'Is this the 3 Arena?
Then we must be home…sounds like home!'
When & Where
Monday, November 5th, 2018, first night of four at the 3Arena, Dublin.
'Is this the 3 Arena? Then we must be home…sounds like home!'
Opening night of four at the 3 Arena in Dublin and - no surprises here - this was one wild homecoming. The stories of innocence and experience keep coming, including this memory tonight as Beautiful Day gave way to Zoo Station. 'I was remembering today an early show the band did just up the road in the Baggot Inn. It was to be our big break before we went broke ….as a record company was coming in from London …..and indeed they arrived….and they put their big money where their big mouth was, which was at the bar …which was fair enough... except they never turned around and looked at the band, and left after 3 songs! Actually they went to see repeat of The Specials on Top of the Pops.. Now I love the Specials but… I was so mad I kicked my Arsenal bag down Grafton Street past Captain America's, past Golden Disc's, past McDonald's to the Berni Inn … that is when I saw a vision of Jack Charlton. I said, 'Jack what are we going to do?' He said, 'You're gonna play for Ireland!' And tonight, we are! (Thanks Jack!) Tonight, those four young boys return as men daring to believe that at the far end of experience we can find that innocence that we had in the Baggot inn… that's what we're here tonight for…'
Here's the full set list from Dublin 1.
In The Press
Stuart Clark for Hot Press
'The first communal cheer of the night erupts as Michael D. and Sabina Higgins take their seats in Block B. As an out of retirement MacPhisto remarks later - it's sort of good to have the horny ole devil back - "Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of a two-term Limerick man!" This is much more of a Miggedly gig than a Peter Casey one. There obviously wasn't time to add the latter to the rogue's gallery - Trump, Kim Jong Un, Bashar al-Assad, Robert Mugabe and Vladimir Putin among them - that graces the extremely large LED screen before Charlie Chaplin's final speech from The Great Dictator tees up 'The Blackout', an opening song that with its "Democracy is flat on its back" refrain is tailor-made for the despotic times we live in. "We're a band from the Northside formerly known as The Hype," Bono proclaims as U2 rock 'n' roll the years back with versions of 'I Will Follow' and 'Gloria' that have changed little since they were blasted out in the Baggot, which is among several old haunts name-checked over the course of an unapologetically sentimental and nostalgic show. They may have been forced to abandon it recently in Berlin when Mr. H's voice gave out, but tonight 'Beautiful Day' swoops, soars and generally confirms that normal note-hitting service has been resumed. He's also in inspired form as The Edge joins him on the runway for 'The Fly', which together with 'Zoo Station', 'Even Better Than The Real Thing', 'Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses', 'Acrobat', and the obligatory encore version of 'One' recalls the time U2 spent standing (and recording) by the wall in Hansa Studios during the early '90s. Lest anyone fails to get the pro-European solidarity message, the blue flag with the yellow stars that so enrages Johnson, Farage, Rees Mogg, Duncan Smith et al. is digitally unfurled towards the end of the show. U2's continued ability to shock and awe is underlined by the double punk whammy of 'Elevation' and 'Vertigo', which manages to sneak in a couple of bars of 'Rebel Rebel'.'
Ed Power for The Irish Times
'A hometown concert by U2 used to be an occasion to cherish for ardent Bono watchers. But by the time the band close the Dublin run of their Experience and Innocence tour they will have played the city nine times in four years (not counting the frontman's Christmas busking sorties with Glen Hansard and chums). The question of how much Bono is too much Bono presents itself. With this week's quartet of dates selling out in a heartbeat, it would be preposterous to claim Ireland is suffering from U2 fatigue. As the line of fans that snaked around the venue from early morning testifies, they remain wildly beloved – a generation-defining rock band still a way off from calcifying into a museum piece… They have resurrected the huge “barricage” – a Blade Runner-esque screen extending into the audience. Its purpose is twofold: to frame the band in epic visuals and to dim into dramatic darkness, the better to conjure an atmosphere of intimacy in the 14,000 capacity room (which counts President Higgins among attendees). Dublin's biggest musical exports famously/notoriously spent the 1990s dallying with irony, whilst giving the impression they had never entirely worked out what they were being ironic about (ironic, that). They've devoted the intervening years to reconnecting with their fervent younger selves, a mission that continues at the docklands venue. U2 achieve their objective with a performance that feels like the best sort of homecoming – one brimming with warmth and a determination, on the part of both band and audience, that this is to be a night to remember….'
