Incredible show, it was overwhelming. Supporting was the Divine Comedy, they're a band who have a few hits but not many followers (who know their other songs). So I suppose it wasn't surprising that they only seemed to have played about 5 or 6 songs before they left. And it wasn't that they seemed to be getting a bad response. Throughout they kept asking 'are you looking forward to R.E.M?' .. 'yyeeahh' .. 'well I am myself'... etc. During the half hour, hour or so between the two bands, the crowd cheered each of the spotlight operators who were climbing the rope ladders, and cries of 'jump, jump, jump' were heard.
Lotus began the concert, there was great crowd participation, and as far as I can remember Michael began talking with the crowd right after that. Wtf Kenneth followed, which was even more well-received. Michael on more than one occasion told the people up front to be careful 'hey, I know what you're doing down there, but just take it easy'. And from what I heard afterwards (I wasn't at the very front) it was far too squashed up at the front - with no pit and no barriers that was probably to be expected.
Walk Unafraid was started, as before, with the chorus being clearly sung by Michael before the band began the song, which was attention-grabbing. They played Suspicion, which was well-received even though it wasn't well-known by some of the crowd. And the same can be said of a lot of the slower, unknown songs. Michael of course was dancing all the way through, even ending up lying exhausted on the stage at the end of one song.
He told us an anecdote about having been in Ireland 2 years previously, in this same venue where he watched a band play, and pointed out into the crowd to where he was standing, 'stepping on everyone's feet, just like you are'. He told us how he'd only noticed that it was the same place when he arrived in the courtesy room backstage, and was describing the toilets to us, with sunflowers on the back of them, and a 'little rainforest' planted in the urinals. He said that you'd go to the toilet, and then, if you were a gentleman, put the seat back down in case the next person was a woman. This was met with lots of female cheering, and then with the words '...because it's the little things that matter, and this song is about the little things', the opening chords of 'at my most beautiful' led the way into a song sung with great feeling and emotion.
Everybody hurts probably had the best crowd reception for a slow song, with everyone holding hands high and Michael putting on a very moving performance. The opening notes of 'losing my religion' were sudden and drove the crowd wild too. About half-way through the concert, during the ending of a song, Michael steps down from the stage and brushes his hand across the ocean of hands out at him from the front rows, much to the entire crowd's enjoyment. Awhile later, the band brings an Irish flag onto the stage, waves it around, and drapes it over the speakers. The crowd goes insane, and after awhile breaks into a rendition of 'Olé, olé olé olé'. Michael appears to enjoy the whole proceedings, but does follow with another song fairly quickly. At another time, he waves to the people on both of the stands, and is met with a mass of hands waving back at him.
Before the 2nd-last song, Michael thanks the Divine Comedy, some of his road crew 'who will be sleeping in their own beds tonight' (crowd cheers)... 'and maybe some of them'll finally get laid, too' (laughter and more cheering). The audience, some of them thinking that the next song was the last one, gave a huge cheer, before the band broke into 'It's the end of the world...', and immediately everyone goes crazy. At the end of this song, they repeat the chorus for what seems like forever (at least 10 times), pushing every last bit of energy out of the audience. Then the chorus stops, and the last chord is repeated again and again, the drumming gets louder and slower, and there is constant cheering from the entire crowd.
After it was *finally* over, the stage goes black, the floodlights go up blinding everyone, and there was an atmosphere of exhausted contentness. I think the show seemed a little short compared with some of theirs. It was also a pity that it only started getting dark enough for the lights to be effective towards the end (outdoor venue). They were great in 'the one I love' though, amongst others. Overall, a memorable, huge concert.
Back to the 1999 concert setlists