Opening Act(s): Ash, Moby, Nelly Furtado, The Walls, Dara
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Out Of Control, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Wake Up Dead Man, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Kite, Angel Of Harlem, Desire, Staring At The Sun, All I Want Is You, Where The Streets Have No Name, Mysterious Ways, Pride (In The Name Of Love). Encore: Bullet The Blue Sky, With Or Without You, One, Walk On.
This concert was filmed and released as U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle on November 17, 2003. It was a difficult time for Bono, who had lost his father to cancer just days before the filming. In fact, their first night at Slane was only a day after Bob Hewson was buried. This was reflected in the band’s performance, carrying more emotional weight and intensity than usual. U2 Go Home was filmed on Saturday September 1, 2001, just moments after Ireland secured its place in the 2002 FIFA World Cup with the only goal of the match, scored by Irishman Jason McAteer. The match was shown to the football-crazy Irish crowd at Slane Castle prior to the concert, adding to the already festive air. Bono mentions the goal during “Beautiful Day”, singing “Beautiful goal” at the songs closing. Later, he kicks a blown up ball off the stage symbolizing the historic kick. During “New Year’s Day”, Bono drapes himself in the Irish flag, something he has seldom done — preferring the white peace flag — asking the crowd to imagine he’s Jason McAteer. The crowd was in a frenzy for most of the night, making this concert video one of the band’s most compelling live recordings. Also, U2 was the first artist to headline two concerts at Slane Castle in the same year. At the end of Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bono read off the names of all of the victims of the Omagh bombing. The show closed as did last week’s Slane show with the Unforgettable Fire being played over the PA system with fireworks in the sky.
U2 Embraces Irish Fans As Their Own “Tribe”
By John O’Mahony
From such humble origins, the world’s greatest rock band rolled back the years at Slane Castle on Saturday night for something of a farewell concert.
“I asked my father for £500. The Edge asked his father for £500. Larry asked his Dad and Adam asked his mother for £500. But we didn’t choose to stay in London or in New York when we made it. We came back to Dublin. This is our city and you are our tribe,” Bono told the 85,000 fans who packed Lord Mount Charles’ backyard for the second week in a row.
“And by now you’ve all paid about £500. You have given us a great life and this is our thank you,” he told the screaming mass.
At about £3.50 a pint and £7.50 for a hamburger, Bono wasn’t too far off the mark. But by the time the fab four took to the stage shortly after 8.30pm no-one was feeling any pain.
Before that, support acts Ash, Nelly Furtado and Moby joined in the fun as the tens of thousands of fans, including the odd famous face, celebrated Ireland’s historic win over the Dutch.
U2 were soon in on the act. “It’s two nil now,” Bono roared as the band launched into the opening number Elevation.
Digging deep into their 20-year catalogue, the band rolled out the hits for well over an hour much to the delight of the home crowd.
Where the Streets Have No Name, All I Want Is You, Pride, Desire, Mysterious Ways, Out of Control, Staring at the Sun, and Kite, all featured from the band’s repertoire.
But even Bono’s emotional plea for peace during a raucous Sunday Bloody Sunday couldn’t distract the crowd from the big match.
The band soon got the message and spotting a beach ball in the crowd, Bono seized his chance to impress the Irish manager Mick McCarthy.
Draped in an Irish flag, he teed it up. “Only once,” he told the frenzied crowd. “Close your eyes and pretend for a second that it’s Jason McAteer.” And with that the beach ball sailed into the night sky.
From then on, it was back to the serious business of rock and roll. The band, as ever, eager to please — the crowd wishing it not to end.
But all knew, if U2 ever do come back, it will never be as big and bold again.
All images are © Frequency; © Stefan Eschenbach