August 9, 2009 Maksimir Stadium, Zagreb, Croatia - U2 Feedback

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Old 08-09-2009, 04:21 PM   #1
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August 9, 2009 Maksimir Stadium, Zagreb, Croatia

Please post your pics, reviews, and experiences for this show here.
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:06 AM   #2
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I'd really been looking forward to the Zagreb shows as I had a wee theory that the audiences would be some of the most up-for-it on the whole tour as it's U2's first time in Croatia, and there'd be big U2-heads travelling here from all the neighbouring countries.

Maybe it was because last night was the "second" night here but it took a while for the place to warm up and get going. And it didn't quite go off as well as I thought it would.

I met Interference's Kevin051269 and his chilled mates for a few beers in central Zagreb in the afternoon. His two mates are only going to tonight's show so Kev and I took a cab down to Makismir, well as close as we could due to the police roadblocks.

We got through the fairly overzealous security just for the start of Breathe. My security bloke had a wee notion to check with his supervisor about whether the five books I was carrying were allowed in, and the spare batteries for my camera - "you might throw them", "yeah but I might throw my phone, my coins, my shoes, an over-ketchupped hotdog, small children, who knows!"

I love Breathe as a song, and I love the phased introduction of each band member to the concert but I don't think it's a great concert opener. It just doesn't engage the full stadium from the very off like Vertigo or Elevation did on previous tours. NLOTH didn't really rally the whole crowd either. The big "Oooooooh! Oh-oh oh-oh-oh!" fist-pumping bit in the middle has got a huge audience response in more English language savvy places like Berlin, Amsterdam, Gothenburg and (ahem) Dublin, but not so much in Chorzow and Zagreb. I wonder how you say "Ooooooh!" in Polish and Croatian

Kevin and I were in the seats at the far end of the stadium from the stage. Bizarrely, the seating was unallocated, so it was a free-for-all to find a seat. And because people had to enter from the top and back of the stand it was impossible to spot two empty seats. So we forced our way down the stairs and ended up standing on them instead of going to seats.

I didn't see any flash mob with balloons, but I may have missed it. I didn't notice anybody giving out balloons before, or even any posters around the stadium about it. Maybe it'll work better tonight.

Anyway, some random observations of the show:

- One was excellent, Bono called for the Milky Way effect during the song instead of at the start, and I really liked the heightened power and emotion from having the song come from a darkened stage and the extra singing from the crowd

- there were a few changes to the visuals from other shows, it's good these are still evolving. The "Let Me In The Sound" text wasn't flashed on the screen during Boots. The running buffalo is back during One. The start of SBS had the image of Bono kneeling live on stage shrunk quickly down and merged into the pupil of the eye of the protestor's face from Iran on the screen. I'm sure there were others, these are just the ones I noticed and remember.

- Edge has had a bit of a clanger week, probably too much birthday champagne. Another two last night. He missed the openers for both Pride and UV. But he recovered immediately - and, really, I'm sure very, very few people noticed at all. And no-one cared.

- Almost every single time that Adam appears on the screen he's got a huge smile on his face. Love it!

- Larry controls when a song ends. He does that little drum roll thing to tell them, "right, that's done, we're movin on". But he does it too soon in some songs for me, like during the anarchic thrash around bit at the end of UTEOTW, and also in WoWY. Let Bono sing about stars shining in the night please Larry!

- Bono's voice continues to amaze. Especially on MoS. It's my favourite song of the tour and last night his voice was sensational. But I can't help thinking the song should be moved into the middle of the gig where Bad used to be for example. It's not their best song to end a show, as many people don't know it (or UV) and I think the concert sorta fizzles out for them after the collective choir of WoWY.

- Bono is becoming more multilingual. He said a few lines in Croatian at a couple of points during the show.

- One for the boys: the girls in Zagreb are drop-dead, double and treble-take stunning. The best tourist attraction there is

Overall it was a great gig, a bit of a slow boil but they got there in the end as they always do.

I'd love to find out if Miss Sarajevo would be a politically acceptable song in Zagreb. I've genuinely no idea. Would the Croatians take to a song about Bosnia? The war was only fifteen years ago, but the Balkan states seem to be all best buddies these days if their blatant block-voting during the Eurovision Song Contest is anything to go by

I think I'll make some discreet enquiries today ...
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:09 AM   #3
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I'd love to find out if Miss Sarajevo would be a politically acceptable song in Zagreb. I've genuinely no idea.
Of course it would. It would generate an immense reaction.

