Comments: A second concert at this venue was scheduled for the next day but does not take place. Due to overly bureaucratic procedures by the promoter, tension develops over tickets and thousands are stuck in rain-drenched queues outside even as the support acts play. They are ultimately let in but the atmosphere is poor when U2 take the stage. Setlist and comment provided by U2gigs.com.
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This part is only rated, not commented on Recording: Audience microphone - 4 stars
This part is only rated, not commented on
The atmosphere was very foul. It was my first U2 concert, but not my first stadium concert, and I remember it well. The rain had started in the afternoon, but in the morning and around noon it had been very hot. There was a terrible pushing and shoving of the audience waiting at the entrances for doors open, and many seemed to be well drunk and I did see many, many empty drinks containers, beer cans, wine packs and bottles outside. The doors open seemed badly organised. Some a few yards away opened before others did, the seemed to be little coordination. People were pissed off by that, they wanted an equal chance in the run to the centre stage spots.
The openers, I remember The Pretenders, Big Audio Dynamite and Lou Reed, were all booed and generally badly accepted, at least in the part of the audience I happened to be stuck in, which was third, second row, slightly to the right of centre stage. The place looked like an open battle for the first row and of course I participated first, being rather stoutly built and not one to back off easily. This concert had meant the world to me, after I had gotten hold of a ticket, through a multitude of different lucky concurrences.
I believe, I cannot be sure anymore about it, that The Daltons opened last. I might confuse that, though, with a show I might have seen on the internet of that time, after all, it's been 28 years.
When WTSHNN began with its droning synth-sounds and the guitar's delayed arpeggios, and the band appeared one by one, the crowd went mad and the stifling squeeze got worse. But when the bass and the drums joined and slowly built up the song's hard pushing, driving beat the crowd went berserk. I had a fight with an American, a GI by his crew cut and confidence, and the security did not notice. He hit me in the nose, but luckily he could not swing properly, for lack of room to move. I could not get my arms up enough, so I hit where I could. The security were highly unprofessional (I did that job later in life myself) and completely taken aback with the sheer violence of the crowd's pushing forward, the yelling and the screaming of girls who obviously were in acute fear. The waves of people’s shoving often moved me ten or more yards away from where I had been before. I remember the moment when the band jumped into the first song and the red lights flooded all over the rain-drenched crowd. The heat from the electric lights washed over the people and actually felt quite warm on the face. Seconds afterwards clouds of vapour of the drying rain partially took away the sight of the stage.
I had had enough by then. I withdrew to the seats ranks, found myself a place and watched from about a hundred yards away. I was deeply disappointed with the on-goings and felt betrayed and let down. I had thought that we had all been there together to celebrate the same thing. I had been wrong. U2 had become a phenomenon and had stopped being a rock and roll band. They were a sensation, not music to dance and sing the lyrics and to feel alive by, because the songs spoke to you about your life and you inner self. This was a spectacle, not a concert. No one danced. They all fought. No one sang. Everybody screamed. No one had fun. They all tried to hold on to their place or get a better one by being more brutal than the opponent, because that is what everybody was, an adversary and a rival in trying to be as close to the band as possible. Do not think that I was naive about it. I understood as I do now that people want to be as close as possible to their lucky stars. But I wasn't expecting the brutality I encountered, and it did not seem to make sense, and I was not prepared to put up with it, as I would not be today. I do not think that it was anything else but sheer good fortune that there wasn't anyone killed in the throng in front of the stage. It was brutal enough for that. None of my later U2 shows had that quality and quantity of ruthlessness and viciousness.
When 40 began I was on my way out, walking outside the stadium trying to hitchhike my way back to where I was due. I remember feeling like hell. It took me weeks to be able to enjoy the music again.
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"I'd love to be able to say it was symbolic, but the truth is we needed a stadium that didn't have a football team, so we could use it for three weeks. Also, Las Vegas is a good place to work - the local crews are very experienced in setting up live shows"
- Paul McGuinness on selecting Las Vegas as opening city for Popmart, 1997
did you know
All That You Can't Leave Behind is the only album ever to have two singles win the Grammy of Record of the Year in two consecutive years.