Before Twilight Bono points to the 'Boy' backdrop.
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This was the first time I attended opening night of a U2 tour and my friends and I had a blast. Stayed at a hotel within walking distance, went swimming prior to the show and had a few beverages. I had general admission tickets and stood near the B-stage. As the show went on more people left to go to the bathroom or whatever so by the time the band did their six song set on the B-stage I was behind one person and had a great view of the band. Overall an amazing night. Acrobat was a real treat. I am a big fan of the newest album so I also loved hearing "There is a Light" and "Blackout". I wish they had played "Landlady" and a couple of others but hey I might have the vision but they have the television. I go into all U2 shows with no expectations and have only been let down once and that was in Dallas during POPMART when they were clearly not in top form. I hope they add more shows in America (maybe Texas) so I can see another one on this tour but if not, so be it.
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Here is my report from the two Amsterdam concerts. I am quite late and it is probably impossible to write anything that hasn't been written many times before, but I feel like I need to write it all down for myself. I wanted to write a short review of the two gigs, but it turned out a bit differently :-)
Okay, let's get started. I have to start with the Friday evening, when the half secret video shoot took place. I arrived in Amsterdam on Friday at 2.25 pm. When U2 landed one hour later, I was still at the airport, which felt like a nice coincidence. I have registered for the video shoot happening, but didn't get the invitation. It didn't bother me at first, since the first info said it would start at 3 pm, but then, when I got to know it would start at 5.15 and where it would take place, I just kept on thinking about whether I should or should not go there even without the invitation. In the end I decided not to and went downtown, which made me think about it even more - the weather was bad, which made even such a beautiful city look gloomy and it had no atmosphere at all this time. I thought I might just as well had gone to the studios, since I didn't enjoy the downtown walk at all. So I am walking along Amstel, passing the opera house, these thought spinning in my head. Suddenly I am lying on the pavement and my leg hurts like hell. I don't recall any falling down and I am slowly picking myself up. There are people staring at me, obviously thinking I am drunk or something. I say I am okay, turn my head and realize I have overlooked a sign "STOP" in the middle of a pavement sticking half a meter up from the pavement. I had to laugh - yeah, I should really better stop before something worse happens - it somehow calmed me down - even though I bared my leg and got a big bruise, I was really lucky I didn't break it.
If I understand it correctly now, the actual video shoot didn't start until 9 pm and people were actually queuing there since 5.15. I am sure it must have been a blast, but looking back now, I was really exhausted and having those two concerts with long queuing ahead, I think it all actually happened the way it should.
I stayed in a hotel 5 minutes of walk from the ArenA, so later that the evening I went there to check the queue, which I knew started the previous day - 2,5 days before the concert! There were people sleeping in tents on the pavement (it was currently about 16 degrees and raining) and I was told that 230 people were in the queue so far, coming for the calls every 3 hours. As much as I love to be up in the front, I wasn't able to persuade myself to take part in this...I am too old for this...stuff. Well, I was surprised that most of the people in the tents were ladies older than me. Anyway, I had a plan to visit the Rembrandt house downtown the next morning and then join the queue, come what may.
The next morning the weather was even noticeably worse and I was actually in no mood for the gig. But when you are 1,5 an hour of flight from home, you just do what you planned to do. I went to see the Rembrandt house, which was excellent and the weather got somehow better. I had an early lunch and went to the queue. There were a lot of people, but it was not quite as bad as I expected. When we were let into the stadium, where I got at about 5.15, I actually got a very nice spot, which got way better as we all stood up at about 6.30 and moved towards the stage - I ended up in some 10th row, facing the Adam's spot on the main stage, a better place than I have actually hoped for. I was used to be in the 2nd or 3rd row on the I+E tour, but here, at a football stadium and with all the madness with the queue, I was just happy and now I was finally in the proper mood.
