Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The Joshua Tree Live Under A Roman Sky - Day 2


On my 2nd night with U2 in Rome I was more organized and more relaxed. I went to the stadium early, before the doors opened and even though I had been walking all day - acting the tourist and sightseeing - I felt that I had the energy I was lacking the previous day.

I took the tram and arrived promptly at Stadio Olimpico before the gates opened. When they did, I went straight to my seat, having had the merchandise sorted out the day before. The only problem was, that after I had scanned my ticket and the gate promptly opened and let me through, a person inside the gate tore a piece off my ticket. Come on, this was marketed as a "souvenir ticket" by TicketOne who sells them and it's meant only to be scanned and then kept as a souvenir by the owner (hence the name). What did they think I was going to do with it? Fly it with a drone back over the gate and re-sell it (by an accomplish?) to a ticketless fan who would then realize that he could not get in because it had already been scanned? Be serious! Thankfully, I have the ticket from the previous night still intact!
Anyway, my intention was to catch the full set from Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds from the beginning. Their support slot on the European leg of this tour was one of the reasons that tipped the scales towards me finally buying a ticket when I had a second chance and while I was still thinking about it. I was lucky enough to have seen Oasis at Wembley in July 2009, about a month before they broke up but I wouldn't mind hearing some of the old familiar tunes again, plus some of Noel's solo stuff which was really good last time I checked.
And that's how it was when Noel came on stage. He did several Oasis songs, focusing mostly on the ones in which he sang the lead vocals back then, like "Little By Little". The penultimate song was what I was waiting for, "Don't Look Back In Anger" and the last one was one of the best of his solo efforts "AKA... What A Life".

 
From then on, we had to wait until it got dark and U2 would come on stage while once again poems, sayings and other excerpts were once again displayed on the screen.


 
At long last, "The Whole Of The Moon" by The Waterboys started playing over the speakers and we knew that immediately after it U2 would come on stage. 
Once again they opened with "Sunday Bloody Sunday" but this time we got "A Sort Of Homecoming" instead of "Bad".


Once again, the full Joshua Tree performance was spectacular and I was able to enjoy it even more than the day before. There was no choreography this time during "With Or Without You" though.




Immediately after the album Miss Sarajevo followed with what was probably one of the best accompanying films displayed on the screen, telling the story of a Syrian refugee. Meanwhile, a huge banner with her photograph was circulated over the seats by the crowd.

We also got one of my favourites, "Mysterious Ways" in the post-Joshua Tree part of the show, but not "The Little Things That Give You Away".

Fully enjoyed this second show, it was after all the one for which I had originally bought a ticket for (the previous day was considered an extra) and knowing more about the public transport that night I headed to the square from which the tram was leaveing. I got on one quickly and I even got a seat. There was no metro to get on at the end of the tram line (it was a Sunday and the metro closes earlier but we could get the night bus that would take us to Stazione Termini. Problem was, when said bus came it was already full, so no one could get in. Thankfully the Romans provided extra buses staring from that same stop so I got on one of these and from Stazione Termini I made my way to the hotel afer grabbing the obligatory sandwiches.
In short, The Joshua Tree tour was an amazing experience. The Joshua Tree sequence itself brings to mind The Wall Tour by Roger Waters in the sense that the films displayed on the almost as big screen are probably an essential part of the experience. As for the rest of the set what else could it be but a Greatest Hits package! Consisting of only the biggest hits, if you please!
And when I got back home the first thing I did was play "Rattle And Hum" (the album) and watch the movie. I know it has been kind of disowned by the band and the music press, but it's a chronicle of the original Joshua Tree tour not just anywhere but jn America, the country that The Joshua Tree is about. Plus it was a revelation for me when I watched it at the cinema at Canterbury, Kent, back in the day and made me a bigger fan than I already was and I thought it was much better than "Live At Red Rocks". A few months later it became one of the first video tapes I bought, along with "101" by Depeche Mode, another great concert film (also set in America). People criticize it because it shows the band being in awe of America. So what? Everyone has the right to be overwhelmed by the US when the travel across it. I know I did, a few years later in 2000.

Now, let's just sit back, relax and at long last wait for "Songs Of Experience" which will bring us the 2nd leg of the "Innocence + Experience Tour"...



SETLISTS

NOEL GALLAGHER'S HIGH FLYING BIRDS
01. Everybody's On The Run
02. Lock All The Doors
03. In The Heat Of The Moment
04. Riverman
05. Champagne Supernova
06. You Know We Can't Go Back
07. Half The World Away
08. Little By Little
09. Wonderwall
10. Don't Look Back In Anger
11. AKA... What A Life!

