So, it was my birthday on Saturday, and at the start of this year I’d tried to buy a ticket to see U2 in Manchester on their eXPERIENCE + INNOCENCE tour, which fell on the same date, but within seconds of the tickets going on sale, they were already sold out which was really annoying since the only ones then available we being sold at massively inflated prices on secondary ticket sites – and I’d pretty much forgotten about it.
Then, first thing in the morning, I was looking on Twitter and saw a post from the Manchester Evening News linking to an article about the U2 gig later that day. I then remembered that someone had recently told me that with gigs like this, production ticket returns are often released for sale on the day of the gig, so I thought I’d quickly check on the Manchester Arena website, and I was able to buy a ticket at the price they originally went on sale!
I got myself there nice and early and managed to get pretty near to the front, and just a couple of metres away from the central screen/walkway. As with previous two U2 gigs I’ve been to, the show was amazing. The mix of music and visuals was so well done – they had a big video wall down the centre of the arena, which when lit in a certain way revealed a walkway inside it, which also became part of the stage when the screen was raised into the air.
There was also a really cool bit where they went from ‘Get Out Of Your Own Way’ into ‘New Year’s Day’ and they performed in front of a giant EU flag with one of the stars turned into a Union flag with a heart around it, and it was a really powerful moment as Bono made a short passionate speech about Europe and how Brexit could affect the situation in Northern Ireland, and how the rest of Europe does actually love the UK and doesn’t want us to leave. And I’m sure it peed off quite a few Brexit-lovers in the crowd!
And at the end of the show, they dedicated ‘There Is A Light’ to the 22 who died last year at the Arena in the terrorist attack which was cool and pretty poignant, but it felt like people were then expecting some kind of big ending to finish of the encore which was slightly weird.
But all in all, a really enjoyable spontaneous treat!
1. The Blackout
2. Lights of Home
3. I Will Follow
4. All Because Of You
5. Beautiful Day
6. Zoo Station
7. The Fly
8. Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
9. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
12. Even Better Than The Real Thing
14. You’re The Best Thing About Me
15. Summer Of Love
16. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
17. Get Out Of Your Own Way
18. New Year’s Day
19. City Of Blinding Lights
21. Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way
22. 13 (There Is A Light)
And then to wrap up my birthday weekend, I went to see Elis James & John Robins on their book tour at The Lowry last night, and it was really funny! I bought a copy of the book there, and then queued for over an hour and a half to get it signed (I didn’t realise it’d take that long, and you get to a point where you can’t leave because of the time you’ve already waited!)
Luckily, I got chatting to a couple next to me in the queue which made the time go much quicker, and I ended up giving them a lift home, because they live just a couple of miles away from me!