Noel Gallagher started to play at 7. I have never seen him before and even though I have only a general knowledge of the main Oasis hits and don't know any of his solo stuff, I was curious and looking forward to seeing him. Support bands are usually something one has to struggle through and survive and so Noel's band was one of the absolutely best support acts I have ever seen, but it really did feel as a support act and not as a gig of a rather big star. I guess that if you get up on such a huge stage without actually using it (okay, the screen on the right side was used, but still..) with only very basic lightning, it must feel that way. But they played very well, Noel sung great and I enjoyed the songs. So it was absolutely fine, but I can imagine that seeing a proper gig on a proper stage with proper lightning must be even better.
Most importantly - the sound was really good. Being first time in the ArenA and having read all those negative reviews, all agreeing on the ArenA having the worst acoustics in Europe, I was a bit worried, even though I knew about the acoustic adjustments that were adopted for gigs. I don't know how was the sound further back and on the stands (I read it was still really bad), but in front of the stage it was as good as one can get in a football stadium. And it was loooud! I was perfectly happy with it.
On with the show. One hour after Noel, at 9 p.m. U2 hit the stage. Since the first 4 songs are played on the B-stage, one doesn't get to see much from the place where I was, since one sees the band from behind and the B-stage is quite low, so it is difficult to see anything at all. But it is just time to jump up and down during Sunday Bloody Sunday and Pride, to enjoy New Year's Day and Bad (I have only heard Bad once before live, so this one was magical) and to wait for the band to move to the main stage, for the show to start properly :-) That happens really soon and we get the full Joshua Tree album. Now, it is impossible to write something new about it, so I guess I will just repeat what was said and written many times bore. One word - amazing. The live presentation of this 30 year old album is just amazing. It is such a consistent peace of music that holds together so well and the band does it a great justice 30 years after they recorded it. The songs from the first side have been played on most of the shows during the past 30 years, those are the "greatest hits," but hearing them in sequence and with those totally amazing Anton Corbijn's films on that huge and absolutely fabulous screen is something that makes you forget you have heard Streets, I Still Haven't Found What I am Looking For and With or Without You thousand times before, and you are just happy that you are at that precise place at that precise moment. Then comes the second side with all the "gems." Red Hill Mining Town - never played live before this tour, the most anxiously anticipated song - I though it was great, I loved Bono's vocals and even though I agree that it is somehow too clean and I would love The Edge to play guitar rather than keyboard, I enjoyed it a lot. Exit - probably the song all people love the most on this tour. I admit (don't throw stones at me) that I never cared much for this track on the album, but is amazing live and it was definitely one of the absolute highlights of the show. In God's country - that was the song that caught my ear most when I first bought the album 20 years ago. I never thought I would hear it live. Beautiful. Mothers Of Disappeared - Edge's guitar work, the stunning screen background, Bono's haunting vocals. Just...wow.
The band leaves the stage and comes back for the encores - well, 7 songs, so pretty much the last third of the show. They start with Miss Sarajevo and continue with Beautiful Day. One fan I talked to said he found it strange to play those two songs back to back - to play Miss Sarajevo with this heavy mood and message and then just kick into the party mode. Well, yeah, Miss Sarajevo comes before Beautiful Day, but it also comes after Mothers of Disappeared. There is the break of course, after MOD finishes, since it is the end of the Joshua Tree, but I think that it is more like with MS they say: "Okay, here is one more thing we need to get off our chest before the party starts." I think that the MOD - MS combo is really great and I disagree with all those who wrote, that Miss Sarajevo didn't work on this tour. It does. It does big time.
After Miss Sarajevo until the end of the show it is one big party. It starts with the Beautiful Day - Elevation - Vertigo sequence. Three songs that have been played to death, three songs most fans (including me) would agree that need to be put to rest at least for a while. I would not believe how those three songs would actually work on this tour. They all somehow got new energy. Beautiful Day in a new arrangement sounds great. The fans-organized balloons on the first night we beautiful and it obviously touched Bono. Elevation - everybody jumps. The Edge smiles and jumps - priceless. Vertigo - such energy, I guess the Vertigo Tour-like visuals play a big part in that.
