-review by Rob Dunne, Special to Earvolution.com
I have seen U2 play live many, many times. Last weekend in Dublin, I saw the best U2 performance I have ever been at.
The excitement in the city on Saturday evening was palpable. Thousands of people made their way to the venue, beers in hand, Stetsons on head (the scalpers made a killing with those 'Bono' hats). The crowd was literally from all over the World - Aussies were racing pints with the Irish, Asians were watching the Aussies and the Irish race pints and Americans were recounting all the U2 gigs they had been to already in the US. The inimitable Dublin banter was flying back and forth as we closed in on Croke Park - a World-class stadium that holds about 85,000.
Just before 9:00 p.m., the four members of U2 sauntered on stage almost modestly acknowledging the crowd. Their understated entrance was countered by a frenzied reaction from the crowd as the boys took their places. It was still daylight in Dublin when U2 launched into Vertigo. Amazing ! I have never felt energy like it at a gig. As soon as the show kicked off, I knew it was going to be something very special.
U2 played Out of Control, a rarity so far on this tour, and then reverted to the tour play-list - Electric Co., Elevation (great stripped down version), New Year's Day and Beautiful Day. Then, we were treated to the first true highlight of the show - Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. This is U2 at their finest. And when the crowd started singing that one-line chorus at the end, the only thing that could quell the gospel chanting was The Edge's guitar on All I Want Is You. At this point, I was nervous that the show was peaking too soon. How could U2 sustain it ?
As the crowd bellowed "All I want is Yooooouuuuuuu!" and the sun finally went down, U2 turned on the lights. The video curtain beamed out across 'Croker' as U2 started City of Blinding Lights. The band and Croke Park had become one.
From the new album, the highlights in the show were Bono's emotional tribute to his father with Sometimes You Can't make it On Your Own and the thumping rendition of Love and Peace Or Else - Larry's hesitant (all the girls thought he was "sooooo cute") moment in the spotlight. There was a perfect segue between Love and Peace and Sunday Bloody Sunday, another highlight. Bono was in full soapbox mode as he wiped those tears away and ripped through Bullet the Blue Sky and Pride.
But for me, the two standout moments during this part of the show were Running to Stand Still - simple and beautiful - and Where The Streets Have No Name - the crowd went nuts during that song ! (even Bono said "that was incredible" afterwards).