U2 Vertigo – Melbourne 2

Bono, U2 Vertigo, Telstra Dome, Melbourne 2006

Gallery: U2 Vertigo

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.  From the minute it flickered into action during City Of Blinding Lights, I knew that this was going to be a very different show. Midnight Oil’s ex frontman Peter Garrett was by the stage tonight, something the band acknowledged by throwing a few lines from their song Beds Are Burning onto the end of Vertigo.

Until The End Of The World was back in the early part of the set – a song that really works well and has been a live staple for U2 despite never being a single. It’s Edge’s guitar playing on show. Another huge solo out on the B-stage sounded amazing, and it was good to be able to see him. Our seats had a direct line between the repeater speaker and lighting tower and Edge, so when at his pedal board on the main stage we couldn’t see a lot of him.

Angel Of Harlem was a bit of a talking point – it’s a song that’s not quite found a home in the set, jumping from encore to main set and back again, but this time it was memorable for another reason. Towards the end of Beautiful Day, Edge’s guitar started sounding – in Bono’s words – “a bit furry”. This continued into Angel Of Harlem. Truth be told it sounded like he was playing it through one of the guitar leads I use in my study, which has been rolled over by desk chair castors at least 85 times. Edge’s guitar tech Dallas Schoo sorted it out, but at the end of the song it was time to switch to acoustic mode.

Thankfully, Stuck In A Moment was a casualty tonight, with the band throwing in their first offering from 1993′s Zooropa for this leg of the tour: the real curveball of The First Time. Played beautifully, it temporarily separated the fans from the interested parties. Never a single, never heard on radio, it was great to hear such a beautiful song in such a big stadium. Originally I thought this had been played as filler to allow time to get “the problems in Edgeworld” fixed up, but it turns out it was on the setlist from the beginning.

The Heart of Darkness set in the middle (as it’s been dubbed), of Love And Peace Or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet The Blue Skyand Miss Sarajevo remained unchanged, Sunday Bloody Sunday getting an incredible response from the entire crowd. The one song that I’m not convinced about from the tour is Bullet The Blue Sky. I love the tune, but it doesn’t have the anger or the aggression it’s had in the past – most notably on the Zoo TV tour.  It doesn’t really seem to stand for much anymore, and without the impact of the “One hundred. Two Hundred” section it fades down. The visuals are incredible on the screen, and Edge’s guitar solo has a much more bluesy feel to it, but it’s one of those songs that I’d sacrilegiously suggest could be retired. Bad could definitely fill it’s place in the setlist, or evenCrumbs From Your Tablefrom Atomic Bomb. But now we’re just getting picky.

Where The Streets Have No Name is written for a huge stadium. Everyone in the crowd on their feet, the visuals of the African flags on the screen providing the perfect backdrop to a 60,000 person singalong, and Bono taking off to all corners of the massive stage.

Telstra Dome was again lit up like a Christmas tree for the intro of One – after hosting the G20 summit as well as the Make Poverty History concert two days prior, awareness of Bono’s work was very high. And who doesn’t know all the words to One?

Still more surprises to come though. After a hilariously madcap version of Party Girl at Sydney’s 3rd Show, the B-side to 1981′s Gloria was again included. Still a jam, but what a great tune and a reminder of a time when people bought singles as much for the B-side as they did the single. The customary champagne was popped, and Tim Moriarty was brought on stage for the last time to add his didgeridoo to Kite, closing the show.

Or so we thought. The kite was released into Melbourne’s unusually clear skies, but rather than say their goodbye’s, Edge cued up the opening sequence of a familiar song – 1985′s Bad. This is the song that really brought U2 into the world’s consciousness – again, not a single, but a song they played for nearly 16 minutes at 1985′s Live Aid , Bono famously launching himself off the stage to dance with a girl in the crowd. What a way to close their first Australian tour in 8 years.

A show though that had me saying I will never, ever, buy anything but GA tickets to a stadium gig again.

Setlist

  • City Of Blinding Lights
  • Vertigo
  • Elevation
  • Until The End Of The World
  • I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
  • Beautiful Day
  • Angel of Harlem
  • The First Time
  • Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
  • Love And Peace or Else
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday
  • Bullet The Blue Sky
  • Miss Sarajevo
  • Pride
  • Where The Streets Have No Name
  • One

————————————

  • The Fly
  • Mysterious Ways
  • With or Without You

————————————

  • The Saints Are Coming
  • Party Girl
  • Kite
  • Bad

After completing Bad, Adam thanked the fans via the mic, and Edge stepped up. “Thank you Sydney” he proudly yelled. Boooos ring out around Telstra Dome. Now never did I expect a U2 show to end in booing, but the only thing worse than this gaff was his recovery. “I meant to say, thank you Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. But most of all Melbourne”. Keep digging, guitar boy

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