Tuesday, November 03, 2009

U2 Washington, DC, part 2

Anyway, I knew it would be okay, because our numbers were good and the line was really pretty orderly and calm all day. A really good line. Nevertheless, you get that late afternoon panic disorder syndrome sometimes. Or at least I do. Getting to the venue and then the final final final lineup are big major stress points for me! But E. and I talked about where to be, and we decided on outer rail, and I selfishly hoped we’d be able to be more left on Edge’s side because I never get to be on Edge’s side, but center would be totally great too because E is a big Bono fan too, but of course on the third hand anywhere on outer rail is awesome, right? Right. We were both breathing into paper bags, though, you know how it is.

Eventually they started to move a first group of us to the turnstile area. The security people letting us into that next area used our lineup numbers to kind of regulate how many of us there were, which was great. However, and this is as hilarious to me in retrospect as I’d hoped, as they let us in I like turned my ankle or something and took a mighty tumble. I’m BEYOND lucky that I didn’t actually injure myself or break my camera! It was totally in SLO-MO as I kind of staggered forward trying to get my balance, but momentum won, and I went down fairly hard, knees, then hands, then (oh shit no) I bumped my face on the pavement a pretty good one, too. Luckily I only got from it a skinned knee, some great bruises, sore hand-heels for half an hour, and a sore nose for a few days. MANY people asked me if I was all right, which was awesome, AND since we were so near the front I totally didn’t harm my place in line much by it. E. ended up in the line next to my line, and once she made sure I was okay she was like “Dude, I looked over and you were DOWN.” Secretly I was kind of hoping for a black eye – I bumped my brow, nose, mouth – so at work I could be all ‘totally got a shiner in the pit at the show, losers,’ but to no avail. Hah.

Anyway, then of course it was stand and wait there, too. One security guy told us that he THOUGHT we’d go in and turn left and come out behind the stage – which I thought was weird – and another guy kind of counted down the minutes, telling us we had nine minutes, four minutes – then after it was time, of course, another five or so. God, the tension, you know? Finally what did it was E. asked me for a Tic Tac, and when I passed them to her, it was GO TIME. Scan, in, mob, pack, go left, wait, jam into the usual tunnel, shuffle shuffle, hold up your ticket and wristband, GO. Down steps I did not fall down (been there, fell down that!), and I felt really disoriented for a minute; we weren’t behind the stage, we were in the adam-side corner at the back of the field, LOTS of security, so we hardly even were running. Speed walk speed walk, I headed for the middle, and there was E just ahead of me, heading a bit left, looking at me for confirmation, and WE ARE THERE, rail, Edge side, exactly at the corner before where the rail starts to slope away. Perfection!! Just what I wanted.


I felt like FedEx Field was much smaller than Soldier Field, it seemed like such a short run, but E. said FedEx is actually one of the largest football stadiums. Perhaps it’s because my last memory of entering Soldier Field is running down the whole field and THEN all the way around and into the pit, which is a lot further than just to the rail. Anyway, at that point every anxiety had been hurdled and it was time to just generally freak out. I sat down for just a bit, but not a lot of people were, which makes it awkward, and the douche next to me at the rail seemed to think he could hold like five spaces for people who “should be here in like half an hour,” and E. was too psyched to sit, so there we were, looking around.

And let me tell you, my brothers, it was, once again, wonderful. Watching the field fill up, eventually people coming into the stands, the crews at work. You know how security usually kind of ignores you and like pretends they’re in the military? Our security actually greeted US and was all “how you-all doing this evening?” and we started chatting and found out that all the numerous young, wiry guys at rail security were in fact Marines – I’m not sure if they were getting extra credit or something, but they were so great and so polite. They took a jillion pictures of people for them, “Ma’am”-ed us to no end, had all kinds of conversation, gave each other a hard time, and generally were Dear Boys Far From Home and all that. One from Atlanta, we talked baseball for a few minutes; one from Detroit; I don’t even remember. One of them was telling us how they had some kind of special muster or something and President Obama came to it and shook his hand. So of course I stuck out MY hand and shook HIS hand, and that was kind of cool. They were telling us stories about training and trying to sleep all piled up like frozen puppies in the snow and Quantico and trying to get an Embassy post and hoping for Ireland. Not big U2 fans, but one of them was like “Oh MAN!! MUSE is opening?? Really??” Crack me up. They were a welcome distraction, too, because it was getting pretty cold and windy about then! Brrrrrt.

So we waited and we waited and Muse came and went and we were freezing and shivering and everything. Then it was Energy Drink and SoyJoy Bar time, and I’d managed an extra soyjoy for E., although she’d had her own energy drink earlier in line out of search-fear. The search wasn’t much, though, and besides two food bars and an energy shot, I had the lifesaving bottle of water too, so whew. During the break they fixed one of the light panels that had been on the fritz during Muse; we’d speculated whether they would.


