Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
I was so excited about this event for three reasons: firstly because I’d been in Wembley Stadium for Live Aid, secondly to see The Who, and thirdly and most of all to see Pink Floyd again. We (me, Marie, David and Laura) all went, staying the weekend in London. I’d managed to get tickets for the Gold Circle which took us right down the front, next to the stage, so we had an excellent view of the entire day’s proceedings.
Bob Geldof opened the proceedings, followed by Paul McCartney with U2 performing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (It was 20 years ago today! Wonderful). Then U2 performed “Beautiful Day” (with a verse of the Beatles’ “Blackbird”), “Vertigo”, “One” (including a segment from “Unchained Melody”). Coldplay were next up and played “In My Place” with a section from “Rockin’ All Over the World” (cheeky; Quo should have been on stage performing this, but weren’t invited although they of course opened Live Aid), “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (joined by Richard Ashcroft), and “Fix You”. David Walliams and Matt Lucas then came on stage in the role of their Little Britain characters Lou and Andy and introduced Elton John who played “The Bitch Is Back”, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”, and “Children of the Revolution” (with guest Pete Doherty). Bill Gates was then next up on stage to introduce Dido who sang “White Flag” and “Thank You” and “7 Seconds”with Youssou N’Dour.
Stereophonics were followed by REM who were introduced by Ricky Gervais. R.E.M. performed “Imitation of Life”, “Everybody Hurts”, and “Man on the Moon”. Then Kofi Annan introduced Ms. Dynamite who was followed by Keane and Travis. Bob Geldof joined Travis to sing “I Don’t Like Mondays”. Brad Pitt was next on stage to introduce Annie Lennox, then came UB40, Snoop Dogg and Razorlight.
Bob Geldof then introduced 24-year-old Birhan Woldu, the starving Ethiopian child whose image was so powerful in the video shown at Live Aid. Madonna took to the stage, embraced Birhan and held hands with her as she sang “Like a Prayer”.
Madonna was followed by Snow Patrol, The Killers, Joss Stone, Scissor Sisters, and Velvet Revolver (good but a bit out of place at this event). Then Lenny Henry presented Sting who sang the same songs as he performed at Live Aid: “Message in a Bottle”, “Driven To Tears”, and “Every Breath You Take”. Next Dawn French introduced Mariah Carey who was amazing, and David Beckham presented “his friend” Robbie Williams who got the crowd really going with “We Will Rock You”, “Let Me Entertain You”, “Feel”, and “Angels”. Peter Kay sauntered onto the stage and couldn’t resist singing “Is This the Way to Amarillo”.
Now we were moving to the legends; the bands that I had really come to see. The Who played “Who Are You”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. They were followed by an event which I never thought I would see, the reunion of Pink Floyd and a breath-taking performance of “Speak to Me”/”Breathe”, “Money”, “Wish You Were Here” (real lump in the thrat moment and closed with “Comfortably Numb”. It was left to Paul McCartney to close the show with “Get Back”, “Drive My Car” (with George Michael), “Helter Skelter”, and “The Long and Winding Road”. He finished with “Hey Jude’ to which everyone sang along, and which seemed to go on for ever. We left Hyde Park as the crowd continued to sing “Na Na Na NaNa Na Na….”). The show was originally scheduled to close at 9.30pm, but seriously overran and went on until just after midnight.
The Floyd reunion was, of course, the real highlight for me. Gilmour announced the reunion less than a month before the gig, on 12 June 2005: “ Like most people I want to do everything I can to persuade the G8 leaders to make huge commitments to the relief of poverty and increased aid to the third world. It’s crazy that America gives such a paltry percentage of its GNP to the starving nations. Any squabbles Roger and the band have had in the past are so petty in this context, and if re-forming for this concert will help focus attention then it’s got to be worthwhile.” Waters said on stage: “It’s actually quite emotional standing up here with these three guys after all these years. Standing to be counted with the rest of you. Anyway, we’re doing this for everyone who’s not here, but particularly, of course, for Syd.” The screens showed video from their past shows, and a film of the pig from the Animals flying over Battersea Power Station. This was simply mind-blowing stuff; for me it was a very emotional experience. I found Wish You Were Here particularly powerful; you felt they were singing the song for Syd; which of course they were. Syd sadly passed away the following year. With Wright’s subsequent passing in 2008, this was to be the final concert to feature all four playing together.
A great, momentous day.
