At the start of 2009 I decided to buy tickets to see U2 at Wembley stadium. My main motivation was not what I thought of their latest album but mainly due to the fact I tried getting tickets to the Vertigo tour in 2005 and failed miserably.
Once ordered, I was initially pleased, but, as the day got ever closer, my excitement dwindled. It even got to the point where I forgot which day I was going. I am a big U2 fan, I have a good number of their albums but I was put off by the inevitable name drops and preaching that would accompany the music, was I really that excited about travelling all the way to Wembley for that?
I went with my friend, Dave. The only signiance of knowing this is that Dave, at best, takes little more than a passing interest in U2. He came anyway after some relentless nagging on my part.
On the way to the stadium we made jokes about Bono and his self-inflated ego. We speculated that, because Bono is so special, Jesus himself may make an appearance for a few minutes, just because Bono asked him to. It got worse as we approached the stadium. Never had either of us seen products associated with a band being sold at their gigs with Blackberry stands littering the walkway leading towards our gate. This caused even more eye rolling.
We got ourselves comfortable in our seats (booooo) and timed it just right so we missed the supporting act, Elbow. The stage itself was something special. It reminded me of a oversized lunar space module but it was described by Bono as a claw with a what looked like a spire poking out the top and nearly out of the stadium itself. It had four legs with the stage underneath so that more people could see what was going on. It was placed nearer the centre of the pitch so the whole stadium could be used. 88,000 people crammed in to see who many consider to be the world's biggest band.
Onto the show itself. They opened with 'Magnificent' and 'No Line on the Horizon' from their 2009 record. But, for me, the show started when they played the single 'Get on Your Boots', when the near capacity crowd rose to their feet at the sound of U2's latest annoyingly catchy tune. Following this, you had the usual suspects including, Beautiful Day, Elevation, Vertigo, One and Sunday Bloody Sunday. The highlight of the night for me was when they played 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For'. I love songs with a bit of crowd participation. Songs like Oasis' 'Don't Look Back in Anger' and 'Karma Police' by Radiohead. But Bono and Co's answer to those songs, I have to say, blew my socks off. The near 90,000 people crammed inside Wembley Stadium were ordered to sing the entire opening verse and did so beautifully, with not one dip in volume or word missed.
Adding to the songs was an unrivaled light show that would confuse any pilot that may have been flying over (and yes, it beat Muse's 2007 effort, i'm not afraid to admit it). Moving bridges to the outer walkway, a screen that expanded and contracted whilst sliding up and down the centre of the stage, there was so much going on. Not only do U2 strut around like they are the biggest band on the planet but they pull out all the stops to prove it and I think they did. After arriving at the stadium with seemingly low expectations, Dave and I left feeling that we had seen one of the greatest shows on offer, the U2 360 tour.
I would recommend seeing U2 to anybody and would also advise you leave any preconceptions at the door.