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U2 Concert Review Sydney 22/11/2019
Review : Jonathan Bowen. Photos: Ross Stewart

The Joshua Tree Tour finally made its way down the yellow brick road to Sydney Australia. It has taken 10 years for the band to return to Sydney. The 22/11/2019 marked the 22nd anniversary since Bono’s good friend and one of Australia favourite sons Michael Hutchence passed away.

U2 concert opened the show with a bang starting their set with the classic hits, Sunday Bloody Sunday, I Will Follow and News Year’s Day these songs then led into the track Bad. This was the first of the night’s tributes to Michael. There was a very moving moment when under the lights of the crowd’s mobile phones with The Edge playing the guitar rift to Bad, while Bono’s sang the lyrics to INXS hit song Never Tear Us Apart. The audience roared with approval as Bono gave a call out to members of Michael’s family who were in the audience.

While standing on the B stage, Bono than announced, ‘let the show begin’ with The Edge letting rip on one of U2 most famous guitar riffs, the intro to Pride In The Name of Love. The crowd started singing and raising their arms up to this U2 Classic.

The 200 x 40 ft LED screen then came to life with a red background and an imagine of a Joshua Tree illuminating from it. This was the intro to the first song off The Joshua Tree Album, Where the Streets Have No Name. One by one they played through the classic hits off the album as iconic images from the Joshua Tree period captured by the famous Dutch photographer and movie producer Anton Corbjin projected on the LED screen behind them.

The other tribute of the night went to the band’s roadie Greg Carroll whom tragically died in 1986. The song One Tree Hill as well as the album are dedicated to him. Once the band had completed singing through the songs off the album, they finished their opening set with Angels of Harlem.

The crowd chanted and screamed for U2 to return to the stage for their encore and they didn’t disappoint. They kicked off their second set with Elevation which led into Vertigo.

There was also a comment made by Bono to Adam during the band introductions that it was in Sydney that Adam changed from bring the troublemaker of the band to the wise man he is today. Adam famously missed the first night on U2’s Zoo TV gig in Sydney back in 1993 as he had been out all night the night before and was in no condition to play the gig. It was the first and only time a member of U2 missed a live gig.

After the band introductions this led into the track Ultraviolet Light which was dedicated to all the women of the world. As the song was played iconic images of great women both past and present illumined from the screen behind. Images of Cathy Freeman, Magda Szubanski, Toni Colette and Cate Blanchett met with cheers from the crowd as each image appeared.

The most poignant moment of night was when the band played Stuck in a Moment, which was both written for and dedicated to Michael Hutchence. A range of photographs taken of Michael through his career were then shown on the screen behind the band. Bono went on to express how much he and his family missed Michael and that even though he may be gone, his spirit is still very much alive.

The band closed out the show as the lights were turned out the and the audience’s phones lit up the stadium. This was the intro to the song One. As the track concluded a giant image of the Australia flagged appeared behind on the screen.

The concert proved that not only are U2 still the world’s best live act, but they continue to push the boundaries of what it is to stage a live outdoor concert. Everything from the imagery on the screen to the lighting and the sound were perfect!

U2 have two concerts left in Australia. There is a 2nd concert tonight in Sydney before moving onto Perth on Tuesday night, there are still tickets available for both shows.

Let’s hope it is not another ten years before we see them back in Australia. There are rumours that the band are currently working on a new album, which is marked to be released next year!

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