Archive for the ‘U2’ Category
Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
U2 Twickenham Stadium London 18th June 2005
The Vertigo Tour
Support Acts: Doves, Athlete
It was 18 years since I last saw U2 and I figured it was about time that I went to see them again. Marie, David and Laura also fancied seeing them so, knowing that demand for tickets would be huge, I joined the fan club to get a chance of presale tickets. Tickets bought, we went to London for the weekend for the concert. Our presale tickets got us seats at the side of the stage looking down on the band, and in a spot where the sound wasn’t good. The joys of stadium gigs. Nevertheless we all enjoyed the concert; so many classics and Bono on good form. It was great to hear old songs like I Will Follow again.
We saw U2 again one month later at the Live 8 concert in Hyde park, which I must write about some time soon. Their short set that day featured four songs: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (with Paul McCartney); Beautiful Day (including a short snippet of the Beatles’ Blackbird); Vertigo; and One (including a snippet of Unchained Melody).
Setlist: Vertigo; I Will Follow; The Electric Co. / Bullet With Butterfly Wings (snippet) / I Can See For Miles (snippet); Elevation; New Year’s Day; Beautiful Day / Here Comes The Sun (snippet); I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For; All I Want Is You; City Of Blinding Lights; Miracle Drug; Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own / No Regrets (snippet); Love And Peace Or Else; Sunday Bloody Sunday; Bullet The Blue Sky / The Hands That Built America (snippet) / When Johnny Comes Marching Home (snippet) / Please (snippet); Running To Stand Still; Pride (In The Name Of Love); Where The Streets Have No Name; One
Encore(s): Zoo Station; The Fly; Mysterious Ways; Yahweh; Vertigo
U2 The Joshua Tree tour, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, 1st August 1987
Support Acts: Run Rig, Love & Money, The Mission, The Pogues
I went with my mate Ian to see U2 play at Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium in August 1987 as part of the Joshua tree tour. By now U2 were headlining stadiums everywhere, and were one of the biggest acts in the world. We arrived in time to catch rousing support performances by The Mission and the Pogues who warmed the crowd up for the main act. The Joshua Tree is U2’s landmark album, which reached No 1 in the UK and US album charts, and solidified their position in the premier rock league. The album contains a number of important U2 songs including the epic track “Where The Streets Have No Name” which often opened their set during the tour, but which strangely the band didn’t play at this concert.
U2 were playing quite a few covers during this tour, and Bono was also including snippets from classic rock songs during their performances. At Edinburgh U2 started with two covers: “Stand By Me” (Ben E King) and “C’mon Everybody” (Eddie Cochran) and also played “People Get Ready” (Curtis Mayfield) and Help! (The Beatles). They also included the odd line from “Riders On The Storm” and “Break On Through” (The Doors), Van Morrison’s “Gloria” (rather than their own song of the same name); “Ruby Tuesday” and Sympathy For The Devil” (The Stones); and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (Joy Division) thus showing their influences. I remember thinking it strange that they would start with two covers. I great concert, but very different from seeing the band in a small venue. We ran into old mate Gilly, who lives in Scotland, which was great. A great day, seeing a band who were writing and performing at their peak at the time.
Setlist: Stand By Me; C’mon Everybody; I Will Follow; Trip Through Your Wires; I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For / Exodus (snippet); People Get Ready; MLK; The Unforgettable Fire; Exit / Riders On The Storm (snippet) / Van Morrison’s Gloria (snippet); In God’s Country; Sunday Bloody Sunday; The Electric Co. / Break On Through (snippet); Help; Bad / Ruby Tuesday (snippet) / Sympathy For The Devil (snippet); October; New Year’s Day; Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Encore(s): Bullet The Blue Sky / Loch Lomond (snippet); Running To Stand Still; With Or Without You / Shine Like Stars (snippet) / Love Will Tear Us Apart (snippet)/Fight For Your Right (To Party) (snippet) / Party Girl; 40
I lost touch with U2 after this tour and it was some 18 years or so before I went to see them again.
U2 Newcastle City Hall 1st March 1983
Support Act: The Nightcaps
In between seeing U2 at the Mayfair and this gig at the City Hall, I also saw them back at Gateshead Stadium, supporting the Police in 1982. I’ve written separately on that concert, when I covered the Police. It was another great concert and another triumph for U2. However it was The War album and that tour really sealed it for U2. They were now a major band. The City Hall concert sold out very quickly and a second night was added, three weeks later. You could feel the power in this band, and you also knew that the next time we saw them it would probably be in a big arena or stadium. This tour was the first and last time the band played the City Hall. It was an amazing show and we were right down the front. Bono, the rest of the band and the audience were all on fire that night. Bono ran around the stage waving a white flag during excellent new song ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and climbed up onto the balcony during ‘I will Follow’.
