Wednesday, 30 August 2017

U2 Live Under A Cardiff Sky

Now that I have seen U2 live in Rome not just once, but twice, I thought it was time to revisit the previous two times I had seen them, first in Cardiff 8 years ago and then in Athens 7 years ago, both times almost to this day. But first a little bit of history.
I first saw the name "U2" back in 1982 in a Greek (short-lived) magazine called "Phenomenon". I thought it was a strange name for a band but I didn't investigate any further. A year and a half later I read in another Greek magazine, POP+ROCK (the best selling music magazine in Greece at that time) this: "Jim Kerr, lead singer of The Simple Minds got on stage at a U2 concert to sing "Gloria" with their lead singer Bono". Simple Minds were one of my favourite bands at that time so I went and bought the U2 live album that had just been released "U2 Live Under A Blood Red Sky" the opening track of which was "Gloria". The rest is, as they say, history...
I managed to see Simple Minds live for the first time in 2006 when they came to Athens. During that gig I was thinking "now I've seen Simple Minds but I haven't seen U2 yet". I finally managed to do that, 3 years later in Cardiff.

On the day of the concert, from early in the morning the city was dancing to the beat of U2.

It took place at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium which was celebrating its 10th anniversary.

They played all those songs I expected to hear, some that I didn't expect ("Mysterious Ways", "Stay" - I thought they wouldn't play anything from Zooropa anymore - Plus their best live track ever "Bad").

There were several songs from their latest - at that time - album "No Line On The Horizon" which I enjoyed since it was the first time I had liked a new U2 album so much since "Achtung Baby".

"Magnificent", "Unknown Caller" and especially the title track "No Line On The Horizon" were my favourites. I didn't think much of "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight", which was the next single, and seemed to have been added to the album at the last minute (I made this assumption based on the fact that it was not featured in the Anton Corbijn film featured on the DVD that is included with some editions of the album). A better choice for a single, in my opinion, would have been "No Line On The Horizon" or "Moment Of Surrender".
The highlights of the night were the Desmond Tutu intro to "One" and the volunteers who walked in front of the stage during "Walk On".

The encore started with "Ultraviolet", and just as we were thinking, during "With Or Without You", that everything was over because they said goodbye and the time was 10:30pm (the curfew), they also played "Moment Of Surrender", one of their best songs of the album.

As can be seen from the photo, the 360 degree stage was not placed exactly at the centre of the stadium.

And although all 4 band members were moving all over its length and width (including the "bridges¨), most of the action was taking place at the front part.

And that's how, with the Cardiff concert, the 2009 European leg of the U2 360 Tour ended.

On another note, Cardiff was a wonderful city, and very easy to move around in, since in a radius of only a few metres the railway station, my hotel and the Millennium Stadium were located.

I was in a very central place, where later at night I could witness all the people coming out of the clubs and pubs. They were mostly eating takeaways and throwing their rubbish on the street. At some point they would go gome and then... that's when the seagulls would appear landing on the high street, walking around it as if they owned it and enjoying all the leftovers that were thrown away. They would only leave in the late morning when the municipal garbage trucks appeared.

So that's what I saw in Cardiff, a year later I would see U2 again in Greece...

01. Breathe
02. No Line On The Horizon
03. Get On Your Boots
04. Magnificent
05. Beautiful Day
06. Mysterious Ways
07. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
08. Stay
09. Unknown Caller
10. Unforgettable Fire
11. City Of Blinding Lights
12. Vertigo
13. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Remix)
14. Sunday Bloody Sunday
15. Pride (In The Name of Love)
16. MLK
17. Walk On
18. Where The Streets Have No Name
19. One
20. Bad
21. Ultraviolet
22. With Or Without You
23. Moment Of Surrender

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