Oct 19 2018
Manchester, UK / Manchester Arena

Getting Vertigo in Manchester

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When & Where
First night of two in the Manchester Arena, Friday 19th October 2018.

Set List
Unos dos tres catorce… getting vertigo in the house tonight as the band arrive in Manchester for the first of their UK shows.  Extraordinary to think that when the band first drove up the M1 from London to play this city - in May 1980 - they'd just written a new song. They played it that night and they played it again tonight - I Will Follow - thirty eight years to the month that it was released as the band's fifth single.

Still in the set and still sounding fresh.

'I was on the outside when you said
You needed me
I was looking at myself
I was blind, I could not see...'

According to U2 fansites, a couple of songs in tonight's set are ready to set hit landmarks for live shows (see below). Is it really the 1000th live performance of Pride this weekend? Here's  the full set list from Manchester 1. 

In The Press
Elizabeth Aubrey for the NME  
'U2 have paid tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack …during the opening night of their UK tour in Manchester. Frontman Bono dedicated the set closer '13 (There is a Light)' to the 22 victims who lost their lives in the May 2017 terrorist attack. "This is a prayer for the safety of your children", Bono said, before the song began. Elsewhere in the show, U2 delivered a politically-tinged set in which Bono called for the UK to unite over Brexit, telling the audience: "We've been touring all across Europe and the resounding message is nobody wants you to leave." He added: "I don't wanna break your heart or your balls but the band has been touring Europe. And whatever you think of it, people love you…People love this United Kingdom. For us it's more than a gold star falling off the flag. Without it the rest of us are just less." The EU and their pro-EU stance was a recurrent theme throughout the 2 hr and 20 minute show with the band projecting a huge flag of the EU and the Union Jack on the giant stage in the middle of the audience during 'Get Out Of Your Own Way' alongside flags of different countries in Europe. A huge backdrop of the EU flag with a heart around one of the stars representing the U.K. was projected on a screen behind Bono as the band then went into 'New Years Day'. Ahead of that track Bono said: "Blessed is the blue in the Europe we still share. Blessed is Manchester, still a great European city." Further political themes saw the band project images of refugees at sea during 'Summer Of Love' and images of extremist far right groups during 'Pride' on their giant stage screen. During the latter, Bono also paid tribute to artists from Manchester including The Stone Roses, Oasis, the late producer Martin Hannett and The Chemical Brothers adding: "thank you for what you have given us". Whilst the "Experience + Innocence" tour brings together the band's albums from 2014 and 2017, this was a career-spanning set which saw the band performing songs from across their long career. '

Dave Simpson in The Guardian 'for all the bells and whistles that turn Even Better Than the Real Thing, Acrobat (played live for the first time on this tour) or the sublime new Get Out of Your Own Way into arena-thrilling whoppers, the show is surprisingly personal and intimate. A series of tiny stages means they're almost as close to their audience as when, billed as "the U2s", they played to nine people at the Hope & Anchor in London in 1979. During Vertigo, played in the round, the Edge's guitar swings so near to the front rows it looks as if he might take someone's head off. Even played in the cage, a stripped-down Stay (Faraway So Close!) is truly lovely….'

