He said it, we didn’t. At the end of a fierce (on the band’s part) and loud (on the audience’s part) concert, with plenty of appropriate snippets and multiple reference to the city of Amsterdam, Holland and the problems this country faces, Bono expressed his feelings on the night: ‘Welcome home, U2’.
For a first night show, this was a very good one. A bit of Brel (Port of Amsterdam), a bit of Opera (‘Guarda il mare com´e bello! Spira tanto sentimento.’, from Torna a Surriento.), a bit of Radar Love (by Dutch band Golden Earring) and a hell of a lot of flaky Dutch phrases (‘Een mooie stad, een mooie dag.’, ‘Maak er wat van.’)
The Dutch U2 audience is an odd lot. Generally a little older than in other countries. Unashamedly uninterested in support acts. (The Killers, huge just about everywhere else in the world, deserved better than this lukewarm reception.) But they are absolutely feral in their support of the band during the live show. Deafeningly loud — though perhaps the infamous ArenA echo played a part in that.
It looked like the band enjoyed it and Bono, fumbling for words, quite lengthily thanked the country for still playing U2 on the radio, for still wanting to see them play and for still making the band feel relevant.
Then he thanked Oor magazine and journo Bert van der Kamp and made us sing a belated Happy Birthday for local hero Anton Corbijn.
One down. Two to go. (No shoot tonight.)