I saw the beginning of the Sonics playoff game on TV tonight, and was so sad to see Key Arena back to a boring old basketball arena. It's so wrong.
I just got off the phone with Tanya, where we spent 20 minutes comparing notes and confirming that yes, the second Seattle show really was THAT GOOD. Then we planned for Friday in Vancouver. They're letting me crash on their hotel room floor - hooray for new friends!
Oh, and then? The assistant I mention under the cut? In the VIP section? Went backstage. Drank beer. With the band. I'm being strong and not hating him. And not crying. But I'm going to give him a LOT of shit next time I talk to him.
Apparently, Bono called the first night "a symphony," and the second night "a ROCK SHOW." Read more!
A Tale of Two Concerts
Part Two: In Which the Roof is Blown Off the Key Arena
Monday, April 25th, Seattle, Washington
(Dancing, Dancing, Screaming, and Dancing Some More)
This tale is shorter, as there was no waiting in line. However, a few interesting tidbits during the day:
I still have a voice. Am puzzled by this. Kelley, one of my managers, has lost hers from screaming at the concert.
I decide to leave that wristband on until it disintegrated. It’s a badge of honor, being in GA. (Okay, I cut it off tonight instead, so I could save it.)
I hear from a fellow U2 fanatic at work that their tour manager is in the building, getting a tour. He’s apparently a young guy. Am bummed I didn’t get to meet him.
Fellow U2 fanatic also reports that someone she knows got backstage passes from the svp of her department. Am seething with jealousy.
F-U2-F also reports that Bono is having dinner with Howard Schultz that night before the concert. Am fantasizing about the impossible scenarios where I might get to go, too.
We’re having an afternoon offsite event at McCaw Hall, which is right by Key Arena. As Howard and all the other mucky-mucks are speaking, we hope that Bono might make a special appearance. Alas, he does not.
A bunch of us go out for drinks and dinner after the event, and Julie (my date for the concert – we have reserved seats in the lower section) and I start making our way over to the Key, stopping to by tee shirts first. We bought the same one and both wore them today, naturally.
As we walk by the GA line, who do I see? Jesse again! We talk for a few minutes, and he asks his friend to take a picture of us. Julie said he had the biggest smile on his face. Awww.
Our seats are great. Not much to report other than pre-concert silliness in which Julie goes to have a beer, comes back much later saying she spent a lot of time talking to a group of guys.
“One of them was really cute,” she said. “You should have come with me!” Then, as an afterthought, she added, “Well, maybe he’s only cute to me.”
About 5 minutes later, she grabs my arm and yells, “There he is!” And points to a guy going down the stairs. He’s got curly, ratty gray hair almost down to his waist. With a bald spot on the top of his head. I look at her with complete horror, and we just about die laughing. Sadly, she wasn’t kidding – she did think he was cute.
I pee 5,236,463 times before the show starts (that’s what I get for having a margarita and a beer before the show!). The couple next to me are very friendly, and we chat and joke a bit.
Kings of Leon come on, and they sound much more annoying and piercing than they did last night, although it may just be where we are in the arena. I have to plug my ears.
And then it’s a special guest! Eddie Vedder (from Pearl Jam) comes out for the last song, and the crowd LOVES it. Eddie’s singing, and slamming tambourines together, and tossing the tambourines into the crowd.
So that was the first of the night’s surprises. Then we spot our friends Erin and Zach on the floor (and they see us), and wave at each other for about five minutes, jumping up and down.
I look down to the area in front of the soundboard, and it’s apparently a VIP area, because there’s Howard Schultz, looking snazzy in his blue shirt. One of his assistants is with him, and I SEETHE with jealousy. I bet he doesn’t even like U2! I’m going to give him such shit next time I see him. See if I ever chat with him about “America’s Next Top Model” again. Hmph!
And then there’s someone who looks familiar standing in the VIP area … it’s Peter Buck from REM! It’s my first Peter Buck sighting in Seattle, and I’m very exicted.
Pre-show songs, Arcade Fire comes on, I get up and start acting like a general spaz again.
Lights go down, music starts, and it’s …
“City of Blinding Lights”
I knew they’d been mixing up the set lists again, and I can’t decide if this one or “Love and Peace or Else” works better as an opener.
The confetti falls, the crowd yells and punches the air along with Bono, and it’s very grand.
The crowd is jazzed, dancing and singing along. It’s a very loud, energetic crowd, but most crowds are at the beginning of shows.
At this point, I’ve been pogo-ing and punching the air for three songs straight, with no signs of stopping. The crowd just SCREAMS “Hola!” after the “hello hello,” and it’s pretty great.
The previous night, they threw in a snippet of “Stories For Boys” off their first album before slamming back into the “Vertigo” riff, but they don’t tonight. Something seems a bit weird, almost off about the ending. Maybe Bono screwed up and forgot to do something? Never mind, it’s still awesome.
Just as fun as last night. I’m still jumping up and down, and not even feeling tired.
And then, the first notes of …
Now, I knew the band were pulling out some surprising songs at the second show in each city. I figured we’d get “Gloria,” maybe “The Ocean,” “Bad” and “Original of the Species” if we were lucky.
