September 6, 2010 - Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey - U2 Feedback

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Old 09-06-2010, 05:55 PM   #1
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September 6, 2010 - Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey

Please post pictures, reviews and experiences about this show here.

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September 6, 2010 - Ataturk Olympic Stadium - Istanbul, Turkey - Interference.com Photo Gallery (U2 Photos, U2 Concert Photos, Member Photos)
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:14 PM   #2
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I'm sure people will review the show more eloquently that I can. But for a national stadium what a disgrace! 4 mile run up the north face of the Eiger dodging open manholes is no fun. Completley inacessable shathole of a place!
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by KEVIN051269 View Post
I'm sure people will review the show more eloquently that I can. But for a national stadium what a disgrace! 4 mile run up the north face of the Eiger dodging open manholes is no fun. Completley inacessable shathole of a place!
Sorry to hear that Kevin. Sounds I remember months ago looking at Istanbul and thinking it was miles out of the city int he middle of nowhere. Why is there NO public transport?

Hope the show was fantastic and made up for it.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:56 PM   #4
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Yeah, I noticed from the pictures it looked kind of barren. TThe u2log person/people seem to be happy to get back to town alive..

How was the show though?
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:48 PM   #5
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(Please excuse the dotless letter ı,s - Turkısh keyboard, and I´m too lazy to fınd the other i each tıme, and I lıke ıt dotless.)

Kevın´s rıght, the stadıum was ınaccessıble, and stıll a work ın progress, a bıt lıke Turkey´s current apprecıatıon of U2.

I had the prıvılege to get a lıft back the whole way from the stadıum wıth a frıend of a frıend of my couchsurf host here. There were four Turks ın the car, an Amerıcan and me. And ıt was ıncredıbly ınsıghtful to hear them explaın the context of the gıg from a Turkısh perspectıve.

They told me that there ıs an ımmınent natıonal referendum ın Turkey about amendments to the constıtutıon. Apparently the rulıng AKP party are suspected of havıng a hıdden Islamıst agenda (Turkey ıs a secular republıc). They have packaged up a whole raft of controversıal amendments (such as removıng the break between the government and the justıce system, gıvıng polıtıcıans dırect say ın the courts) but have reduced the referendum to a sımple "Yes / No" questıon. The guys and gırls ın the car were passıonately and loudly ın the "No" camp.

Thıs explaıned why there were dozens of people outsıde the stadıum today passıng out hundreds of copıes of a broadsheet-sızed pamphlet wıth a large tıtle sayıng "Hayır" ("No"). (It also made Snow Patrol`s closıng song of "Just Say Yes" unıntentıonally relevant, although my car-share Turkısh companıons were completely unaware of thıs lıttle curıousıty.)

When Bono started hıs speech before ISHFWILF, he began wıth "Thank you, thank you, thank you". "Thank you" ın Turkısh ıs "Tesekkur ederım" whıch was abbrevıated ın the translatıon on the vıdeo screen to "Tsk. Tsk. Tsk." Then, when Bono mentıoned he`d met someone from the government, and had taken a walk across the Bosphorous Brıdge, there was very loud and wıdespread booıng. An ıncredıble "tsk, tsk" from the crowd back to Bono.

It was astonıshıng to hear the crowd boo so vocıferously. The Russıans dıdn´t boo Bono´s praıse for Gorbachev at the Moscow gıg (whom ısn´t very popular ın Russıa accordıng to the Russıans I met). But these Turks are clearly not so easıly charmed by rock star flattery.

Immedıately Bono wısely joked "I better not mentıon any polıtıcıan´s name then. Can I talk about the brıdge? It´s a very nıce brıdge!" Thıs got a huge cheer. He smoothly moved on to less contentıous flattery about Turkey beıng the lınk between Europe and Asıa, the relıgıous and secular, the past and the future.

But ıt was a rather awkward Bono-boot-ın-mouth moment. Ouch!

The other major negatıve was that the stadıum was half-full. My tıckets were for seats ın the top tıer on Adam´s sıde, but the top tıers ın both stands were closed and everyone was gıven new tıckets for lower down. There was also no-one behınd the stage. So when the band walked out, they had to walk past a lot of empty seats to get to the stage. At the end of the show Bono addressed the low tıcket sales by sayıng 50,000 people was more than they had hoped for theır fırst show here. (Beıng an even bıgger cynıcal bastard, ıt also sorta explaıns the mını-performance of Desıre at the aırport.)

