U2 give Belfast fans the eXPERIENCE of a lifetime
Rock veterans recall roots with a show tracing their rise from Dublin upstarts to music royalty
Rock legends U2 made sure it was a Beautiful Day for their Belfast fans with a sell-out show at the SSE Arena on Saturday night.
Bono and the boys put in a stellar performance that was One to remember thanks to a mind-blowing lighting and visuals display that brought their set to life.
After four dates in England last week - two in Manchester, followed by two in London - last night saw their first shows on Irish soil as their 60-date eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour roared into the home straight.
They will play to another packed Belfast crowd tonight before taking a week off and playing a four-date run in their native Dublin at the 3Arena.
Those Dublin dates were supposed to mark the finale of the tour - but the band will head for one more show in Berlin on Tuesday, November 13, to honour a promise to fans to return after having to halt a gig last month.
Bono lost his voice and had to cut the show short, blaming the special effects smoke machine for making his normally faultless vocals the worse for wear.
There were no such problems last night for the iconic singer, though, as his trademark pitch perfect lyrics delighted the devoted packed house with crowd-pleasers like Gloria, The Fly, Even Better Than The Real Thing, New Year's Day, Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses, Pride (In The Name Of Love) and Vertigo.
The band - always at the vanguard of innovative ways to make their gigs special - have incorporated augmented reality, with a mobile app for the fans to use during the interactive show.
The tour, which kicked off in May this year, has already seen the band play all across North America and Europe, including places like Las Vegas, Chicago, Montreal, Paris and Copenhagen.
Their hi-tech set includes several performance areas: a main stage at one end of the arena, the central screen's walkway and a small circular stage at the other end incorporating a screen of its own in the floor. The 102ft x 28ft central screen is known as The Barricage.
The show takes fans on a journey through the band's life, from their roots in Dublin in the 1970s to the present day, and the visuals even included family members, such as Bono's son Ely and guitarist The Edge's daughter Sian.
Video additions include a powerful intro that borrows a Charlie Chaplin speech from the 1940 political satire The Great Dictator.
The group's high energy performances for the high-tempo numbers were in stark contrast to their poignant ballads, to take fans on a real rollercoaster of a show.
The finale for 13 (There Is a Light) brought the journey full circle, with a model of Bono's childhood home dramatically portrayed to complete the story of the show.
U2 showed just why they continue to be at the top of their game as one of the biggest rock bands on the planet with a stunning spectacular that left Belfast the City of Blinding Lights.