Nearly two months after Vertigo '05 closed in Portland, and eight years since their last visit to Mexico, U2 opened the fourth leg of the Vertigo Tour in Monterrey last night.
We've had hot nights on this tour, we've had wet nights and this was one of the coldest and darkest but from the moment 'Vertigo' blasted across the stadium and the band arrived on stage, this was set to be a night to remember. It takes an audience as well as a band to make a great night in rock'n'roll and tonight we had an audience which was really up for it.
Earlier The Secret Machines had opened up proceedings and won a lot of new fans, some of whom noticed that Bono too had slipped out from the dressing room to hear them play live. Within an hour, he and his bandmates were onstage themselves as Vertigo ran into I Will Follow, Electric Co and Elevation. As Beautiful Day arrived Bono took a breath to remark on a beautiful night and in the cold air under a full moon this show was surely visible from space.
'A Monterrey moon, Shine on me,' he sang, as Beautiful Day lifted the Mexican fans, some of whom had been waiting outside - camping in tents no less - for a couple of days. 'I've been waiting,' said Bono. 'It's finally here tonight.'
Slipping between Spanish and English, his delight at being back in Mexico, eight years since PopMart, was clear. 'Mexico we love you,' he exclaimed, evoking more ecstacy from the locals. 'Mexico is a country of the future.'
This is the first time the outdoor set up, with the huge steel backdrop and acres of staging, has been used since back in Lisbon in August. It worked a treat despite the time off. When Bono made a dedication to the late Kirsty McColl, 'a great friend of ours, a great voice', the lighters and cells came out adding to the atmosphere for City of Blinding Lights.
'Buenos Noches Monterrey' added the singer, walking down the steps from the main stage to get closer to the audience, many of whom had painted 'U2' on their faces.
Original of the Species arrived to the sound of Edge on piano and a particularly huge roar of appreciation for a song which has gone down spectacularly on Vertigo despite making a late appearance in the set list and only then turning up irregularly. The new lighting and visuals chime with the acclaimed video and when it sequed into Sometimes it was not hard to see how this won 'Best Vocal in a Rock Performance' at the Grammy's last week. There was another moment of special rapture with the familiar opening chords of Bad, before the fierce and furious combination of Love and Peace, Sunday, Bullet and Miss Sarajevo.
As Adam headed down the front of the catwalk in Love and Peace, fans started chanting his name in unison, which drew an appreciative grin from the bassman.
'Thank you for coming' read the balloons hanging in the air before Larry blasted out the opening of Sunday Bloody Sunday.
The Declaration of Human Rights was in Spanish, much to the appreciation of this audience and as the band arrived back on stage for Pride, it seemed like they'd never been away. For End of the World images of the band were projected onto the back of the stage which looked sensational while in Mysterious Ways a young woman climbed up onto the stage and was so excited to be performing with U2 she almost wrestles the microphone off the singer.
'Johnny, take a walk with your sister the moon
Let her pale light in, to fill up your room...'
And the pale light of the moon lit up this night in Monterrey.