U2 Vertigo – Melbourne 1

“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 familiar surroundings. my own bed. The same can’t be said of the handful of hardened concrete surfers who made Gate 7 of Melbourne’s Telstra Dome their beds for the night.

This would be the 2nd show I’d seen at the Telstra Dome, not renown as the greatest live music venue in the world. The problem in Melbourne is that all stadia of reasonable size are built for Aussie Rules football.  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 the front rail was the target, the question was still how the sound was going to stack up for the whole stadium.

With the weather being on the right side of brilliant, the roof was left open – a big relief to everyone as the Telstra Dome can very quickly become the Echo Dome with the lid on. Once inside, we headed straight for the ellipse, only to be held up by a couple of gimps on security that asked for tickets ( these had been taken earlier on the front turnstiles). The next request was for a pink wristband. No sign of any of those, and as the pit area filled rapidly from the opposite side, tempers started to fray. Eventually cool heads prevailed, quality spots were obtained and before anyone could say ‘Hell no, my video cost a million dollars and I was jumpin’ canyons and shit’, Kanye West hit the stage and settled into a groove. Geography not exactly Kanye’s strongpoint, those who had arrived early tonight now know that his “five favourite cities of the world have got to be Tokyo, Japan, Los Angeles, Chicago and Melbourne”. Please, visit the great city of Japan when you can.

The crowd weren’t quite as loving as they were in Sydney, but West performed well, and by the time Touch The Sky had finished, the crowd were well pumped, probably because he told us all he’d bought his clothes in Melbourne because we’re such a fine stylish town. Melbourne may be stylish city, but we’ve got nothing on the city of Japan.

Everyone. Everyone. EVERYONE. Word is well and truly out now that once the “Children” are told to “Wake Up” by the Arcade Fire, the fun is about to start.

Now it may have been due to proximity, the effort involved in queuing all day, being around a heap of friends old and new, or the fact that it was home, from the opening piano rings from Adam Clayton’s 16 note keyboard this was going to be the show of my tour. 1980′s I Will Follow kept the energy high after the opening trilogy of City of Blinding LightsVertigo and Elevation, with Edge hitting his trademark Gibson Explorer with the full 8 months worth of time that had passed since the shows were originally scheduled.

Out to the B stage, and Bono pulled a young girl out of the crowd, put her on his back, and headed back to the main stage. “Hey Adam, look what I brought you”, he asked. “Can we stay with you? Is your mother cool? Edge puts his feet up on the sofa, but that’s because he’s an advanced carbon life form”. Apparently. This was Bono at his crowd winning best. The chatter didn’t stop, the songs were flawless, and the setlist varied. OK, so apparent nemesis Stuck In A Moment remained in the setlist, but that wasn’t going to be the case for much longer!

A young boy called Hayden was brought up on stage, as Bono and he begged the world “NO MORE” for future generations during Sunday Bloody Sunday. Turning around to check out the crowd during Where The Streets Have No Name, it appeared that although Telstra Dome was a big place, everyone in the crowd had the best seats in the house. Those outside – or at the nearby cafes as one of my friends told me via SMS – weren’t even getting close.

Zoo Station made way in the encore, and in came Mysterious Ways. Giving the Rickenbacker a serious workout right in front of us, Edge was revelling in the fact that his family – the reason for the delay to the tour – were all very healthy again. Meanwhile back on the main stage Bono had picked a Portuguese girl, with whom we’d queued earlier, out of the crowd to dance with him. Well, it started off as a dance, but soon ended up as her carrying Bono. Fair to say he might be packing a bit more weight than 20 years ago, even without the mullet.

Desire tonight wasn’t quite the garage jam it was in Sydney, but it’s clearly a chance for the guys to bash out a tune for fun before finishing with the epic Kite, again featuring Tim Moriarty on the didgeridoo. What a night. What a show. This is going to be tough to top.

POSTSCRIPT, 30th Nov 2006

With my tour now over, I’ll still stand by this as being my favourite gig of the tour. There were close seconds, but Melbourne 1 is the winner. So stop asking me.

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