In the end comes the Achtung Baby sequence - Mysterious Ways - Ultraviolet - One. The Edge finally plays the Mysterious Ways solo after 20 years! While the PopMart version still remains my favorite, this present one comes close second. As much as I love this song (the guitar part is absolutely out of this world), I thought it somehow didn't work on the I+E tour. It was such a pleasure to see this amazing version now. The first night closes with One. Again, one of my all-time-favorites. And again, the I+E stripped-down version mostly sung by crowd didn't do much for me, so it was nice to hear this "proper" version, which works perfectly even without Bono playing a guitar. And yeah, with the Hear Us Coming snippet!
So after the magnificent first show I felt like the second one would be a great bonus any way it would turn out. I kind of expected the queue for the second show not to be that crazy (though is started right after the first one ended, or was it even before?), but when I came to the stadium the next day at 3 p.m., I was really taken aback by how relatively few people were there. It was soooo easy. I went straight into the fence barrier, sat down and waited. Once inside the stadium I got a great spot of course, which again improved substantially once we got up - 4th row facing The Edge at the main stage - that's the dream :-)
The show itself was very similar to the first one in all aspects - setlist-wise, the performance, the atmosphere, I can't really say which one I enjoyed more, I really loved both. The setlist changes were scarce and predictable - we got A Sort Of Homecoming instead of Bad - the first and probably the last time I have heard this song live, so I was more than glad, since it really is one of my all-time-favorites, and while it is not as well known and so not such a crowd pleaser as Bad, it was fabulous. Of course, the price one has to pay is not having Bad in the setlist. Anyway, during the encores we didn't get Mysterious Ways, which is a pity, since I would have loved to hear it again, but then it was somehow given that there would be another song after One. I hoped for The Little Things, but when I saw Dallas bringing The Edge the Explorer, it was obvious that they would end with I Will Follow. I must admit, it was a little bit of a let down, since as much as IWF is a great song, I have heard it on several shows and felt like The Little Things would be way more special. Well, that was how I felt before the band kicked into the song. They stayed on the main stage and the whole place went totally nuts. The atmosphere was amazing during the whole show with the crowd singing and dancing all night, but with the first notes it shifted two gears up. The whole stadium was jumping, I can't recall whether I have ever witnessed a stronger crowd reaction. It was a magical ending really.
I stayed in Amsterdam the next day - went to the Anne Frank house, which was fantastic, I have stayed there for 3 hours, then walked around the town and in the afternoon I went to the Van Gogh museum, which was great as always (my 4th visit). When I went to the museum, I got off at the Weesperplein underground station, which is pretty much right next to the Amstel Intercontinental, where U2 had stayed. I passed it 3 or 4 times during the weekend, always stopped for 5-10 minutes. I didn't feel like waiting for hours for the band, I thought that if it was meant to be, then 5 minutes must be enough :-). Well, it was not meant to be. I thought the band left on Sunday after the concert, so this time I was surprised there were about 20 people outside the hotel. I went there and was told that they got a glimpse of The Edge just a while ago. It was half past three and I was about half an hour early for the Van Gogh Museum, so I decided to spend that time there, being sure, that there must be a reason why I set so early on my way to the museum. But again...it was not meant to be :-) Later somebody posted that The Edge was seen outside the Anne Frank house between 4 and 5 pm...
So during those 4 days I finally didn't get to meet anybody from the band (unlike Marcello - a Brazilian fan I stayed with in the hotel - who got his T-shirt signed by Bono and Adam and during the second show Bono gave him the harmonica he played on Trip) . True, I didn't put much effort to it, but... they landed before I left the airport, I was downtown when they did the video shoot, I passed their hotel several times (yeah, I would have to be really lucky if that happened without my waiting), I have visited the Anne Frank house before The Edge. Nevertheless I had a splendid time in Amsterdam and those two concerts...just WOOOWWW!
