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A 'Beautiful Day' as U2 rock to 80,000 at Croke Park

The Edge and Bono of U2 performing on stage at Croke Park in Dublin. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Gareth McKeown

THERE was only 'One' place to be on Saturday night as global superstars U2 serenaded more than 80,000 adoring fans at a sold-out Croke Park in Dublin.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band's iconic Joshua Tree album Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr returned to their home 'City of Blinding Lights' and played all their hits including; With or Without You, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and Beautiful Day.

Irish President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar were among those in attendance and were welcomed by Bono as "our chieftains", before describing the pair as "game changers".

They were joined at the concert by Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, actor Colin Farrell and footballer Robbie Keane at the gig, part of the band's Joshua Tree Tour 2017, which takes in over 50 dates around the world.

On track to to become biggest grossing international tour of the year it has sold 2.4 million tickets in Europe, North and South America.

Opening the momentous show former Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds dedicated his well-known track Half the World Away to his Irish relatives in Mayo. The song taking on extra meaning following Mayo's epic GAA qualifier win against Cork just hours earlier. He joked for the fans to “enjoy the local band coming on next”.

Taking to the stage just after 8.30pm U2 played a mix of their famous Joshua Tree album as well as their most recent hits such as Vertigo and Elevation, all to a backdrop of an enormous 200-feet wide and 45-high screen, featuring images by long time collaborator Anton Corbin.

The show also included a four plane tricolour flyover, revealed during the band's classic hit Where The Streets Have No Name.

Addressing the crows Bono said Croke Park was the place where the Joshua Tree was born 30 years ago and welcomed fans to "side two of the Joshua Tree cassette".

The Edge added: "It seems like we have come full circle from when the Joshua Tree songs were originally written, with global upheaval, extreme right-wing politics and some fundamental human rights at risk."

During the lengthy set list the track 'Miss Sarajevo' was played to a backdrop of scenes from the warzones of Syria, while US President Donald Trump's name was indirectly mentioned in footage from an old Western TV series.

Later on Hilary Clinton and Veronica Guerin was among a compilation of inspirational women displayed during the song 'Ultraviolet'.

U2 will head to Paris on the next leg of their record-breaking world tour.

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