U2 open world tour with a bang in Barcelona

Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:16pm EDT
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By Ben Harding

BARCELONA (Reuters) - U2 kicked off their first tour in three years on Tuesday, rocking a raucous Barcelona crowd of around 90,000 and reaching for the stars with a live link-up to the International Space Station.

Featuring one of the biggest concert stages ever built, the U2 360 Tour will visit 31 cities across Europe and North America and entertain an estimated three million people. More dates are expected to be announced in 2010.

Fans surrounded the circular platform inside Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium, allowing for a bigger audience and lower average ticket prices during the global recession.

"All around Spain, all around the world, things are difficult. Thank you for coming back to us again and again," Bono said during the high octane show.

The quartet, one of the world's most successful acts, opened with "Breathe" from their acclaimed new album "No Line on the Horizon," and the crowd came to life with the anthem-style "Magnificent" on a hot summer's night.

U2 mixed old songs and new, playing classics including "Beautiful Day" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" as well as "Angel of Harlem," which the band dedicated to U.S. pop star Michael Jackson, who died suddenly last week aged 50.

"We wrote this one for Billie Holiday but we are going to play it tonight for Michael Jackson," said Bono. "Unspeakable talent, that's all there is to say, really," he added, and the song morphed into Jackson hits "Man in the Mirror" and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough."

Half way through the concert, U2 linked up by video to the International Space Station.   Continued...

<p>Singer Bono of U2 performs during the first concert of the U2 360&ordm; Tour at Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona June 30, 2009. The U2 360&ordm; tour will travel to 14 cities across Europe. REUTERS/Albert Gea</p>