Volcano Erupts in London
'Something in you wants to blow...' Another hot night at the O2.
'Volcano, you don't wanna, you don't wanna know.
Something in you wants to blow
You don't wanna, you don't wanna know
You're on a piece of ground above a volcano...'
There's something in the air tonight, and it's not just the spectacular mist swirling up from the Thames to envelope the O2 Arena. Inside, the atmosphere is building powerfully, too. Bono's over-brimming with autumn as he takes the stage: London, he says, looked like a Turner painting today - "incredible painted light". And with that, the band launches into their fifth consecutive London show (first time since the Boy tour - thanks, @u2gigs) with hardly a pause for breath.
The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) cascades into Out of Control, and then it's Vertigo. The O2 warns you not to buy a ticket in the gods if you have a fear of heights, but there's no fear in here tonight. I Will Follow has a few lines of London Calling for the locals, and there's even some David Essex, for those old enough to remember, at the end of an emotional version of Iris: "Hold me close don't let me go...".
He's thinking of "Alison Stewart" as well, tonight, before Song for Someone... "I miss her", he admits. Maybe it's because U2 are edging ever closer to home, but there's a relaxed feel within the intensity. Larry's introduced as a drummer and "so much more", by Bono, who pauses to think: "He hits things," he concludes. Edge even gets a quick shoulder massage from the singer during Streets. And Cassie is pulled from the crowd to film the Meerkat moment - Elevation - though not before she puts in an impressive shift dancing with Bono in Mysterious Ways.
But escapism this is not, and turning to the refugee crisis, Bono asks the audience, "What do you want? A Europe with its heart open, or a Europe with its doors closed to mercy"?
"Open," he continues, "you're open - and that's what makes Britain great."
The O2 was originallly built to celebrate the millennium, and fittingly tonight, both past and future are powerfully part of U2's present mix. Songs which take us back take us forward. Until the End of the World evokes the heady days of Achtung Baby when the Berlin Wall was falling, but it feels so, so right for now. Of the new songs, Volcano makes only its fourth appearance on this leg of the tour - "a song about the rage you feel after grief", Bono tells us.
"That was the most immense arena show I've ever seen" tweeted Neil Storey, a long-time friend of U2 from the Island Records days. "First time I saw them, they played to an audience of 7. Edge broke a string, everyone gathered round as he changed it. Tonight, it was to 17,000 ... but it was just as intimate."
Jimmy Page is in the house, and he's acknowledged during One, while Beautiful Day is for Matthew Freud (it's his birthday). It may now be November, but October seems to capture the spirit perfectly, and before the crowd streams back out into the London mist, Bono returns to his autumn theme. "What a blessing it is to be in your city, on the river, as the leaves change colour. What a blessing it is."
Kingdoms rise, and kingdoms fall, but U2 go on again tonight.
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