Finally seeing someone you grew up listening to on the radio in the flesh is like riding an emotional roller coaster. First, you deal with an unhealthily high level of expectation after years of building them up in your head as demigods, or at least very cool, talented people. Next, you go to the trouble of snagging a concert ticket via a frustrating fastest-fingers-first reservation system, splashing out crap loads of moolah in the process. Then, you make the trip to the venue in a circuitous fashion to avoid the inevitable traffic-clogged roads and jostle with the sweaty crowd. At last, after all of that, you’re either rewarded with A: your idols sounding exactly like you’ve heard them on CDs (remember those?) and acting just like what you’ve seen in their MTV interviews, or B: their crushingly disappointing off-key IRL vocals, diva tantrums, or worse, bored indifference.
Luckily for us fans at 8 DAYS, Irish mega band U2’s first-ever concert in Singapore (held over two nights at the National Stadium on 30 Nov and 1 Dec, we went on the second day) was good. Actually, we lie: it was pretty damn awesome. Yes, it took 43 long years after they first emerged as skinny teenage rockers before they deigned to pay us a visit, but we thank the musical gods that the foursome, all pushing grandpa age at around 60, still sound and look incredible.
Lead singer Bono, guitarist the Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen started U2 in 1976 as a post-punk outfit. While earlier albums like War (their third) were quite successful, it was 1987’s album The Joshua Tree that propelled them into international superstardom. It remains their top-selling album among 14, starring their only #1 singles in the US, ‘With or Without You’ and ‘I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For’. The band kicked off the 30th anniversary tour of Joshua Tree in America in 2017 and continued the tour in Australia, NZ and Asia this year, including their virgin Singapore gig.