The venue is a mosquito-riddled outdoor bowl that once showcased Nazi muscle during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, writes Stuart Bailie of the BBC. Tonight of course, there's a different kind of power play, as Bono makes a starling case for all that is inspiring, giddy and great.
Succoured in America, the Elevation tour is now doing the business across Europe, aiming to keep things intimate and soulfully simple. Tonight is a rare occasion when the action happens under the stars, and it takes a while for the mood to settle, for Bono's personable energy to enliven the joint. He gets there, sure enough, and by the time the coolest moon rises over the rim of the venue, we're party to another expansive communion of hearts and hopes.
The songs from the new album 'All That You Can't Leave Behind' have grown a lot over the last few months. 'Kite' has matured the most, as the singer hunts for precious content in difficult times. And there's the ghostly import of 'Stuck In A Moment', in which Bono argues with the soul of Michael Hutchence, willing him to accept those better possibilities.
It's an urgent tour, based on the idea that the flesh decays and time hurtles past. 'In A Little While', a song that was originally written about a hangover, has now come to define the last days of Joey Ramone. So it's fitting that Bono should pull a girl out from the crowd who's wearing a Ramones T-shirt. He's slow-dancing with her around the heart-shaped rim of the stage, pulling her close when she starts to wave at her mates, willing it to be special.
'Stay', a decent enough tune from the 'Zooropa' record, is now another giant tour song, relayed with an acoustic guitar and revving the crowd with the mention of "London, Belfast and Berlin". Again, it fits with the theme, and there's a likelihood that the entire show will be upbeat, consensual and bright.