'You said you'd wait Chile, you said you'd wait until the end of the world...' And five years after the band last played in South America, five weeks after the last show and 21 months after this tour opened in Barcelona, U2360 achieved lift-off at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago tonight.
The 23-song set featuring tracks from nine different U2 albums, opened with Beautiful Day ('Larry Mullen right behind you...') and closed two and a half hours later with Moment of Surrender. Set list surprises included One Tree Hill, only twice previously played outside New Zealand since 1990, and a moving instrumental version of Mothers of the Disappeared between One and Streets.
'There's lots been going on here in the last five years,' reflected Bono. 'Both upsetting and inspiring times. From where we've been standing Chile - you look so strong - fuertes, fuertes, fuertes - and pretty handsome too.'
A special guest joined the band to share vocals on One Tree Hill: 'We'd like to ask to the stage the very gifted, the very wonderful Francisca Valenzuela
.' The young and talented Chilean singer-songwriter brought a beautiful new dimension to a song with special connections to Chile and its most famous poet and political activist:'Jara sang, his song a weapon in the hands of love.
You know his blood still cries from the ground.'
Bono dedicated the song to Joan, wife of Victor Jara. 'We never forget Victor Jara,' he added, and Pride too was, 'For Victor Jara once more.'
Another veteran Chilean artist and activist, who's known and worked with the band since the 1980's was also here tonight. 'Rene Castro,' announced Bono. 'An old friend, in the house!' Rene was responsible for creating the memorable stage backdrops on the LoveTown Tour at the end of the 1980's.
The country, as Edge points out on a video for U2.com, has changed dramatically for the better since the band first played here, but change is still coming in other countries - and the set list tonight referenced the dramatic people movements taking place in 2011. Sunday Bloody Sunday went out to a country in north Africa ('Libya, can you hear us?') while Scarlet segued into Walk On with a meditation on Aung San Suu Kyi.
'This beautiful spirit is out now, is free, she wants to thank U2 fans, Amnesty International, all people who campaigned for her - rejoice.' But the military junta that kept her under house arrest still locks up its political activists. 'Are you hearing us Burma?'
An irresistible version of Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me led into a pretty epic version of With or Without You - this Chilean audience sang at full volume all night, but never more so than now.
'Our hearts and our prayers go across the world from Chile to the people of Japan,' said Bono, with the opening bars of Moment of Surrender. A poignant note to close a powerful show.
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