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Tuesday 20 August 2019

Heading to U2? Here are 9 things to expect from the 3Arena gigs

U2 live at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Picture by Justin Kernoghan
U2 live at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Picture by Justin Kernoghan
Bono on stage during U2’s concert at the SSE Arena in Belfast

Ed Power

The countdown to U2's first Dublin shows in five years is almost at an end with the group set to take to the 3Arena stage at 8.30 pm tonight. To whet the appetite of those lucky enough to have snagged a ticket for one of their four concerts this week, here are nine things to expect from Bono and chums.

1: There Will Be Lots From The New Album

Fans were divided over Songs Of Innocence, wherein U2 reflected at considerable length on their tearaway adolescence on the northside of Dublin. But indifference towards the record has not troubled U2, whose current setlist is stacked  with tracks from the LP, including The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone), Cedarwood Road and Iris (Hold Me Close), named for the mother who passed when Bono was a teenager.



2: But Plenty of Older Hits Too..

Out Of Control, I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday and The Fly have all featured on the current tour – a reminder that U2 didn't get to be the world's biggest rock brand without recognising the importance of giving the public what it wants.


3: It Will Be An International Affair.

Among the international family of U2 fans, the band's Dublin shows are seen as special events – a homecoming if you will. Thus, tonight's gig promises to be a truly global affair, with devotees flocking to 3Arena from all around the world.


4: There Will Be Songs From The Band's Glory Years…

It is generally agreed that U2 did some of their finest work in the early 90s, embracing irony and post-modernism on the Achtung Baby and Zooropa albums. They are set to reprise some of those moments this evening with Even Better Than The Real Thing, Zooropa and the aforementioned The Fly figuring prominently.


5….And Songs From Less Forgettable Periods.

Can we agree that the Rattle And Hum, Bono-in-a-cowboy hat phase represented U2's nedar? Well, the band don't see it that way as their current setllist includes Desire and the toe-curling Angel of Harlem.


6: Belt Up For A Trip Inside Bono's Psyche.

Much of Songs Of Innocence concerns Bono's struggles to come to terms with the passing of his mother when he was 14.  On the live version of Cedarwood Road for instance, he sings against a backdrop of the Glasnevin suburb where he grew up. For anyone who has ever lost someone close, it promises to be a lump-in-throat moment.


7: There May Be "Audience Interaction".

Always eager to deconstruct the barriers between performer and audience, U2 have  been hauling fans on stage during Elevation, to live-stream the band via mobile phone. It's a selfie moment on steroids and will, in all likelihood, feature again at 3Arena.


8: Yes, They'll Be Doing the "Political" Thing Too.

In London's O2 Arena, October was accompanied images of the strafing of civilian encampments in Syria while Bullet The Blue Sky juxtaposed refugees and Isis training camps. Expect Bono to have a few words about the Paris massacre also.  


9: The Show Will Be Especially Modified For Dublin.

It was impossible for U2 to bring their full Innocence and Experience set to Dublin because of the configuration of 3Arena. So their road-crew have tinkered with the setup, with the result that the performances here will differ from those on the rest of the tour.


U2 spotted out and about - and having some scoops - ahead of Dublin gigs

U2 announce dates for rescheduled Paris concerts 

Fans travel from far and wide to see U2 rock Belfast

U2 Belfast review: An intimate gig - but U2 know just when to raise the roof

U2: The ground beneath their feet

U2 albums: the best to worst

A new line on the horizon: how a slimmed-down U2 tour has wowed cynics and critics 

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