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U2 Dublin: An emotion-filled night as Bono and the boys return to home town for Innocence + Experience gig

Published 23/11/2015

U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
U2 pays tribute to Paris #StrongerThanFear Photo: Ross Stewart
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
PACEMAKER BELFAST 18/11/2015 U2 in concert this evening at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Security was ramped up this evening in Belfast in the wake of last weeks terrorist attacks in Paris. Photo Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast - 18-11-2015 / U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour 2015 in The SSE Arena, Belfast Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Belfast - 18-11-2015 / U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour 2015 in The SSE Arena, Belfast Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Belfast - 18-11-2015 / U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour 2015 in The SSE Arena, Belfast Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Pacemaker Belfast - 18-11-2015 / U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour 2015 in The SSE Arena, Belfast Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Belfast - 18-11-2015 / U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour 2015 in The SSE Arena, Belfast Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Belfast - 18-11-2015 / U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour 2015 in The SSE Arena, Belfast Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 18/11/2015 U2 in concert this evening at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Security was ramped up this evening in Belfast in the wake of last weeks terrorist attacks in Paris. Photo Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 18/11/2015 U2 in concert this evening at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Security was ramped up this evening in Belfast in the wake of last weeks terrorist attacks in Paris. Photo Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker Press
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
(Left to right) Larry Mullen Jr, The Edge, Bono and Adam Clayton of U2 performing at the first of the band's sold-out homecoming gigs at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
(Left to right) Larry Mullen Jr, The Edge, Bono and Adam Clayton of U2 performing at the first of the band's sold-out homecoming gigs at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA
Bono performing with U2 at the first of the band's sold-out homecoming gigs at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA
Bono performing with U2 at the first of the band's sold-out homecoming gigs at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA
Bono performing with U2 at the first of the band's sold-out homecoming gigs at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
PACEMAKER BELFAST 18/11/2015 U2 in concert this evening at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Security was ramped up this evening in Belfast in the wake of last weeks terrorist attacks in Paris. Photo Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 18/11/2015 U2 in concert this evening at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Security was ramped up this evening in Belfast in the wake of last weeks terrorist attacks in Paris. Photo Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker Press
U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. (Photo by Kevin Scott)
U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Increased security at the SSE Arena in Belfast for the U2 concert. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
U2 bring their Popmart tour to Belfast in August 1997.
U2 play Botanic Gardens. August 1997.
U2 play Botanic Gardens. August 1997. Bono and Adam Clayton.
U2 at Croke Park - Dublin Friday July 24, 2009. Photo Julien Behal/PA Wire ...A
U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park. Larry Mullen on drums - U2 U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park supported by The Script, Dublin, Ireland - 27.07.09. VIPIRELAND.COM
Thousands of fans travelled to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of three for their the U2, "360" world tour. Friday 24th July 2009. Pictures by Liam McBurney
U2 at Croke Park - Friday July 24, 2008. Photo credit Julien Behal/PA Wire ...A
Thousands of fans travelled to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park Friday 24rd July 2009 Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured L-R The Edge, Larry Mullen, Bono, Adam Clayton. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Friday 24rd July 2009 Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Friday 24rd July 2009 Pictures by Liam McBurney
U2's singer Bono on stage during the second Irish date of their Vertigo Tour at Croke Park Stadium, Dublin Saturday June 25, 2005.
Bono (right) leans on guitarist The Edge as U2 perform their second song 'I Will Follow' at Croke Park stadium
Fans stand in light drizzle before U2 perform at Croke Park stadium
Bono, lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, sings early in the first of five sold-out nights at Madison Square Garden in New York, Friday, Oct. 7, 2005. The band is on the third leg of their Vertigo 2005 Tour, which kicked off six months ago on the West Coast of the U.S.
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pic Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured GV of the crowd. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured GV of the stage and crowd. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pictures by Liam McBurney
housands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured Adam Clayton. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured drummer Larry Mullen. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured The Edge. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pictures by Liam McBurney
U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park...Bono - U2 U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park supported by The Script, Dublin, Ireland - 27.07.09. VIPIRELAND.COM
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pictures by Liam McBurney
U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park...Larry Mullen - U2 U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park supported by The Script, Dublin, Ireland - 27.07.09. VIPIRELAND.COM
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured GV of the stage and crowd. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pic: Liam McBurney
U2 at Croke Park - Dublin...Adam Clayton (left) and The Edge from U2 playing at Croke Park in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 24, 2008. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire ...A
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured L-R The Edge, Larry Mullen, Bono, Adam Clayton. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured GV of the stage and crowd. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured GV of the stage and crowd.
PACEMAKER PRESS INTL BELFAST 24/7/09. Bono on stage tonight at Croke Park as the Irish supergroup played their homecoming gig in front of 80,000 fans. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Bono, lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, sings early in the first of five sold-out nights at Madison Square Garden in New York, Friday, Oct. 7, 2005. The band is on the third leg of their Vertigo 2005 Tour, which kicked off six months ago on the West Coast of the U.S.
U2 CONCERT AT KINGS HALL, BELFAST in 1987
U2 CONCERT AT KINGS HALL, BELFAST in Jun2 1987.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/05/98 Unionist leader David Trimble, SDLP leader John Hume and Bono and U2 pictured together on stage at the Waterfront hall in Belfast this evening for a concert to promote a YES vote in the referendum on Friday
U2 CONCERT AT KINGS HALL, BELFAST in June 1987.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/05/98 Unionist leader David Trimble, SDLP leader John Hume and Bono and U2 pictured together on stage at the Waterfront hall in Belfast this evening for a concert to promote a YES vote in the referendum on Friday PHOTO PAUL FAITH

