Jun 18 2005
London, UK / Twickenham Stadium
with Athlete, Doves
Tonight, U2 seem in the mood for summer loving. "A married man flirting with the entire city of London", jokes Bono. "Sexy London!"

The sun-kissed crowd are flushed. In the 32-degree heat, they hardly need warming up, though Doves and Athlete perform an exquisite job anyway.

Vertigo kicks in and kicks off; Edge then straps on the iconic Explorer and launches I Will Follow. Follow that! And they do: the shimmering sea of mirrors parts behind the band to reveal industrial-strength spots - let there be light!  Electric Co crackles and fizzes: "Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage!" spits Bono, wired to the mains. He lurches from the Pumpkins to the Who, reaching to the back row as he sings: "I can see for miles and miles."

U2 tease Twickers with a stripped back, near-drumless Elevation, before Adam saunters down the catwalk and strikes a pose for New Year's Day. Every inch the model rock star in black combats and shirt, he can't quite keep the deadpan look going; a smirk betrays the fact that one day, perhaps, he might get used to this...

Beautiful Day is apt - and loud - tonight. But when Bono announces that "this is one we haven't been playing", the fast-fingered crowd are speed-dialling I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For to 55,000 friends before you can say, "I have climbed..." Several million more get to eavesdrop moments later, as BBC Radio begins a live feed to a hungry nation during All I Want is You.

Bono flirts some more - Miracle Drug is for "the doctors, scientists and nurses who help to keep us alive... especially the nurses!" - before getting serious for Sometimes...  In a neat coincidence, the moon sits in almost perfect symmetry behind the white-disk head of a cartoon man who movingly appears on the big screen. As Bono reaches for both the high-notes and the heavens, he brings a bit of heaven down to earth.

A change of jacket, along with the famous 'coexist' bandana, lends him a hint of the last Samurai as he beats a drum for Love and Peace. Steve Lillywhite once told that "No one does U2 better than U2", and as they ease into Sunday Bloody Sunday, you can't help thinking he's right. "Father Abraham, what have you done?" cries Bono. "Speak to your sons! Tell them to coexist!"

It's stirring stuff, but it feels like U2 have saved the best till last tonight, when Streets seems to take both the crowd and band by surprise; the words ricochet around the stadium and as a wide-eyed Bono feeds off the collective energy: "This is our moment; this is our time!' he shouts. "This is London! Wow..." Zoo Station and the Fly keep it buzzing, bringing a splash of Nineties sloganeering to the big screen. GIVE OUT. GIVE UP. GIVE IN... TO LOVE. Of course.

And talking of which, tonight's lucky girl is Anushka, who joins Bono during Mysterious Ways. "You've got beautiful eyes," he tells her. "Don't give them away." As she films him on a handycam, only she and Bono fail to spot that it's upside down. The Edge chuckles sardonically, along with 70,000 other gooseberries.

Yahweh is tonight's benediction: "take this city's heart - London's heart - and keep it safe"; Vertigo then completes the circle. Mobiles twinkle one last time as the boys play rock and roll, and it's over as it began. Way up high.

All Because Of You
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Sexy London..
I was at this gig just days after seeing the band in Manchester. The show there was good but this was just so much better; maybe it was playing in an old stadium, or maybe it was just the vibe but this was just an amazing show from Vertigo to Vertigo. The lads seemed really up for this one and the Twickenham crowd just lifted them higher still - fantastic show.
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