The crowd recognizes the song, and shouts out the count off of “2, 3, 4!” along with Bono, like it was 1983, and we’re in their famous Red Rocks concert video.
Amazing. Love this song.
I’ve never been crazy about this song. It’s not even much of a song. It’s moody, atmospheric, short, almost a half-song. And yet somehow, it was just really incredibly cool they were playing it, considering that before this tour, they hadn’t played it since … 1982, maybe.
“New Year’s Day”
We start jumping and screaming again. By this point, it feels like a nonstop U2 dance party. The crowd is INSANE, and you can tell the band is digging it, feeding off of it. They’re loose, obviously having a good time, smiling at each other.
I bump into the girl next to me for like the umpteenth time, and apologize. She smiles and says, “Don’t even worry about it. It’s so cool that you’re so into it! I love it!”
God bless this girl.
Once again, Bono dedicates this to someone named Jennifer. I do really love this song – it starts pretty mellow, and then has a big, anthemic chorus, just like a classic U2 song. Just not much to say about it live. It rocked.
“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own”
Not far into the song, Bono pulls out a 10 (?) year old boy from the Ellipse. The crowd goes ape shit. The boy stays with Bono on stage for the whole song, singing along to every word. Bono feeds off it, singing to him like the song was about him and not his late father.
By the time he gets to the climactic “you’re the reason I sing,” the crowd is just … again, it’s insane. The boy is staring at Bono, Bono is singing to the boy like it was his own son, and at the chorus, Bono pulls the boy close to him and continues singing.
It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
“Love and Peace or Else”
Just like last night, but later in the show. ;-) Bono banging on that drum is really, really awesome. He totally needs to do me now. Then he gave away his drumsticks to some lucky punk against the rail.
“Sunday Bloody Sunday”
The crowd? Loves it.
“Bullet the Blue Sky”
“Running to Stand Still”
Ditto. More huge cheers and applause for the Human Rights Declaration.
Somewhere in the crowd, my new friend Tanya is crying, as she said she would do if they played this song tonight.
Midway through typing this up, she called me, and we compared notes. We both agreed that this was one of the best versions of this song we’d ever heard. And we’ve heard a LOT.
Sometimes the crowd shows how many “big fans” are there by how they react to some of the lesser known songs, and if this was any indication, there were a LOT of big U2 fans in the house tonight. The crowd’s reaction was huge, and Bono threw in bits of the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday,” just like at Live Aid.
I took this opportunity to go to the bathroom. But it still rocked.
“Where the Streets Have No Name”
I wasn’t as over-the-top moved this time around, but by this point, the whole concert just felt like a giant party, and it was so incredibly thrilling.
Cell phones lighting up the Key like a Christmas tree again. Better performance of the song tonight. This may just be the best song ever written. Yes, it is open to debate. ;-)
Crowd? Loved it. Bono’s dancing? Very silly.
Just as good as the previous night.
Dancing my ass off. Was glad that Bono didn’t pull a girl onstage tonight, because my seething jealousy would have spoiled the night.
“All Because of You”
Rocked. Hard. Seriously.
This time, they actually left the stage again at this point. I had a brief moment of panic that they were done, but no, they soon came back. I helped bring them back, screaming bloody murder like someone was stabbing me.
“Original of the Species”
When they came back out, the Edge went back over to the piano, and I knew they were doing this one. I screamed more bloody murder and shoved that damn fist in the air again.
This song didn’t make an appearance on the tour until a number of shows in, and I think this might have just been the second time they did it live. It’s got lush orchestration on the album, so I wasn’t quite sure how it would work live, but it did.
So now it’s the end of the show, and they’re either going to do “Yahweh” and then “40,” or just go right into “40” and be done with it, right?
Yes, you read that right. They played it a second time. The drum beat started, and it sounded familiar, but we weren’t really sure what it was, and then Bono said something I couldn’t quite hear (it turned out to be something like: “Time for an English lesson: ‘encore’ is Italian for playing the song a second fucking time!”), then …
Unos! Dos! Tres! CATORCE!!!!!
And the crowd. Went. Ape. Shit. It was so bizarre, and so unexpected, and just so … so … AWESOME. It was like it was 1981, and they had to play their big hit twice because they didn’t have enough songs.
The band was tighter on this run through, the crowd was even wilder, and the lights on the stage seemed different. Were they maybe taping it for something? Were they unhappy with how it went the first time?
General consensus on the internet (aside from the people bitching about how they played the same song twice) is that they were feeding off the incredible energy of the crowd and just made the split-second decision to end on a high note.
Me? I loved it. So much. It was so unexpected, so boisterous, and so INSANE, it worked like you wouldn’t believe.
There’s a lot of chatter among U2 fans today online … some are saying it’s the best show they’ve put on in years. Some are bitter they weren’t there. Everyone thinks the show they’re at is something special, but the second Seattle show?
Was really something special.
I cannot WAIT to get to Vancouver on Friday. There’s no way it can top this show, but I can’t wait to see what they do.