Wednesday, 26 January 2011

79, 80 U2, Hurrah, London Wembley Arena and Birmingham NEC, Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd June 1987

A couple of arena gigs from U2, on the back of their most successful LP yet in "The Joshua Tree", which combines their anthemic rock with almost folky, country-esque softer moments, and has finally seen them crack it big time. This double-header was the first and second of 4 U2 gigs over 12 days. Stadiums later, arenas first...

Headed off to Wembley - a former aircraft hanger, surely! - in time to catch competent support Hurrah play pleasant pop to a complacent crowd.

U2, however, were a cut above; in fact a cut above pretty much every other band around when viewed in the "live" environment. The set consisted of old faves "I Will Follow", "MLK", "The Unforgettable Fire" (introduced by Bono with, "some fires you can't put out..."), an acoustic "Sunday Bloody Sunday", "Pride", a wonderful soaring "Gloria" and singalong closer "40", punctuated with new numbers from "The Joshua Tree".

U2 also covered Ewan McColls "Springhill Mining Disaster", Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" (transformed into a party political broadcast for the anti-Thatcher party), and Eddie Cochran's "C'Mon Everybody". A brilliant set.

We also bumped into a couple of luminaries around the venue; met Lloyd Cole and apologised for being so rude to him when we met at the Marquee at Del Amitri's recent gig! Also met Pete Wylie, who perched on a bar and held court for 10 minutes; just as I'd imagined him!

The following night was not so notable; drove up and grabbed something to eat before their show (marvellously sickly mushy peas!) at this similarly large indoor auditorium.

Missed Hurrah this time, but U2 were again exemplary, including in tonight's set Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" and Dylan's "Knocking On Heaven's Door", jamming with various members of the audience! Bono lost his voice slightly during "Pride" so cut the encores to 2, but still another great show.

More was to follow, at Wembley Stadium the following weekend...

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