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U2 – Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, 2009-08-01

2009-08-04

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For the second U2 concert in Gothenburg, Irma and I had decided to stand further back so that we could take in the entire show. So instead of spending the entire day in line, we showed up about half an hour before the gates opened. This time we decided to use the second entrance to the arena, and to our astonishment everything was very organized there. We did walk by the entrance we’d used the day before, and everything looked as chaotic there once again. So as it turned out, getting in to the arena was a very smooth process, we were inside 15 minutes after the gates opened, and made it in to the pit once more!

We got our bracelets and went outside of the pit for Snow Patrol. They put on an even better show than on Friday. Singer Gary Lightbody seemed very happy and kept joking with the audience and saying things in Swedish. I suspect a beer or two had been consumed before the show.

Ten minutes before U2 were about to take the stage we went in to the pit again to stand on the side behind the stage to see the band walk on. It was very cool to get to see all the guys walk right by where we were standing. Bono waved to all of us that were standing there. I took this picture of Larry as he came down the stairs:


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And in a bizarre coincidence, here’s the picture The Edge took of Larry walking down the stairs at the same time, but from the opposite angle:


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How’s that for a coincidence? I couldn’t believe it when The Edge posted the picture on his Twitter account the following day! Be sure to check out the videos that go with this review, there’s a great one that Irma took of the band walking to the stage. After this little close encounter, we hurried out of the pit and stood on The Edge’s side of the stage, but up towards the bleachers. We had a great view of the entire stage, and the sound was really great there.

Bono was really fired up and talked about how they’d had a birthday party the night before, and he apologized to anyone that he’d borrowed money from at four in the morning! He also apologized to anyone he’d promised a room in his house in Dublin, saying “I really meant it at the time!”. It was funny, cause Bono kept mentioning Gothenburg’s amusement park, Liseberg, throughout the show. I’m guessing he saw it from his hotel room and it was stuck in his head.

The first five songs were the same as Friday’s, but then U2 pulled out New Year’s Day! Man, I was so happy to hear it I was jumping up and down and just screaming! Bono mentioned that the video for New Year’s Day was filmed in Sweden (in Sälen if anyone’s interested). The song sounded great and The Edge did a fantastic job alternating between piano and guitar. As he was standing by the piano he was shrouded in smoke, which created a very eerie effect when the lights shone on him.

After this fantastic song it was time for another classic, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. The band was on fire and the audience where we were standing were a lot more in to the show than the previous night. Before the third verse, which begins with the line “I believe in the Kingdom Come”, Bono said “I bow down to Princess Madeleine”, referring to the Swedish Princess who was attending the concert. Next up was Stay (Faraway, So Close!), a rarity in the last couple of tours. Of course it was great to hear Stay, but being a U2 live virgin, I would have preferred Angel of Harlem, that often appear in this part of the set.

During the organ intro for Unknown Caller, Bono mentioned that it was Terry Lawless playing the Hammond organ in the Underworld (below the stage). Terry has been U2’s touring keyboardist for the last two tours, but I guess they prefer to hide him as to not break the illusion of the classic four-piece that is U2. I wonder how much of the ambient backgrounds Terry actually plays, and what is simply backing tracks?

Next up was Electrical Storm, which Bono introduced by saying it was a song they’d never played live before. I immediately assumed we’d get to hear Drowning Man, which the band rehearsed a lot before the tour premiere in Barcelona, since Bono asked his bandmates if they’d done it before. But they quickly corrected him. Electrical Storm has been played on two previous occasions during the U2 360 tour. How could Bono have forgotten something like that? I’m guessing his mind was tired from all the partying the previous night. The song sounded great, in my opinion much better than on the previous two occasions they’ve played it. The screen above the band extended for Electrical Storm. It looked really cool from a distance. It stayed open for the next song as well, City of Blinding Lights.

Next up was the remix version of I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight. I really love this part of the show. Adam, Edge, and Larry on Bongos, walk around the entire catwalk while Bono stays on the main stage. It makes me really happy and hopeful for the future that U2 are able to create something that sounds this fresh 30 years into their career. And the animation in the beginning of the song, with the four of them bobbing their heads to the beat is hilarious! Out of the seven songs from No Line On The Horizon that they play, this is by far the biggest crowd pleaser, everyone really seems to enjoy it.

Crazy was followed by Sunday Bloody Sunday, with the stage lit up in green in support of the people of Iran. Great song of course, my favorite part being Edge’s awesome guitar solo. I also really enjoyed Walk On, I just wish they would do the “hallelujah” ending they used to do during the Elevation tour. Where the Streets Have No Name was great, they even had the screen lit up in orange, mimicking the background used during the Joshua Tree tour. My only complaint is that the intro is cut short. For One, Bono asked everyone to turn on the light on their cellphones and hold them up. This looked so cool, like stars. I have a video of this further down in this post.

The encore was the same three songs as on Friday, Ultra Violet (Light My Way), With Or Without You, and Moment of Surrender. In my opinion, this concert was much better than the previous night. As I’ve said, the band was on fire, and the audience was much more responsive, at least where we were standing. The only songs missing from the set for me were Elevation and Bad. I really hope I get to hear these songs next year when the U2 360 tour returns to Europe, or should I perhaps go to London next weekend? Anyway, my thanks to U2 for a great concert experience and for writing all this beautiful music. I can’t get enough.

Please feel free to comment with your own thoughts about the show, and general opinions of the U2 360 tour so far.

Setlist: (from u2gigs.com)

Start: 21:35

1. Breathe
2. No Line On The Horizon
3. Get On Your Boots
4. Magnificent
5. Beautiful Day / Blackbird (snippet)
6. New Year’s Day
7. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For / Movin’ On Up (snippet)
8. Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
9. Unknown Caller
10. Electrical Storm
11. City Of Blinding Lights
12. Vertigo
13. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight / O Come All Ye Faithful (snippet)
14. Sunday Bloody Sunday
15. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
16. MLK
17. Walk On / You’ll Never Walk Alone (snippet)
18. Where The Streets Have No Name
19. One

Encore:
20. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
21. With Or Without You
22. Moment of Surrender

End: 23:40

Pictures (Click on an image to enlarge it)
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Videos:

U2 walks to the stage in Gothenburg, Sweden 2009-08-01

U2 – One, Entire stadium lit with cellphone lights, Gothenburg, Sweden 2009-08-01

U2 – With or Without You, Gothenburg, Sweden 2009-08-01

One Response to “U2 – Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, 2009-08-01”

  1. Very interesting post thank you for writing it I just added your blog to my favorites and will be back.

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