Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
3 December 2010
U2 are in Australia. They flew here on a private jet, and it took a crew of 250 to assemble their massive stage ensemble.
I saw them in concert last night. It was their second Australian concert. You can read a review of their first Australian concert held on 1 December in Mebourne here.
For a band with so many hits prior to 2005, and not many since, U2’s relevance is still maintained. Proof? By making a surprise guest appearance on Hamish and Andy’s last radio broadcast before their Melbourne concert last night…
…and recognising World Aids Day at the Sydney Opera House with Australian PM Julia Gillard on Tuesday night.
Offstage, Bono is like Jesus. He can mix with all walks of life – Prime Ministers and cute larrikin radio hosts.
He also wears double leather
really relatively well (as judged by me, from a far distance from the stage).
good damn fine in a suit.
During the concert, I was thinking that Bono hasn’t taken those glasses off since the 80s.
He doesn’t even let Obama see him without glasses.
I had to Google what he looks like without sunglasses…and I found this:
Woah! I didn’t actually Google ‘Bono without a bra’. Honest.
Here he is with visible eyes. And a shirt on. Phew.
Apologies for my massive tangent. I’ve had a lot of coke (a cola) at the concert, and now I’m wide awake, mind a racing. I didn’t mean to focus on Bono’s appearance so much. (I expect this entry will be another one of those that attracts defensive comments from hardcore fans. To the hardcore fans: I am a fan too, just happen to see the funny side of things, and I am a bit cynical at times. I am not intending to hurt Bono’s feelings. Ok.)
The point of this blog entry was to write about their Melbourne concert at Etihad Stadium on Friday 3 December 2010. And so I will. The following photos were all taken by me.
The stage was elaborate. They performed in a round, on multiple levels and bridges – it is the 360 tour afterall.
There was the claw:
And this massive pylon that pierced the top of the claw – it’s purpose was to lower the massive and ever changing video screens. The Age states ‘The claw itself stands 30.53 metres high (with the pylon, it’s 51.8 metres)’.
Jay Z opened the show. Unlike Myf Warhurst who lightly stalked Jay Z and Beyonce earlier in the week, I don’t see the appeal. Some fans went to the concert just to see him.
I never wanted to see him. So I left it as long as I could to go to the concert. I wrote the following on Facebook the other day: Ok so I am seeing U2 on Friday. I really don’t want to see Jay Z support U2. I wondering if I can go tag-team with my ticket and a fan of Jay Z? They could see Jay Z, run out, give me my ticket, and I could see U2. Deal?
Following that status, friends who went to U2 on Wednesday warned me against him. And one friend advocated tag-teaming – she successfully did it at Duran Duran and Robbie Williams.
I felt like the most disinterested person in the stadium during Jay Z. I saw him do (sing isn’t the right word?) about five songs, and three of those were covers. I was bored. What is he famous for?? I admit my interest was roused when he did Empire State of Mind.
When U2’s concert commenced, the audience went wild. Larry Mullen Jnr. Adam Clayton. The Edge. And Bono.
U2 are the sort of superstars you’d expect to land on stage from a drop from their private jet. But like most other humans, they walked up the steps onto the stage.
The light show was spectacular.
I thought this was pretty cool too – though I can’t remember what song it was.
The concert, in true human rights crusading form, was a little bit preachy. Celebrating the release of Burmese Aung San Suu Kyi. Make Poverty (and AIDS) History. Sunday Bloody Sunday was brought into the post 9/11 world with images of women in hijabs and terrorism scenes from the Middle East.
The picture below shows the round lit up with Amnesty lights.
There was some nostalgic U2 thrown in – old video footage from before the time they took over the world. Footage from when Bono had long hair. There was a cool image of the Harmony Motel, which was featured in photos in the jacket of Joshua Tree album (facts about U2 geography here).
I felt that concert magic lacked in the seated area simply because Etihad Stadium is so huge. Perhaps if I’d been in the standing zones (impossible with my current sore skin) I’d have felt more of that concert rush I love so much. It wasn’t that the audience around me weren’t excited – there was singing, dancing and arm waving. But it’s a different atmosphere compared to a smaller venue, even Rod Laver.
There was a brilliant moment where Bono picked a girl from the 50 000 strong audience in In a Little While, and she was asked on stage. He held her hand, hugged her and sang to her. So exciting for her. But that brilliant moment was lost way back in the seating area – there was hardly footage of Bono and the girl on the screens (maybe for privacy reasons??) – instead the video footage was of astronauts. The vast space in the stadium meant the excitement that should have been shown for the girl onstage was lacking.
OK, if the focus is meant to be on the Claw and it’s state of the art video screen, why are so many of the images projected on it so…amateurish? A cartoon sequence between the first encore is particularly lame, looking like it was made in MS Paint, and any time words are randomly laid over the screen it conjures images of an early ’90s “how to use your computer” CD-ROM. Alternatively, the flashbacks to the band having their photos taken at Joshua Tree during the Rattle n Hum era add – funnily enough – a much-missed human element to the night; so too the synchronised face arrangement during the aforementioned ‘I’ll Go Crazy…’. But otherwise it is, essentially, like someone’s left a TV turned on to the community channel.
The band’s stage presence constantly amazed me. They were full of energy, and don’t show signs of retiring. Bono ran, air-punched and danced on sage. They put out a big sound for four men. Bono’s voice and the guitar work were…classic. At times I was pinching myself, thinking ‘wow, I’m actually seeing U2 play [insert classic song here]’.
And when Bono commands the crowd, the crowd obeys. Hands and phones in the air on command. Running to whatever part of the stage he’s standing at (even when he’s just posing like a rock star, and not looking at the fans). Onstage he’s a different kind of Jesus. More of a rock God. But despite this super status, he and the band left the stage the same way they came on. Walking side by side, in unity, down the steps. Like regular humans do.
Here is the setlist:
- Return Of The Stingray Guitar
- Beautiful Day / Blackbird (snippet)
- New Year’s Day
- Get On Your Boots
- Mysterious Ways
- Until The End Of The World
- I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For / Movin’ On Up (snippet)
- Stuck In A Moment
- Pride (In The Name Of Love)
- In A Little While
- Miss Sarajevo
- City Of Blinding Lights
- Vertigo / Rockaway Beach (snippet)
- Funky Town (snippet) / Crazy Tonight / Relax (snippet) / Two Tribes (snippet)
- Sunday Bloody Sunday
- Walk On / You’ll Never Walk Alone (snippet)
- One / I’ll Stand By You (snippet)
- Amazing Grace (snippet) / Where The Streets Have No Name
- Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
- With Or Without You
- Moment of Surrender