Achtung Y'all

Every morning I rise from bed, put on the running gear, and have at it. These are some of the most spiritual moments of my life, in part because the music of u2 forms the soundtrack for most of those runs. On this blog, I share that love with you.

Monday, November 23, 2015

18 Years Since the Last Belfast Concert

A lot has changed since U2 last played Belfast, in 1997.

Heck, a lot has happened since U2 last played a gig.

The Irish rock legends had just completed two nights of a four-night run in Paris last week when Islamic State terrorists struck the French capital.

The band's shows on Saturday and Sunday were dramatically called off, with frontman Bono lamenting, "This is the first direct hit on music that we've had in this so-called 'war on terror' or whatever it's called." 

And on Wednesday night, the band returned to live action in a city that has witnessed its own share of bloodshed over the years.

The SSE Arena must be amongst the smallest venues the supergroup has played in years.

And they were determined to create an intimate atmosphere for their fans.

Bono entered from the back of the hall, striding along a walkway and holding his fist aloft triumphantly, before joining guitarist the Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen, Jr, on stage.

"We're a band from the northside of Dublin called the U2, formerly the Hype," the sunglasses-sporting vocalist announced.

The foursome were welcomed like heroes, and the feeling was mutual.

Read more 

U2 Belfast: Bono and the gang rock SSE Arena with Innocence & Experience gig  

"You are heroes to us," Bono told the sold-out crowd.

"It's great to be here in the heart of Belfast."

Opening track The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) harked back to the days before U2 had ventured outside Dublin.

But even then, they were tuned into the news coming from the north.

"What was happening up here made a big impact in our teenage years," Bono said.

The first few numbers were played punk-style, four guys in a row, blasting it out.

The jolting riffs of Vertigo had the whole arena bouncing, while a massive I Will Follow got everyone singing along.

And Iris (Hold Me Close) was a deeply personal tribute to Bono's late mother.

But it wouldn't be a U2 show without some grand spectacle, and the video screens were soon sparking into life.

Sunday Bloody Sunday saw a procession of murals from both loyalist and republican areas, alternating with the slogan, 'Remember the victims'.

And despite the events of the past week, the band didn't flinch from using explosive sound effects and a striking car bomb graphic to introduce Raised by Wolves.

Nor did they drop the controversial video footage they have been using during the song itself.

A roll call of notorious Northern Ireland terrorist atrocities played out on screen, from the Miami Showband Massacre to the Omagh bombing, ending with a dedication to all the victims of the Troubles, with an emphasis made on 'all'.

There was no explicit commentary about Paris during the set, though the iconic Eiffel Tower peace logo was shown alongside the message, 'Stronger than fear'.

The Syrian Civil War was also referenced in powerful images during a brooding Bullet the Blue Sky.

If things could get a bit heavy at times, the quartet also knew when to switch gears into big, roof-raising hits.

An Italian fan was hauled on stage to dance with Bono for Mysterious Ways, while With or without You closed the main set in epic fashion.

It may have been a difficult few days for U2 - for the world - but last night proved you can't keep a good band - or their audience - down.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Belfast Goes Off without a Hitch

Photo by Matthias Muehlbradt /

U2 urged their fans to remember all victims of terror as they played their first concert since cancelling two gigs in Paris in the wake of last Friday's atrocity. 

There had been fears that last night's concert would focus only on victims of loyalist terrorism after guitarist The Edge vowed the band would play Raised By Wolves.

U2 Refuses to Change Set List in Belfast

November 12, 2015

U2 have said they will not leave out a song paying tribute to victims of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings when they play in Belfast next week.

Guitarist The Edge remains adamant that the song Raised By Wolves - which is accompanied by onstage visuals of the 34 victims and the sound of explosions going off - will stay in the setlist.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Father Abraham, Speak to Your Sons

(CNN) -- On the morning of July 7, 2005, Islamic extremists detonated three bombs on trains and a bus across London, killing 52 people and wounding hundreds.

That night, U2 performed at a stadium in Berlin, where during "Sunday Bloody Sunday," frontman Bono donned a headband bearing the word "Coexist," designed to incorporate a Christian cross, a star of David and an Islamic crescent.

"Jesus, Jew, Mohammad, it's true. All sons of Abraham," he chanted, pointing to the symbols to plead for religious tolerance during a time of war -- a gesture Bono repeated throughout the tour. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

U2 was Rehearsing Near Paris Concert Hall

U2 were rehearsing at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris Friday night, less than three miles away from the Bataclan concert hall where the Eagles of Death Metal were playing, when they got word of the terrorist attack on the city.

"Our security locked it down pretty quickly and we got our team and our crew out of there safely," Bono told Irish DJ Dave Fanning in a radio interview Saturday. "We came to the back door of the hotel. Everyone congregated and watched the TV like everybody else in disbelief with what was happening."

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Father Abraham . . . What have you Done?

Some graphitti was written up on a wall not too far from here
It says coexist
Jesus, Jew, Mohammed, it's true
Jesus, Jew, Mohammed, it's true
All sons of Abraham
Father Abraham, Father Abraham
Where are you now
Father Abraham, look what you've done
You've pitted your son against your son
Father, Father Abraham
No more, no more, no more
No more, no more, no more
No more, no more, no more
No more, no more

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Corrs are Back

Feted by U2, riding high with Breathless, they were the Irish sensations who simply vanished. Now they've emerged from ten years in the wilderness, with tales of burn-out, bickering and blowing millions... 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Concerns over Belfast Gig Overblown?

Photo by Stefan /

The sometimes pompous and overbearing Bono can be accused of many things but the U2singer has been anything but one-sided in his condemnation of the perpetrators of violence here - no matter which side they're on.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Concerns Arise over Belfast Gig

They won't arrive in Belfast for three weeks but already U2 have stirred up a major political controversy.

The Irish supergroup have included a musical and pictorial tribute to the victims of the 1974 loyalist bombings of Dublin and Monaghan as part of their stage set for the new iNNOCENCE and eXPERIENCE tour which is currently playing to packed audiences at London's O2 area.