09 April 2011
'Tonight is Saturday in Sao Paulo...'
'Trem das Onze', a samba composition by Adoniran Barbosa, was playing ahead of the band's arrival on stage tonight. It's one of the most famous of all Brazilian songs but when it gave way to 'Space Oddity' finally Brazil knew that U2 were heading to the stage and before we knew it we were all caught up in 'Even Better Than The Real Thing'.
'Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo...' Bono sang, the whole stadium grateful that there was no rain coming down as the first of three shows here got underway. 'Even Better', already in contention for the best opening track of the tour to date, led into I Will Follow and then 'Boots, two tracks written thirty years apart but you'd never know it from the reaction of this super-passionate audience. Phenomenal sound from all around.
We've had some mixed weather in Sao Paulo today but it was dry as the first of three shows in this city got underway, with spectacular shards of lightning in the sky illuminating a helicopter buzzing over the stadium.
'Wow! Thank you. Obrigado.' said Bono. 'Tonight is Saturday in Sao Paulo...'
Introductions to the band took a pizza twist with Bono describing himself as the pepperoni pizza, Adam as the banana pizza and Larry... 'No cheese, no tomato, no pastry, no pizza - we call him the good looking pizza. Larry Mullen on drums.'
An acoustic version of Stuck In A Moment made its way back into the set tonight, dedicated to Julian Lennon to whom the band led a rendition of Happy Birthday.
'We'd like to sing this song for a friend of ours, Julian Lennon... here's a song about friendship.'
With a stadium of Brazilians singing along word for word, it was a little bit spine-tingling, as was the poetry read by a young woman who made her way into the spotlight before Beautiful Day.
'We're so proud to be friends of Brazil,' said Bono, as, a beautiful night coming to a close, he paused to pay tribute to the people of this country and to President Dilma Rousseff. 'We salute you, we salute her.'
And then an incredibly touching moment with Moment of Surrender going out to those who lost their lives in the shooting at Tasso da Silveira school in Rio di Janeiro on Thursday.
' This has been a difficult time for Brazil... and what happened in Tasso da Silveira.
'We'd like to dedicate this to the children and the mothers and their families and the teachers and the people of Brazil.'
And as Moment of Surrender offered its beautiful benediction, the names of the children who lost their lives illuminated the giant screens around the stage. Unforgettable.
Were you at the opening show in Sao Paulo tonight? What was the moment you got stuck in, the moment you'll never surrender? Add your own reviews and post your photos on our tour page