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So a bit of background, which will add or detract credibility from my review!
I’ve seen them 7 times (Zooropa / Zoo TV 1993 at Roundhay Park, Leeds - no overstatement to say that this was a life changing experience for me and one of my friends; we’d both choose that day if we could go back in a time machine to one point in time!), 2 Popmart (Leeds and Wembley), 1 Vertigo (Manchester), 2 360 (Sheffield and Cardiff), now MSG (and O2 London to come!).
I could listen to Achtung Baby every day, probably twice, without getting bored. Its my ‘need to cheer up or snap into gear’ music of choice!
I’d then choose Pop over Zooropa or Joshua Tree (I know…). It is just my era - I got into dance music at that time, I really enjoyed Popmart, and it didn’t seem over-produced; if anything the opposite. The remixes and reworking of some of those tracks on the Best Ofs and singles just seem overblown to me - and that’s probably my disappointment in a number of the albums since; they seem to have less rawness and are joyless in comparison. Hey ho.
I saw that tickets were on resale on Ticketmaster when I bought tickets for the 02 in London, and was looking to take my wife away for the weekend just after her birthday - she’s a fan too, been to a number of the shows I listed above, so was keen to indulge me if it also involved a trip to NYC too! I’d always wanted to go to MSG - box sports fan, and some of the bands who’ve played there, big sporting events and fights there make it a venue I’d always wanted to visit, and tickets on the front row of Section 210 pretty much dead centre middle were cheaper than nosebleed seats at the O2. Hmmm. Less said about that the better! However, what a bonus!
The venue is great - not as big as I imagined, but fantastic arena, and the seats were perfect. Great atmosphere (and unlike a typical Brit venue it wasn’t full of people totally hammered being generally annoying!) so thumbs up there! It didn’t seem totally sold out, at least to begin with - we both said ‘I’m amazed this hasn’t sold out, unless it fills up really quickly!’ minutes before Bono made his entrance at the rear of the venue; looking, I have to say, a bit comical these days! Its fair to say my wife’s not a fan of the new look… Good entrance though! Onto the stage and into the intro to Miracle. Loved the guitar intro - first few notes really powerful and get the crowd going. Sound quality is good, plenty loud enough and clear. If anything, the new speaker locations is a bit disorientating if you’re half way back… the sound coming from straight in front of you whilst you’re looking to the left / right to see the band. Maybe that’s just me!
Two Hearts took me by surprise, as I’d done my best to avoid setlists before the show, and sounded great - in fact the ‘punk’ / high tempo first few tracks all worked, and its a great start. Iris, with the screen kicking into life, underlined that the new songs sound much better live - I refer you to the ‘overproduced’ comment earlier, a bit of a bugbear of mine. Raw and loud, and with the narrative of the animations on the fantastic screen backdrops they really make sense.
For those asking / questioning ‘why is Bono spitting at the crowd?’ - its a watered-down (hmmm) punk thing; horrible I know, but the punk bands of the 70s (and the fans in return) used to spit at each other apparently. Nice. Its not full-on spitting in fairness, he’s spitting a bottle of mineral water out, which is a bit more upper class! Still odd if you don’t get the reference!!
Duds and goods then -
Dud (for me):
One sounds a bit tired now (which I know will wind people up) - not sure if its Bono’s inability to play guitar (its always been a 2 guitar setup), and his voice having gone by that point, but the singalong thing didn’t seem to work. Some may disagree - didn’t seem like the crowd really got it, and probably weren’t as familiar with the words as Bono hoped! You can’t win ‘em all.
Its a BIT staged / choreographed…but I guess it always has been. I genuinely don’t know how much is spontaneous any more! I’ll see in a few months at the O2 I guess!
