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U2's Berlin #1 setlist, 31/08/18

U2 opened the second leg of their tour in Berlin tonight, and right from the start things had changed from the leg in North America. The Blackout was the first song of the night, opening a concert for the first time. Previous opener Love Is All We Have Left was not fully left out, however; portions of it featured in the heavily modified introduction to the night. The MRI footage and nurse's instructions remained, but the melting iceberg was no more. As the MRI visuals left the screen they were replaced with video of Europe from the early to mid-20th century, which included:

  • with post-war footage of Berlin and Hamburg from 1946, and Cologne and Amsterdam from 1945;
  • war-time footage of Paris from 1944, Copenhagen in 1943, Manchester and London in 1940, Belfast and Dublin in 1941;
  • Lisbon during the 1926 coup d'état;
  • Spanish Civil War footage of Madrid in 1939 on two occasions.  with the MRI occasionally re-appearing to be super-imposed over the war-time footage

This was all set to a complex audio mix that heavily featuried the Babel introduction of Zooropa - a song Willie Williams has sampled extensively for these video features in the past - along with a voice repeatedly saying "I'm sorry", extracts of "The Great Speech For Humanity" from Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, and the aforementioned lyrical extracts from Love Is All We Have Left. As The Blackout kicked in the images of devastation were replaced by ones of protests, flags, and technology. It made for a thought-provoking and and complex introduction that pulled no punches in the underlying message.

The core of the set remained mostly the same as in North America, with a European message replacing the America-centric one. Red Flag Day was performed for the fifth time this tour in the early set rotational song, and we expect to see it much more often this leg. Until the End of the World was book-ended by snippets from Lord of the Flies and William Blake's Introduction respectively, while Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me was retained for the intermission.

Desire was replaced by the tour debut of Even Better Than the Real Thing, played once again in the Fish out of Water Mix style though without the overdubs and backing tracks it normally features. The Fish out of Water Mix has now been played on three U2 tours, the same number as the studio mix (three each). The original still far outnumbers FooW in raw performances however (260 to 113 as of tonight).

Staring at the Sun was replaced by the tour debut of Summer of Love, a song which had previously been performed just once before. It was done acoustically by Bono and Edge on the E-stage, and retained the visuals of the sun on the stage floor. Screen visuals at the end of the song included footage of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea, the rubble of ruined cities, and European far-right hate groups in place of the American ones and racism from the first leg before leading into Pride. With this performance every track from Songs of Experience has appeared on a U2 tour in some form; Landlady and The Showman are the only two songs yet to see a full performance, while The Little Things That Give You Away is the only song from the album that has not yet appeared on E+I.

The final change of the night was the perhaps unsurprising removal of American Soul, with New Year's Day performed in its stead. The song was played in a new style with an opening heavily reminiscent of the club remixes from the early 1980s, and featured some musical changes after each chorus with the pause of Larry's drumming, some new backing tracks during those pauses, and more keyboard than normal. A European Union flag replaced the giant US one behind the band. The segue into City of Blinding Lights included Ode to Joy through the speakers, which Bono sang along to. The encore was unchanged.

  1. The Blackout
  2. Lights Of Home
  3. I Will Follow
  4. Red Flag Day
  5. Beautiful Day
  6. The Ocean
  7. Iris (Hold Me Close)
  8. Cedarwood Road
  9. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  10. Lord Of The Flies (snippet) / Until the End of the World / Introduction (snippet)
  11. (Intermission - Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me)
  12. Elevation
  13. Vertigo / Rebel Rebel (snippet)
  14. Even Better Than The Real Thing Fish Out of Water Mix
  15. Hall of Mirrors (snippet) / Acrobat
  16. You're The Best Thing About Me Full band acoustic
  17. Summer Of Love Bono and Edge
  18. Pride (In the Name of Love)
  19. Get Out Of Your Own Way
  20. New Year's Day
  21. Ode To Joy (snippet) / City of Blinding Lights

  22. encore(s):
  23. One
  24. Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way
  25. 13 (There Is A Light)
All details for this show including reviews, videos and photos can be found here.

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Posted on by Matkin

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