U2: Still the greatest show in town

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Catriona Stewart, The Herald

U2, Hampden Park
Star rating: ****

They're the self-styled world's biggest band and this is surely the greatest show in town. Given that, U2 could not fail to disappoint their 55,000-strong crowd last night.

Dominating Hampden was the much-hyped "Claw", a 360-degree stage with a 390-tonne, 164-foot glowing blue and orange super-structure, which wafts out dry ice. The sound-and-light system cost a cool £90m to build - and presumably makes U2 less than popular with the neighbours.

Opening act The Hours kicked off the musical spectacular before Glasgow's hottest young band, Glasvegas, warmed the stage during what must have been a surreal departure from their usual, smaller haunts. The band, shortlisted for this year's prestigious Mercury music award, did an admirable job of entertaining a crowd restless with palpable anticipation.

U2's set was heavy with songs from new album No Line on the Horizon, which reached number one in 30 countries, but the band's impressive back catalogue formed the backbone of the performance.

A subdued start in the drizzling rain soon warmed up when Bono referenced the band's early introduction to Glasgow in the less auspicious Barrowlands venue before launching into hits Elevation and Beautiful Day. A string of memorable tunes soon had the vast crowd singing and dancing.

Bono claimed the 360 tour to be "intimacy on a grand scale" but the man who has been performing for nigh-on 30 years surely knows that intimacy is the last thing needed when projecting to the peanut gallery. Everything, from his grand arm gestures to the light display beaming from the Claw, had the Irish rock hero controlling the crowd - even during a worthy dedication to Aung San Suu Kyi.

While Bono may fancy himself to be part rocker, part preacher, the crowd were merely there to enjoy the band's litany of tunes, and for those who made the effort to crawl through the clogged traffic, the spectacle was more than worth it.

© 2009 Newsquest (Herald & Times) Limited

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This page contains a single entry by Rita published on August 19, 2009 9:29 PM.

Celtic and U2 create 10-mile tailbacks as 126,000 fans descend on Glasgow was the previous entry in this blog.

Brilliant Stages pylon centre point of U2 360° Tour is the next entry in this blog.

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