U2's Sydney #2 setlist, 23/11/19
Today, U2 played their second of two shows in Sydney.
At the end of the main set, U2 performed the tour debut of Desire, replacing Angel of Harlem. For a while fans have expected this slot to feature some rotation: U2 rehearsed All I Want Is You in Auckland and soundchecked Desire in Melbourne, but at the first six shows of the tour Angel of Harlem always followed Mothers of the Disappeared. The most recent previous live performance of Desire was on 3 July 2018 at the end of last year's North American tour leg. Tonight's performance concluded with Larry doing a drumroll from Sunday Bloody Sunday.
The setlist featured another change: The Best Thing made its second appearance of the tour, following its performance in Auckland on 9 November 2019. At the start, Bono was unhappy with the tuning of Edge's guitar and, while Edge and guitar tech Dallas Schoo sorted things out, he told stories about his father Bob Hewson, meditating on the fact he did not tell his father he loved him enough while he was alive.
During Bad, Bono made his now-customary acknowledgement of Australia's firefighters. He reflected that he had "said this every night during our shows here but some things are worth repeating: take a moment of gratitude to thank the firefighters... putting themselves in harm's way to keep others out of harm." This led into an extended snippet of the classic Australian bush ballad Waltzing Matilda. Bono has snippeted it four times before; if you check the list, you will note one was not in Australia but in San Antonio, Texas. The explanation for that is it was the show the night after Michael Hutchence died.
Speaking of Hutchence, Stuck in a Moment remained in the setlist after its tour debut yesterday. Bono described receiving emails and texts from friends about how much it meant to them that U2 performed the song yesterday on the anniversary of Michael Hutchence's death. He then gave a shout-out to Richard Lowenstein for his film Mystify about Hutchence, describing it as a "great gift" both for Hutchence's friends and for those who did not know him.
Hutchence is not the only Australian musician that Bono mentioned tonight; the other one, happily, is still alive. At the start of Bullet the Blue Sky, Bono announced "Rob Hirst, this one is for you". Hirst is the drummer of legendary Australian rock band Midnight Oil.
The full setlist was:
- Sunday Bloody Sunday
- I Will Follow
- New Year's Day
- Bad / Waltzing Matilda (snippet)
- Pride (In the Name of Love)
- Where the Streets Have No Name
- I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Many Rivers To Cross (snippet)
- 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
- Desire / Sunday Bloody Sunday (snippet)
- Vertigo / It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It) (snippet) / I Love Rock 'n' Roll (snippet)
- Even Better Than The Real Thing
- You're The Best Thing About Me
- Beautiful Day
- Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
- Stuck In A Moment
- One / Invisible (snippet)
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