Home Gigs U2 Songs of experience + innocence Belfast SSE Arena 27th October ’18

U2 Songs of experience + innocence Belfast SSE Arena 27th October ’18

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On a cold and wet October night, the trees may be all but stripped bare outside, but inside, a sold out SSE Arena awaits with excitement for U2 to hit the stage. Promoting 2017’s ‘Songs of Experience album, Ireland’s sons have returned to bring their ‘Songs of Experience + Innocence’ tour to Belfast for the first of two sold out nights in the city.

It’s been three years since they last played the city, and armed with a new album plus a back catalogue brimming with hits to choose from, you know you are in for a great show. The atmosphere is electric as the lights go down and the massive screen that runs down through the centre of the stage flickers into life. Silhouettes of the band appear on the screen as, suitably ‘The Blackout’ launches the show.

Having toured ‘The Joshua Tree’, celebrating its 30th anniversary and playing it in full in 2017, there is no songs from the album in the set. This maybe disappoints the more casual fan, but it’s nice to hear a few songs that may not have had an outing in a few years.

On the back of 50 date world tour, U2 are tonight, at the top of their game, and a well-oiled machine. The band is full of energy and seem to be enjoying every second they are on stage.

As the night goes on the band play a section of the show from inside the screen, before moving to the vast production’s other stages. An almost intimate rendition of rarities ‘Stay (Faraway So Close), and ‘Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses’, has the crowd singing every word at the top of their lungs.

The return of Bono’s alter ego Mr. MacPhisto is especially apt, and opinionated character had a few things to say claiming; ”I was there when those devils burned cash for ash” .

The end of the first part of the show is almost like an encore before the encore, with classic hits such as ‘Pride (In The Name of Love)’ & ‘New Year’s Day’, mixed with the more recent vintage of ‘City of Blinding Lights’, closing out the main set.

Never one to shy away from burning issues, returning to the stage, Bono comments, “When the dust settles & the sourness fades weather there is a hard border or soft border or no boarder we need more than ever to trust each other on this small island”, before segueing into a particularly moving ‘One’ where the crowd were nearly louder than the band.

With just over two hours of anthems, singalongs, and plenty of chat from Bono, tonight U2 proved why they still are the biggest band in the world.

Review by Mickie ONeil

Photography Mark Thompson { Taken from the audience } unofficial

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