Setlist: Gloria; I Threw A Brick Through A Window; A Day Without Me; Seconds; New Year’s Day; Sunday Bloody Sunday; The Cry; The Electric Co./Send In The Clowns; I Fall Down; October; Tomorrow; Twilight; Out Of Control
Encore: Party Girl; A Celebration; 11 O’clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow; 40
The next time I saw U2 was in Wembley Stadium at Live Aid, where they played a short two song set (Sunday Bloody Sunday and Bad) and were one of the highlights of the day. Bono famously pulled a girl from the crowd up onto the stage that day. Bono: “I don’t like the distance between stage and crowd. I don’t like the distance between performer and audience. So I’m looking for a symbol of the day, something I can hold onto. Melanie Hills: “Bono looked at the audience and suddenly looked towards me…I was looking around: me? me? And they were saying, yeah, you, you, get up there. Oh my God. And so the security men grabbed me….” A magic moment that truly cemented U2’s position as a major rock force.
After Live Aid, the next time I saw U2 was at a big stadium in Scotland.
U2 Newcastle Mayfair 9th October 1981
Support from the Comsat Angels.
This gig came a couple of months after we had seen U2 deliver an incendiary performance at the Rock on the Tyne festival at Gateshead Stadium, where Bono clambered up the lighting towers, played the part of the rock star and generally got everyone onside. The Mayfair was packed to the rafters. Everyone wanted to see this new band. U2 had just released their second album “October” and the excellent single “Gloria”. There was something very different about U2; something that it was difficult to get a handle on, or describe in the same terms as any other band of the period. To put it in some sort of context, U2 were coming up alongside The Teardrop Explodes and The Bunnymen; both excellent bands. But there was something almost intangible about U2 that seemed to set them apart. Their music came through new wave, but its roots lay deeply and squarely in the 60s, beat, The Beatles, Stones, soul, religion, spirituality and, of course, Van Morrison. Jim Green, writing in Trouser Press, in March 1982: “People haven’t asked U2 if they’re the future of rock. They’ve told them.” What I remember of this gig was a joyous, crazy night with Bono singing his heart out for us, and those great, powerful early songs: “Gloria”, “I Will Follow”, “Fire” and “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”. The U2 who played those club gigs was a raw, hungry, stunning act who were a million miles away from the stadium rock band that they would very soon become. A different time, a different band, a different place. It seems so far away now. But on the night, in the heat and sweat and volume and crush of the Mayfair U2 were shiny and young and Newark intense. And Bono ran around that stage and sang and sang for all of us. I know I have written this before about other bands, but on that night, in the Mayfair, as we all watched U2; they were simply the best band on the planet.
Setlist: Gloria; Another Time, Another Place; Rejoice; An Cat Dubh; Into The Heart; I Threw A Brick Through A Window; The Cry; The Electric Co.; I Fall Down; October; Stories For Boys; I Will Follow; Twilight; Out Of Control; Fire; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock
Rock on the Tyne Gateshead Stadium 29th/30th August 1981
In 1981 the north east for its own rock festival in the shape of Rock on the Tyne, a two day event which took place at Gateshead Stadium over the August bank holiday weekend. So we decided to forego our usual annual trek to Reading and sample the delights of this new event. That seemed a big choice, and a bit of a dilemma for me at the time, as I had been going to Reading for 9 consecutive years. As it happened, having made the break from going to Reading I never returned, which in hindsight was a mistake….
The line-up for Rock on the Tyne was (according to my tickets) as below.
Saturday. Huang Chung, Doll by Doll, The Polecats, Pauline Murray, U2, Ian Dury & the Blockheads, Elvis Costello. [note the programme doesn’t list Pauline Murray, and does list Beckett. I can’t remember seeing Pauline play, and suspect the programme may be correct.]
Sunday. Fist, Diamond Head, Trimmer & Jenkins, Dr Feelgood, Ginger Baker’s Nutters, Lindisfarne, Rory Gallagher.
One of my main reasons for attending was to see up and coming new wave Irish band U2; this was their first appearance in the north east. I remember getting to the festival just in time to see their set late on Saturday afternoon. U2 were amazing at this point in their career. Bono was passionate, full of energy and you could just feel how hungry he and the rest of the band were for the massive success which was soon to follow. Stand-out songs were 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow (which they performed twice, once during the main set and again as part of the encore) and Fire. I remember Bono climbing up the lighting rig during (I think) Fire. Or perhaps that was the following year when they supported the Police at the same venue, or maybe it was on both occasions (actually I think it was both times ?) The memories are fading now, but what I do remember is that U2 were the highlight of the festival, and they were the band that everyone was talking about.
