'I've been thinking ‘bout the West coast Not the one that everyone knows In the rubble of Aleppo Flowers blooming in the shadows For a summer of love…'
When & Where First night in Europe, Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin, Friday August 31st 2018.
Set List Summer of Love makes its tour debut and a welcome return to the set for Red Flag Day. Brand new remix version of New Years Day and brand new show-opener in The Blackout are amongst many highlights.
In The Press (translated from german into English via google translate) '…suddenly the Berlin skyline can be seen on the LED screen and Bono thanks the city: "Beautiful Berlin! I love you!" After more than two hours, the brilliant concert comes to an end. Among the encores: "One". Once again Bono talks about Chemnitz. Against the hatred. The probably most beautiful song of the band stands for all-encompassing love. Covered many times, including the great Johnny Cash. But even he did not provide the goose bumps feeling by far like Bono with his unmistakable voice. The arena is transformed into a sea of lights from thousands of smartphones. An evening with which U2 once again shows why, even after 40 years of successful careers, they make the hearts of fans beat faster.'
Fans & Fansites Joni (@jzcanuck on twitter) was helping @U2gigs run their live social media updates throughout the show, and she sent us her thoughts soon after. 'The people, the music, the images and the messages - all came together with brute force on opening night of the U2eiTour in Berlin. This city has a special energy all its own and like a person it evolves as an expression of collective experience. The aftermath of war in images, in symbols and in physical remnants displayed on a massive screen tug at our innocence as constant reminders that it is unfortunately not just an experience of the past. Like a perfectly woven thread, the link from the past to the present was delivered with power from the first image to the last note. 'The Blackout' to 'There is a Light'. The sound of Adam's bass and Larry's drums pumping in our chests, Edge's guitar erupting our emotions and Bono's words striking to the depths of our souls. The power of this experience will not be forgotten - it is a message of hope for all humanity - love is bigger than anything in its way'.
Sabine from @U2Tour who was there with the U2Tour.de gang, said, 'The changes they did for Europe totally work for me! In particular the intro showing all European tour cities during or right after WWII is very impressive and Bono's references to current developments in Europe are right on'.
We met Mo from Sarajevo, a fan of the band for over 30 years, but here at his first ever show with family who are also big fans of the band. He told us, '12 hours post show and I'm still at the arena. It will take some time to process what I just witnessed, and that's a dream come true. U2 concert is not just about music, it's a fully immersive and interactive experience and now I truly understand what that means. My daughter always refers to the gigs as "religious experience". I get it now. I didn't expect to get emotional within the first seconds of the Blackout, but I did'.
On The Socials 'Kinga' (@itsmeakame on twitter) was at her first ever U2 show. Sounds like she might be back. 'I'm in awe, I'm in tears I'm a mess i loved every minute of the show I'm full of love for these 4 magnificent people… As my ability to think starts to come back little by little I need to say that I got the setlist and quite a large chunk of The Master and Margarita.'
@justin_kent (via twitter). 'Well that's one way to start a show in Berlin... Powerful stuff. And people want U2 to leave the politics out of their shows'
What Did Bono Say? "Welcome to the experience of innocence. This is the kind of stage we started out on. It's kinda like Larry Mullen's kitchen...maybe a little bigger...maybe as big as Adam's en suite in Berlin. As big as Edge's brain."
'Blessed are the cheesemakers, the wine makers and the wine drinkers… blessed is the blue European sky and the yellow stars to not fall on our heads….'
Zootopia / Fan Reviews zootopia moderator bigwave : 'Exodus… Movement of Jah people'…(Bob Marley & The Wailers) - this song that has crept up and inserted itself into my ear in the hours since the opening of the #u2eiTour European version hit Berlin last night. I am here in this city that has change embedded into its bricks and mortar. And bullet holes. I was lucky enough to be at the last few shows in North America a month or 2 back, and admit I had mixed expectations and anticipations on how it might translate to these other shores… As it turns out, quite well actually. Indeed, some might argue the NA shows were just a warm up for this, the 'real deal' of what this innocence and experience thing might just be all about… We shall see on that front as the leg progresses over the next month or so, ending up somewhere near a place called Cedarwood Road, Dublin, all too soon. The structure of the show is becoming familiar, the big long screen down the middle of the arena. The closeness of the 'E' Stage between band and fans. Fingertip touching distance.. subtle and not-so-subtle changes reveal themselves… the singer's megaphone now sporting the blue and yellow European colours instead of the red white and blue of the American flag… the Stars and Stripes American Soul canvas now repainted with the Euro giant flag that Bono promised us in his German newspaper interview earlier in the week. The divided opinion that whole debate conjured up has ruffled feathers way beyond the U2 fan community in the run up to this show. I am pretty sure that was the intention, and let's just say whichever way your EU bread is buttered, when you come to this version of the #U2eiTour your gonna get agitated. Moved. That feeling hit me as a brand new live version of New Years Day thundered out for the first ever time : this band moves people. In the name of love. they are Moving People. (There's more to this that could be expanded on, the references in the set to 'moving people', refugees having to move out of their homeland to take to stormy dangerous waters on nothing but flimsy inflatables, conjoined with the very nature of the band and the tour entourage wandering nomads moving their arses and the circus around each country, each continent… temporary refugees turning each place they visit into a version of 'home'). Up on Adam's side of the E' Stage there were loads of younger fans it seemed to me… very noisy fans too, some trying to figure what the fuck was going on with this version of Macphisto scraping their eyeballs and earholes with his patter. Feelings getting touched upon, exposed. Joy not the least of them. Anger, yep, booing at some of the right wing imagery that appears to accompany some of the songs, and in this once deeply divided-by-a-wall place of Berlin that reality really did hit home. The power of the mix of word, music and imagery and lighting is astonishing, at times overwhelming, at times humbling. Quite the experience that actually does translate quite differently in each city that this show turns up in. A lot of thought and work has gone into this production, and I get the feeling that in some ways its still a work in progress (long may that process continue… please!) - and we shall see greater things yet as we roll across the roads of this great continent in the coming days. Goosebumps thinking about it. Wagons keep rollin'.