On Sunday (October 25), the Irish four piece kicked off their six night residency at London’s O2 Arena with a mammoth two hour set. Proving they still haven’t given up on the mantra ‘more is more’, the iNNOCENCE & eXPEREINCE tour checked-off the U2 live show rulebook in style. Extravagant staging, charitable pep talks and Bono, well, being, Bono. Here are some of the very best moments.
Arriving onstage to the sound of Patti Smith’s ‘People Have The Power’ blaring from the speakers, frontman Bono proved the only way to appease a crowd of screaming fans is to scream right back et ’em.
The extravagant staging is inspired by the ‘Innocence to Experience’ story. A giant runway links two stages. At one end, the square ‘i’ stage, which represents the band’s home. At the other, the round ‘e’ stage which represents the world. A 100ft walk way connects them both and is flanked by giant, semi-transparent LED video screens on both sides.
The Irish four-piece played a mammoth two hour and 20 minute set packed with songs from 2014’s ‘Songs Of Innocence’ plus a host of classic singles. After opening with ‘The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)’ they played early track ‘The Electric Co.’, which saw Bono throw in a snippet of The Who’s ‘I Can See For Miles’ for good measure.
“Thank you for making us feel at home,” Bono cried from inside the caged walk way. Launching into ‘Iris (Hold Me Close)’, which he wrote for his mum, he got emotional. “For the next few songs I want want to take you to our home on the north side of Dublin. My universe went cold the day my mother died at 14. I’ve been trying to fill that hole with music and these three incredible men ever since.”
In an agressive theatrical climax, Bono rips up a series of books and throws the pages, confetti-like, into the crowd. Don’t trust that man with your library card.
Despite a bike accident (2014) that would reportedly stop him from ever playing his guitar again, Bono had a right ol’ knees up. After rocking through tracks from the new album, he took to the piano for a rare outing of ‘Sweetest Thing’, before guitarist The Edge took over and the pair performed ‘Every Breaking Wave’.
The Innocence + Experience Tour opened on 14 May 2015. The band are now on its 40-date European leg of the tour. The first leg in North America grossed $76.2 million (£49.7 million) from 36 sold-out shows.
Closing with a run of hits followed by a short cover of Paul Simon’s ‘Mother and Child Reunion’, Bono thanked the UK audience for their dedication to charity. “I know I can talk too much but there is something I need to say,” he told the crowd. “What you are doing to help people across the world in extreme poverty is amazing. This is a great country.”