U2's massive first Melbourne concert

U2 has proven that size does matter in the world of rock concerts.

Their 360 Degrees Australian tour, launched in Melbourne tonight, revolves around a super-sized claw-shaped stage that managed to dwarf Etihad Stadium.

It was hard not to be in awe of the Claw; the kind of thing only the biggest band in the world could pull off - they have always dreamt large.

The structure - shoehorned in the middle of the venue - moved all the state of the art screens, lights and speakers above the band for the 360 degree view the tour boasts.

“What do you think of our space station?,” Bono asked the crowd.

No one works a stadium like Bono, dropping in shoutouts to Fitzroy, St Kilda and Richmond before lost single Magnificent.

But technology and stadium staging aside it’s those songs that drew 60,000 fans out tonight.

Beautiful Day and I Will Follow set the agenda; a clever mix of their biggest (I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Mysterious Ways, Vertigo) and best (Bad, One, Miss Sarajevo) to appeal to their wildly diverse and wildly loyal fanbase.

It means Bono can quote Leonard Cohen in one song, AC/DC in another, even Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Only U2 could manage to get rap icon Jay-Z to open for them, a man whose “limitless talent” Bono praised.

The rapper added a verse to U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday during their set.

While his lyrical skill was lost on some members of the crowd during his own set - hopefully some minds were opened as Jay-Z and his band showed how hip hop can work live.

His brilliant set featured anthems like 99 Problems, Run This Town and Dirt Off Your Shoulder but it took the instant classic Empire State of Mind to get the rapper the respect he deserved.

Sadly rumored appearances by Kanye West and Jay-Z’s wife Beyonce did not eventuate.

And luckily the predicted rain was another no-show.