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Give 'Em Enough Croke

Stuart Bailie | 09:53 UK time, Tuesday, 28 July 2009

I had a fun time at the U2 gig last night. After reading a bunch of withering articles I was expecting to see damaged goods - a band out of time and thin on resources. But of course you can never under-write this lot, especially when there's a negative wind about the place. And so they assembled under that giant stage apparatus, willing us to hear the value in the new music and then opening up the jewel box of their old material.

Dublin was naturally receptive to 'Bad', 'The Unforgettable Fire' and the premium stompers from the Eighties, when the city was getting on its uppers and Bono was trying that huge persona for size. Tonight he recognised that both parties have been downsizing in the last couple of years, but this wasn't the occasion for petty thinking. It was about empathy and getting roused, about forgetting the economic doledrums and remembering that there are capitvating issues in the Middle East, in Burma and Africa. Yes, we know that the band's own financials are up for scrutiny, but you could still perceive a generosity of the heart up there.

The new songs sit a bit uncomfortably in that company, but the best will stand and the others will be subsumed into that reservoir of effort, experiment, folly and fever. I still like them.

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