Frances WInston reviews U2’s Experience & Innocence gig at the 3Arena on Friday last, 9th November
U2 finally touched down in Dublin for what was to be the finale of their Experience and Innocence Tour.
Unfortunately, like all the best-laid plans, it didn’t quite work out like that, as they had to reschedule their Berlin show after Bono lost his voice earlier this year! However, there were no signs of any vocal issues on Friday night though, as the group took to the stage of a packed 3Arena for the third of their four dates there.
I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan. I like a lot of the band’s early material, and a smattering of their more recent stuff. However, for me their music has always been overshadowed by Bono’s pontificating on politics. Also, I still haven’t forgiven them for forcing Songs of Innocence on me via iTunes. But having heard great things about the show, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see it.
The first thing that struck me was the stage, which formed a T-shape, and stretched out the entire length and breadth of the arena. I had been told that this rather impressive rig barely fit in the venue, which will give you an idea of how large it is.
As the band were about to make their entrance, some rather flashy graphics were displayed, and none other than Charlie Chaplin could be heard giving his infamous speech from The Great Dictator. As a huge Chaplin fan, I thought this boded rather well, and it did indeed. The band went right back to their beginnings, with tracks such as I Will Follow and Gloria. Prior to I Will Follow, there was a lovely tribute to the band’s fathers, that moved even the biggest cynics in the audience.
Songs like Beautiful Day and Elevation saw the audience singing along, and when they weren’t singing they were punching the air, and jumping up and down, which apparently is the only dance male U2 fans know!
There was a brief interval after Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses, before the band returned with Bono channelling the McPhisto character he donned for the Zooropa tour, back in 1993. This was probably the most theatrical segment of the show, and the crowd loved it.
The biggest cheer, however, was reserved for the classic tracks, Pride (In the Name of Love) and New Year’s Day (although we could have done without the Brexit observations here!). Both tracks have completely stood the test of time, and show just how good U2 were back in the day.
Overall, the set was well-thought-out, and the graphics and visuals were simply amazing. Add to this the fact that the band genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves, rather than going through the motions, and you’ve all the makings of a great gig. There were moments where the famously morose Adam Clayton even cracked a smile. While obviously this represents a big pay day for them, the fact that they also seem to like performing these songs really does create a special energy.
As rock shows go, this was a tour de force. I’m still not a fan of Bono, but I definitely have a new-found respect for the band.
1. The Blackout 2. Lights of Home(St. Peter’s String Version) 3. I Will Follow 4. Gloria (with Van Morrison’s “Gloria”…) 5. Beautiful Day 6. Dirty Day (first time since December 10th 1993) 7. Zoo Station 8. The Fly 9. Stay (Faraway, So Close!) 10. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
11. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me (Gavin Friday Remix – Tape) 12. Elevation (Influx Remix intro) 13. Vertigo (with “The Jean Genie” snippet) 14. Even Better Than the Real Thing (Fish Out of Water Remix;) 15. Acrobat (with “Hall of Mirrors” snippet) 16. You’re the Best Thing About Me (full band acoustic) 17. Summer of Love (Bono and The Edge only) 18. Pride (In the Name of Love) 19. Get Out of Your Own Way 20. New Year’s Day (reworked version, no final verse) 21. City of Blinding Lights
22. Women of the World (Jim O’Rourke song) 23. One (with “Woman of the World” and “Invisible” snippet) 24. Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way 25. 13 (There Is a Light) (with “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” snippet) 26. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody Talking Heads song)