REVIEW:

U2 frontman Bono has paid a touching tribute to his former roadie Greg Carroll.

New Zealander Carroll died in a motorcycle accident in 1986, having befriended Bono two years prior and subsequently toured with the Irish rock group.

Thousands gathered to watch U2 perform at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Greg Bowker Visuals
Thousands gathered to watch U2 perform at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Greg Bowker Visuals

The band are in New Zealand for two massive gigs at Auckland's Mount Smart Stadium - the opening two nights of their Joshua Tree Tour.

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It's U2's first visit to our shores since 2010.

The Joshua Tree Tour sees the band play the 1987 album in full every night, alongside other hits from their extensive back catalogue.

Taking the stage a little after 8.30pm, the band opened with Sunday Bloody Sunday from their album War, with Bono promising fans an "epic night of rock 'n' roll" we wouldn't forget.

"Thank you for having us back in your country [and] in your lives."

But it was Bono's rendition of One Tree Hill, written after Carroll's death, that hit home for the 40,000-plus crowd.

"We sort of adopted him, or perhaps it was the other way round," Bono said.

"We were very grateful for his companionship over those precious times

"He was taken from us too soon, but in a way he's still very present."

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Thousands gathered to watch U2 perform at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Greg Bowker
Thousands gathered to watch U2 perform at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Greg Bowker
U2 band member Bono performs as part of the Joshua Tree Tour. Photo / Greg Bowker Visuals
U2 band member Bono performs as part of the Joshua Tree Tour. Photo / Greg Bowker Visuals
Thousands gathered to watch U2 perform at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Greg Bowker Visuals
Thousands gathered to watch U2 perform at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Greg Bowker Visuals

The pre-show publicity for The Joshua Tree Tour boasted about it having the largest high-res LED video screen ever used in a touring show.

Seeing it up close really makes you appreciate how much effort goes into staging such a monumental performance.

And while the theatrics of this tour don't quite match U2's last visit to Auckland, the visuals of The Joshua Tree are vibrant, crystal clear and incredible to witness.

Earlier in the night, former Oasis vocalist Noel Gallagher opened with his group the High Flying Birds.

Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds perform in Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Greg Bowker Visuals
Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds perform in Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Greg Bowker Visuals

After illness reportedly prevented Gallagher from appearing on TV3's The Project on Thursday, the English rocker showed no sign of anything holding him back.

Delving into Oasis' catalogue of hits - despite the ongoing feud with brother Liam - the crowd were more than prepared for U2.

U2 perform at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Greg Bowker Visuals
U2 perform at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Greg Bowker Visuals

Finishing with a cover of The Beatles' All You Need Is Love felt a bit ironic, though. Send Liam a message, Noel! We want an Oasis reunion!

For those unlucky enough to miss last night's incredible performance, U2 - alongside Noel Gallagher - are back to do it all again tonight.

Tickets are still on sale, this is a night you won't want to miss.