The atmosphere dıd suffer where I was cos of the empty seats. People enjoyed themselves and got ınto the show but ıt dıdn´t scale any sustaıned heıghts. Although ıt was a lovely lıttle cultural revelatıon to me to see women ın headscarves boppıng away to Mysterıous Ways and Elevatıon, whılst theır husbands swayed self-conscıously, arms-folded. The atmosphere on the fıeld seemed pretty good though, how was ıt for you Kev?

There were some beautıful performances, and beautıful moments. Mothers Of The Dısappeared was sensatıonal. And the massıve sıngsong led by the Turkısh sınger was fabulous, even ıf ıt dıd render U2 ınto bystanders on theır own stage for fıve mınutes. Both songs were wonderful treats for the hardcore U2 fans who see more than one show. More please!

Other great performances for me were Ultravıolet (the most endurıng ımage of the 360 tour for me ıs Bono dancıng wıth the steerıng wheel mıc held at arms-length, ıt´s rıght up there wıth the sılhouetted Zoo TV Bono as a defınıng ımage), In A Lıttle Whıle (whıch Bono sang wıth hıs head ın the lap of a lucky Turkısh gırl), and Magnıfıcent.

I`d love to see U2 play here to a full stadıum, ıt would be very specıal I reckon.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:09 PM   #6
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Wow, very interesting. Thanks for the report! Sounds like a unique little show.

Sometimes I wonder if Bono's a little tone-deaf when it comes to the political stuff. Yeah, he's gonna do what he's gonna do for the work he does, but maybe he sometimes needs to stop and get an idea of what the climate is like among the citizens before mentioning it in the concert.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:34 PM   #7
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Thanks Cathal
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:08 PM   #8
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Cathal is right if the stadium was full would probably be an amazing concert. Trouble is half the crowd were stuck on the fookin approach road and probably gave up!
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:13 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the interesting reviews. Damn, I wish I went to this show, it sounds like a totally weird one.

Turkey might be on the verge of major upheaval if the Islamists get their way this Sunday, great to hear the crowd booing so passionately. Disagree about the criticism of Bono; he's a guest of not only the fans of some of these countries, but also of the ruling parties. I think he feels obliged to thank the politicians hosting U2, even if the pols are unpopular.

The video of him kissing Medvedev's ass in Sochi last week was sickening to me, but I understand what Bono sometimes has to do.
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:35 AM   #10
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U2 obviously don't have a very big following in Turkey. It's sad to see so many empty seats. However, if it's true that 50 000 people turned up I'd say that's quite an impressive figure, given that it's Ramadan and all. Does that also mean that the stadium is big enough for approx. 100 000 people? U2 should have played a smaller stadium. Nevertheless, sounds like a great show, even if the fanbase still has to be built
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:10 AM   #11
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I'll post my thoughts on the show later, but in short it was a very good show and the audience was excellent. The timing of the show, however, was probably ill-conceived. As mentioned, Ramadan is coming to a close tomorrow and people likely have made travel arrangements for the three-day "festival" / holiday that follows to visit family members around the country and the region.

Second, the FIBA World Championships are occurring simultaneously, and basketball has a huge following in Turkey.

Given these two events, people's budgets were extremely tight and their interests are on other things at the moment. It's not a surprise, as such, to see the stadium not being sold out. I also doubt that the final tally was 50,000; it was probably closer to 40,000 to 45,000, which is still reasonable.
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:02 AM   #12
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Thanks, Cathal, for the insightful review. We can always count on you to bring us a "different" perspective. Lucky for you, your next show is just around the corner and you don't have to worry that this is the only show you have to base your opinion on.

I DO think Bono knows exactly what he's doing. Being the intelligent person he is, he couldn't not know the feeling of the populace (especially the younger crowd) toward their ruling politicians. Bono's very smart. I think he sort of hoped for that response (as I'm sure there were politicians in attendance at the show) and he hoped the crowd would drive home just how displeased they are with the impending referendum. He may have hoped he'd get the response he did. U2 have never shied away from confrontation (maybe it's the Irish way---tell us Cathal) and indeed I think they've welcomed it many times over their career, so this doesn't surprise me at all. He was quick on his feet and got the crowd quickly back in his corner with a good comeback so all was good.

These kinds of things make the concert more memorable I think.

Enjoy your next show!
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:05 AM   #13
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I can't believe people have the nerve to disagree with me.



I kid. Good points - I have to admit there wasn't a lot of thought behind my comment, more of an off-the-cuff reaction to what Cathal said.

