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U2 – Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, Finland, 2010-08-20

2010-08-22

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This was my third time seeing U2, all on the 360 tour. I saw them in Gothenburg twice last year, and was actually not so impressed. Mainly because the claw stage makes it hard to get a good up-close and personal view of the band. So for this concert the wife and I bought Red Zone tickets. When we got to the stadium U2 was doing their soundcheck. We got to hear what turned out to be the new song Glastonbury, Miss Sarajevo, and City of Blinding Lights.

We waited in line with the other Red Zone people for maybe an hour before the gates opened, and then it was a mad dash in to the stadium. Luckily we got great spots right up against the catwalk on Adam’s side. This was perfect since we stood on The Edge’s side for both shows last year.

The concert was delayed for about 30 minutes due to problems with the screen (which I guess eventually couldn’t be fixed, since it didn’t extend during City of Blinding Lights). But that didn’t matter one bit, it just gave everyone more time to get excited. U2 took the stage at 21.20 to the tune of Space Oddity, as is customary on the 360 tour.

After playing the new, and very cool, Return Of The Stingray Guitar, the band launched in to Beautiful Day! This was such a great high energy way of starting the show! Bono was making his way around the catwalk and actually stopped right in front of us for the first chorus! This was probably one of my all-time concert highlights ever! It was amazing to just be a few feet away from Bono while he was performing. The missus took some great pictures, as you’ll see below this review.

New Year’s Day was next, keeping the energy going. Bono introduced the band, and after he introduced Larry he led the audience in the double-time clapping that I enjoy so much. This was followed by Get on Your Boots, and Magnificent – in my opinion the only songs I care to hear from No Line on The Horizon.

The highlight of the show for the both of us was when they played Elevation. We’ve wanted to hear that one live so bad, ever since we got the Boston Live DVD back in 2001. It was so much fun to sing along to the chorus while jumping up and down! Even The Edge was jumping like a mad man for the last chorus!

I was very happy to hear Until the End of the World, which is one of my all time favorite U2 songs. Bono was playing the devil/Judas on one of the bridges above the crowd, while the saintly Mr The Edge worked his heavenly guitar magic from the other bridge. The song ended with the two “deities” attempting to touch fingers across the bridges, evoking Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. Oh, and the song sounded awesome too!

After the always wonderful I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For U2 played the new song North Star. The whole song was basically just Bono and The Edge, with that classic U2 guitar sound from the previous song. Next up was Glastonbury, which the band wrote for their subsequently cancelled Glastonbury gig 2010. A very good up-tempo rocker, with a great riff and an awesome solo from The Edge. It sort of felt like he was channeling Hendrix for a while. Personally, I think the new songs are miles ahead of their latest release, No Line on The Horizon, with the exception of Magnificent. Let’s hope that when the new songs are released they will stay in this raw form (lock up Eno and Lanois, and let Steve Lillywhite take full control for a change).

I really enjoy that they keep playing In A Little While. It’s such a great song, and it’s nice to hear one of the less famous songs from All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Miss Sarajevo was just fantastic – I got goose bumps when Bono sang the opera part! Vertigo was great as always. To me it was a treat to get both Elevation and Vertigo in one show.

It was fun to see that they kept the remix version of I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight in the set. This was also the song when we got to see all band members up close. Adam, The Edge and Larry all came by right in front of us! Bono ended the song by singing a verse of Discothèque over the beat – very nice indeed, and perhaps an indicator that the song will join the set in the near future.

The encore was pretty much identical to the Gothenburg shows. It was funny to hear Bono struggle with the feedback of his Gretsch Irish Falcon during his beautiful version of Amazing Grace. One gave me chills as always – that’s one powerful song! Ultra Violet (Light My Way), with Bono in his laser jacket and steering wheel microphone, is just fantastic. For Moment of Surrender Bono asked everyone to turn on their cellphone lights, which made for a beautiful backdrop to the stage, making it look as if the band was surrounded by the milky way. Bono ended the song with a rather confused singalong that no one understood, which he proceeded to laugh off!

The band seemed very pleased with the show and back slaps were exchanged. Both Adam and The Edge came up to the mike to say thanks. And to the tune of Rocket Man the band left the stage, and the best U2 concert that I have seen so far was over. I thought that Bono’s voice was fantastic – he sang much better than last year, and he also seemed to be much more in to the show, as did the rest of the band. Thank you U2!

Setlist: (from u2gigs.com)

Start: 21.20

01. Return Of The Stingray Guitar
02. Beautiful Day
03. New Year’s Day
04. Get On Your Boots
05. Magnificent
06. Mysterious Ways
07. Elevation
08. Until The End Of The World
09. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
10. North Star
11. Glastonbury
12. In A Little While
13. Miss Sarajevo
14. City Of Blinding Lights
15. Vertigo / Teenage Kicks (snippet)
16. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight / Discothèque (snippet)
17. Sunday Bloody Sunday
18. MLK
19. Walk On / You’ll Never Walk Alone (snippet)

Encore:
20. One
21. Amazing Grace (snippet) / Where The Streets Have No Name
22. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
23. With Or Without You
24. Moment of Surrender

End: 23.25

Pictures

3 Responses to “U2 – Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, Finland, 2010-08-20”

  1. Irma says:

    Great review! And great show! I want to relive it just for Elevation again!! :)

  2. Don says:

    Wow, that sounds like a very intense show, especially with the amazing spot from which you were able to take it all in! So that screen was originally supposed to make a funnel-like thing going all the way down to the middle of the “claw”?
    -D.

  3. Daniel says:

    Yes, it was quite intense, they really brought their A-game this time. Exactly, the screen becomes funnel-shaped for City of Blinding Lights. Pretty cool effect, but when you stand that close to the stage it really doesn’t matter anyway.

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