Sunday, July 17, 2011

"And if you listen, I can’t call. And if you jump, you just might fall. And if you shout, I’ll only hear you. If I could stay, then the night would give you up. Stay, then the day would keep it’s trust. Stay, with the demons you drown, stay, with the spirit I found, stay, and the night would be enough." ~u2

I have more to write about, but the most pressing thing is U2. If you know me at all, you know I'm obsessed with U2. Meeting Bono last year was one of my most memorable experiences. I'm absolutely crazy about the band; there's so much that I love about them, I could go on forever. Instead, however, I'll focus on my most recent U2 experience. I went to see them in Philadelphia. I did GA (general admission), which meant I didn't have a seat but had a spot on the field (the concert was in the football stadium where the Eagles play). GA is the best way to experience a big band like U2 in a stadium. There is nothing like it in the world. The stadium holds 80,000 people and 16,000 people are on the field in GA. On the field, the energy is like nothing else you've ever experienced. You're surrounded by thousands of people just as excited as you are to be there. In the stands you never know what the people around you will be like, but if you've waited over 12 hours for a good spot, you know you'll only have other crazy hardcore fans around you, and that makes a huge difference.
I took the bus to Philly early in the morning (6:30am) to line up and was #439 in line. U2 didn't go on until after 9pm so I spent a whole lotta time in line, but I wanted a good spot. I had fabulous people around me in line who welcomed me into their group (and filled me up with lots of food throughout the day!). When we were finally let into the stadium, I ended up just where I wanted to be, on the railing along the outer circle (it's difficult to describe the stage, so the best way is just to show you a visual):
The Claw is pretty cool, huh? No wonder this is the most expensive tour ever.
I've been in the center pit before and it's a lot of fun, but it's difficult to see the main stage because it's so high. Where I was standing, I had an unobstructed view (no heads!) and had great close-up views when the band members came out on the walkway (which was fairly often; there were moving bridges that brought them out).

opened the show, and I was really excited about that because I'm a big fan of theirs. They did a great job (although I was disappointed that they didn't play "No Exit").

One thing I don't love about U2 is that they don't vary their setlists much. I guess they cater towards the casual fans/people who don't see them in concert multiple times, and I understand that. If you're only going to see U2 in concert once, you probably want to hear the hits. And they have a lot of hits. So each concert ends up being like a "greatest hits" show with a few wildcard songs thrown in there. I go for the wildcards. I've heard "Pride," "Where the Streets Have No Name," "One," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," and "Beautiful Day" so many times live that I would be thrilled if they were replaced, but they're setlist standards and unfortunately they're not going anywhere. I would kill to hear "Numb" live. That's the one song that I would seriously go absolutely crazy if they played. Someone would literally have to pick me up off the floor (and I really mean it). They haven't played it since 1993, though, and if they haven't played a song in nearly 20 years, of course I'm not expecting to hear it. I suspect Edge has forgotten the lyrics. I'm realistic about my expectations. Each new show I go to, I hope to hear one song I LOVE that I haven't heard them play live before. The last time I got "Ultraviolet," which made the whole show worth it. This time that song was "Stay." "Stay" made me so freakin' happy that I didn't care about what they didn't play.
"Stay (live in Philly, 7/14/11):"
I was also glad to hear "Scarlet," "Zooropa," "Until the End of the World," and "Even Better than the Real Thing." One standard song I always enjoy is "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." Part of it is always the crowd singing, and I'm a sucker for letting the crowd sing. 80,000 people belting out a song together is an experience like no other. It's cathartic and unifying and simply lovely. Plus, this time it was accompanied by some really old video footage of the band, which was funny.
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (live in Philly, 7/14/11):"
Another song I've heard live before but that I liked hearing again was "Miss Sarajevo." I love Bono's opera voice.
"Miss Sarajevo (live in Philly, 7/14/11):"
Overall I had a blast. I recommend everyone go to one U2 show and do the GA experience. It gives you a tremendous sense of community with the fans around you and with the band. It physically takes a huge toll on you and you'll spend days recovering, but when they're playing you're just filled with pure adrenaline. And now I have a crazy-dark tan, which is awesome (who knows how long it will last, but I'm happy for now).

I took a bunch of photos, none of which came out great, so I'll share just a couple here and then direct you to my photo page for more.

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