I have attended all of U2’s tours of Australia since 1993. I saw the Zoo TV tour 1993, the Pop Mart tour 1998 and the Vertigo tour back in 2006. In each of these stadium shows U2 used massive stages and great visual effects and so I really wanted to see how U2 would take their stage show to the next level. I was looking forward to attend both of U2’s shows in Melbourne as part of their 360° Tour.

The support act for the Australian leg of the tour was Jay-Z. He and his band put on an energetic performance but due to the mix, a lot of his vocals didn’t sound too clear (muddy). Nevertheless, the audience really enjoyed his set.

As the name of the tour implies, the stage U2 performed on was a large circle. In front of one part of the stage there was a mosh pit where fans could dance and reach out to their idols. However, the amazing thing about this set up was the video screens that were above the stage were actually in a circle so that everybody in the stadium could get a great view of the show.

U2 perform in Melbourne, Australia. Photo taken by Steve Yanko.

U2 perform in Melbourne, Australia. Photo taken by Steve Yanko.

The U2 shows began with a musical fanfare and a video shot of the four members of the band walking into the stadium… a bit like warriors going into battle. When the guys walked onto the stage the audience erupted with a massive roar. U2 then started their concert with “Return of the Stingray Guitar’. For the next 2 hours, we were entertained with a high energy performance of great songs and a video/lighting show that was truly amazing. All the band members except for Larry Mullen on drums moved around the stage effortlessly. The Edge and Adam Clayton changed their guitars and bass guitars regularly and Bono easily connected with audience with his singing and just by talking to the audience as if he were talking to friends at a bar.

The Irish super group, U2. Photo taken by Steve Yanko.

The Irish super group, U2. Photo taken by Steve Yanko.

All of the excitement on the stage was projected on the circular video screens. The video screens also showed a variety of images and video that would enhance the show. During the concerts these screens appeared to expand and came down to near stage level. I have to say that the lighting in these concerts were the best I’ve seen.

U2's amazing stage and light show. Photo taken by Steve Yanko

U2’s amazing stage and light show. Photo taken by Steve Yanko.

Ultimately, what makes U2 a great band is their songs. There is an energy and uniqueness in their sound and their lyrics connect with so many people on many levels. There was a slight variation in the set lists for both shows but even if you weren’t a die-hard fan you would have still enjoyed these concerts because they played many of their radio friendly hits. As a result, thousands of people danced and sang the songs that have been a big part of pop music for the last 25 years. Of course, with a new album out, U2 performed new songs such as ‘Get On Your Boots’ and ‘Magnificent’ and the audience loved it.

One of the highlights of the 2nd concert for me was when Bono and The Edge performed ‘Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of’ as a tribute to Michael Hutchence (the great lead singer of INXS), The Edge played an acoustic guitar and Bono sang. So simple and yet it sounded great. Basically what this showed is that you don’t need all of the stage lighting, special effects etc to connect with an audience. All you need is a heartfelt performance of a great song.

U2's 360° Tour in Melbourne, Australia. Photo taken by Steve Yanko.

U2’s 360° Tour in Melbourne, Australia. Photo taken by Steve Yanko.


I thoroughly enjoyed both of the concerts. The stage set and lighting was incredible but the most important thing was that U2 were fantastic. If you didn’t get a chance to go to the concert check out the U2 360° Tour DVD.

Set Lists
December 1st, 2010 Set List
Return of the Stingray Guitar
Beautiful Day
I Will Follow
Get On Your Boots
Magnificent
Mysterious Ways
Elevation
Until the End of the World
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Mercy
Bad
In a Little While
Miss Sarajevo
City of Blinding Lights
Vertigo
I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Scarlet
Walk On
Encore
One
Where the Streets Have No Name
2nd Encore
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender

December 3rd, 2010 Set List
Return of the Stingray Guitar
Beautiful Day
New Year’s Day
Get On Your Boots
Magnificent
Mysterious Ways
Elevation
Until the End of the World
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of
Pride (In the Name of Love)
In a Little While
Miss Sarajevo
City of Blinding Lights
Vertigo
I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Scarlet
Walk On
Encore
One
Where the Streets Have No Name
2nd Encore
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender

Official Website
www.u2.com

By STEVE YANKO

About the Author


Steve Yanko is a Music Teacher, Musician, Song Writer & Consultant who loves working in the world of music.