There were 50,000 through the doors of the Ataturk Olympic Stadium tonight to mark the band's first ever appearance in Turkey and if the anticipation was high, no-one was let down. The Return of the Stingray Guitar set the scene and by the time Beautiful Day led into New Year's Day Istanbul was jumping.
'Great to see ya...' said Bono, taking a breath. 'Have we the spirit to rock this Olympic Stadium? Where are we going? Ankara... Izmira... Antalya... Istanbul?'
Lots of special touches tonight, all the way through the set, from My Sweet Lord in 'Beautiful Day' to John I'm Only Dancing in 'Crazy' and the girl invited onstage for a dance during In A Little While.
'It took us a while to come to your magical city of Istanbul,' explained Bono. 'What is going on in this country is good for the whole world... 'Its a beautiful bridge... 'From the past into the future... 'From where Europe has been to where Europe needs to go... a bridge of understanding...'
The emotion of the night was never more evident than with the first live performance since Chile in 2006 of Mothers of the Disappeared. It was dedicated 'to the memory of Fehmi Tosun - whose family are with us tonight.' Fehmi disappeared in Turkey in 1995, as the band highlighted on the sleeve of 1997's Pop album.
Extraordinarily poignant to hear this song back in the set - 'We hear their heartbeat...' - and at the end Bono asked everyone, 'Would you please welcome Zulfu Livaneli?'
The famous Turkish artist and political activist received a huge reception telling everyone: 'We are the music makers, We are the dreamers, Welome Bono, Welcome friends to Turkey...'
For a moment Zulfu took over the vocals, his guitarist playing Edge's guitar, Bono watching, hand on chest - the whole audience joining in with this remarkable performer.
At the close of With or Without You, Bono thanked the audience for their patience. 'Let's not make it so long before we come back... alright this is moment of surrender.'
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