U2 Vertigo – Sydney 2

Pasty skin, bare legs and little to no sunscreen in Brisbane were replaced by a hat (courtesy of some friendly Queenslanders 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 the GA crowd spent the last couple of hours prior to doors opening standing up like sheep waiting for live export, when it simply needn’t have been the case.

Having watched the Brisbane show from Edge’s catwalk, the aim this time was to head straight for the opposite side, where bassist Adam Clayton would do his thing. In the madness of the human blender, groups were separated, only to regroup at the side rail as planned. Brisbane debt repaid, and then some.

Kanye West really had a good night tonight, his set was tweaked slightly and the crowd let him be better than Brisbane. Closing with a high energy version of Touch the Sky left us all ready for the opening chords of Arcade Fire‘s Wake Up. And we’re away

Brisbane was good, but this was something else. 80,000 fans screaming “Oh. You. Look. So. Beautiful. Tonight” in a cauldron of a stadium was beyond words. This was Brisbane turned up to 11, and the band knew it.  Edge‘s family were at the gig tonight, and the man was on fire.  His solo in Until The End Of The World was as good as you’ll hear, and the byplay between he and Bono on the main stage was endless.

Adam spent plenty of time down on the B-stage in front of our location, shaking hands with a few along the rail. After infamously missing a Sydney gig in 1993 , Adam left nothing in his hotel room toilet this time.

A few changes tonight. As luck would have it, after spruiking a complete lack of desire to hear –  I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of – both were added to the setlist. The former went across really well, Bono thanking the fans for their patience, and the latter was dedicated to the late Michael Hutchence, a close friend of the band’s. That tune still misses every target it tries to hit to these ears.

Bono’s voice tonight was superb – the huge notes of Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own and Miss Sarajevo raised the roof on a stadium that doesn’t have one. The crowd were in a frenzy at the end of Where The Streets Have No Name. “What was THAT?” asked Bono. “Gimme some more of that”.

The mobile phone light up of an 80,000 seat stadium was something else – the One campaign would definitely have a few more supporters in Australia than it had a month ago.

Opening up the second part of the show with Zoo Station and The Fly again, Edge took his guitar to another level. In the book U2 by U2 Bono is quoted as saying the version of The Fly that they’re playing now is how it’s meant to be. He’s right. The juiced up guitar, unrecognisable as an acoustic, just rips through some of Bono’s best lyrics. Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief, all kill their inspiration, and sing about the grief. BANG.

Desire was a surprise inclusion after the Green Day-less The Saints Are Coming, sounding like it surprised the band as well with Bono conducting them through the mic (“Burning…” and “Guitar Solo” being two of his better calls). It was rough, but talk about relaxed. After the slightly nervous opening in Brisbane, this was U2 at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night, as relaxed as the crowd were.

Closing with Kite again, Bono launched a box kite into Sydney’s clear skies and said goodbye. For some in the crowd, perhaps it was. But there’s always Monday and a 3rd show in Sydney.



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