U2.com / Zootopia Review
Bigwave from Zootopia was there with some long-time friends and Friday-night pints pals, 'The Spooky Clowns'. For some of them it was their first time at a U2 show  
'The minute we walk into the Manchester Arena... yapping stops. Gobs and eyes a bit wider than usual. Don't think they were quite expecting what presents itself within touching distance. The giant screen, the 2 stages either end.. where's the Amps? Where's the PA? Who is the support band? Where do we fucking stand? (We were in GA). Instead of trying to curate each and every moment of the night for them, after sorting them out with a beer, I stand back a few paces and let the magic do its work. 
Yep, thats Adam & Edge IN the screen. Which was a (barri)cage just seconds ago! Yep, Charlie Chaplin is The Great Dictator. Yep, thats also a drum kit and a drummer, drumming IN the screen. The Blackout begins. The Brexiteer is bouncing. The Remainer has disappeared down the front cos the opening chords of I Will Follow crack out, (where he remains attached to the front rail for the rest of the night, aged 16 again). The Rock-show virgin and the casual U2 fan both looked happily confused for much of the night, phones constantly in and out of pockets capturing as many moments as possible, whist trying to make sense of what's going on around them. We have hit a lucky night in that this floor space has a bit more room to wander than the recent European shows, which means I can tip them off about some good vantage points as the show progresses, they start getting the hang of it…
I manage to take in some special moments from Manchester 2018 version of the U2 experience. Only feet away from Larry Mullen Jr, I am sure we catch each other's eye, I think a tiny nod, a raised eyebrow! Was that the hint of a smile. I must be drunk. Can't be. I am designated driver. That man can drum like no one else. It's his band in a line next to him. It's his crew that put up this whole show each night, then take it down again and drag it around the World. It's his audience that pay for it. As Bono reminds us. The Spooky Clowns phrase it well just after the show,  ˜How fucking close did we get to see U2! - We were even closer to them than we were that covers band in the local boozer last week. How do they do that???!!!'

On The Socials
Tom, 24 from Manchester (@tmjpacker on Instagram)   was at his first ever U2 show. Achtung Baby is his favourite album. Right place, right time tonight we think… 
"On Friday night I was lucky enough to see U2 for the first time with my uncle and his mate, both who have seen the band countless times. I knew to expect something special but every aspect of the show blew me away. The staging and the experience itself brought so much more to the gig than just the music, which seems to be an increasingly rare trait in modern concerts. I've been to a number of gigs of a similar genre but I've never seen a band perform together with as much cohesion and passion for each other as the U2 guys. You could tell how much they loved performing with each other and it was brilliant to watch"

@diannebourne 'Only 10 mins in at @u2... and it's already the most spectacular gig I've ever seen at @ManchesterArena.'

@markpeterboro. 'Some song landmarks that we should see on the #U2eiTour #setlistgeek - Pride's 1000th performance… Elevatation's 500th performance (expected Dublin 1)…Vertigo's 500th performance…(expected Berlin 2.1) (Data from @u2gigs)'

@smartinick 'So if U2 is playing Pride for the 1000st time today - assuming an average Duration of 4:07, we are Talking About 68 Hours and 36 Minutes of Pride... *holy cow*'

What Did Macphisto / Bono Say?
'Oh Hello. I'm back. Macphisto is BACK!. Although in so many ways I have always been with you… though my job has rarely been easier… look at you … Manc-ey people… you have never been so interconnected, yet you've never been so divided, my little (dis)United Kingdom…"

'Blessed is Manchester. Blessed is Joy Division because love will put us together again.'

Were you in the house tonight ? Post your reviews and add your photos below.

