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Kings of the castle claim their throne after 20 years reports Niamh Hooper of the Irish Independent.

WITH the sun shining, U2 strode on stage at 8.30pm and launched into Elevation.

"Jesus, this is beautiful," Bono said looking out over the crowd, stopping to drink in the view before playing their Grammy award winner Beautiful Day.

"Thanks for coming out. I want to thank the sun for shining, I want to thank God for taking my old man away from his sickness and tired old body and giving him a new one, and I want to thank you for your patience - it's taken us 20 years to get to this moment."

We knew we were in for a good one.

"This is a song I thought I wrote for my kids but now I feel this is a song my old man wrote for me and my brother," before playing Kite.

Throughout the two-hour, 10 minute show, anthems such as New Year's Day, I Will Follow, Pride, Desire, Bad, 40 and Sunday Bloody Sunday were played along side many tracks from their most recent album All That You Can't Leave Behind.

Standing together at the point of the heart-shaped ramps, the band performed In A Little While.

Bono then introduced us to the band, as if we needed one: "Edge in the No 7 shirt, Larry, the man who started the band and on a daily basis may finish it and Adam, the poshest member of the band, a man made for a castle."

The U2/Slane connection has many levels, as well as being on the first lineup in 1981, they recorded The Unforgettable Fire there in 1984 and Adam is godfather to Lord Henry Mountcharles' daughter, Tamara.

"When we started off it was unimaginable we would be headlining Slane. We played on stage with Thin Lizzy and we were crap, really crap," Bono laughed before the four of them paid homage to Phil Lynott with a snippet of Dancing in the Moonlight.

And predictably, as is his trademark, he plucked a girl from the crowd and danced with her and sang She Moves in Mysterious Ways.

In the absence of big lemons, a wall of TV screens or calls to the Kremlin from on stage, the main theatrics of the Elevation Tour were kept for Where The Streets Have No Name.

The stage was lit by blocks of red light as the song's gentle momentum built but as the heavy guitar riffs kicked, a wall of stadium white lights blinded us, illuminating the hill where thousands watched.

Equally Bullet the Blue Sky exploded on stage as violent images flashed up on the big screens. The always beautiful With or Without You then followed.

Introducing One, he said: "I want to thank my father for the voice I speak to you with, the voice I'm singing with. My father will always be with me and my children as life goes on."

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