Our man checks out U2 in Glasgow
TAKING a stroll down an imaginary Cedarwood Road on Dublin’s northside watched by 15,000 people is quite an experience.
For one night only this weekend, I had the thrill of stepping into the Cuban-heeled boots of Bono in Scotland and strutting along the new U2 concert runway with the swagger of a rock ’n’ roll god.
The adrenaline rush of being on a U2 stage, even before the crowd swarms around it, reveals why Bono still lives for the spotlight at the age of 55. Basking in the warm glow of adulation is obviously a drug.
My few seconds of fame came courtesy of Bono, The Edge, Adam and Larry, the world’s undisputed kings of rock.
Fans go wild in Glasgow for U2
U2 had invited the Sunday World backstage at Glasgow’s impressive SSE Hydro arena for a look at their Innocence + Experience show before it hits Ireland.
And Irish fans who were left bitterly disappointed when tickets sold out for this unique U2 show have been given a glimmer of hope this weekend with yesterday’s announcement that a limited number of production tickets have gone on sale for the Belfast shows through Ticketmaster.
There was no high security or fuss around the boys backstage in Glasgow on Friday evening, where we were treated to their hospitality in the Cedarwood Lounge, named after the singer’s home turf in Dublin.
Bono, The Edge, Adam and Larry had arrived in from London by private plane just a couple of hours earlier. Now that the tour is a well-oiled machine, the rockers looked relaxed and are enjoying every moment of it.
Overseeing events backstage was Live Nation’s global touring chief Arthur Fogel, who Bono described as “the most important person in the live music world.”
Canadian-born Fogel, who has managed some of the highest-grossing tours in history, including U2, Madonna, Lady Gaga and The Police, told the Sunday World: “I’m amazed that U2 come at every tour in a different way, but it always ends up being special and so exciting. This show ranks up there with the greatest live performances the band has done.
Our man backstage
“It’s incredible how they’ve re-energised themselves playing together. They certainly look like they’re at the top of their game physically and emotionally.”
The U2 extravaganza ran for two thrilling hours in the Scottish city, but through the magic of music and state-of-the-art technology, we were transported back in time to Bono’s childhood and teenage years growing up on Cedarwood Road, Glasnevin, on the northside of Dublin.
Despite the grand scale, U2 created an intimate concert experience for fans with a walkway that ran through the centre of the arena to a second stage at the back.
The band made full use of the space, performing at various locations on it through the show.
Innocence + Experience would be considered a scaled-down U2 production compared to many of their previous tours, but the megastars still surprise us with a mesmerising wall of visuals on a huge LED screen running through the centre of the arena.
This is where Bono takes a walk along Cedarwood Road from a giant cage suspended from the rafters against a backdrop of the houses animated on screen.
Bono’s mother Iris is also shown in a home video – she passed away when the superstar was only 14.
Before singing the song Iris, Bono said: “I started this journey when my mother died when I was 14. She left me an artist.”
The visuals throughout the show create an intimate experience, to the point where the audience feels they can almost reach out and touch the band.
Bono on top form
Despite a combined age of 218, there wasn’t an oxygen tank in sight at the end.
U2 have been going on rocket fuel for what seems like a hundred years, but on Friday night in Glasgow, their timeless hits and exquisite performance proved they’re still one of the most exciting live acts on the planet.
No wonder Oasis legend Noel Gallagher went to see them five times in London!
U2 play Belfast’s SSE Arena on November 18 & 19, and Dublin’s 3Arena November 23, 24, 27 & 28.