My other memory of the weekend was Rory Gallagher. Rory was never less than excellent, and this performance was no exception. He’d put on a little weight and added a brass section, and played the festival out with all those blues rock classics…Well did out ever get up with them bullfrogs on our mind?! Pure class 🙂
Ian Dury was good, Elvis was moving into his country period, Ginger Baker had a massive drum kit (of course). The festival wasn’t that well attended and wasn’t repeated although Gateshead Stadium has been used for concerts since then, including the aforementioned Police and U2 gig which took place the following year.
U2 setlist: With A Shout; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow; An Cat Dubh; Into The Heart; Another Time, Another Place; The Cry; The Electric Co.; I Threw A Brick Through A Window; Stories For Boys; Out Of Control.
Encores: I Will Follow; Fire.
Rory Gallagher setlist: The Devil Made Me Do It; Bad Penny; Nadine; I Wonder Who; Moonchild; Double Vision; Wayward Child; Bourbon; Brute Force and Ignorance; Ride on Red, Ride On; Western Plain (When I Was a Cowboy); Tattoo’d Lady; Leavin’ Blues; Philby; Shadow Play; Bullfrog Blues
This post takes me up to the letter “U”. I will continue with “U” tomorrow, by writing about U2 in concert.
Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985
I went with a couple of mates. We missed out on tickets when they went on sale and the only way we could get there was to buy tickets for a coach trip from Middlesbrough. So we were up at 4am, drove to Middlesbrough and joined a coach which left at 5am for London. We arrived well before noon, had a couple of drinks and entered the stadium, which was of course completely packed so we found a spot in the stands right at the back. A few minutes later Status Quo took to the stage with “Rockin’ All Over The World” and the day started. This was Quo reunited one year after the split, with Alan flying over from Oz to join Francis and Rick. Their short set also featured Caroline” and “Don’t Waste My Time”. A fitting start to the day. I have so many great memories of that day.
Queen’s performance is, of course, often rated as the greatest live performance by any band. Freddie certainly commanded the crowd the day and it propelled them to super stardom. Their well planned set was a medley with short sections of their anthems: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “Hammer To Fall”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”. They had apparently been rehearsing their short set for days, to ensure perfection, and it showed, and worked. U2 weren’t far behind them, though, in terms of performance, with Bono showing how great a front man he was. U2 played two songs: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and a lengthy version of “Bad” during which Bono dragged a girl from the rush down front to dance with him on stage, and which also included snippets from Lou Reed’s “Satellite of love” and “Walk On The Wild Side”, and The Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” and “Sympathy for the Devil”. Electric.
For me, however. the highlights were The Who and David Bowie, as I was, and remain, a big fan of both acts. Bowie started with “TVC15” (a strange and poor choice I felt, and remember being disappointed on the day), “Rebel Rebel” (great, good choice), “Modern Love” (well, ok) and then “Heroes” (we all sag along and it was pure magic). I still feel that with a better choice of songs Bowie could have eclipsed Queen and U2.
The Who performed “My Generation”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Love Reign O’er Me” (another strange song choice given the magnitude of the event) and a blistering “Won’t Get Fooled Again” with much mike swinging by Daltrey and lots of arm twirling by Townshend.
Other memories: Elton and Kiki sang “Don’t go Breaking my Heart” (great!). Paul McCartney suffered from sound problems and we couldn’t hear him at all for much of “Let It Be” although I gather it was fine on TV. Geldof drew massive cheers every time he set foot on stage, and he deserved every one of them. The scheduling worked amazingly, with very few hitches. Seeing the cameras pick out Charles and Diana over in their enclosure. The amazingly camp Bowie and Jagger video. The awful, sad and moving video of starving children played to the Cars’ “Drive”. Phil Collins playing Wembley and JFK courtesy of Concorde (show off).
But the truly unforgettable moment came at the end, and will stay in my mind for ever. That was the finale, with the entire stadium singing along to “Do They Know It’s Christmas ?” with Bob Geldof leading us, and everyone else on stage. I’ve never seen, felt, or heard anything like it before or since. We walked out of that stadium to the coach park, all of us still singing…..”Feed The World”…..
Then it was a long coach ride back to Middlesbrough. We arrived back around 5 or 6am, then drove home. 24 hours with hardly any sleep, just an hour or so caught on the bus, but a day I will remember forever.
Line-up: Status Quo; The Style Council; The Boomtown Rats; Adam Ant; Ultravox; Spandau Ballet; Elvis Costello; Nik Kershaw; Sade; Sting; Phil Collins; Howard Jones; Bryan Ferry (with David Gilmour on guitar); Paul Young/Alison Moyet; U2; Dire Straits/Sting; Queen; Video “Dancing in the Streets” by David Bowie/Mick Jagger; David Bowie; The Who; Elton John (Kiki Dee and George Michael join Elton); Mercury and May; Paul McCartney; Finale