OK, so I’ve bored my friends and Facebook pals by going on and on about the U2 concert I went to on Monday, now it’s time to bore my faithful blog readers. Lucky you!
I’ve been a fan of U2 for *mumbles* years, but it’s only recently that I’ve been able to see them in concert. The first time I saw them, I had a slipped disc in my back, had to stand the whole time, and I had no voice the next day because I had screamed and shouted like a lunatic. I have been slightly better behaved at the last two concerts (only just).
We usually train it to the venue, and stay overnight in a hotel nearby, but this year, Mr B (spurred on by too many episodes of Top Gear) decided to drive us there. To Amsterdam. During rush hour on a Monday afternoon. Yeah. Actually, the journey went smoothly, we were bopping along to the CDs he’d made specially for the car, until we got to just outside the arena. And then basically, it was chaos. I kept (helpfully) shouting ‘Oooh, P U2!’ every time I saw a parking sign (I am such a great co-driver).
The next excitable moment for me was seeing the posters and the sign for Crew. Which obviously wasn’t us, but still:
Look, look, it says crew! And yes, I waved at the poster. Yeah, I know, I’m sad. Moving on…
It took about an hour from this point to getting a parking space – it was utter chaos, cars everywhere. The parking for the stadium is helpfully situated throughout a large retail park, so we arrived at around 5pm, just as people were starting to leave work. Yay! We did finally park up, and walked about 20 minutes to get to the stadium. After purchasing the obligatory tour t-shirts, and snaffling down a couple of hot dogs, we decided to head indoors. I had my bag searched (as per usual) and then my TicTacs were confiscated. No, that’s not a euphemism, the security guy thought that the box of TicTac mints I had were drugs.
Security: (pointing at TicTacs and speaking in Dutch) “Um, if you want to take those, make sure you’re not near other people.”
Security: “Sorry, do you speak English? I said if you want to take those, move away from other people.”
Me: “They’re mints. Sweets.”
Security: “Yeah, maybe you could separate them so people don’t see you have so many.”
Me: “But…they’re mints. TicTacs.”
Security: “There’s a lot of them, I think you should separate them out.”
Me: “*sigh*. Fine, I’ll put them in the bin here.”
Security: “It’s just so other people don’t see you with them.”
Me, as we wandered towards the stairs: “They’re bloody TICTACS.”
Maybe he was concerned that there weren’t going to be enough for me to share round the whole stadium? I don’t know, it was just odd. Anyway, we climbed 3,000 stairs (possible exaggeration) and headed towards our seats. As we walked past there was a gap where we got our first glimpse of ‘The Claw’. And yes, I said “Ooooh!” out loud. We already agreed I was sad, didn’t we?
And, as is customary on these occasions, I spent the next 10 minutes ranting at mr B about how *those people* got to be so close to the stage. It’s a tradition now. 😀
Anyway, we found our seats, and the view was pretty impressive:
I already knew that we’d be on the ‘Adam’ side, but this was the closest we’d ever got to the stage, so I didn’t mind. I should point out here (for the few people in the world who don’t know this), that I am a big, big Edge fan. Huge. Obsessed, some would say. And he was on the other side of the stage. But it didn’t matter, as the people looked like people, not tiny ants – this was a huge difference from the previous concerts.
I was a bit concerned about the lighting people who were hoisted up inside the ‘arms’ of the claw, especially when I saw a pair of feet dangling down near the top – eep!
The stadium slowly filled up, and we only had one row behind us, filled with a couple of guys who bitched about the fact that a pole was obscuring their view. You might just be able to make it out at the top of that last photo. Yeah, that’s what I thought too. They quit whining eventually, and the only other annoying person nearby us was some bloke with ‘Bono-style’ glasses who stood up for HOURS, being ‘cool’. I think he was hoping that people would mistake him for Bono, despite him having curly hair and a beer gut. There were a few rounds of Mexican waves, which Mr B wasn’t really keen on, and at about 8pm, the support act, Snow Patrol, came on. They were really good, much better than I expected. And the crowd went mad for them, so that was nice – I always feel bad for support acts when the crowd isn’t interested.
Then finally, at about 9.30, a giant clock appeared on the mega screen, and music started playing. And….they appeared. The stadium came alive with screaming and shouting. I don’t know if you can tell from the first pictures of the stage, but it was designed so that the fans got a 360 degree view of the band. So there were huge screens in the middle, and a runway all the way round the main stage, so the band could walk about a bit.
The sound quality was much, much better than the last time we were in the stadium, and I was thrilled that I could see the band walking about clearly. The giant screens were great too, showing various band members – they played a big part in the show.
As it got darker, the light show got better and better – the technology behind it all must be pretty amazing. The giant screen went from the shape above, to this:
Yup, it expanded into hundreds of individual screens, which were then used as part of the lights show. I thought at one point that the band was going to be totally hidden inside the screen, but they all managed to get out, bar Larry.
Adam was out and about on our side of the stadium quite a bit – I don’t know if he’s more ‘mobile’ because he plays bass and doesn’t sing. The Edge didn’t venture our way too much, but when he did, Mr B was ready with the camera (bless him):
There was quite a lot of sparkle about on stage, alongside the light show. Edge seemed to have a sparkly guitar strap, Bono had a slightly spangly jacket on (and later in the show, he changed into a jacket which lit up), Larry had a disco drum kit, and Adam had sparkly stripes on his trousers, AND a sparkly guitar:
Bless. All this spangliness did get my hopes up that they were going to play ‘Discotheque’, but they didn’t.
Incidentally, we acquired a new camera very recently, and I can totally recommend it. It’s a Panasonic DMC-TZ6, and it takes great photos, has a fabulous zoom, and I was really impressed with the video quality, although it doesn’t look so great on Youtube.
Oh, and if you got to the end of this massive post (well done), you’ll be pleased to know that we’ll be going to see U2 again in just over a week. So that’s at least one more blog post I don’t have to think about. 😀