Midnight Oil

Subject: NMOC - U2 in Brisbane, 9 December
From: "Tom" <tomspencer@eml.cc>
Date: 19/12/2010, 10:32 pm
To: powderworks@yahoogroups.com.au

Oils fans might enjoy the following (highly objective!) report of a recent U2 concert, by a friend, Roger, given that the Oils had a similar vibe, and were mates.

t


U2 Report - Brisbane Concert, Lang Park, Thursday 9 December 2010

Having enjoyed the cheapskate experience of listening to the last U2 stadium gig, outside the QE II stadium in 2006, I decided to relive the moment last week at Lang Park with my friend, Tom. The weather was hot and humid but it didn't rain which was a bonus. Even better was the fact that you could get a reasonable view of the big screen behind the Claw stage by looking through the northern gates near the statue of Wally Lewis. Outside the stadium the sound quality was pretty good, especially if you avoided Jay Z's contribution, by having pizza several hundred metres away.

Anyway on with the show

U2 open the show with the immortal strains of David Bowie's Major Tom, before launching into something from the last album whose name I don't quite remember. Fortunately the next song is a lot better  Beautiful Day. The crowd love it and the next track is New Year's Day. Adam's bass work is as solid as ever and the crowd roars. Unfortunately Bono now decides its time to play the worst song the band has ever released as a single, Sexy Boots. Not surprisingly the crowd's response is muted. Bono lifts a grab from the Beatles, She Loves You, Yeah Yeah, towards the end but it doesn't help much. They move on to another crap effort from the last album. I've forgotten its name but it's the one with the truly awful line "I was born to sing for you' which sounds like something from a bad 1970s variety show number. Things improve when they launch into Mysterious Ways, while a belly dancer visual sequence, reminiscent of a Bond Film opening titles, lights up the big screen. Bono demonstrates tht he still misses Michael Hutchence by singing a grab from Never Tear Us Apart. Elevation comes next with another INXS grab, this time from Need You Tonight. Next track band its back to Achtung Baby, with Talking About the End of the World. The crowd are roaring again.

Bono decides its time to talk. 
"It's hotter than last night" he tells the crowd, "in every way."
He thanks Jay Z, and for the benefit of the people in the stadium who don't know who U2 are, he introduces the members of the band., and helpfully provides fashion notes on what they are all wearing for the evening. He calls Adam the `Silver Fox', accuses Larry of wearing the same T Shirt since 1976 and says Edge's gear has the scent of Mad Max.

Back to the music, the band launches into I still haven't found what I'm looking for, and the crowd sings along. Bono says something about its time to go to Church  the Church of the Beach. Not sure what this means but I guess its kind of profound. Up next is a new song entitled Mercy. It was an okay U2 song but lacked something which might make it a great U2 song. Still it was a hell of a lot better than Sexy Boots and for that we should all be grateful. They move on to Bad, and finish with a grab from John Lennon's And We All Shine On. In a Little While is next. Its a slower number, perfect for a bit of a dance. Say what you will about Mr. Hewson but he's always had a discerning eye for the ladies.. and tonight is no exception. The girl who he lifts out of the crowd on to the stage, is an absolute honey, a raven haired brunette in a short blue dress. They dance. He's done it a thousand times before but it still works.

When the dance is over, the band takes a break.The big screen lights up with old NASA Apollo mission footage, and there is a message from some European dude on the Space Station. The band returns and plays Miss Sarajevo. Bono sings Pavarotti's part and to his credit hits the big notes at the finale. City on Blinding Lights is next, accompanied by a blinding light show on the big screen. Edge cranks up the guitars for Vertigo and the light show goes into overdrive. The crowd are loving it. Wouldn't it be nice if the band decided to follow this was another high energy track like Pride or The Fly. Instead Bono decides to sing I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight. There's a giant disco light show on the big screen, Bono encourages the crowd to sing along and takes a grab from Frankie Goes to Hollywood's, Relax Don't Do it. None of it works, the song's a dud.

Bono wakes up the crowd shouting "Radio Tehran, can you hear us ?" Arabic visuals flash up on the big screen and the band launches into Sunday Bloody Sunday. There are no sermons about the Middle East, but not a lot of passion either. He finishes with a grab from Elvis Costello's Oliver's Army. Maybe its time he gave this old warhorse a rest.

The next song is Walk On, Bono talks about Human Rights, Burma and Aung Sun Kuyi [please excuse my creative spelling]. Amnesty volunteers march across the stadium with giant candles. This would all look much more impressive if you were actually watching it from inside the stadium. Bono takes a break. There is a message from Bishop Desmond Tutu on the big screen. He talks about anti AIDS drugs, health education, social welfare and organizing an assassination attempt on Robert Mugabe. Sorry I made that last one up, but I live in hope.

The band returns and plays One. The crowd sings along. Bono can't do the falsetto at the end anymore. Maybe he should see a vocal coach. The crowd is in good voice and sings the chorus from Amazing Grace with Bono. Then the big screen turn red. A wall of solid red. A tingling riff comes from Edge's guitar and gets louder and louder and faster and faster. Yes they're playing Streets Have No Name and it goes off. They turn the flood lights on over the stadium and the massed crowds. Its an old trick but it still works. I've got goose bumps. It's like I'm watching the Love Town tour back in 1989 all over again. Then part of my brain tells me that was 20 years ago and I feel old. Stupid brain. The crowd meanwhile are ecstatic.  "Beautiful" says Bono.

The band takes another short break. Little animated space ships flash across the big screen. I'm hoping for a big finish. Instead the band decide to play one of my least favourite songs, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me. Dud song from a truly dud movie. They conclude with With or Without You. The crowd sings along. Bono thanks a lot of people and its all over. The lights are turned on. No encores. Everyone goes home. Queensland Rail in their infinite wisdom have scheduled no extra trains.

Conclusions 
U2 can still rock a stadium.
I like their old stuff better than their new stuff.
The songs from the last album don't work live and will hopefully never be played again.