experience. // 10
Impression: The gig was in Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland. Much of the enthusiasm, and the energy the band and crowd put into this probably stems from the fact that U2 come from Ireland, their biggest fanbase is, in fact, here (very few Irish people could honestly admit they've never bought a U2 album), and for them, they were on familiar, home territory. Tickets cost between J50 and J80, depending on where you want to be in the stadium. We had J80 stand tickets, but even if it had been J150 it would have been well worth it. The gig opened with Vertigo, and followed with All Because Of You and Sunday Bloody Sunday. I'm not going to list the entire playlist since they played virtually every big hit they've ever had (bear in mind the concert went on for about 5 or 6 hours) but the big ones included Elevation, Beautiful Day, Bad, When Love Came To Town, and many more. Next time I hear U2 are coming to Ireland, I am going to make it my purpose in life to be one of the first to get a ticket. I don't think I could stand the uncertainty of waiting to see if I could get a ticket later on. // 10