IT was one of the most eagerly anticipated gigs of the year.
And for 70,000 fans, it delivered on every count.
When U2 rolled into Cardiff last night for the last leg of their European 360 Degree Tour, they blew the audience away.
Taking centre stage and most of the audience’s breath away in the Millennium Stadium was the £20m set dubbed The Claw – which towered over the main circular stage.
As the iconic front man Bono emerged last night, clad in black and wearing his trademark sunglasses, the crowd erupted with delight.
The almost capacity 70,000 audience made it a record-breaking attendance for any gig at the stadium, outselling Take That’s 64,000 audience earlier this year.
After opening with Breathe, from the new album No Line on the Horizon, the band treated fans to a mix of their many hits from the last three decades and new songs from their latest CD.
Highlights included Beautiful Day, Mysterious Ways, Vertigo, Pride and One, as well as newer stand out songs, Get On Your Boots, Crazy Tonight and Magnificent.
Homage was also paid to The Edge’s Welsh roots, with Bono confessing to having once had singing lessons from the guitarist’s father, Garvin Evans.
“He told me to look after the consonants and the vowels will look after themselves,” Bono told the crowd, who lapped up his every word.
The Edge, whose family were in the Cardiff crowd, received a rapturous applause simply by saying “Cymru Am Byth”, before the band launched into I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For while the adoring masses sang along.
Of course, no U2 gig would be complete without a political message of democracy and freedom, and this was no exception.
The band dedicated their tracks Walk On and MLK to imprisoned Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu gave an uplifting video message before the song One.
Fans hailed the gig as possibly the greatest spectacle seen in the stadium’s 10 year history.
Martin Howarth, 25, from Swansea, said: “I’ve seen the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the stadium and the Rolling Stones but U2 were much better.
“They get such a mixed crowd because they have been going for so long. Some people knew all the words of the old stuff and others only knew the recent albums.
“You have to give them credit and say they are one of the best live bands in the world.
“I would definitely go back and see them again if they came to Cardiff.”
Lloyd James, 24, from Swansea, said: “It was unbelievable. I have never seen a gig like it before.
“The sound was fantastic and the stage looked immense.
“I’ve been to some pretty special rugby games in the Millennium Stadium before but the atmosphere was something totally different to those.
“It’s the best gig Cardiff’s ever had.”
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