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It is much more than that, of course – but there are elements of musical theatre here, as if the band were playing around with the shape of the show that might eventually go on the road when they have foresworn on the travails which large scale touring imposes.
There is a traceable, compelling narrative running through the songs, emphasising the links not just between the e XPERIENCE and i NNOCENCE records but also back to the roots of the band, in the early neo-Punk days.
A characteristic of recent U2 albums is that all of the elements might not make complete sense at first, but once you see tracks preformed live, their charms coalesce. The screen dissolves to a night-time map of Dublin, just in case you’re still missing the message, the longing for home. HAPPY TO GO BLIND ‘Beautiful Day’, ‘All Because Of You’ and ‘I Will Follow’ are all part of the one sequence, and it’s Edge who drives it along.
His guitar goes from cathedral-sized chiming, to down on the floor crunchy, and is particularly ferocious on ‘I Will Follow’ – earlier in the day, Bono joked that the guitarist had been sound checking it for about 12 hours and you can hear why. If that weren’t enough to get us salivating, we also get snatches of Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Many Rivers To Cross’ and, of course, John Lennon’s ‘Mother’, which is followed by a segue from ‘The Ocean’ to ‘Iris’, complete with precious home movies of Bono’s mother, his "few beautiful, magical memories”.
But ‘City Of Blinding Lights is something else again, a magnificently sparkly sky-scraping hymn played in front of a video featuring the Tulsa skyline. The encore of Achtung Baby's ‘Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses’ – not their greatest song, but here it achieves a Crazy Horse-like simplicity and directness – a beautiful version of the incomparable ‘One’ (am I right in thinking that Edge got momentarily lost at the start of it?
) and the huge chorus of ‘Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way’ are all perfectly judged.
After the huge noise of ‘Elevation’, a U2 live classic at this stage, the band reappear on the b stage for a spectacular ‘Vertigo’, The Edge prowling the stage like a hungry animal.
Bono is now wearing a top hat, sparkly lapels and face paint, a bit like Dylan in Renaldo & Clara.
The two albums are inextricably intertwined, of course, to the extent that there had also been talk on the run-in that there was nothing older than Achtung Baby in the setlist, at all.
Still with i NNONCE, the section which joins ‘Cedarwood Road’ and ‘Song For Someone’ features the same images of Bono’s childhood neighbourhood that featured in the last show.
It remains uniquely powerful, and the lyric “a heart that is broken, is a heart that is open” speaks to Bono’s conviction that his mother’s tragic, early death made him that artist.
‘Staring At The Sun’, using nifty under-floor graphics on the b stage, is dedicated to political stubbornness: when the KKK are shown on the screen, hounding the streets of Charlottesville with sinister menace, the line ‘Happy to go blind’ takes on a different, more chilling meaning.
COMPELLING NARRATIVE There is a further surprise during ‘Pride’ – Adam and Edge appear at different sides of the theatre, so that the four members occupy the main points of a compass within the venue.