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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    19th oct
    Been waiting for this show for ages can't wait for tonight it's gonna be my girlfriend's first U2 show as well
    I'm ready for the show tomorrow. It's time to play The Little Things That Give You Away. Can't wait to see you boys again.
    Have counted the days since I got tickets 9 months ago for both Manchester shows. Am beyond excited! To witness the glory of the U2 live experience with 21,000 devoted fans. Bring it boys for my 12th show. Music heals all wounds.
    Can't believe they are not playing the little things that give you away. Has to be one of the top three songs on the album. I know it was played on JT30 but a nice surprise would be much appreciated!!!
    Nearly Friday !!!!!!!
    Been keeping an eye on the setlists and its exciting that they are putting in different songs all the time...the last night in Italy looked a great set of songs. All things crossed for the same ...especially Landlady and just as much for Gloria...........PLEASE... Be a great night either way.
    Friday 19th October
    Just 2 days to go, can't wait !! A little disappointed with the recent set list though. Bad enough that they have dropped Streets and Sunday and yet kept Vertigo and I will Follow (surely had it's day by now). Now it seems they have also dropped Iris, Invisible and Cedarwood Rd. I hope they remember that the North of England has not seen anything of the Innocence and Experience tour and so would love the chance to see and hear those songs live......... please !!
    Thank you Snewman for your verse of memories. As you can imagine, the Arena has never been the same since 22 May 2017. We now await the greatest band on earth to come and see how Manchester has grown and become ONE. This should be a special two nights.
    City of Blinding Lights -Manchester and
    I am truly excited about coming to the Songs of Experience tour. I really can’t wait. I can almost taste the atmosphere.. I know it will be truly amazing. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
    Conrad's first concert
    Can't wait to take my 8 year old son Conrad to his first ever concert. He loves the new album - the first U2 album he's actively listened to - particularly Red Flag Day, so we are hoping it gets played at the first night in Manchester. Ewen from Aberdeen.
    U2 in Manchester
    I'm heading to the show on 20 October and I cannot wait! However, all of us going to the shows at the Manchester Arena will be thinking of the innocent victims of the horrendous terrorist attack which took place on 22 May, 2017. I've attached some verse in memory of the young music fans who lost their lives.
    First U2 show for my 11-year-old daughte
    I first saw the boys in Philadelphia, September 1992 when I was a student. Have only missed Pop tour since then. So excited to experience the show with my daughter and to see her sing along to the songs, some of which she has heard most days since she was a day old.
    jeff sparks
    We Love Manchester and U2
    1st saw U2 playing 2nd support to Wah Heat at Manchester Poly, Pink Military Stands Alone, were also supporting that night . I knew they would make it and followed them ever since. Lost count of the number of times I have seen them live but every time It always feels like the first time. That’s what makes a U2 concert so special. I’ll be there on both nights in Manchester. Hope to hear you play New York...... please
    VIP tickets this time!
    Cannot wait, 5 time seeing U2, first was Live Aid. Brought the VIP tickets this as my wife's first U2 gig so hope they play The Streets Have No Name!
    Mysterious Ways
    Mysterious Ways for me as I was at a show on the last tour where "The little things that give you away" was played and then swapped for "Mysterious Ways" the next night, so this time I would love to see "Mysterious Ways" - it's always been one of my favourites!
    Got tickets for both Manchester shows or as i am calling it on this tour "Glasgow South"! #whynoscotland?
    "We're not going - give him his guitar"
    At a concert in the city in December 1982, Bono also said "Manchester was the first place in this country where people gave us a chance" before launching into a stunning version of 11 O'Clock Tick Tock - how brilliant it would be if they played it again on October 19th! Just hope it's as loud as last time - can't wait.
    Another thing
    Would love to see Stay! (Faraway, So Close) performed live too
    2nd concert for me and my girlfriend, hope the play ‘Song for Someone’ as it is our fav song!
    Hoping for a good tune to end on
    Really hope the guys choose an upbeat tune to end the show with. Last time at Dublin (red arrows show) the end song was new and somber, first time I've left a show feeling flat, personally I think they are advised to do it for crowd control and keeping the streets around houses quieter. Never felt so dour after a gig
    Manchester here we come.
    Got my tickets for Manchester. This will be the 5th U2 concert for my husband and I, the 3rd concert for my 15 yr old son. Would be great to hear Ordinary Love played on the night, please please please. Roll on October.
    Sooooooooo happy cannot wait for October now .my fave song is Spanish eyes ,but I love them all really .I'm so made up U2 have been my life "sometimes you cant make it on your own " xxxx
    Looking forward to this and hearing the new songs live especially Landlady and hearing The Little Things That Give You Away again this time in an arena will be special also bringing my girlfriend for her 1st U2 Concert on our anniversary cos she couldn't make the Croke Park concert on the Joshua Tree tour
    Glasgow Boy comin' to Manchester
    Really buzzin' about this. No Glasgow show this time, so Manchester will do me alright!
    Ticket in the bag........it's going to be special and loud!
    Roll on Oct
    Coming from Ireland with my wife surprise birthday for Anita .. My 30th show wife’s 12th ..
    Leon mc
    Buzzing got 2 tickets for this.Seen them in Berlin on the Joshua tree tour amazing!! But still a bit confused why standing tickets not available?? Even for pre sale fan club members !! Still going to great though x
    So excited!
    We are both so thrilled about that concert!Especially because it's gonna be on my girlfriend's birthday @!!Our first U2 show 2gether!!!can't wait for it!!!Yay!!!:-) ♡♡♡ ☆☆☆
    ...Please U2...
    Out of Control for me....that's all I'm missing
    Yes yes yes u2
    Can't wait for this red flag day live wow
    Please U2
    Please play An Cat Dubh / Into The Heart. Much love, Manchester
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