Bono is serious. For their second performance of ‘Vertigo’ of the night, he walks over to the drum kit to ask Larry Mullen how to say 14 ‘as Gaeilge’.
Misunderstanding, Larry shouts: ‘A h-aon’! (‘one’) Bono asks again and this time the drummer gets it right: ‘Ceathar déag’. Three times he tells Bono how to say it.
‘A h-aon, a dhà, a trì, a ceatharmmmmmfrgh!’
Close enough. With an apology to the venue’s local neighbours because the show ran 10 minutes past the 11pm curfew, the band tear up the song something wicked. (They might as well skip the first time they play it at the start of the show.) The place is alight, and all around us kids’ faces are in ecstasy. Croke Park sings along as they have done all night.
The European leg of the Vertigo Tour has officially got lift off. While the first two shows in Brussels and Gelsenkirchen left us a little indifferent and having missed the reportedly better gigs in the U.K., Croke Park I has it all. Drive, energy, emotion and fun – this time the boys were truly back in town.
There were, as expected, few real surprises in the setlist (Wild Horses, With or Without You, I Will Follow), but the passion, the Irish banter (Bono mentioned the Irish poet John Keats when he noticed a banner in the audience that said ‘see you in Rome’) and various ‘new’ snippets like Thin Lizzy’s ‘Jailbreak’ and an improvisational ‘Northside in the Rain’ well made up for that. Talking about the rain… Bono sang some lines of it, twice during the show.
‘Oh, you look so beautiful tonight,’ Bono told the Croke Park audience. Absolutely gorgeous, yes.