3Arena, Dublin, Ireland
Set List of Show:
- "The Blackout"
- "Lights of Home"
- "I Will Follow"
- "Beautiful Day"
- "Zoo Station"
- "The Fly"
- "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)"
- "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses"
- "Even Better Than the Real Thing"
- "You're The Best Thing About Me"
- "Summer of Love"
- "Pride (In the Name of Love)"
- "Get Out Of Your Own Way"
- "New Year's Day"
- "City Of Blinding Lights"
- "Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way"
- "13 (There is A Light)"
Pre-Recorded Intro Song: "It's A Beautiful World" (Its A Zootiful World Mix) - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Pre-Recorded Exit Song: "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" - Talking Heads
Pre-Recorded Intermission Song(s): "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" (The Gotham Experience) - U2 with Gavin Friday and Regine Chassagne
Pre-Recorded Intermission Song(s): "Women of the World" - Madison Ryann Ward and Other Voices
Snippets of Other Songs Performed by U2:
"Gloria" (Van Morrison) /
"Gloria" (Patti Smith) /
"Rebel Rebel" (David Bowie) /
"The Hall of Mirrors" (Kraftwerk) /
"The Showman (Little More Better)" (U2) /
"The Boys are Back in Town" (Thin Lizzy) /
"Women of the World" (Jim O'Rourke) /
This show was the first show in a series of four shows in U2’s hometown of Dublin. They perform in the 3Arena in Dublin, a modern theatre located on the North Wall Quay in the Dublin Docklands. The venue is located at the site of the former Point Depot theatre, a building where U2 can be seen rehearsing in the film Rattle and Hum and the site of a run of shows at the end of the LoveTown tour, where Bono spoke about dreaming it all up again. The performance is just U2, there is no support act on this tour.
Dates for the second leg of the Experience + Innocence tour were announced on January 16, 2018, after the leg had been announced the previous month without dates. Although all of the other cities were announced, Belfast and Dublin dates were not confirmed until later in the month, and tickets were put on sale for fan club members on January 30, 2018 for these first two shows, and to the general public on February 2. Two additional Dublin shows were later announced. The shows when first put on Ticketmaster made use of the 2015 seating map, which had the “Music Generation” zone at the back of the floor. Shortly after, the maps were updated so they showed “Red Zones” instead, near the front of the floor but off to either side of the stage. This was the configuration in use on the night of the show. Unlike other venues where all of the VIP packages are seated tickets, the shows in Dublin offered a standing VIP ticket as well, which included the VIP gift, and access to the preshow VIP dinner held across the street at the Gibson hotel.
Due to the theatre configuration in the venue, the stage cannot be set up as it normally is with the main stage at one end and the round e-stage at the other end of the venue. To make it fit, the e-stage is now in the center of the room, and the catwalk extends beyond the end of the e-stage to the far end of the room.
This show started out with a bit of excitement online as the set list spotted by U2 en España – El libro had a new song listed between “Beautiful Day” and “Zoo Station” but in the end it was not played. That song? “Dirty Day” which has been rehearsed a number of times but not yet heard this tour. In fact the band did rehearse the song extensively that day, however in the end it is not played, but will debut later in the run of Dublin shows. New set lists without the song were distributed just before the show.
During the show Bono references a show at the Baggot Inn on October 2, 1979, where the band were excited to have record executives in the crowd to watch them, but were disappointed when the executives paid them little attention and later left to go watch another band. He tells the crowd that he was so mad he “kicked my Arsenal bag down Grafton Street past Captain America’s, past Goldendiscs, past McDonald’s…” He seems happy to be at home, commenting “Is this the 3Arena? Then we must be home, this sounds like home!” He commented on politics a number of times during the show wishing for America for better things “than some Americans seem to wish for themselves” and later talking about Brexit and the possibility of a new border being established and wishing the Irish will “trust each other on this little island we share”.
A number of snippets are added throughout the show. Both Van Morrison’s and Patti Smith’s “Gloria” appear as part of U2’s own song by that name. “Rebel Rebel” appears as part of “Vertigo,” “The Hall of Mirrors” appears in “Acrobat” and “The Boys are Back in Town” appears in “Get Out of Your Own Way”. Bono also includes a snippet of “The Showman (Little More Better)” ahead of their performance of “You’re The Best Thing About Me”, reading some of the lyrics in front of the song. Bono also sings along with the end of “Women of the World” which plays at the introduction to the encore.
Bono sings “13” for Dennis Sheehan on what would have been his birthday.
Online fans are disappointed to hear that many fans leave early from this show to go out and establish a line for the next nights show instead of enjoying the full show they are at. This is done in an attempt to get a better viewpoint for the later show. It sparks a lively debate online about the general admission experience, and the lines which are generally organized by fans.
Present in the crowd are President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabrina, seated in Block B. Macphisto does make a comment about his presence in the house saying “Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of a two term Limerick man.” Bono will also dedicate “Love is Bigger than Anything in its Way” to the couple.
The reviews in the press are favourable. Aoife Kelly in the Irish Independent says, “The stage itself also features the smaller E stage which sits in the middle of the arena floor, increasing the intimacy between band and audience with almost every seat in the house getting up close and personal with Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton for rousing renditions of ‘Vertigo’, ‘Elevation’ and ‘Even Better than The Real Thing’. However, it was when the technology retreated and the band performed within the relatively small confines of the E stage in the centre of the arena that you realise why they’re one of the greatest bands in the world. They don’t need the bells and whistles, just themselves, and their instruments… “I know it’s a little early, but for us, Christmas starts on November 5,” said Bono earlier this week and U2 certainly kicked off the festive season with a bang for an adoring home crowd….’”
Ed Power of The Irish Times adds “They’ve devoted the intervening years to reconnecting with their fervent younger selves, a mission that continues at the docklands venue. U2 achieve their objective with a performance that feels like the best sort of homecoming – one brimming with warmth and a determination, on the part of both band and audience, that this is to be a night to remember.” And Stuart Clark from Hot Press comments on Bono’s loss of voice in an earlier Berlin show on this tour, and says “They may have been forced to abandon it recently in Berlin when Mr. H’s voice gave out, but tonight ‘Beautiful Day’ swoops, soars and generally confirms that normal note-hitting service has been resumed. He’s also in inspired form as The Edge joins him on the runway for ‘The Fly’”
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