U2 on Saturday night in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium were, as the song says: magnificent. The much publicised 360 degree stage, dubbed 'the claw' for its four arms that encircled the stage and its lighted runways and from which hung hundreds of stretchy TV screens, was undoubtedly impressive ... but it didn't steal the show.
The night belonged to four guys doing what they have been doing for decades: being the best rock and roll band in the world. A healthy mixture of the new album along with some serious revisiting of the back catalogue gave a stunning performance over 2 hours of the most energetic music.
Front man Bono has always worn his politics (and sometimes his Christian faith) boldly on his sleeve and Cardiff was no exception. So the thousands who had gathered in listened not just to the music but to impassioned protests against the government in Burma and expressions of solidarity with Aung San Suu Kyi. We were privileged to hear a short recorded 'sermon' from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, his beaming smile shining brightly from the many TV screens suspended from the Claw as he encouraged us to sign up to a U2 sponsored charity, One. (Have a look at their blog at http://one.org/international/blog). So throughout the night we joined our voices to prophetic songs against war and poverty, we even sang Psalm 40. Amidst all the driving decibels and fast-paced illumination there were moments that felt quite genuinely sacred, almost as if Sunday (if not Christmas) had come early.
ps Liz, I hope you are feeling better soon.