U2
01. Sunday Bloody Sunday
02. New Year's Day
03. A Sort Of Homecoming
04. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
05. Where The Streets Have No Name
06. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
07. With Or Without You
08. Bullet The Blue Sky
09. Running To Stand Still
10. Red Hill Mining Town
11. In God's Country
12. Trip Through Your Wires
13. One Tree Hill
14. Exit
15. Mothers Of The Disappeared
16. Miss Sarajevo
17. Beautiful Day
18. Elevation
19. Vertigo
20. Mysterious Ways
21. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
22. One


Monday, 7 August 2017

The Joshua Tree Live Under A Roman Sky - Day 1


My trip to Rome for the Joshua Tree Tour 2017 was on... second thought. When the first European dates of this tour were announced I didn't do anything. Probably I didn't have amy money at that time or I was just thinking about it. They were sold out at once! Then I started thinking about the similarities with last year's Bruce Springsteen The River Tour 2016 plus how much The Joshua Tree album meant to me when it came out and so on... so when the second bunch of dates were announced I was ready!
I chose Italy (of course!) and I made my trip arrangements this way: I booked my flight to Rome for the day before the concert, which was the day of the first Rome date. My plan was to go by the stadium on the day and see if I could find someone selling an unwanted ticket. And my plan actually worked!
First of all, let me say, that going by the stadium the previous day would prove useful, because I wanted to check public transport to Stadio Olimpico. The last time I had attended a concert there was back in 2009 for Bruce Springsteen's Working On A Dream Tour. Once again, The instructions from Google Maps proved NOT useful. It sent me taking the Metro and then a bus which when it came was full. Thankfully, I saw a notice at the bus station of a tram line that would be operating until late because of the U2 concerts and so I used that one the following day.
"How much?" I asked the first person I noticed selling a ticket... "Well it cost 85 euros but you can have it for 50" he said!. Perfect! And within my budget! I bought it,  grabbed a beer to celebrate my success and then headed straight for the entrance as I heard the songs of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds playing (I missed them, but never mind, I could catch them in full, the following day)

I headed first to the merchandise stand to grab the obligatory t-shirt and I finally found my seat, just as Noel Gallagher started playing "Don't Look Back In Anger". 

He played one more, then we were waiting for U2, while poems sayings and other excerprts were displayed on the (huge) screen. 

As it got dark, "The Whole Of The Moon" by The Waterboys was played over the stadium speakers and this was the sign that U2 were about to come on stage.

 
 
 And so they did! They started the set with a few songs that pre-date The Joshua Tree (the opener is always "Sunday Bloody Sunday") before they launched into The Joshua Tree album. These songs are usually from the "War" and "The Unforgettable Fire" albums. Tonight, we also got "New Year's Day", "Bad" and "Pride".


 
After these, it was time for "The Joshua Tree" album and that's the point where the show got spectacular and the huge screen was put in use. 

For the opener "Where The Streets Have No Name" we get a film of travelling on a desert road (with people walking beside it at regular intervals). 

Well, you know the album's sequence, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" was next and then "With Or Without You" for which a choreography was prepared for that particular night by U2Place.

Moving on to the B-side of the album, I should also mention "Red Hill Mining Town" which was released as a remix picture disc 12 inch single for this year's Record Store Day and which had never before been played live before this tour, plus one of my favourite tracks from this album "Trip Through Your Wires".
 

When the album was finally over, the band returned for a set of post-Joshua Tree songs. The huge screen was still used for that last part of the show which began with an amazing rendition of Miss Sarajevo.

Being in Italy, there was a big round of applause when the recorded vocals of Luciano Pavarotti came on. Another highlight of this part of the show was the medley of Elevation and Vertigo, but the truth was that I was beginning to get very tired by this point. 


This was not the fault of U2 of course, but you have to remember I was at another gig the previous night (in a different country!) and the only sleep I got was one hour on the plane and another one at the hotel. However, U2, after Ultra Violet (dedicated to all women)  had another little surprise at the end to keep me interested. 

A new song, "The Little Things That Give You Away" from their long-awaited next album "Songs Of Experience" 


It was now time to get back to the hotel, a mission which I still did not know how (and if!) it would be accomplished. Luckily, without meaning to, I reached a bus stop which was one stop before the one where most people were waiting on and caught a bus going all the way towards Ottaviano (near the Vatican) from where I could catch the Metro. As I was getting off the bus, I saw the dome of St.Peter's straight ahead and momentarily I thought of getting over there to snap some nice night-time photos but I was too tired for that, so I got on the Metro and returned to the hotel after grabbing a couple of sandwiches. The next day, I would see the whole show one more time but by then I would have caught enough sleep and a well-earned rest to enjoy it properly .


SETLIST
01. Sunday Bloody Sunday
02. New Year's Day
03. Bad
04. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
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05. Where The Streets Have No Name
06. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
07. With Or Without You
08. Bullet The Blue Sky
09. Running To Stand Still
10. Red Hill Mining Town
11. In God's Country
12. Trip Through Your Wires
13. One Tree Hill
14. Exit
15. Mothers Of The Disappeared
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16. Miss Sarajevo
17. Beautiful Day
18. Elevation
19. Vertigo
20. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
21. One
22. The Little Things That Give You Away