Anyway, my impressions were that it was a great concert, but in light of today's date I'm pretty sure it will be an even wilder crowd, since most of the fanatics acquired firstly tickets for the second concert.

A couple of rows back in the pit, didn't have any trouble with getting in (or out) and I arrived relatively late (about 3 pm). It was pretty cozy in there, not too many people, although the crowd reaction was very mixed. Elevation generated the biggest reactions, along with Pride and Sunday Bloody Sunday. I was surprised at how mild some were during songs like Until the End of the World or even City of Blinding Lights.

Performance-wise, besides some technical issues (the beginning of Ultra Violet), the boys were in very good form. Don't know if this is routine, but Edge running happily on the outer stage during Streets was a great sight. We sang Happy Birthday 2 times, once spontaneously sung by the pit before Stay, second time while Bono was opening champagne after Streets. A cracking version of Until the End of the World, along with Ultra Violet and Unforgettable Fire were the obvious highlights, but the biggest euphoria and energy was for me quite unexpectedly during the first 4 songs. Moment of Surrender worked out fine as the closer, first half of the show was far better than the second one in terms of band interacting with the crowd and song choice IMO (Ultra Violet being the biggest exception).

I'm leaving now for what it will be an even better night. See ya!
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:13 AM   #4
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Of course it would. It would generate an immense reaction.
Excellent, pardon my ignorance please! It would be sooooo amazing if they play it tonight ... Come on boys!
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:54 AM   #5
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- One for the boys: the girls in Zagreb are drop-dead, double and treble-take stunning. The best tourist attraction there is



I'd love to find out if Miss Sarajevo would be a politically acceptable song in Zagreb. I've genuinely no idea. Would the Croatians take to a song about Bosnia? The war was only fifteen years ago, but the Balkan states seem to be all best buddies these days if their blatant block-voting during the Eurovision Song Contest is anything to go by
girls were always the biggest reason why people are coming to our seaside in such big number. At least I think so. Whenever come back from abroad I'm amazed with our girls....simply beautifull

and we would love to hear Ms. Sarajevo...everyone in Croatia is expecting them to play it....as it was not Croats who had besieged Sarajevo

And I would agree with your review - I expected more from crowd in my hometown. But it seems that we are better when some cult band is playing in a club. Stadim means that there are too many casual fans wha are not botherd to sing or clap.... I hope that tonight will be better...

oh, by the way - this was my second gig this year, first being Barcelona I - this was much much better, but I still feel that this 360 is missing something extra. It is a great show, great performance, but I'm used with U2 to get something more, sometheing that would transfere me somewhere else and this is a second time that they failed me. And I didn't miss a tour since '93
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:27 PM   #6
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cathal, I love your reviews! keep them coming!
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:38 PM   #7
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Awesome review
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:25 AM   #8
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girls were always the biggest reason why people are coming to our seaside in such big number. At least I think so. Whenever come back from abroad I'm amazed with our girls....simply beautifull

and we would love to hear Ms. Sarajevo...everyone in Croatia is expecting them to play it....as it was not Croats who had besieged Sarajevo
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:56 AM   #9
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I was among the many Bulgarians to visit the first Zagreb show! We jumped, danced, screamed, sang and smiled all the time and most of us were expecting a hotter audience too. I personally had the chance to be also at the first show in Milano and the Italians were waaay more into the songs... But indeed Zagreb is a marvellous town and the people are so beautiful! The same goes for the most of the Balkans, by the way
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Old 08-12-2009, 02:09 PM   #10
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I also thought crowd anticipation was MUCH better for show 2, maybe because the show on 10 August was the show originally scheduled as first show in Zagreb. The flashmob with the balloons was also very cool. Show I was great nevertheless, in terms of the show and set, I'd say it was the better show. However, I agree about many people in the audience not singing or maybe not knowing many of the songs/lyrics. Milan will never be surpassed, but that's just my personal opinion
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:51 PM   #11
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I only took pictures on night 1:











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Old 08-13-2009, 01:53 PM   #12
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:54 PM   #13
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:56 PM   #14
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:59 PM   #15
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