Tag Archives: U2360

Achtung Baby!

Yes, one U2 concert just wasn’t enough, we had to go again – see here for the ‘Concert the First’ post.

The Husband very kindly bought us tickets for a gig in Gelsenkirchen, Germany – just an hour’s drive (roughly) from us. I thought it would be rude not to go along with his plan, and so on 3rd August (no, I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write this post) we set off towards Germany. The Husband had spent the time since the last concert wisely, so I was able to croon my way through the songs that would be played at the concert (we hoped), stopping only to try to get a shot of an amusing road sign:

Yes, I am a big child. Although to be fair, I also laughed at the name Wachtendonk too.

After the fun and games of getting into neighbourhood of the stadium in Amsterdam, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the Veltin Arena was well-signposted and that there were marshalls at the car parks to direct us to a parking spot. The whole stadium was well-organised and set up, and the only real disappointment was the long-awaited for bratwurst. Ah well, you can’t have everything.

After being frisked by a female security guard (at least I hope she was to do with security – she was stood by the turnstile anyway), we got into the arena. And yes, this time, I was allowed to keep my Tictacs – woohoo! We stopped off to ooh and aah at the Claw, and wandered off to find our seats. We had two end seats, one behind the other, but it worked out fine. And we had a very good view of the stage indeed – this time on the ‘Edge’ side of the stage.

Please ignore the big giant thumb – not part of the stage set-up. I started to get quite giddy when I realised how close we were, and that I would see actual people on the stage. We spent some time looking at the program ( we always buy one, it’s a tradition) and queueing for the bathroom. Eventually, after MONTHS of waiting, Snow Patrol came on stage at about 8pm. They were as good as the last time we saw them, but as you can see from this pic, the arena was virtually empty:

They played for about 40 minutes and then went off. The seats near us started to fill up, and the Husband took his seat behind me. A guy with a huge SLR camera sat next to me, and I gave the Husband indignant looks – we had our compact camera, how come *he* got to bring his SLR? No matter, the pics from the compact were great, and once again, the Husband did all the photography.

9pm rolled around, the hugely-annoying Blackberry ads disappeared off the tv screens and David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ started to play – a cue that the band were on their way to the stage. And….the song played on. Eventually, the band appeared from what appeared to be a hole in the ground (no giant lemon this time – boo!) and the arena erupted into deafening cheers.

The playlist was pretty much the same as the last concert, which was good.

The Husband and I have since had a discussion about whether the band has multiple versions of each item of clothing, as they all appeared to be wearing exactly the same outfits as last time. The sound quality wasn’t that great, although I managed to squawk along quite happily.

I was quite disappointed that the Edge didn’t wander about that much towards our side of the stage, but again, the band did get about a fair bit – Bono even came over to say hi:

I noticed that the Edge seemed more stampy than usual, and he was kicking seven bells out of the pedal-panel thing in front of him, and then peering anxiously at it. And then I realised why he looked so concerned. Just as the band reached the chorus of Vertigo, we discovered that the Edge had blown up his amp!

At the time, I thought the Edge looked more annoyed than anything, and I didn’t see Adam’s raucous laughter, but in that video, it looks like they’re all having a ball. Anyway, they did a second take, and it all went well. The Edge continued to stamp, albeit a little more gingerly than before. And as luck would have it, the one time he strolled past right in front of us was during the dance version of ‘I’ll go crazy’, which the Husband was recording (at my request). He made his escape quite quickly over the bridge and back to safety.

Well, relative safety, considering the giant extending wall of screens, the smoke machines, and Bono swinging about on a microphone.

Yes, his jacket lit up again, and yes, this time, he very nearly fell over and went into Larry’s drumkit. And that, children, is the reason why we don’t arse about with microphones. Or pedal-panel things. Seriously, what are those things called? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

This time we got a really nice picture of the ‘Milky Way’ (mobile phone lights) in the arena, which appeared during ‘One’:

Lovely. But, all good things come to an end, and before much longer, the band were leaving again.

It was an amazing show, and I would happily go to a third gig. In fact, the only things stopping me from turning the car round this morning when the Husband told me that there were still tickets available for the Wembley show was that a) it would mean us giving money to Ryanair *spits*, and b) there’s a football match on tomorrow which the Hubster doesn’t want to miss. Humph. Maybe two concerts is enough for now. Maybe….


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.”
Me: “?”
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. 😀