If I were to describe the recently concluded U2 concert in one word: Phenomenal. I know this article is kinda late already since the concert has been more than a week ago, but I am still on U2 high and I’m having a post-concert depression as of this writing.

This rock show has got to be the concert of the year (or decade), as people from across generations gather in the biggest indoor arena to witness Bono, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr. and The Edge rock the Manila stage for the first time as part of the Joshua Tree Tour last December 11. When I say people from across generations, I mean from Baby Boomers to Millennials. As one would describe, it is a meeting of all rocker titos and titas, and a few millennials who have classic taste in music. I was born in the early 90s but when your father has a collection of U2 vinyl records that he keeps playing up in the attic, you can’t help but to become a fan because c’mon, it’s U2!


The Irish group performed in three parts: First part, they played their hits from the 80s that are outside of the Joshua Tree era, the second part was the entire Joshua Tree album, then the last part was an encore of their hits from various albums such as Achtung Baby, Boy, The Unforgettable Fire and All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

The band started the night with their iconic rock single Sunday Bloody Sunday to get our bloods pumping, followed by their hits from the 80s, New Year’s Day and Pride (In the Name of Love), to name a few.

The main setlist consisted all the tracks from the iconic album, down from opening track Where the Streets Have No Name to the album’s last track Mothers of the Disappeared. The night would not be complete without the crowd’s rock anthem I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, wherein the band made the audience sing the first half of the song, followed by the group’s most successful single With or Without You.

One of my favorite performances that night was Running to Stand Still. I personally think that U2 is at its best when their music is stripped down to basics, when it all gravitates down to the melody and lyrics. And this performance hits home.

And so she woke up, woke up from where she was lying still. She said, “I gotta do something about where we're going”. You got to cry without weeping. Talk without speaking. Scream without raising your voice. You know I took the poison, from the poison stream then I floated out of here.

The band ended the second set with a hit from their album Rattle and Hum, Desire.


After they ended the Joshua Tree set, the iconic rock band re-entered the stage as people started singing the intro of the Tomb Raider soundtrack Elevation. Followed by their single from their 2004 album, Vertigo, which I think is their most energetic performance that evening.

One song that struck me the most was Every Breaking Wave. The performance was again, stripped down to The Edge’s piano and Bono’s beautiful vocals, which made the song emotional, pure and heartfelt. Followed by their controversial song that sparked mixed political opinions from Manila crowd, Ultra Violet (Light My Way).

Politics aside, the number commemorates strong women who contributed to society by voicing out their beliefs. Some of the Filipinas projected in the ginormous screen were Maria Ressa, Cory Aquino, Marinel Ubaldo, in line with other influential women around the world like Ellen DeGeneres, Melinda Gates and Greta Thunberg.

“In our prayers, let's keep the journalists, the truth tellers, the activists who keep this country spiritually safe. We salute you!”, frontman Bono said.

As I have mentioned earlier, U2 is at its best when everything is stripped down to raw and pure talent, and for the finale song the band decided to end the night with One where Bono asked the tech team to turn down the stage lights and just enjoy the song with no flashy lights, effects and backdrops.

I just stood there, stuck in the moment (lol), watching the band take their final bow on stage. The band played a total of 25 songs that lasted for more than 2 hours. The fan girl in me was hoping that they would play my all-time U2 favorite – Stay (Faraway, so Close) from their 90s album Zooropa.

It has been 9 days, 12 hours and 33 minutes since the concert. I still have U2 concert hangover, and I think it will probably linger for quite longer. Thanks to MMI Live and Smart for making this historic concert happen.

There’s millennial lingo that goes, “Okay, Boomer..” which we say to our old generation titos and titas. But for this one, I have to say, “ALRIGHT, BOOMER!”, you guys have great taste in music!

Prior to the concert, we had a U2 pre-concert party at the Smart Music Live Lounge. Thanks to Smart, we early birds had a place to hangout before the concert started. We arrived in the Philippine Arena at around 3PM, and we were able to witness the exponential growth of the number of attendees lining up to claim their tickets, buy the official merch and to get in line for VIP standing.

Every breaking wave on the shore, tells the next one there'll be one more. And every gambler knows that to lose is what you're really there for. If you go? If you go your way and I go mine? Are we so? Are we so helpless against the tide? Are we ready to be swept off our feet, and stop chasing every breaking wave?

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