February 13, 2011 - FNB Stadium - Johannesburg - U2 Feedback

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Old 02-13-2011, 04:40 PM   #1
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February 13, 2011 - FNB Stadium - Johannesburg

Please post your experiences, pics and reviews for this show here.

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February 13, 2011 - FNB Stadium - Johannesburg - Interference.com Photo Gallery (U2 Photos, U2 Concert Photos, Member Photos)
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Old 02-14-2011, 03:35 PM   #2
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Bono is Ireland’s most famous African. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Irish people (priests, doctors, nuns, nurses ...) working for charities, hospitals or religious missions all over Africa. If U2 are the musical wing of this Irish-African Volunteer Army, Bono is the undisputed commandante in mischief.

Bono’s love for Africa was sweating from every leather-bound pore last night in Johannesburg. His very first word after arriving onstage was “Africa ...”, like he was tenderly addressing a very dear old friend. And U2 seemed to be very excited to be back onstage, and back in South Africa; but then it is very easy to feel very excited to be here.

During the weekend I’d had fairly depressing conversations about prospects for Africa’s development with some non-Africans who have lived here for years. They were cynical and pessimistic. It’s so easy to knock him for it, and my new acquaintances did, but I still found Bono’s radiant positivity about Africa captivating and inspirational. Perhaps naive, ignorant optimism is just easier for me to wear.

The stadium lights dimmed, and U2 walked to the stage to a remix of Get On Your Boots with an African twist. I was momentarily excited about the possibility of new year, new tour leg, new opening song. But no. Although I wasn’t actually “disappointed” as such when I heard the first chimes of Beautiful Day as the show starter, Stingray Guitar is a more engaging and fun opener. I’d led my Joburg host and all his chums into the pit (just fifteen minutes before U2 came on), so I also missed Bono’s and Edge’s prances around the outer stage for them to go all star-struck ga-ga from the start.

The major highlights of the show were the frequent African or Mandela moments. Hugh Masekela, a famous South African trumpet player joined U2 during I Still Haven’t Found for a lovely surprise jam. One of my new mates told me that he’s quite a political musician, I guess in the same vein as the guys that U2 brought onstage in Moscow and Istanbul. Towards the end of the song Bono jiggled his fingers like he was playing an air trumpet to indicate to Hugh that the stage was all his. So Hugh went off on a very tasty trumpet solo.

I had my first bit of tingly goosebumpery during Pride when Bono changed the lyrics to be about February 1990 and Mandela being free at last. Bono walked out onto the bridge near us during the song to peer up at a video on the screen of a Mandela speech about building a non-racial South Africa. My chills were multiplying logarithmically. It was yet another of those very special, very beautiful U2 time-and-place moments.

There were many other African-themes throughout the show. Bono’s little “Where we going?” geography lesson at the start of Magnificent went continental to include Cairo, Dar es Salaam and Accra. There was footage of the protests in Cairo (or perhaps Tunisia) during Miss Sarajevo, and again during Sunday Bloody Sunday, when the Claw was bathed in an Egyptian red and not the Iranian green used last year. (I wonder if the text on the screen has changed from Farsi to Arabic.) The African flags montage from Vertigo tour was brought back for the start of Streets, which caused another lovely burst of tingly goosebumpism.

Bono charmed the audience that South Africa felt like the future. He said that The Edge was from the future and asked Edge what it’s like. “It’s better” Edge was pleased to wittily report. Adam complimented South Africans for being beautiful people (after he, cough, met a girl at the airport), Larry said playing in front of 100,000 people felt better than winning the World Cup. (He could have said that in the Stade de France!)

I’d been curious to see what the ethnic balance of the crowd would be. This is obviously a complete licked-finger-in-the-air guesstimate but I’d say perhaps 5% were Asian, and 3% were black. (One curious aspect of this was that it was difficult to see the stamp, which fans received on leaving the pit, on black skin. I saw a few black fans get stopped for a closer stamp inspection when they tried to re-enter the pit during the show.)

It had been a long day of slow boozing around Joburg. My loo-stop song was In A Little While (so I don’t know if Bono brought a girl onstage). I ducked into an empty seat in the expensive seat section close to the stage on my way back down the steps through the stand, and I stayed there until Hold Me Thrill Me. I liked getting an additional perspective of the whole gig. The atmosphere in the stadium was fantastic, especially during all the big singles, with slight lulls during the less well known songs. One lovely moment was when the whole stadium became silently entranced during the luscious screen-expanding segue between Miss Sarajevo and City of Blinding Lights.

I looked around and all the people in this section were white. I did hear one person behind me give a short but loud boo when Tutu first appeared on the video screen during the encore. The crowd all watched in complete silence for his speech. Nobody cheered when he mentioned people fighting against apartheid in South Africa, although there were a few isolated cheers when he mentioned the people who worked for peace in Ireland. After the show one of the South African guys in our group told me that he had no idea that Tutu was such an electrifying speaker, as he’d never heard him speak before.

There were no major opening-night flubs, apart from a few duff notes from Edge during Miss Sarajevo and Crazy Tonight. Although Larry did look amused when the steering wheel mic seemed to swing close to his head during Hold Me Thrill Me. A missed opportunity, ‘drummer smacked in face with microphone’ would have been legendary.

I love to see the reactions of people whose first 360 show it was, especially self-confessed non-U2 fans. Two of our group (who had received free tickets) confessed to me after that they’d been a bit cynical about U2 before the show, but had been absolutely blown away by the gig. One guy works for EMI Records in London and told me that he’s completely gone off U2 since ATYCLB. He said it was the best U2 concert he’d seen out of twenty, going back to The Unforgettable Fire tour. Another guy raved about it after, saying it may have been his favourite concert ever. A few more doubters had been won over. And everyone else seemed quite ecstatic afterwards too.

So, a safe 2010 re-run setlist, but still a great performance and an electrifying concert. U2 grab historic victory in Soccer City!
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:35 PM   #3
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Thanks, Cathal!! I had been eagerly waiting for your review.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:18 PM   #4
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i cant believe out of 100k in attendance only 1 person wrote a review. This and the lack of videos we are getting from this show...strange.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:45 PM   #5
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Maybe we found the one audience on the planet who was not interested in documenting every second of their existence on their cell phones.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:57 PM   #6
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:01 PM   #7
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Which I say, of course, fully respecting U2gigs and the other sites for consistently giving us great videos and all that.
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:57 PM   #8
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Theres a great megameal picture of the entire JoBurg crowd on u2.com, which I had a brief look at earlier, but it seems to have stopped working now

 
First person to reply 'I'm not surprised' wins a keyring.
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:32 PM   #9
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im not surprised
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:08 PM   #10
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:49 PM   #11
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where's my keyring?
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:39 AM   #12
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Did any of you get the Red Zone - Thank U - photo of the stadium post show? I try to collect those shots from all stadium of u2 360 tour here is what i got:

Picasa Web Albums - Zbych Zalewski - U2 360 Tour, ...

Johannesburg is missing
please help
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