Aoife Kelly for Independent.ie
'U2 thrilled fans as band delivers on their promise of a 'special' homecoming at the 3Arena on Monday night. More accustomed to open-air stadiums, the Dublin rockers raised the roof of the quayside venue on the first of four sold out tour dates in their hometown, picking up where they left off in 2015 with the rapturously reviewed Innocence + Experience tour. More than 14,000 fans, many of whom had travelled to Dublin from all over the world to see U2 play on their home turf, were treated to a powerful opening featuring Noel Gallagher's 'It's a Beautiful World' playing out over Charlie Chaplin's rousing speech from 'The Great Dictator' and visuals of the ruins of war across Europe. The setlist remained unchanged from their Belfast shows, spanning their four decades on the scene, but drawing most heavily from their most recent album, Songs of Experience, the companion album to 2015's Songs of Innocence. Seven of the album's 13 tracks featured, including show openers 'The Blackout' and 'Lights of Home', which sent fans into a frenzy as the band members appeared within the 102ft screen that divided the arena. A healthy dose of nostalgia came courtesy of six Achtung Baby tracks from 1991 including 'Even Better Than The Real Thing' and 'Acrobat'…. The stage itself also features the smaller E stage which sits in the middle of the arena floor, increasing the intimacy between band and audience with almost every seat in the house getting up close and personal with Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton for rousing renditions of 'Vertigo', 'Elevation' and 'Even Better than The Real Thing'. However, it was when the technology retreated and the band performed within the relatively small confines of the E stage in the centre of the arena that you realise why they're one of the greatest bands in the world. They don't need the bells and whistles, just themselves, and their instruments… “I know it's a little early, but for us, Christmas starts on November 5,” said Bono earlier this week and U2 certainly kicked off the festive season with a bang for an adoring home crowd….'
On The Socials
Amra from Dublin (p0pmart via Instagram)
'Last night's show wasn't my first this tour, but it was different to anything I've experienced so far. The main and the most obvious reason for it: the first home show! I have lived here long enough to call this city my home. The excitement kicked off before the gig had even started, with President Higgins spotted in the audience. He got shout outs from both Bono and Macphisto! Due to this arena's peculiar setup, just like with the Innocence Tour shows back in 2015, the night was full of surprises. The band didn't descend from the screen for their e-stage set, they walked along the catwalk. And the crowd loved it. "Lights of Home" felt exceptionally personal, with all hands in the air, and all voices singing along. But if I had to choose the absolute stand out moment for me, it would have to be "Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way". Those images of the beautiful Irish youth on the screen, showing love, inclusiveness, equality, filled my heart with pride'.
"I'm ready to say I'm glad to be alive" The whole #U2eiTour is summed up in that one lyric from "Zoo Station"
What did Macphisto Say?
'I'm just back from a tour of America and Europe and I have never felt so unwelcome in this city. Dirty, dirty, dirty, Old Dublin. Well you won't be seeing me for a while… I'm off for a round for golf at Doonbeg! And remember Dublin, it's when you think that I don't exist, that's when I do my best work…'
U2.com / Zootopia Review
bacgede : Having been a fan since first seeing them in early 79, and being from Dublin, I've been lucky to have seen most of their shows in the city since those early days (in venues like the Project, the Baggot, McGonagles, TV Club etc). I've been privileged to have seen all of the shows in the Point in 89 and 2015 (by then it was the Arena), as well as gigs all over the world as far away as New Zealand, so you might say that I've paid my dues! Anyway, I have to say that while I always get excited to see U2 in my home town…the band rarely disappoint and they didn't last night - for me some of the highlights included the early tunes like Gloria and IWF as well as the AB material, in particular Acrobat which is my all time fave U2 tune. … It was also lovely last night that the wonderful President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabrina, were in the audience and Bono dedicated Love Is Bigger to them.'
edgeswhitelespaul : AWESOME. Its really felt like you could have been in a club like the Baggot Inn, watching the best band from the Nth Side of Dublin :)
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