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U2 – OPTUS STADIUM

U2
OPTUS STADIUM
27 NOVEMBER
Photos by Ross Stewart & Ezra Acheson Mullen

They’ve been around since 1976 and have sold nearly 170 Million Albums worldwide. It’s been nine long years since they were in town and, finally, they have returned. It’s U2 — a band you either love or you don’t really dig, based on my friendship group. Honestly, I always knew U2 were cool but I never really listened to them religiously. This evening’s show was a reminder to me there are entities on this Earth that are at the top of their field, and I have taken that for granted.

Love them or hate them, U2 have a repertoire of songs that have and will always stand the test of time.

First off, out came Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. I wasn’t too familiar with his solo work despite being a big Oasis fan back in the day. I realised early on that, damn, I had no idea of the sound this man would go to after Oasis broke up. The backing band were much bigger than expected, there was a horn section, plenty of backing vox, sublime stuff. I found it intriguing that this is the sound he gravitated towards after Oasis. He had keys, it had a slight 80s vibe to the music. Really quite enjoyable. Of course, I love how much of an arsehole Noel is. When he spoke to the crowd he was just a grumpy git, but i loved it, it’s almost expected. He makes up for the grump with the quality of his singing voice. Really wonderful mate. And I don’t throw that word around often.

‘Little By Little’ started blaring and Christ almighty – it’s such a great tune and you could tell the Oasis faithful were happy to hear it.

Speaking of busting a nut, the renditions of ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ were triumphant. But you know what? The highlight was the closer. When Noel and his array of backing musos blurted out a sensational cover of The Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’ – it was a cracking way to end the set.

After a 30 minute break, U2 hit the stage and it was quite clear from the get go that there is a love affair between Perth and U2. ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ is a pretty relaxing kind of track despite what it’s about, yet the people reacted to it like it was the most intense song on Earth.

They “followed” it up with ‘I Will Follow’, which basically set the world on fire. Bono sounds great despite people saying he lost his voice in the last few years. Not bad at all! I really don’t know what they’re on about.

We’re 34 days away from it literally but the celebration taking place during ‘New Years Day’ was a sight to behold. Love them or hate them, U2 have a repertoire of songs that have and will always stand the test of time.

Some people say Bono  is arrogant. I just don’t really believe that. I’m not some massive U2 fan either but i just think he’s doing what he thinks he needs to do. I don’t think the man deserves to be judged when he’s trying to do the right thing by the world.

I got teary eyed when they spoke of the firefighters over East and the whole crowd got their torches up. Amazing stuff. ‘Pride In The Name Of Love’ was a triumph and it really brought the house down despite the fact that the song was in a lower key, we knew it would happen but you know what, he was still fantastic throughout the tune. I’m a vocalist and even I can’t nail the original notes.

Then it was time for the Joshua Tree album to be played in full. The singalong for the opening track ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ was this massive love-in. With the added effect of the massive screen behind them it really enhanced the experience like you couldn’t imagine.

‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ was up next and the singalongs just didn’t end. For anyone to say (which I saw this week) That The Edge isn’t a good guitar player is out of their damned mind. He found a sound that nobody else in the history of the planet ever made, so you know what? Good for him. That screen of HD behind them is so epic it’s hard to fathom.

‘With Or Without You’ was next and the lovely lady next to me was getting all bloody emotional over it. That is the power of U2.

‘Bullet The Blue Sky’ was next and that groove in that song is tip top. Their drummer really is a machine and it’s a shame he’s not doing any drum masterclasses in town to help our local music scene. I bet he could teach a thing or two. At one stage the big screen started showing a distorted version of what was happening of stage and it created this beautiful chaotic element.

The beauty continued with ‘Running to a Stand Still’ as they slowed it down and The Edge got on the keys and proved to me immediately there’s a reason this man is renowned around the world. Bono on the Harmonica was a bloody treat, too.

As they continued down The Joshua Tree they got to the ‘Red Hill Mining Town’ and the vibe was still rather chill and atmospheric.

‘In Gods Country’ was next after a bit of chatter from Bono and it was all lovely positive stuff.

After some funny banter,’Trip Through Your Wires’ was next and it was a song I didn’t know but damn the rest of the venue knew it!

The next few tunes keep that same Irish strength going that the band is renowned for. This is the part where you’re waiting for them to kick it into high gear again.

The Joshua Tree album ends and well shit, here we go. ‘Angel Of Harlem’ was next and holy crap I forgot about this song! Yep… I totally underestimated U2 and everything they have done.

After this came the encore section of the night. Off they went… here I am hoping for ‘Mysterious Ways’.

The encore opened with ‘Elevation’ and it was an absolute balltearer. The audience went pretty freakin’ nuts for it. To be honest Bono sounded tremendous. ‘Vertigo’ followed and it was more of the same. Just an insane amount of singing along.

‘Even Better Than The The Real Thing’ was next after the band introductions, the energy still remained and it’s just crazy how important this band is. So many of my friends ripped into me being there on this night but there’s a reason they are who they are.

I don’t understand why anyone thinks Bono can’t sing anymore because he sang ‘Every Breaking Wave’ and it was clear to me that this man is still unbelievable. I’m a vocalist so I know. Honestly I didn’t know the song. But it was one of the most emotional songs of the evening. Truly.

‘Beautiful Day’ was up next and that’s a goosebumps song for me especially because of Triple H tearing his quad in 2001 and needing to come back years ago and wanting to winning the Royal Rumble, training for his return. That was the song he had his comeback video with. No wonder I popped for it.

‘Ultraviolet (Light My Way)’ was next and again, the big screen played a big part and the emotion was on another level.

The next song was ‘Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way’ but I felt like it was time for ‘One’, ‘The Sweetest Thing’, ‘Desire’, or ‘Mysterious Ways’. I get it, you gotta play some other stuff to keep it interesting but you guys have all these songs…. Carrrrrrn.

They played ‘One’ to end the show. The audience came unglued and sang the song for Bono. It was truly a magical evening. I’m not the biggest U2 fan so for me to say that, it’s the damn truth.

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ROB THOMAS – KINGS PARK & BOTANIC GARDEN

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