U2 have crossed the ditch from New Zealand to Australia, and tonight they performed in Brisbane. When they visited in 2010, they played two shows in the city, but this tour—like all other U2 stadium tours of Australia—features just one Brisbane show.
Bono sang lyrics of Midnight Oil's Beds Are Burning during Bad. He dedicated the performance to the firefighters who "keep us alive" during the bushfire crisis that is currently raging throughout Queensland and New South Wales. Bono has snippeted this Midnight Oil classic once before, during Vertigo on 19 November 2006; he has never sung lyrics from any other Midnight Oil song, though.
Between In God's Country and Trip Through Your Wires, Bono went on a riff about the Irish thinking that they invented everything. He asked Larry if the Irish invented country music, to which Larry responded firmly "no, Bono, we did not". Edge added that the Irish did invent the submarine. Bono let out a surprised "really?!", to which Edge replied that it was by an Irishman called John Philip Holland. Bono told the crowd to look it up to see if Edge is right, and what do you know, the fellow really was a submarine pioneer.
Before One, Bono spoke about the need to act collectively to combat the effects of climate change. He emphasised that "none of us is really an island" and that what happens in one part of the world has ramifications for the whole planet. This is an especially salient topic today as Australian politicians try to outdo each other for how far they can bury their heads in the sand or how deranged their denialism can be (a former deputy prime minister perhaps reached the lowest low when he described two bushfire victims as "most likely" Greens voters).
Today's performances of Red Hill Mining Town, Trip Through Your Wires, and Mothers of the Disappeared are the first time U2 have performed these songs anywhere in Australia. In God's Country and Exit made their New Zealand debuts in Auckland last week, but both were played in Australia in 1989. In God's Country was done four times, including the only time it has ever opened a show on 23 September 1989. Exit was done just once, on 14 October 1989, which is the only time it has been performed outside of the Joshua Tree Tours of 1987, 2017, and 2019.
In addition, the performances of Every Breaking Wave and Love Is Bigger are U2's first performances in Australia of a song from, respectively, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. The same can be said re: New Zealand of their performances last week. Every Breaking Wave's performance today represents its return to the set after missing the second Auckland show.
All other songs performed tonight have been played before in Australia, though in the case of one it has been a long time: Even Better Than the Real Thing's most recent Australian performance was on 27 February 1998. Angel of Harlem has been a tour regular in Australia—it ws played at every show in 1989 and 1993, and all but one in 2006—but tonight's performance was the first since 19 November 2006. It was done once on U2's tour to this part of the world in 2010, but that was at an Auckland show.
As for the U2 songs performed the most in Australia, as of tonight Streets and With or Without You have moved to third equal on 46 performances, one ahead of I Will Follow. In all likelihood, I Will Follow was performed at the four Unforgettable Fire shows for which we have missing/incomplete setlists, but Streets and WOWY will be clear of even that hypothetical by the end of the tour. I Will Follow will, however, remain fifth; Bullet the Blue Sky is sixth and will fall one performance short. Ahead of all of these songs are Pride, with 56 performances in Australia, and New Year's Day, with 55. (Again, because of the missing 1984 sets, you can all but certainly add four to their totals.)
The full setlist was:
- Sunday Bloody Sunday
- New Year's Day
- Bad / Beds Are Burning (snippet)
- Pride (In the Name of Love)
- Where the Streets Have No Name / California (There Is No End To Love) (snippet)
- I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
- With or Without You
- Bullet the Blue Sky / The Star-Spangled Banner (snippet) / America (snippet)
- Running To Stand Still
- Red Hill Mining Town
- In God's Country
- Trip Through Your Wires
- One Tree Hill
- Exit / Wise Blood (snippet) / Eeny Meeny Miny Moe (snippet)
- Mothers Of The Disappeared
- Angel of Harlem
- Vertigo / Devil Inside (snippet)
- Even Better Than The Real Thing
- Every Breaking Wave
- Beautiful Day
- Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
- Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way
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