Not sure about the getting people on stage thing; no idea who Amp was (I believe he’s been on stage earlier in the tour - can’t work out why they got him up again?), and the Chilean guy playing guitar. Sounds a bit joyless, but seems to break the rhythm up a bit and appears a bit clumsy, as Bono and Edge have to talk them through everything.
Sounds great, and new songs are really good with the visuals and the raw, stripped down (loud) production. 360 was amazing, but musically at times it sounded like U2 playing over backing tracks - I know its them, but it didn’t seem 100% ‘live’. This is way better and more like 4 blokes making a racket, which I always love, and where they’re at their best.
UTEOTW sounds (as always) amazing, and the screen interactions make it even better - same with Bullet.
Invisible performance and effects are fantastic.
Edge just gets better and better - fair play.
The screen and the band’s interaction and integration with it (will make sense when you see it!) is brilliantly inventive.
The narrative (from bedroom / lightbulb to Cedarwood Road to the Berlin Wall and beyond) is a tremendous idea - like U2 decided to put the Spiderman musical to bed by doing a real musical with real music.
Fantastic experience, and really enjoyed being in NYC to see it. It sort of had the feeling of a last hurrah - however they do it I hope they go out on a high, and this just might be it.
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This was my 1st GA show for any U2 show, i'll say that this was my greatest concert experience ever. I went with my mother early to start lining up. i remember it was hot outside. We heard U2 rehearsing. I heard the bass line for The Fly, I remember thinking "No way, don't tell me they're going to play this right?" I was thinking, it must be Ultraviolet's bass cause it was the 2nd night since HMTMKMKM was played yesterday, then it went to EBTTRT, COBL and Zooropa. I remember taking a nap after the band/crew stopped soundchecking, i heard cheering, they were letting people in. So i remember running to the 360 stage, all of us were running ignoring the security lol, but anyway we got in the circle on Adam's side underneath the bridge. I didn't care for Lenny, but what ever, it passed time. It seemed like a huge wait but i heard Space Oddity, i got excited. Did U2 started out with EBTTRT, i was jumping up and down, the crowd was hyper. After the song ended, i was expecting IWf, but something amazing happened. i Bono grab his guitar and immediately knew it was the fly. I screamed in laugher, this opening concert played 5 AB songs in a row. After when One finished, then the Amazing Grace snippet started and i knew something was weird and unexpected, Streets was the 6th song of the night followed by IWF. This was a completely different setlist. I was thing what was going on. The was a great twist to all of the repetitive setlist from the previous shows. Pretty much after that amazing moment, the setlist was the same but with Walk On finished the main set. Ultraviolet opened the Encore, the 6th AB song to be played. AMAZING, half the album. MoS finished this amazing show, with a Jungleland snippet. This show was amazing. this is 2nd place of my top 3 U2 shows.
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Here it is, the first Vertigo show. Technically not the debut of the songs (there was a rehearsal in L.A. a few days before), but it was fresh for all the audience there and they enjoyed it a lot. Same for me. The band did their homework and practiced for the show and songs like COBL and Vertigo are already in top form. Then the band really surprised everyone with an Electric Co. full of energy like in the old days! To top that, the always powerful An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart combo. The setlist was still a work in progress and some of the songs do not flow well (Elevation to close the main set?), but there are no big mistakes like other tours. Beautiful Day had a great outro, and Bono was happy to be in San Diego. Another good thing about this show is that there are no tired speeches, no "Edge is from the future". For the same reason, SBS and Bullet are very good, without killing the vibe with long speeches in the middle of the songs. Zoo Station and The Fly had some problems, but Bono improvised complete lyrics for both songs and it more than make up for the mistakes. Elevation was also not very good, and its place in the setlist was not the most appropriate one. The now standard interaction with the crowd didn't work well, but that's ok, it's the first time.
