This was it. The last show in New Zealand, and the last U2 show I was destined to see for a number of years. With 6 shows behind me, I was still like a kid on Christmas morning waking up on the 25th November.
After the incredible show the night before, all the frustration of the ticket swapping fiasco (you can read about it in the Auckland 1 review) seemed a distant memory. While I did log on to the Ticketmaster website, and was able to find some General Admission tickets, I decided not to buy them. We had our B Reserve seats, and decided that the previous night would be tough to top from wherever we sat, so Naze and I decided to play tourists for a day instead.
After a breakfast at Melba Cafe in Auckland’s Vulcan Lane (where we bumped into two guys we’d met on the train home the night before as well, small place Auckland), we decided to kill some time by heading up to the Skytower, Auckland’s observation deck. And Aucklanders are very proud of it. A quick swipe of the dodgy student card (yes, I’m still studying Post-Grad at the Victorian College of Photography), and up we went. Good view.
This appears to have little relevance to U2, granted, but I’ll pull it back into line. While up the top of the Sky Tower, we noticed that we’d been walking the really long way around from our hotel to the city, and found a route back that was going to be quicker. So after a couple of beers at the highest point in Auckland, we started walking back. (more…)
We packed our jandals, filled our chilly bins, and headed off across the ditch to watch our first U2 shows outside Australia. Choice, eh bro?
I’d never been to Auckland. Nor had my mate Scott. U2 had, but it was some 13 years prior during 1993′s Zoo TV(or New Zooland as it was coined locally) tour. I thought we had it tough in Australia, having to wait a lazy 8 years between shows. But Kiwi fans of the Irishmen have had it a lot tougher.
Headed out the Muddy Farmer, an Irish bar in Auckland on the night before the show. A few familiar faces from the Aussie Vertigo shows were there, and I met a couple of new faces in Rachael and Earl – a couple who’d travelled almost as far as I had, from Dunedin on the South Island. (more…)
After 4 shows of queueing to get into the ellipse, it was a nice relaxed drive to the underground car park, and then up to our seats at Telstra Dome.
Having originally bought these tickets for March, at that time Ally was nearly 7 months pregnant. Standing in GA not an option, so we had a crew of 11 people up on Level 2 of Telstra Dome in reserved seats. The 4 ticket limit imposed by Ticketmaster meant that we were split into 3 groups, but all one bay apart.
So while the A Reserve seats were closer, we opted for B Reserve seats as they were front on to the stage. Past history at the Echo Dome states that you really don’t want to be off to the side (something others backed up after the show). So although a fair way back from the stage, the sound was really good.
After the brilliance of last night, I was pretty confident that through the combination of reserved seats and the distance from the stage this was going to be a very different experience. I was looking forward to seeing the show from a totally different angle, the stage becoming the centrepiece rather than the band themself.
Up close, the mammoth video screen doesn’t have a huge effect – it’s pixellated and not the centre of attention. Further back however, it comes into its own. (more…)
“Oh don’t sorrow, no, don’t weep. For tonight, at last, I am coming home. I am coming home.”
So it may not have been Ireland, but it was my home at least, even if not theirs.
After watching the shows in Brisbane and Sydney, it was time to sleep in my own bed. The same can’t be said of Bec, one of my friends here in Melbourne, who decided that she was going to make the concrete outside Gate 7 of Melbourne’s Telstra Dome her bed for the night. On the way back from the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY gig at the Myer Music Bowl, my cousin Brendon and I stopped by to say hi and make ourselves known to the people around her. The idea was so that they didn’t give us grief when she popped back for a nap the following morning and we held her spot. Perhaps not super-kosher but hey, after the investment of time and money we were going to take a liberty here or there.
This would be the 2nd show I’d ever seen at the Telstra Dome, not reknown as the greatest live music venue in the world. The problem in Melbourne is that all our stadia of reasonable size are AFL stadia. The playing surface for Aussie Rules versus Rugby or Soccer is huge, meaning that the seats in the stands are some way further back than those in the northern states. So while we knew we were going to head straight for the front rail this time, we were wondering how the sound was going to stack up for the whole stadium. (more…)
“Three nights here. Never been done before. They say it will never be done again. But they also don’t think we’re coming back”
If the crowd had their way after night 3 at Sydney’s Telstra Stadium, the Irish folk quartet would have been back for 4th and 5th shows of the 80,000 seat stadium.
After an start to the tour in Brisbane which showed some signs of nerves, U2 had raised the bar higher and higher after their preceding shows at the venue for the 2000 Olympic Games. Night 3 was to see the band as relaxed, happy and (almost) polished as they’d ever been. Any sound problems down to the mammoth venue had been resolved, the setlist included some real curveballs, and the execution… incredible.
An early start to the day saw us arrive for the lineup just before 9. The forecast wasn’t flash – thunderstorms and possible hail – and that proved pretty much on the money for the Homebush area. Huddled under 4 umbrellas on a damp picnic rug made us wonder what we were thinking.
