02 December 2010
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Wednesday December 1
“What do you think of our space station?” Bono asked the crowd. It’s one of the endearing strengths of U2 that they can play as a hi-tech rock spectacle before 60,000 people, yet come across most times as an intimate show. The much talked about 50-metre claw reached so high that the roof of Etihad Stadium couldn’t be closed. Which is why everyone was relieved that Messiah Bono used his contacts above to keep the threatened heavy rains away.
U2 used tricks (the 360-degree stage, the claw which pulled the huge videos and lighting out of view) to get closer to fans, but it worked because Bono, dressed in black leather and shades, wanted that connection. “We are still finding out so much musically, spiritually ... keep coming to see us, we are still pilgrims."
He worked the catwalks and moving bridges, namechecked Melbourne suburbs before “Magnificent”, asked the crowd to think of the millions of AIDS sufferers who can’t afford medicine and of the 2,200 political prisoners in Burma, and encouraged sing-alongs to Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
His expressive vocals drove home the songs, from the opening Beautiful Day through to Mysterious Ways, Where The Streets Have No Name, One, I Will Follow and the closer With Or Without You. U2 played hungry, whipping up a storm during Elevation, City Of Blinding Lights and Vertigo and retaining their garage attitude during the two new songs previewed.
Opening act Jay-Z’s set didn’t include walk-ons from wife Beyonce and Kanye West. Some of the "rockier" elements of the crowd might not have “got” him, but Jay-Z displayed enough pop nouse and on-stage swagger to win most over with anthems like 99 Problems, Run This Town and Dirt Off Your Shoulder while last year’s epic Empire State of Mind saw the first sing-along of the night.
Jay-Z returned to duet with Bono on Sunday Bloody Sunday. The sight of two of pop culture’s most powerful men trading licks was awesome.
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