Cardiff (29/6/05) review

U2 Vertigo Tour

published: Thu 30th Jun 2005

Tuesday 14th to Wednesday 29th June 2005
Manchester, London, Glasgow, Cardiff, UK
silly money - SOLD OUT
last updated: Sun 23rd Jan 2005

If I could write a one word review, I’d just say, ‘Wow!’ This was U2 at their most awesome and probably rates alongside their ‘Joshua Tree Tour’ as one of the best. We enter the gates to the Millennium Stadium just as U2 take to the stage, the noise outside even with the roof on is deafening. As we ascend to the sixth floor to take our seats near the roof the crowd are exploding to ‘Vertigo’.

Our seats are at nosebleed heights, Vertigo indeed, especially apt as I suffer from it. I sit down as hard into my seat as possible to enjoy the show from the back of the third tear, sideways onto the front of the stage and yet still with fantastic sound and our own side screen. The crowd is huge, the whole floor of the stadium is writhing with people, who go mad as Bono starts into ‘Electric Co.’

Even old songs like these are known by nearly everybody in the audience, and it’s a huge karaoke session during ‘Elevation’ with Bono altering his delivery so the crowd have to slow to meet him on the choruses. Or even at times Bono sings a harmony to the packed Welsh crowd and their booming voices. The Welsh sure can sing and the valley between the tiers of the stadium is full of noise. Bono sings fragments of other people’s songs between the songs.

With the roof closed the heat and humidity levels at our height are escalating to tropical proportions and it’s too hot to sit still. Amazingly Bono manages to forget the lyrics to ‘New Year’s Day’ but the crowd are in full voice and he sheepishly catches us up. ‘Beautiful Day’ becomes a massive extended sing along, after Bono asks if there is anyone in the audience not related to the Edge (he’s Welsh you see) and the song trails off into ‘Here Comes the Sun’.

Live favourite ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ has the crowd reaching choral proportions and everyone’s on their feet, even me, though the thought of tumbling down to the dancing ants on the floor far below has me reeling more than jigging.

The stage is impressive, with embedded lights in the floor that run trails under the bands feet like comets and two large podiums with walkways connecting them out in the golden circle. Behind them a wall of tiny screens broadcast a myriad of patterns for ‘City of Blinding Lights’ and the whole crowd is swathed in purple from huge banks of UV bulbs for ‘Miracle Drug’ before which Bono tells us that he can tell this millennium will be so much better than the last.

The next track he dedicates to his father, who he says he misses terribly and for all those ‘Most Haunted’ fans there’s a light anomaly beside him throughout the powerfully delivered rendition of ‘Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own’ it’s a moving moment.

The running order for the following is a bit of a blur, but this is what happens as best I can remember: Bono dons a headband with the symbols of Christianity, Judaism and Islam on the front of it, which he picks up from the crowd, to deliver ‘Love and Peace or Else’ interspersed with references to the Iraq war and criticisms of both Blair and Bush. With him repeating, ‘We are all sons of Abraham’ in between. ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ runs fast at its heels with Bono drumming the backbeat intro and we’re launched into the articles of human rights, much talk about Live Aid, Band Aid, G8, Make Poverty History and the fact Midge Ure is in the crowd. Before a re-worked ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’ is delivered by Bono, now wearing the headband as a blind man, he has to be helped to find the microphone.

The message is clear and powerful and both ‘Running To Stand Still’ and ‘Pride’ emphasise the point that this band and its fans have a political and moral conscience that put the band where they are today.

By the time ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ and ‘One’ have been delivered we’ve had make poverty history banners out in the crowd, and the message is clear we can make a change in the world today. ‘One’ has an interesting new millennium phenomenon – mobile phones are waved in the air instead of lighters and the effect is awesome!

The band return to a rapturous encore to give us more ‘Zoo Station’ and ‘The Fly’ are followed by the spiralling ‘With Or Without You’ which again has the crowd almost lifting the roof off. The band come out again to delirious applause and ‘All Because of You’, ‘Yahweh’ and a triumphant replay of ‘Vertigo’ bring proceedings to a close.

One of the best U2 gigs I’ve ever seen, the best crowd, a perfect venue and clear sound combine to make it a night to remember. My only criticism would be the cost of merchandise £25 for a kids’ T-shirt seems remarkably expensive, we looked for the cheap imitations outside but there weren’t any, so we left for England with huge smiles and little else but ticket stubs to remember such a glorious night.

Set list:
Vertigo, I Will Follow, The Electric Co., Elevation, New Year's Day, Beautiful Day, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, All I Want Is You, City of Blinding Lights, Miracle Drug, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, Love and Peace or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet the Blue Sky, Running to Stand Still, Pride, Where the Streets Have No Name, One

Encores: Zoo Station, The Fly, With or Without You, All Because of You, Yahweh, Vertigo
review by: Scott Williams

Tuesday 14th to Wednesday 29th June 2005
Manchester, London, Glasgow, Cardiff, UK
silly money - SOLD OUT
last updated: Sun 23rd Jan 2005

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