U2 - London O2 - 26th October 2015
For a band entering their 4th decade U2 certainly seem to know how to keep in the public eye. Whether it’s pissing off 500million iTunes holders by album-bombing their way into most of the worlds music collections or by redefining how an arena tour can be staged they still have the worlds press at it’s knees.
Actually once the hysteria over how the new album was delivered had subsided and the 20 million or so users who actually wanted to keep the record started listening to it, they found the band delivering one of it’s strongest offerings to date. And if that album was strong then this tour takes it to another level.
Wisely knowing that their following is getting on, they start off simply and with the makings of a stripped back gig in a intimate Irish bar. Bono prowls down the arena length catwalk winding both himself and the audience up to chant the opening refrain of “Joey Ramone” before joining his band mates under a giant lightbulb. A trio of crowd-pleasing hits follow as the band go back to their first single “Out Of Control”, enormo hit “Vertigo” and fan favourite “I Will Follow”. Thankfully the past 12 months seems to have fired up a desire to prove themselves. Bono seems enraged as he prowls the stage daring the audience not to join in and spraying water over the front rows to jump start them. It seems to do the trick.
And when the new material comes, it is delivered predominantly with the aid of striking imagery on a giant Imax screen that runs down the length of the arena. Bono takes us back to the band's childhood where they take us for a walk down "Cedarwood Road" and the emotional tribute to his mother “Iris” who passed when he was 14. Stepping inside the screen at times the band become part of their own visuals. It’s a highly-effective trick and allows those amongst the audience just there to hear the hits to bond with the new mateiral. Not that they would have been disappointed with their lot either as the band head over to their 3rd stage via a stripped back version of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and deliver crowd pleasers “Mysterious Ways”, "Desire" and "Angel Of Harlem” plucking two brothers out of the audience to join them on guitar.
For the last third of the show it was back again to the stadium-sized anthems that made them. "Bullet The Blue Sky” into “Zooropa" into "Where The Streets Have No Name", "Pride" and 'With Or Without you". By the time they brought Noel Gallagher out for the encore of “I Still Haven’t found What I’m Looking For" / "All You Need Is Love” there must have been a nagging doubt in the former Oasis’s founder that maybe it just might be time to revisit some former glories and have a bit of stadium fun of his own.
Seeming to straddle the difficult hurdle of both being over-blown and stadium sized as it is intimate and spontaneous, the show leads itself to theatre as much as rock-gig. With “Innocence and Experience” U2 have once again showed others how to redefine arena sized rock.
Your move Gallagher.
Out of Control
I Will Follow
Song for Someone
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Raised by Wolves
End of the World
Desire Angel of Harlem
Every Breaking Wave
Bullet the Blue Sky
With or Without You
City of Blinding Lights
Still Haven't Found