An emotion-filled night as U2 return to home town

It was an emotion-filled night for both fans and band when U2 returned to their home town for the first of four concerts at the 3 Arena tonight.

It was – by the standards of this stadium band – a small concert, with a capacity crowd of 14,000. The 56,000 tickets for the quartet of gigs were snapped up in less than an hour, with fans eager to see the band at unusually close quarters instead of in front of a stadium-sized crowd of 80,000 at Croke Park.

The Innocence + Experience tour, which has been garnering positive reviews, is a markedly different show to U2’s trademark vast sets featuring massive backdrops and giant metal claws. The band’s crew had to redesign the stage in order to fit it into one of the smallest spaces they’ve played in for some time.

There was a sense of nostalgia about this show; firstly it’s a staggering 26 years since the band played indoors in Dublin, in the same venue then called the Point Depot on the Rattle + Hum tour in December 1989 – famously, at the second-last of that series of concerts, Bono announced that the band would be going away” to “reinvent themselves” – which led them down the high-tech path which led to PopMart style extravaganzas.

It was a joyous sort of homecoming, tinged with nostalgia. It was a band getting back to basics, in a U2-guitar-and-high-tech sort of way.

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