Friday February 27th of 2009 was a brilliant day to be a U2 fan in London. The BBC brought us closer than we’ve ever been before for hours of brilliant coverage. My friend and I won tickets to the Radio 1 Live Lounge in the morning, and stayed until the end of the rooftop gig in the evening.
After waiting out in the cold from 9am we finally got into the BBC Radio Theatre and secured a spot at the front next to Edge. Everything was amazingly organised and fans were led into the theatre in the order in which they had queued up. Take note venues of the world!
First song was Get On Your Boots which was deafeningly loud and will clearly inspire mass pogo-ing on tour – just as Vertigo did last time. As the backdrop was simple lighting, there were no lyrics being flashed on a screen as in previous outings at the Grammys and Brits (something of a bonus!). Bono immediately spotted a pregnant woman in the audience who transfixed him. He gave several shout outs to the lovely Gemma throughout the rest of the set.
Next up was one of the undoubted highlights of the new album – Magnificent – which is also going to be a massive live song. It was like being hit by a wave as Edge’s guitar swam in and out of Bono’s yodelling vocals – ‘only love, only love, can leave such a mark’. Magnificent is already a classic and can stand proudly among U2’s other live monsters like Streets and Bad.
Then a surprise – apparently tracks from 2000 are considered to be ‘vintage’ as Beautiful Day was introduced by Jo Whiley. It sounded much the same as usual, no new motifs from Edge, apart from a fluff when he was distracted by Bono frantically waving his arms. Prior to the song Jo Whiley told the crowd that the band wouldn’t be playing the traditional Live Lounge cover because they had been too busy recently to rehearse something. This was greeted with good natured heckling from the audience so Bono chirped up with the line “I kissed a girl and I liked it”. Then at the end of the song he decided to include the Blackbird snippet – informing Edge by way of lead singer sign language. Edge eventually got the idea and Bono managed to squeeze in his homage to Macca.
Breathe was the final track, not a personal favourite from the album, but the band play it with real passion that helps to sell it live. Bono was so into it that he broke out some air guitar during Edge’s solo!
After the show we spoke to Willie who told us that he’s really excited about the tour and album. The band has had a lot of time to prepare the tour due to the delay in the album release and the staging they have planned is going to be fabulous.
All in all it was a fantastic day, and thank you so much to Radio 1 and the BBC for giving us the opportunity to be so close to The Edge (four feet!).