But, political shout-outs aside, I do wish he'd stop feeling the need to give shout-outs to whatever mass of celebrities are in the audience at every show. We get it - you know famous people!
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:19 AM   #14
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We were also in Istanbul at the show last night and agree with most of the comments posted so far. We live in Turkey for 6 months of the year and were very interested to see how U2 would go down in Istanbul - a country where YouTube is banned by the way, despite being a 'secular' country!. Our first hurdle was getting there - our plane from Bodrum was delayed by 3 hours so our plans to be there all afternoon were scuppered and once we arrived in Istanbul we were concerned we would even miss Snow Patrol (who were brilliant). We got the light railway 2 stops to Yenibosnia where the public buses were laid on - and that part of it was done very well both there and back with a constant stream of buses in and out. However, the traffic on the road to the stadium was nearly at a standstill and it took ages to get there so although I'm sure 50,000 tickets were sold, I would agree with a previous post that some people would have turned back and others been very late. This would also explain why a huge amount of the crowd started leaving before the end - which as the stadium was only half full anyway was a huge shame - when you're trying to get a good atmosphere going in a huge half empty stadium and then streams of people leave early it is a bit deflating. Getting in the gates was the next hurdle – our queue was so long that people were still streaming in well in to the U2 set and lots of people will have completely missed Snow Patrol. The stadium was a mess - we tripped over bricks and other rubble and spent ages trying to work out how to actually get in. Once we finally got to the right place and slowly inched along in the long queue (in the rain!) we then had to go through security who took our bottles of water and sandwiches off us before letting us in (we were very miffed as we had just bought a huge bag of water and food, but it is probably our own fault for not reading the tickets which did state that you are not allowed to take your own food or drink inside!). . Luckily we got there in time for Snow Patrol and the rain stopped shortly before they came on. We were shocked at the amount of empty stands and seats, but presumed it was due to the traffic jams and long queues, so it was disappointing that by the time U2 came on the stadium was still half empty (but it does have 80,600 seats and that's without calculating the number who can stand on the pitch). Previous posts have already pointed out that the timing was bad for various reasons and also the average wage in Turkey is so low that many people would simply not be able to afford concert tickets, but it does detract from the atmosphere when there is so much empty space. On the plus side, we moved to a closed section and sat on the steps where we had plenty of room to dance and bop around and sing along at the top of our voices which was fun! We were at the far end of the stadium and had a full, unobstructed view of the claw and were absolutely blown away by the lighting and effects - it is breathtaking. However, because of the design of the stadium and it's vastness, there were some sound quality problems and at times Bono sounded like he was on helium! I think the set list was perfect for their first ever time in Turkey - choosing the best known songs made a lot of sense as Turkish fans would recognise them. Bono's short duet with Ömer Zülfü Livaneli was followed by Livaneli taking over the whole show for a while as the crowd really got behind him – it was very moving to hear them all sing, it was a unique moment. Livaneli was a very interesting choice for Bono to invite because apart from being a well known folk singer, he is also a prominent left wing and social-democrat politician and was a Turkish MP for one term..... in an opposing political party to the current ruling AK Party. It would tend to substantiate the previous post which ascertained that Bono knew full well that he would get and adverse reaction when he mentioned the politician which resulted in loud boos (another weird moment at a U2 concert!).... and in view of the fact that the referendum is on Sunday I wouldn't be at all surprised if it were Bono's way of drawing attention to the huge unrest in Turkey at the moment which is caused by mistrust of the pro-Islamic government. As a guest, he can't be seen to openly critisis them.... but I agree that he may well have been playing political chess..... or maybe he really had just mis-judged the crowd and how they would react, who knows! Politics aside, the 360 tour was absolutely amazing and to be there for U2s first ever gig in Turkey was quite special. However, because of the lack of fan base, empty stands, restless audience and the location of the stadium, we would like to go and see the show somewhere else just to experience that tingle when the whole crowd gets behind the band, the stadium is packed and the whole place really buzzes – so hopefully we will get to see them again where they have a well established fan base and a sold out stadium. I've just realised that I've been rambling on for ages so apologies for the length of this – I was only going to make a quick comment agreeing with previous posters, but we are still on such a high from the show that it is nice to find a forum where we can share the experience – most of our Turkish neighbours have never even heard of U2!! (ps one final comment - in the set list they missed out a 'snippet' - towards the end of Vertigo, Bono sang a verse from the Undertones' 'Teenage Kicks'!
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:29 AM   #15
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Thanks for posting your review - really interesting to read the various experiences.
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