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Although a continuation of their Joshua Tree 2017 Tour, it was anticipated as an opening night. Thus, there was much expectation (from the die hard fans) for the unplanned to happen. Apart from the odd off-key chord from The Edge, and Bono really struggling to remember which verse comes first in Sunday Bloody Sunday, it certainly wasn't the train wreck of Las Vegas 1997.
Rain was forecast but held off.
The first thing that was noticeable, was Larry's styled hair as he paraded himself around the stage towards his lower drum kit, waving to the fans. Sunday Bloody Sunday kicked into life, with fans rupturing into cheers.
The sound of the electric guitar's first notes accompanied with a mythical being appearing slowly from the darkness being guided by the single spot light. The fans knew this classic and even sang the opening lines. That was to be one of the handful of moments the audience really got into it.
The giant screen was not in use during the first 4 songs and the whole crowd around me went into a hypnotic state when the big screen kicked into life, so did Where the Streets Have no Name. This blazing bright red colour, the lighting around the Joshua Tree symbol. Nearly every cell phone went up, nearly all drunk chatter around stopped momentarily as U2 stepped it up a notch. Let me say the giant screen looks so much better at the concert than on cell phone footage.
U2 went through the nearly standard set from their 2017 tour.
Larry, not only has a new hair style, but during Elevation, the cameraman placed himself behind Larry to catch a shot of "AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND" written on the back of Larry's shirt. Larry turns around gave the thumbs up to the crowd then places sunglasses before kicking into action.
Adam's base seemed to have been cranked up three notches. During the Joshua Tree set, the base was overpowering but certainly was impressive.
There were glimpses of The Showman's persona and mentions of Ceaderwood Road from Bono but the song didn't eventuate. I was waiting for some changes to the track list but that may happen during the tour.
Visuals for One Tree Hill were amazing oh and by the way, One Tree Hill, which the song was named after is located ~3km from Mt Smart Stadium.
One was dedicated to the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack earlier this year.
Sound is always a topic of discussion. I felt it was fine. Bono's mic was possibly up too high near the start as his voice pierced above the music however this seemed to have been rectified. Base was also quite heavy during the Joshua Tree set, possibly a strategic move.
This part is only rated, not commented on
As New Zealanders, we have this struggle to openly sing along. Safety in numbers, and if most of the crowd are not singing while Bono tried his absolute best to conduct the audience at certain moments, he was met with silence. At one point he gave up and turned to Larry and instructed the finishing beats.
Europe and South America certain lead the way in that category.
There were times where the crowd did get involved when I didn't think they would (during One when Bono couldn't be heard in the mid verses, during some lesser known tracks the crowd behind could be heard clearly.)
I thought the 360° Tour was an amazing feat. but this show as a whole was just more memorable. Although not as many contraptions, this was just more effective.
Energy from the band was visible especially Larry who seemed to have loosened up.
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"Being a very heavy hitting drummer, Larry is constantly hitting a resistance during the full two hours of a show. That has screwed up his joints and muscles, so he needs a lot of work before and after a show to get through it."
- Adam on some of Larry's struggles, 2018
did you know
The song 'When Love Comes To Town' is about the redemptive power of love, with a biblical theme.