Posted by : lara 9.22.2015

I've started a new scrapbook which can also be seen at Gauche Alchemy - the technical specifics are there!

However, i wanted to post these pages on my private blog to write some more in depth memories each page brings up. I plan to then print this out and put it behind the layouts in the scrapbook sleeves. 8" x 8" only has so much room!

2015 Scrapbook

The first sets of shows i went to were in Chicago at the United Center. It was strangely familiar as i've seen so many shows over the years i lived in Wisconsin there, including a handful of u2 shows. The GA line area hadn't changed at all in 15 years! Same grassy knoll and public housing building that didn't look like it had been updated at all since last i was there circa 2002 i believe.

I met several friends, old and new, and we stayed at a house near by. I got in the day before the first show and we did some sight seeing. Then the day of the show woke up early (6:15am early) to go "check-in" in the GA line. For those who don't know, U2 GA lines are SERIOUS business. There are rules and regulations, all fan enforced, and there are check-ins starting 24 hours before the show. If you don't show up to 1 of the 4 you're booted to the back! Thankfully, i was with line pro's who showed me the ropes and we were all in the top 25 to the front.

After checking in we decided to "stalk" the band. We all had various reasons why. And these pro's i was with knew where to go. But more on this later...

The SHOW. The WHOLE reason for this mini-vacation!

The stage set up for this tour is pretty spectacular - for any sort of fan. The people I was with had seen many shows and knew the best places. So the first night we stood by the "B" stage which is where the band performs about a third of their show and it's mostly stripped down versions of the songs. The second night we were up by the main stage which is a whole different experience and truly neither is better than the other one. I must give a slight edge to the place we stood at by the main stage because Bono's voice sounded so crisp and clear there - there must have been a dedicated speaker there or something.

I adored being up close for all the shows i saw. You got to see what professionals these guys are. Yet they are still able to create an intensely personal show. Especially being at the B stage which felt quite intimate. You could see all the cues, all the band communication, all the humanism. I loved how on newer songs Bono had to read the lyrics off a MacBook screen!

2015 Scrapbook

Anyways things that really knocked me out about these shows and setlists.

First, Bullet the Blue Sky. For a song that came out in the late 80s they always seem to give it a new life with every tour and this is no different - it's INTENSE. Like leave your body and drive you mad out of your mind intense. Bono really works through some white guilt during the IE version arguing with himself about becoming an American and not recognizing the person he's become. Just. Just.

Every Breaking Wave is another standout performance. It wasn't until i heard this song stripped down to piano and voice did i pay it any attention and thank god the band decided to take it to that level - it's beyond words how gorgeous that song is. And Bono puts SO MUCH emotion into the performance its hard not to be transcended with him. In fact, in NY the last night it literally brought tears to my eyes and made my knees so weak i was thankful to have a railing to grab a hold of.

Then the New York shows. Again i met a couple of friends and we rented an apartment about a mile from MSG. Very convenient. But these shows were something different. They were the last shows of the American leg of the tour and there were special guests (Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon specifically) and some special songs appearing (Satellite of Love, Party Girl). The last night Bono was so hyped he was flying around the stage. It was quite contagious.

However, surrounding the shows there was a lot of negativity and i don't know whether to attribute that to NY specifically or not. People seemed to be much more on edge and there was alot of negative vibes - people trying to cut in front and push their way up to the rail, professional scalpers physically hurting fans for newly released tickets, professional autograph assholes scaring the band away from the fans... it was not cool and thank goodness that last show made up for that.

The first show, not so much - perfectly enjoyable - but there were people just acting like selfish and entitled assholes. I think the event that happened when Bono handed the microphone to the woman who called 911 after his accident was the perfect way to summarize the night. He introduced the woman who called 911 and stayed with him until the medical team arrived and, as one headline put it, she shit all over new york city. And her last comment through the massive booing was "hey guys, bono wouldnt be here today if it wasn't for me" ... yeah whatever lady. And i'm sure that's the last time Bono will be handing a microphone to someone in the audience.

So something else lovely happened in NYC:

2015 Scrapbook

The first day we waiting about 5 hours in the rain by the backdoor where the band enters with the ultimate goal of being able to hand Bono his 2015 African Well Fund birthday card. Not surprisingly none of the band came out.

The next day we again wait about 7 hours this time and finally Bono arrived. He apologized that he couldnt stay long or sign anything but he did it going up to small groups of people at a time. When he got to our area I shoved the card out to him and said something like "Bono here is your African Well Fund birthday card" and he said as he looked at it "I love your stuff" and then he put it under his armpit and moved on. Mission accomplished.

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