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Let’s just say that when U2 released The Joshua Tree in 1987 (30 years ago), I was still in elementary school!
At that time, the “hair bands” were what many of the kids at school were listening to…Bon Jovi, GNR, and the like. I didn’t listen to much of anything, as we were fairly limited in what we were allowed to listen to at that age. But, I digress.
Last night (09/19/2017), I attended my very first U2 concert!
We drove from SoCal to Arizona on the day of the concert (kids too!), checked in to a hotel, drove to & parked our car at the concert venue (University of Phoenix Stadium), and walked to meet some friends for dinner (my best friend from high school & her husband, who introduced me to my husband over a decade ago!).
We caught up on each other’s lives over gyros & baklava cheesecake. All too soon…
It was time for the big event!
We headed back to the concert venue, with our pockets stuffed with all the items we would need for the rest of the evening…concert tickets, phones, ID, methods of payment, etc. Why were our pockets stuffed with all these things? Well, earlier in the day, I kept receiving e-mail from both Ticketmaster and the concert venue. They had ominous titles, such as “Important Notice” and “Event Advisory.” I was nervous to open each one, as I didn’t want to be half-way to Arizona & find out that the show was cancelled. Thankfully, the show happened, but we did find out that the previous tour stop had actually been cancelled, due to civil unrest in St. Louis, Missouri. Yikes!
Another thing I learned from these e-mails was that the NFL has a “Clear Bag Policy.” The concert was being held at University of Phoenix Stadium, which is where the Arizona Cardinals play, so I guess NFL rules are always in effect. What that meant is that this mama would not be able to carry her purse into the concert! Um, I’m glad we had enough pockets for all the essentials! And, I’m really glad I found out about this prior to the security check at the venue.
One of the essentials that I needed to find a pocket for was earplugs.
I would recommend these for anyone but especially for kids. I like wearing them for two reasons: (1) to protect my hearing, natch!, and (2) it actually drowns out the “noise,” and you are able to hear lyrics & talking better.
Everything in our pockets was allowable (ha!), so we made it into the venue and got settled in our seats. It was a bit of a last-minute decision to attend this concert, so we were in the nosebleed section. Truth be told, the way ticket prices are these days, we would’ve probably been in the nosebleed section anyway!
The official concert start time was 7:30 p.m., and Beck started his opening set very shortly thereafter. Now, I’ve never been a fan of Beck, but his nearly solid hour of playing song after song was sonically entertaining, to be sure. All his band members held their own, but the bass player was no joke. There was a solid bass line in every song!
At 8:30 p.m., Beck was done with his set, the lights came on, and a complete stage overhaul began…and lasted an entire hour! Although it’s kinda cool to watch the stage techs get The Edge’s guitars all tuned up & ready, we’d had a long day, and we were ready to see U2.
At long last, at approximately 9:30 p.m., U2 took the stage!
I had seen the probable tour playlist online, so I was ready for the drum pattern that begins “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” It happened, and it didn’t disappoint! For the next two hours, U2 played through The Joshua Tree, as well as hit singles from the last couple decades. To experience such an iconic band live is just an amazing experience. One of the most unique characteristics (to me) of U2 is how their popularity and relevance has survived and thrived for so long, especially with direct and indirect references to Christianity in their lyrics. I can’t think of any other band, in the culture that we live in, that would be allowed to present (& be consistently rewarded for) these kinds of messages.
The concert audience spanned the generations.
It must’ve also spanned bedtimes and work schedules. Case in point: At 11:05 p.m., a couple (maybe in their 60s?) exited our aisle to leave, saw our kids, & said to me, “How come they’re wide awake, and we wanna go to bed?” I totally understood, but there was no way we were leaving this concert before the last note was played! And speaking of age…
Bono can still sing!
There are some songs where he could get away with “talking” through some sections, instead of going for the notes. Bono, however, is still hitting all the notes!
The set design was pretty basic, which harkens back to U2’s more humble beginnings. It was very clear, however, that this was The Joshua Tree tour.
At 11:30 p.m., the final song came to a close.
After Bono thanked the audience, he told everyone to “go to bed.” Haha!
Between parking lot gridlock & street traffic & the distance to our hotel, we got to bed around 1:30 a.m., but it was an experience we won’t soon forget. One love, one life.
What is your favorite concert experience?