Donal Murphy, one of @U2′s forum moderators, is on his own sort of “U2 tour” these days, which started with a visit to Nice for U2′s concert there, then continued through Berlin and Amsterdam and now into Dublin. He’s sending in occasional updates from the road. This is the sixth.
DUBLIN – THURSDAY JULY 23RD
Arrived with touring buddie, Joe, around 4pm. Dumped the car and got to our hotel. Later me met up with Steve, Dave and Paul from the UK. I had met Steve in the queue for Croke Park 2005 and he found me on Facebook earlier this year wanting to know if I was was on for a repeat performance four years on. Sure I was. Met the lads in Temple Bar and brought them to one of my favourite pubs in the area – The Palace Bar, a really nice old pub on the edge of Temple Bar and thankfully many tourists are unaware of it so it’s still possible to get seats even on a Dublin-packed, U2 gig weekend. We were joined by Lisa from Berlin, who we met during our Euro trip and happened to be coming to Ireland for a week. Later, we were joined by Stefania and Alesandro from Sardinia, whom I got standing tickets for about two months ago. Their last gig for U2 was Rome in 1997.
DUBLIN – FRIDAY JULY 24TH QUEUE
Had a reasonably early night and agreed to pick the UK lads up at their hotel. We were all in the car by 7:45 and in the queue at 8am. At that stage, there were 500-plus ahead of us, and it was reasonably well organised (despite my MCD reservations). We met Joe Ahorra from Hawaii- we have christened him “GA JOE” as he is somewhat of an expert on the subject. Joe has been documenting his travels and it was great to say hello. Joe had been camping out all night, was 5th in the queue and was just back from a well-earned shower to rejoin the queue.
The line was moved up several times, and having been through it a few times, sitting down as often as possible is important. Later, we got moved inside the gates of the stadium and we were all stamped – so, access to inner circle achieved, the next question was where would we head for. Joe and I advised outside the inner circle – centre or left of centre. Our plan B was inside towards the back. Just a quick note on the queue experience at Croker: Not the best as they had 4 toilets in place for the 2-thousand or so which were inside the gates. Two of these were not working, so the line for the toilet was an hour plus. This was a bit much — on the other side of the area, there were around 50 toilets which were not being used, but which we were not allowed to use. Thankfully, they brought over 2 more eventually to ease the problem a bit. There was hardly anything available to buy – food or drinks. We had some stuff with us but it’s always nice to have the option.
Some great entertainment in the queue from some Italians (I think) who let off these balloons that whizz through the air making noises, and twist and turn as they go. There was soundchecking in the afternoon, during which they played “Elevation” and UTEOTW. Looking good, I thought, after missing these at Amsterdam #1.
We were allowed inside the stadium at around 4:30. They filled up the inner circle from the Edge’s side. As we were heading towards it, I moved over to where the normal GA is, it was all blocked, they were only allowing people into the inner circle, the first time I experienced this. So we settled at the back rail just left of centre.
Support was the local-based Damien Dempsey, who I have seen live a few times. He gave it everything and threw in a traditional Irish tune to the start of his track “Apple Of My Eye.” The crowd loved it. Speaking of which, this was the most international crowd of all the gigs to date we have been to.
Glasvegas were up next. They just didn’t do it for me — very samey, and the singer had a, “I couldn’t care less-type attitude.” It didn’t wash really well with the crowd, and they did not go down that well.
Spotted my seat location for Saturday night, 3 sections from the end on Edge’s side, section 332. They will do nicely, I thought.
U2 took to the stage at 8:55. We were gutted a few days before hand when we saw the Amsterdam #2 setlist — they played 3 of our favourite songs. Tonight, we were rewarded. When I saw the “Elevation” red guitar come out, I knew. It got a great reception, but even better was “Until The End Of The World” – that still rocks big time. They did a lovely acoustic version of “Stuck,” followed by “The Auld Triangle” — a really old Irish song. Bono praised the crowd and said the best place to see a U2 show is in Dublin. I think this is actually true.
At one stage, Bono came to the front and a guy in the crowd was gesturing with his sunglasses, holding them high, no problem – Bono swapped his for this guy’s! Also, when on the bridge at Adam’s side, someone in the crowd managed to get his mobile phone up to Bono. Again, no problem — Bono picked up the phone and spoke to someone, and said, “Just ringing you from Croke Park, am with maybe your brother, or friend!”
The atmosphere was top notch. This was coming very close to topping the Berlin gig, which up to this point was the number 1 so far for us. But then, they played “Bad” … holy £$%!%. That might well have been the killer blow which makes this gig at the level of Berlin. So, what a gig – great atmosphere.
After Joe drove us back into town, we skipped all the crowd and were so hungry we went straight to one of my favourite Dublin late night eating places – “Kertoon” on Parliament Street. It’s a kebab house, but you can sit down — we wanted to do both. We went straight across to “The Porter House,” which brew all their own beers. Again, this is another gem of a pub on the edge of Temple Bar – notice I mainly go to places at the “Edge,” as in the middle it’s just packed with tourists in mediocre pubs. Playing live inside was resident act “Woodsy,” who is a serious contender for acoustic guitar hero supreme.
Took it handy enough and hit the hotel at 2ish. Tomorow – my U2 comfort day, seated tickets. I could do with the rest.