The encore was very good, particularly Streets. Some people don't like Yahweh, but it's one of my favorites from HTDAAB. The final surprise of the night is 40 returning as the closer. Bono said they haven't played since 1993 but it was actually 1998. By the way, thank you Bono for acknowledging Mexico! We love you too! He must had seen a Mexican flag, being in San Diego.
Overall, a more than solid start of the tour, with the band happy to return to their natural habitat. No long speeches, which makes the experience more enjoyable. Check it out.
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As this was my first GA experience, I took the day off with my brother and stood in line in the early October weather. It wasn’t that cold out, but as we were in one spot for much of the day a chill could catch you. Fortunately, that was made up for by the wonderful experience that is a U2 GA line. I’ve had 6 GA shows and have only ever been disappointed in one of them. My brother and I have always loved U2, and somehow during our teenage years (late 90’s) ‘Out Of Control’ became our signature driving song. When we got in, the Heart was full so we parked ourselves just to the right of the tip of the Heart. So when they finished New Year’s Day and Out Of Control started thumping….well if you’ve experienced it, you know. To top it off, Bono pulled a fan on-stage old school (way to go Arun!), we got Angel Of Harlem, and my personal favourite, Bad. Hear Bad live that close on a GA experience is probably in my top 5 U2 moments. Again, if you’ve experienced it. A surprise cover of ‘What’s Going On’ followed in the encore which U2 just somehow made their own, and we were treated to the ‘Shine Like Stars’ tag on WOWY. Again, the GA crowd knew what a treat that was. I don’t know if U2 will ever come back to Hamilton, I don’t know if they know. This was to date, the only show ever in Hamilton. There were 18,000 luck fans who get to say they were there, and I'm proud to have been one of them.
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My brother and I started off with nosebleed seats and while Smash Mouth was playing we found the Ticketmaster girl and asked if we could upgrade our seats. We told her we were willing to pay. She refused money and gave us two floor tickets while warning us that they weren't the "best" seats in the house as the sight lines were obstructed by a speaker stanchion and they were about 40 rows back from the front.
Needless to say, we were elated and while Smash Mouth continued to butcher their one and only hit song we made our way to the concession in order to purchase this nice lady a pop and some chips just to say thanks.
We returned to her ticket booth and presented her with said food and said thank you and left to find our seats. Before we were too far away she hollered at us to come back and then proceeded to give us row 7 tickets right on the railing to the B-Stage!!!
What followed next was the most epic moment of that night as we made our way through the crowd towards our new luxurious seats and the sounds of MOFO starting to fill the arena. SO amazing!
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At that time, I was overwhelmed by the sheer size, dimension and loudness of the event. It was my first and still only concert of that size, and it was incredible, but I also remember thinking they shouldn't make such a fuzz and just play the songs. Today I see it differently, I love the Sidney Concert film of the tour.
But I also realized that I'm not the type to got to these kind of events. Too many people in one place. I dont feel comfortable.
Strangely, the Dublin-Show that was broadcasted on Zoo Radio shorty after that, managed to be more memorable too me. Therefore, 4 Stars.
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Sometimes I wonder why I was born in December 1988, one year before this lovely concert in Rotterdam. I was probably in my cradle as a 1-year old boy when Edge hit the first tabs of Where the Streets Have No Name in Ahoy Rotterdam on that special 6th of January 1990, 90 kilometres from my hometown.
I often ask myself the question: what would it have been like to be part of the audience during a Lovetown-show. I fell in love with the Point Depot gigs in Ireland, and the Rotterdam-shows from early January were even better, some say. Lovetown:the name itself explains it, like BB King spells during When Love Comes To Town: L-O-V-E. Yes, I love rock, I love U2, but I especially love Lovetown. Don't get me wrong, because I know the Joshua Tour was enormous and awesome. And Zoo TV was one big happening, followed by Popmart, whether you like it or not. Also Elevation gives me special feelings and was my favourite tour for a long time. But Lovetown is top-notch. The mix of songs between the Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum, performed in small places with BB King's Orchestra makes Lovetown the best tour for me. I didn't take long and U2 didn't even cross the world with it. But the modesty of it does it for me. Like Bono says at a Point Depot show: 'After all these big places, we wanted to play a small place'Â.