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    U2 eXPERIENCE - Live in Berlin Trailer
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    Getting ready for Sue’s first U2 concert
    Amazing Night
    Thank you U2 for an amazing night
    Great Concert
    We loved it thank you U2
    What a fantastic weekend!
    Great gigs in Manchester, with the band on top form. Hard to describe the feeling of seeing and hearing I Will Follow and then Gloria on the first night.
    Joshua T
    Even better than the real thing
    Fantastic show and a great weekend in Manchester to boot. You never know who you might bump into! Looking forward to seeing you guys again on the 24th in London for my Birthday : )
    They've gone and done it again!
    Simply awesome, being in the Red Zone gives me a chance to dance like i'm the only one there and I danced to every brilliant tune they belted out! Larry shone tonight and the rest of the band were amazing! Thanks for a brilliant night.....it's monday now and I'm still buzzing! Faultless!
    A pleasure as always
    Absolutely fantastic night they never disappoint,old songs,new songs entwined perfectly.A truly magnificent experience.
    Wow amazing night xx
    My 42nd time seeing best band in world my daughters 3rd gig age 10 years.....icing on the cake met Bono Edge & Adam at Lowry
    manchester 19/10/18
    last time i seen the band was 1987 been a long time .had a great night i will follow. then gloria wow .well worth the travel from newcastle .until next time .thanks
    EU we need you!
    Fantastic night in Manchester - crowd sang to every song louder than the next. Even the Brexit Lie was a highlight - the EU flag and Bono’s comments make it possible that the 16 million plus who voted remain may still see the lies of the brexteers shown for what they are. It’s no secret that a liar won’t believe in anyone else ! Brexit don’t believe the hype! Great concert !
    Manchester 19-10-2018 Wow, what an amazing concert. Truly awesome, had to take photos just to show people how close you can get to the band. X
    The Best Day Ever
    Booked Red Zone and had the most amazing night. The band was just awesome, playing all my favourites, Acrobat being the highlight, Edge and Adam were just outstanding. The atmosphere was electric, everyone having such fun and had wonderful conversations with complete strangers. The Red Zone volunteers were great and one really friendly guy told us how much money you have raised since it conception. When he told us how many lives have been saved it sent shivers down my spine. Just love you guys
    Thank you for an amazing night (19/10/20
    Thank you so much for playing I WIll Follow AND Gloria! It took me back to when I was a 14 year old, moshing around my living room to my Under a Blood Red Sky VHS tape. I still can't believe that 33 years later you were playing these live, right in front of me. U2 have been the soundtrack to my life, so this was a night I will never forget. Adam, Bono, Edge, and Larry 'You're the reason why the opera is in me...' xxxx
    Could be the best u2 show I have seen?
    Still feeling the emotions nearly 2 days later! Great night, Lots of songs from Achtung Baby! - including Acrobat :-) Loved the nod to Noel G - Love the High Fing Bs Big Thanks to the Arena staff for taking care of the fam U2.
    Amazing night
    Since 1982 these 4 gentlemen have provided me with 45+ best nights of my life. Another amazing evening in Manchester. Gloria was the highlight for me. So sad I couldn’t stay for the Saturday show but traveling to Belfast next weekend. See you there boys
    Enslave the people
    Manchester #1
    Friday night....
    Stunning show and wonderful set list. As for the comment about this country's place in Europe, and the rise of the far-right, Bono and the band are spot on, and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE feel free to continue to speak out on such matters. m
    Love is better ...,,
    Manchester - U2 what an amazing performance. We danced and sang through the gig and shed a tear at the moving there is a light. Cat & Jane Leicester
    Manchester 19 10 2018
    Apart from the EU flag being raised, absolutely fantastic gig. Even my partner, a non U2 fan, enjoyed the theatrics, showmanship, and the early stuff. Well, I Will Follow and Gloria, are from his era of listening. (and took me back to being 15 again!). It was also great to see all ages there, from the very young, with her mum, to us long time U2 fans. Fabulous night, but please, please, PLEASE, Bono, keep your political views to yourself, and respect the views of others. I still love you, though!!!!
    In awe
    From Dublin living in Devon Rocking in Manchester loving life and U4 lads. Thanks for the great show. Yeah Yeah Whoo Hoo Hoo
    U2 Smashes it at the Manchester Arena
    Hello hello at a place called vertigo.....Once again the boys smash it at the arena in Manchester, Friday night was the place to be, looking forward to Saturday night performance
    Gareth west
    My 8 year old son first gig he loved it and me too gutted I missed Twickenham last year due to faimly day before The set list was good and bono still one of the best front man hopefully and what an atmosphere 21000 packeted in
    Saturday in Manchester
    Looking forward to driving from Mid Wales to see the greatest show on earth! Please play Iris!!! The only tour I've missed since Zooropa was Innocence tour and have been waiting for YEARS to hear Iris live, it a healing song ❤️
    Great night thanks see you soon in Dublin
    U2 with my Crew
    Both these lads first U2 concerts were when they were still in the womb (Wembley 93 & Leeds 97). Awesome gig tonight Manchester
    Absolutely loved the show. Every song was brilliant. So pleased I was there to share the fantastic atmosphere! Roll on London ❤️
    What Night
    Can't find a better night than watching this band i felt like I was in Disneyland what a set and production absolutely amazing.
    Absolut Brill
    Seen the boys in Paris brill and no change in Manchester Brill from Glasgow go any place i can to see the brilliance of u2 x
    Excited -
    Graces first u2 concert - her Dad’s 10th
    Baby, It's a red flag day.
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