However nothing stops the rain liky buying a ponch, so after spending $15 on 3 glorified garbage bags, the skies cleared and the crowds grew. After a few nights around the B-Stage areas of the inner barricade, we decided that it was time to head for the front of the stage. The aim was on the rail, Edge’s side. Once the gates opened we missed by seconds, getting a spot one person deeper than the rail. No real complaints!
Kanye West did his thing – he’s getting better and might just have realised that the fans are there for the act that comes on after him. Arcade Fire‘s Wake Up blared out across the arena, and by now most people knew what that meant. Game on. (more…)
Pasty skin, bare legs and little to no sunscreen were replaced by a hat (the one given to me by a bunch of Queenslanders who took pity on me in Brisbane), buckets of blockout and jeans. Smart choice.
The lineup itself was a shambles, queues at least 10 people wide and random moments when security would have us all “bunch up together”. The end result was that we spent the last couple of hours standing up like sheep waiting for live export.
Having watched the Brisbane show from Edge’s catwalk, the aim this time was to head straight for the side of Adam’s. Separated from our group, we found them once we got into the ellipse area and they’d saved us space on the side rail. Brisbane debt repaid, and then some. (more…)
Finally back in town for their 5th tour downunder in 23 years, U2 hit the stage in Brisbane on Melbourne Cup day determined to make up for the earlier postponement of the tour due to Edge’s daughter’s illness.
We made it to Brisbane’s QSAC (formerly ANZ stadium which was formerly QEII stadium which was the Commonwealth Games stadium in 1982) early – 8:45am – and joined the already 200 strong queue of punters waiting for that dream spot in General Admission.
As the crowd got bigger, the sun got hotter. And I had no hat nor sunscreen – well prepared, this red head from Melbourne for a trip up to chilly Queensland. So managing to benefit from the benevolence of sympathetic co-queuers (sunscreen and a hat from the lovely people who’s names I still don’t know) I managed to only get 2nd degree burns. Mental note for next show… (more…)
The UK’s most hyped band of the last 12 months finally made their way to Melbourne on the 2nd of August. I went along to St Kilda to check them out..
“Monkeys…Mokeys…Monkeys…”. By 10:15 support act The Grates had stopped their 45 minutes of shreiking and jumping around on stage. A group of us wondered where one song stopped and the other started with each treble driven lo-fi riff blending into another. Still, we hadn’t come to see them.
The Arctic Monkeys are a quiet bunch. In fact if you didn’t have tickets to the shows in Australia there’s every chance you wouldn’t have known they were around. Building a reputation as “media shunners” (a stastical report in a UK newspaper claimed they turn down 60% of press requests), the Monkeys were here to play some songs for their fans.
With only one full length album and an EP to draw from, they managed to belt out a fantastic set list that gave the crowd equal opportunity to both smash into one another and have a 1500 person strong sing-a-long.
The sound suffered badly for the first few songs, though it sounded like the techies eventually found the switch to lower the volume of new band member Nick O’Malley‘s bass (previous bass player Andy Nicholson left the band in May 2006 citing “exhaustion” at the ripe old age of 19). We all love a bit of bass, but it was seriously muddying the sound.
Lead singer Alex Turner got the crowd cranked up with the massive album opener The View From The Afternoon, the floor swimming with a sea of jumping bodies. It was almost like the band got their slowest song (and one of their best) Riot Van out of the way early and just cranked it up from there.
The funky Dancing Shoes was a huge highlight, as was being surrounded by a bunch of people who knew just about every song (and weren’t just there to hear I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor or When The Sun Goes Down).
The band don’t exude a heap of confidence on stage, lead singer alex rarely breaking into anything more than a mumble when speaking to the crowd. It’s the first world tour though, they’re 19 years old, and the songs get them through. Strange though for a band whose music is so dynamic, loud and fast even, to be so rooted to the spot when they play. Perhaps somewhere between the hyperactivity of their opening support act and their current stage manner would be a better show.
Great setlist though, Fake Tales of San Francisco is a cracking tune.
The View From The Afternoon
Still Take You Home
You Probably Couldn’t See…
Cigarette Smoker Fiona
Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But…
Who The F#ck Are Arctic Monkeys
I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
From Ritz To The Rubble
Leave Before The Lights Come On
Fake Tales Of San Francisco
When The Sun Goes Down
A Certain Romance
Will be interesting to see if the Monkeys are around for the long haul. Some British Indie bands of the past have cranked out sensational first albums, put on some great shows, and then faded into oblivion as fast as they arrived. You just get the feeling though with the Arctic Monkeys that they want to be big, and they want their music to be heard by as many people as possible. They don’t want to be an obscure garage band striving to be “troubled” and “misunderstood”. The fact that they released their first album Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not via their website for free download to anyone is testament to that.
Fantastic show, hope these guys are around for many years to come and keep on playing live.