30 June 2009
'Come in Barcelona'
Arriving on stage at Camp Nou at just gone 10pm local time, the band played 22 songs over two hours and twenty minutes , eliciting an extraordinary reception from passionate Spanish fans. Take a look at this clip to follow the band on the walk to the stage or scroll down for the rest of the show report.
As well as seven songs from No Line on the Horizon, the band soared through the catalogue returning to many classic tracks that have been missing from the set on recent tours.
Check the set list.
The groundbreaking new stage production, designed by Willie Williams and Mark Fisher, was the first thing to hit the audience as they arrived at the venue - its four huge legs stretching across the hallowed home of Barcelona FC and suspending a giant spherical screen delivering crystal clear 360 vision throughout the huge stadium.
'This has been our neighbourhood for the last couple of weeks,' explained Bono, taking a breath after four opening songs from No Line. 'This is where we wanted to build our space station...'
The space station soon made contact with another one, when began speaking to Bono to the astronauts orbiting planet earth on the International Space Station. They immediately appeared live on the screens. 'Very nice to hear you,' said one astronaut as the microphone floated around the cabin.
'Commander, can you see Barcelona?' asked Bono.
'Right now the most beautiful sight in our cosmos is the blue planet earth,' came the reply.
Larry, Adam and Edge joined in the conversations with the space travellers, each of whom held out a sheet of paper, creating the phrase 'The Future Needs A Big Kiss' .
Larry wanted to know if the earth was really round. 'Actually, that's classified...' came the reply.
'Escape yourself and gravity' goes Unknown Caller, and considering this was its live debut it sounded like a classic set to stay in the set for years. Pretty cool hearing an entire stadium chanting, 'Restart and re-boot yourself.' If it was a surprise to hear Unforgettable Fire, title track of an album released in 1984, it sounded majestic - of the 22 tracks the band performed we counted selections from eight different albums.
Another striking moment was when Bono dedicated 'Walk On' to Aung San Suu Kyi, democratically elected leader of Burma in 1990 but under house arrest for most of the years since. As the electronic screens weaved lower and elongated spectacularly over the stage, huge images of Aung San Suu Kyi appeared as dozens of people began walking slowly along the external stage runway, each holding up her mask. 'Let her face be your face.' said Bono, as people around the stadium began put out their own masks.
Apart from a stumble during One, the band sounded looked pretty happy to be back on stage and back amongst their audience - Adam and Edge regularly crossed the elegant arched bridges spanning the inner stage and outer runway, reaching out to different parts of the audience. It feels as though the new production will do what it was commissioned to and turn a stadium into a club.
As Larry puts it in the tour programme, 'U2 is most at home when we're playing live. This is the place where our songs live.'
Ok, we haven't mentioned Antoni Gaudi, Michael Jackson or Archbishop Desmond Tutu - who made a spellbinding speech from the screens before 'Streets' - but there's another show on Thursday and that's all we've got time to say for now about a great opening night. We'll be adding more content in the coming hours - meantime, if you were at the show, don't forget to post your photos and videos.