'Aotearoa right in front of you'
Some show tonight in Auckland, New Zealand from the lyrically remade Beautiful Day to a moving One Tree Hill and a soaring Kite.
Bono came on stage wearing a jacket with 'The Warriors' on it, in tribute to the rugby league team that call this stadium home. And even though the weather had been a little damp ('It's slippery up here, very slippery.' he observed as Vertigo kicked in. 'Could be interesting.') the rain held off, the Kiwi audience were as loud as any on the tour and after the flood, right on cue, all the colours came out. Why not - when on of the band's signature tunes is rewritten in homage to your country.
'See the world in Green and Blue
Aotearoa right in front of you
See the land of the long white cloud
Cape Reinga, to the fjords in the south
Harbour lights in the City of Sails
Aroha, the love that never fails
See the bird with the leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colours came out.'
A nod to New Zealand's pop music heritage came in Elevation when Bono slipped in a snatch of Crowded House's 'Four Seasons in One Day' but the warmest tribute came with the arrival of One Tree Hill, all the way from 1987, a song written in memory of the band's late friend Greg Caroll - a New Zealander who worked with them for many years in Dublin. Always a bit special to hear this performed live.
'We spent some time here,' explained Bono. When our friend was lost. Went to his tangi... such an important and moving ocassion.'
Orange, green and white balloons were everywhere during 'Streets' which even seemed to catch the breath of the band.
'This is too much,' said Bono as the song came to close, 'Too much for four Irish boys.
What I humbly ask you to do this is think about texting (to) make poverty history
That would be a great Christmas present
We have the pharmeceuticals
We have the resources to say no to extreme poverty...'
A beautiful young girl emerged from the audience to dance in With or Without You and at the end Bono thanked everyone for 'giving us a large life... we'll try to live it as large as we can.'
Maybe it was destined to be a great night, a return to this city and country for the first time since December 1993 - thirteen years ago. Whatever the reason, it was a night to remember as Bono and Edge played Angel of Harlem on the b-stage and we all left singing,
'Who's to say where the wind will take you
Who's to know what it is will break you
I don't know where the wind will blow
Who's to know when the time has come around
I don't wanna see you cry
I know that this is not goodbye...'