It was an emotional night for both fans and band when U2 returned to their home town for the first of four concerts at the 3 Arena on Monday night.

It was – by the standards of this stadium band – a small concert, with a capacity crowd of 14,000. The 56,000 tickets for the quartet of gigs were snapped up in less than an hour, with fans eager to see the band at unusually close quarters instead of in front of a stadium-sized crowd of 80,000 at Croke Park.

The Innocence + Experience tour, which has been garnering positive reviews, is a markedly different show to U2’s trademark vast sets featuring massive backdrops and giant metal claws.  The band’s crew had to redesign the stage in order to fit it into one of the smallest spaces they’ve played in for some time.

There was a sense of nostalgia about this show; firstly it’s a staggering 26 years since the band played indoors in Dublin, in the same venue then called the Point Depot on the Rattle + Hum tour in December 1989 – famously, at the second-last of that series of concerts, Bono announced that the band would be going away” to “reinvent themselves” – which led them down the high-tech path which led to PopMart style extravaganzas.

It was just after 8.30pm when Bono strolled down the catwalk which ran the length of the venue to enormous cheers from the fans – many of whom had travelled from overseas to see the Irish band on their home patch.

Read more

Review: U2 play Belfast iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE gig at the SSE Arena  

And the show was a mixture of new material from ‘Innocence + Experience’ mixed with familiar old classics including I Will Follow and Sunday Bloody Sunday. It was a pared-back, old-style rock gig on many levels, with Edge’s unique guitar, Larry on drums and Adam on bass sounding tight and taut.

Although the set was pared-back, the high-tech spectacle still wowed the crowd. 3-D images floated above the audience, flashing images from Belfast and from Bono’s childhood home on Cederwood Avenue.

It was, Bono told the audience, a family reunion, before launching into ‘Iris’, a moving tribute to his mother who died when he was 14 years old.





The band dipped into songs from every decade of their long career – I Will Follow, She Moves in Mysterious Ways, ‘Desire’, ‘Pride’, ‘City of Blinding Lights’ as well as several songs from their latest album. But there were other familiar set-pieces – during ‘Mysterious Ways’, a female fan joined ono onstage for a bit of a bop. In a new twist, the fan, Josie from California was given a camera to film the crowd during a rowdy version of 'Elevation'.

There was humour and craic as well as rock. "I'm glad to see the missus is in the house," said Bono, before launching into The Sweetest Thing.

It was a joyous sort of homecoming, tinged with nostalgia. It was a band getting back to basics, in a U2-guitar-and-high-tech sort of way.

Lise Hand

Irish Independent



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