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For diehard fans, U2's first Singapore concert in 43 years worth the wait

Anjali Raguraman

The Straits Times/Asia News Network

 /  Sun, December 1, 2019  /  04:09 pm
For diehard fans, U2's first Singapore concert in 43 years worth the wait

Irish rock band U2 comprising (from left) drummer Larry Mullen, guitarist The Edge, frontman Bono and bassist Adam Clayton performing at the National Stadium to a 50,000-strong sold-out crowd on Saturday. (The Straits Times/Gavin Foo)

The long wait was worth it for many diehard fans who attended Irish rock band U2's debut concert at the National Stadium on Saturday.

At one point, frontman Bono jokingly declared "this is the greatest rock 'n' roll band at the National Stadium tonight" to the 50,000-strong sold-out crowd present, as he called Singapore a "sci-fi city of tolerance" before launching into anthem One.

Fans' patience was tested for the last 43 years as the rock legends - which include guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen - gave Singapore a miss in their tour stops.

Last night they performed the seminal 1987 album, The Joshua Tree, in full, along with hit songs from the rest of their four-decade-plus catalog, including Beautiful Day and Even Better Than The Real Thing. They are set to perform a second show today before travelling to other Asian cities such as Tokyo, Mumbai and Manila.

Mr Ferdinand Pereira, 35, a content manager, made his way from Malaysia for the concert. He last saw the band play in Brussels at its 2017 Experience + Innocence tour.

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"Asian crowds are generally here to hear Bono sing - not to hear themselves sing. That's the biggest difference (from the European crowd)," he said. But he believes that the Singapore show "gave those who can't fly far to Europe or elsewhere, a chance to finally see them here in South-east Asia".

This was the case for many fans, such as Indonesian Said Rizky, 42, who traveled from Jakarta with a group of 20 just to catch Bono and company in action.

The businessman spent $800 on two standing pen tickets acquired via a third party for his wife and himself, after missing out on buying tickets for the concert when they first went on sale. The tickets originally cost around $190 each.

Sporting U2 merchandise, Mr Said said: "It was worth it... (I'm willing to do) whatever it takes. I've waited more than 30 years for this."

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This article appeared on The Straits Times newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post