Monday, 24 August 2009

The Edge in Cardiff Ecstatic fans give U2 performance

WITH a spectacular £20m stage for the biggest performance ever hosted by the Millennium Stadium, anticipation of U2 were high.
But for the thousands of fans from all over the world who packed into the home of Welsh rugby to see the Irish rockers on Saturday, the show did not fail to impress.
Some even hailed it as possibly the excellent concert in the stadium’s 10 year history.
As iconic front man Bono appeared clad in black and wearing his trademark dark glasses, the crowd erupted.
And what a crowd the almost capacity 70,000 conference made it a record breaking assembly for any performance at the stadium, outselling Take That’s 64,000 conference earlier this year.
After sets from The Hours and Glasvegas, U2 opened with the song Breathe from new album No Line On The Horizon before treating fans to a mix of their many hits from the past three decades and new songs from their latest CD.
Highlights added Beautiful Day, Mysterious Ways, Vertigo, Pride and One, as well as newer stand-out songs Get On Your Boots, I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight and Magnificent.
Homage was paid to guitarist. The Edge’s Welsh roots, with Bono confessing to having once had singing lessons from the musician’s father Garvin Evans, who comes from Llanelli.
“He told me to look after the accordant and the vowels will look after themselves,” Bono told the crowd, who licked up his every word.
The Edge, whose family were in the conference, had manifestly requested that the band end their European tour in Cardiff because of his Welsh estate.
Addressing the adoring masses, the guitarist simply said “Cymru Am Byth” to delighted acclaim before he and his bandmates launched into I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
Needing minimal comfort from Bono, the crowd led the vocals for the first verse, sounding like an enormous Welsh choir.
Of course, no U2 performance would be complete without a political message of freedom and equality, and this was no exception.
As well as dedicating the songs MLK and Walk On to imprisoned Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the band played a speciall recorded video message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu before launching into the anthemic One.
But while their songs were predictably great and the sound quality fantastic, the performance really stood out because of the enormous and impressive set, dubbed The Claw.
The 160ft high structure correspond the talons of a giant machine, supporting enormous video screens which towered above the band’s circular stage.
The Claw frequently changed colour and at one point became surrounded by an enormous mesh like structure, onto which capture of the band was projected.
Apparently the set aims to make stadium presentation more intimate. Whether it acquired that is up for argument, but it certainly created an impressive concert and an awesome setting for one of the world’s biggest bands to blow their fans away.
As well as the 70,000 inside the stadium, hundreds more were able to follow the action with WalesOnline's Dave Owens providing a running commentary and pictures of the performances.

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