Lovetown also marked the end of a decade in which U2 finally showed itself to the world in full glory. Live Aid in 1985 was a very important turning point, sealed by the release of The Joshua Tree. But U2 felt that every end had a start. U2 was looking for a new direction and needed time.
The energy and commitment of U2 was awesome back then. Bono was at his prime. His voice was a mix between the Joshua Tour and the upcoming Zoo TV. And U2 really enjoyed what they were doing. Lovetown was not a show, it was no entertainment like Zoo TV or Popmart. It wasn't a show with political context, like Vertigo. It was based on music, pure music, pure rock and roll. And you can feel the excitement and joy of U2 trough these shows. I guess they enjoyed every bit, like the audience.
U2's first European success was actually founded in Holland, where the single I Will Follow became a giant hit. Bono mentions this during this Rotterdam show when they start Love Rescue Me, when he says: 'And this is also a good place to end, because we more or less started here ten years ago. You've been very good for us, thank you!'Â. The crowd was ecstatic.
This show is awesome. It has reached a nice spot in my top ten favourites, I think. It's equal to the Point Depot shows, with U2 really on fire. I missed New Year's Day and Bad, but I know U2 played 4 shows at Rotterdam. The Bad from the 10th of January is one of the best there is.
This show is quite memorable as The Unforgettable Fire was played for the last time. I listened to this show trough my Sennheiser CX300 and my eyes shut. I transferred myself to Ahoy, Rotterdam, 18 years ago, being in the audience. I felt the energy, I experienced U2 in their best days
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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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Everything I WASN'T looking forward to about this show, I loved. "Pride" and "Maggie's Farm", I wasn't all that cracked up about listening to. The former is on just about every show I ever listen to, and it gets tiring, the latter I just didn't care much about. They ended up both being phenomenal.
The "Norwegian Wood" intro to "Bad" is outstanding, and chorus gives me goosebumps. Listen to some recent shows (Vertigo, 360°), and then give this one a spin- Yes, folks- Bono DID used to sound like that
Everything about this show is simply gorgeous. Download it RIGHT. NOW.
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We were all young. The place was crammed. U2 were already massive in Glasgow by the end of 1982 and had played bigger venues (the legendary Apollo). In 1984 it was a difficult ticket to get.
The Barrowlands is essentially a dancehall with a spring-loaded wooden ballroom floor but quite a low ceiling. This all made for much 'bouncy-bouncy' and the very definition of a sweat-filled room! Condensation was literally running down the walls and dripping from the ceiling (I even remember it dripping from my elbows !). You could wring it your t-shirt.
The Watherboys were support who were also very big at the time& they did sing of course All of the Moon !
The energy in the crowd and from the band was incredible. New songs from TUF and older songs went down a storm. Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill (from Simple Minds, local Glasgow boys and friends with U2) were at the back and the crowd all spotted them & sung to them. (Bono a month later in January 1985 joined the Minds on-stage at the same venue for New Gold Dream which blew the roof off).
We only had tickets for the first night but it was so good we went back up the next day and queued up for on-the-door tickets with probably 100 or more others. I remember a scuffle broke out in the queue as some people started singing sectarian/Irish Celtic songs. They were quickly shouted down by others stating '...we are U2 fans, we are not here for that, the band would not want it, we are better than that'! We got in again having barely recovered from the previous night dehydration.
...and U2 brought the house down again.
A mere 7 months later they would conquer the world at Live Aid and everyone would know what all the fuss was about.
...and 34 years later I still want to get tickets for the next tour in 2018 !
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The show is plagued by tech problems but was oddly funny, specially after first 6 songs!!
