28 June 2005
'Beautiful Dublin, Summers Coming'
What a great show to finish a three-night stand in their home town.
From the opening Mexican waves, aided and abetted by Stage Manager Rocco Reedy, to the surprise finale (when lots of people had already turned to leave), this was a night that will be remembered for a long time.
Come to think of it, if you were the little girl plucked from the crowd during Electric Co, you'll probably remember it for ever.
'What's your name?' asked Bono of his new friend in white hat and green Vertigo t-shirt. 'My name's Paul but people call me Bono...you're beautiful!'
And with a kiss Bono takes her hat, returning it as the band strike up Beautiful Day - a beautiful version in a beautiful city on a beautiful night. 'Beautiful Dublin, Summers coming.'
How do you follow that ? How do you follow three nights playing to a quarter of a million people - that's one in 16 of the entire population of the country - even Bono isn't sure.
'It's hard to know,' he muses. 'What else you can possibly ask for over the last three nights? We do a job as a band.
We don't feel it' s done. We have some unfinished business...'
Actually, life itself is unfinished business, which is a pretty good cue for 82,000 people to join in with I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. As his home town sing the song for him, Bono strolls out onto one of the b-stages while Edge and Adam change instruments in preparation for a song that has rarely appeared on the tour to date - but always won a rapturous reception. Bono, seemingly overwhelmed at the massed choirs of Croke, introduces it: 'This next song is about patience, it's a beautiful song - Original of the Species - for the ones you leave behind. Original of the Species.'
And suddenly the spirits of Ewan McColl and Shane MacGowan are with us.
'Dreamed a dream
I kissed my girl
By the factory wall
Dirty old town
Dirty old town...
'Croke Park we're gonna show you what we think of you
For Shane McGowan
Guess we're the lucky ones..'
An ecstatic version of Bad gives way to City of Blinding Lights ( 'Blinding lights brings on the night') with Bono showing some love to the Cusack Stand to an ovation of applause before Christopher Nolan receives a moving dedication at the beginning of Miracle Drug.
Huge anticipation as Larry heads to his floor drum at the tip of one b-stage and Adam saunters down the parallel track. This can only mean one thing, Love and Peace or Else. And if Sunday Bloody Sunday needed any additional atmospherics, it was all in the location and it was all here tonight.
'How long, How long... Eighty years ago in this stadium, a grave injustice, Sunday bloody Sunday, a grave injustice. And because of what has come after that time, our kids will grow up in a different Ireland where we can forget about bloody Sundays.'
Hard to describe the response to this, the stadium shaking as one in response. 'Coexist, enough of these bloody Sundays, say no more, no more... sing for the last night in Croke Park.'
And sing we do, before Aung San Suu Kyi is again feted, in the week of her sixtieth birthday, still under house arrest.
'Freely elected leader of Burma, great leader of human rights, lets sing to her tonight.'
During Streets, Bono sings to Adam, way down the b-stage, with Bono taking a flag and bringing it up on stage - 'Make Poverty History'.
Maybe this next weekend with Live8 and in the following days with the G8 meetings, the world will take a big step in that direction. It's all still to play for, says the singer.
'These decisions are made at the last minute
So still need everyone to get involved..'
And it's time to 'make Croke park into a Christmas tree' as the two boys holding high their Make Poverty History http://www.makepovertyhistory.org/ sign remain on stage to underline the moment.
Most nights the sound of the second rendition of Vertigo has been the signal that the show is about to come to a close but tonight, even as many people are heading for the exits to avoid the crush, the band return to the stage with a dedication to friends and family, management, Paul McGuinness, crew and the 'wonderful Sharon Blankson'. And there's still time for Yahweh and 40. What a benediction! What a night!