Highlights: Out of Control (disaster but really funny, when they restarted the song, was very well played), Seconds (Edge's guitar sounds different), Sunday Bloody Sunday (Edge's backing vocals with rough voice, I don't know if was Larry or Adam, but I also can clearly hear one third voice on chorus), Electric Co, October (a bit out of tempo, but sounds good), New Year's Day (same case than Seconds), Gloria (Larry's drums sound amazing during Adam's solo, and at end, Edge's voice sounds rough again, one of my fave versions on this tour), 11 O'Clock Tick Tock (all the cases, Edge's guitar and backing vocals sounds a bit different, drums and bass sounding amazing), and 40 (powerfull drums and good crowd)
Strange case that almost all highlights deserves some comments!
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U2 in the Netherlands. Enough said. There's always something in the air when the band plays here and this show is no exception. For the October tour, the band reworked some of their Boy songs and they sound better than ever. Another Time, Another Place, An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart, Stories for Boy are highlights of the show. The October songs are always better than their studio counterparts and the broadcast has great sound for them here. During 11 O'Clock Bono plays with the audience and it sounds incredible (he did that for the whole tour, I love these October versions). After Fire, they sang Happy Birthday to Larry. By taking pieces of all 3 sources of this show, you can form a great, complete bootleg for this show. This is the first great full October bootleg and one of the best.
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Excellent early show, with just about all the Boy Tour material represented. The band are energetic and really doing a great job; mastering their craft already. It's really interesting, listening to a lot of the early tour shows, how Twilight often seemed to be treated as a really key point in the show - which I think is great, as it's one of my favourite U2 songs.
Bottom line: the performance is incredible, tight, and passionate, the sound quality is brilliant, Bono is playing around with the lyrics, and many songs have some absolutely outstanding performances. This is one of the best early bootlegs I have ever heard. One common problem I have with pre-TUF tour shows is that many versions of the early songs all sound very similar - this show gives them a lot of sparkle and uniqueness. I'll be revisiting this show many times.
- 11 O'Clock Tick Tock (both of 'em, of course - but especially the second one)
- The early version of I Fall Down
- Stories For Boys with altered lyrics (one of the best)
- Boy/Girl/Out of Control
- Twilight with altered lyrics (one of the best)
- A Day Without Me
- the second The Ocean, with a little outro (one of the best)
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Silver Lining is an early version of 11 O'Clock Tick Tock. Musically it's nearly identical (except a few neat little things at the end) but has very different lyrics. Speed of Life has lyrics, unlike the version that was eventually officially released. Trevor is an early version of Touch. Shadows and Tall Trees sounds quite different to the version on Boy.
Overall, a very solid show with great historical value. It's really something special to see the band at this early stage playing with all the passion and fire that will define their whole career.
- Life On a Distant Planet (one of my favourite of U2's early songs)
- Another Day
- Pete the Chop
- Cartoon World
- Out of Control
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I didn't have a ticket to this show and I got a single 5th row ticket as a return at the box office on the night of the show. There were several acts playing that night doing one or two songs including Ian Dury and the Blockheads, The Style Council, Mari Wilson and the Wilsations, Mike Peters and Dave Sharp from The Alarm and finishing the night were U2. The audience was littered with celebrities and I found myself sitting next to Paul Eddington (Yes Minister) and Michael Palin at one point. As U2 came on stage I ran down the front so had a perfect front row seat. After U2 had done Knocking on Heavens Door with Mike Peters (Mike taught Bono how to play the song) U2 burst into New Years Day. The next thing I know is Bono is bending down with his arm out to me and I take his hand and he pulls me up on stage. Wow!! I am onstage with U2. In those days it was customary for Bono to pull up a girl onstage during 11 O'clock Tick Tock so this was totally unexpected. Bono gets me to sit down on a monitor onstage whilst performing the song and then sits next to me, puts his arm around me and continues to sing. It is an experience I will never forget and is still the best moment of my life... Thank you Bono
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