Then, finally, finally the Bowie and the smoke and the hooting and the anticipation and suddenly I forgot to be cold for the next couple of hours and it was TIME. Happy happy happy. E.and I jumped up and down and sang and yelled and shrieked and perhaps wiped away a tear every now and then. One of my early favorite moments was when the bridges started moving for the first time, and gradually … swung … toward us … and stopped. Right in front of us. Our eyes were like saucers. I think E. thought I’d somehow known that THAT was the precise spot, but of course I hadn’t; my geography was shaky. I’d HOPED, yes, I admit to that; I knew where I’d been in Chicago, and adjusted my rail goal a bit, accordingly, but I never thought it would work out so well. For once I could see Edge really well for most of the show:


And Bono, well, and everyone, really. Great views the whole time. Larry stopped right in front of us for the djembe section; actually too close for good pictures, so I stopped trying and just enjoyed it!


A great view afterward of Larry running back to his kit, making an accurate and athletic throw (of the djembe) to his tech.

And as much as we enjoyed everything, and as amazing as Adam was again as always, I think the high point for both of us had to be when Bono came and knelt pretty much in front of E. and rocked back and forth and sang and was there for like A WHILE.


I’ve never been to a show with quite so much paramedic activity. Someone worked their way to the rail quite near us (because they felt ill) and promptly fainted. And those 100 pound 19 year old Marines turned out to be prompt, decisive, and very fast, let me tell you. Someone else went down behind us somewhere. At one point there was a hubbub off to the left and one of the Marines told us that a couple had gotten engaged over there! Can you imagine? And there was even what rumor held to be something of a domestic disturbance not that far from us either. I mean, really.

But I mustn’t forget to mention that Bono gestured down to someone who was trying to toss him an American flag, and got his hands on that, and then pulled Amp – remember him from earlier? – up on stage, and gave him the flag, and there was singing and dancing and some devil horns and flag-waving and general useful symbolism


and at the end Amp and Bono hugged and – remember that morning? About snubbing Bono and stuff? Well, E. and I were laughing our butts off, but who among us is above that kind of participating? Dude, not me.

Also even though we were further from Adam this time and I got fewer good pics of him, here is one, just to prove I still love him too.

Anyway, amazing again. Brilliant again. Uplifting again. Funny and moving and solemn and marvelous again. I’m sorry I thought the Ang Saang Suu Kyii masks were creepy before I saw what actually happened with them live, by the way. As always, everything’s cool with me!

Afterward we ‘omg omg omg’ for a while and watched one of our security guards take a ride on one of the bridges (wheee!). This is how awesome they were; a number of people (including us) waited afterward to say goodbye and shake some of their hands.

After, E. and I found our way out to the loading docks; the first one just didn’t feel very promising, but there were already a few fans hanging out at the other one, so we staked a spot out there and tried to see what was what. Earlier in the day I’d been talking to a security person who’d told me that the band was going to do a runner straight to the airport after, but of course I’m always skeptical. But the ring road around the stadium was packed with pedestrians and buses and trucks and people leaving. So either they were already gone, or else it would be a couple of hours. While we waited, Amp showed up, and I couldn’t resist hassling him. “Oh, screw YOU, Bono,” etc. and to his credit he just laughed and said, “Yeah, I sold out!” Someone else recognized him as the guy who’d been onstage and asked to take a picture with him, and I didn’t hear what they said, but I heard him answer, “Yeah, I gave him some man love.” Crack me UP.

After a while, with busy traffic and staff and security and traffic and paramedics leaving and everything, we talked it over and mutually agreed that, while meeting them would be awesome, it was going to be a long wait to even find out if there was a chance, and we had a “mile” walk in the dark back to the car in the highest crime county in the country, and it might be smart to take that walk while there were still plenty of people around. So that’s what we did, with a lot less gear to haul this time.

And the gates were open to exit the parking lot, meaning my friend didn’t have to swipe her card, meaning we didn’t have to pay! And we hooted and giggled and babbled all the way home, and again, the advantages of being in a real house – microwaved leftovers afterward, and the chance to look at pictures immediately. And all manner of things were well.

Complete Flickr set here:

Set list:
Get On Your Boots
Mysterious Ways
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Your Blue Room, Beautiful Day
New Year's Day
Stuck In A Moment
The Unforgettable Fire
City of Blinding Lights
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (remix)
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Walk On
Amazing Grace
Where the Streets Have No Name
Encore 2
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender

(just remembered that I didn’t put set lists in my previous posts, so I’m gonna go back and add them in a bit.)

1 comment:

Serge said...

Good thing that you didn't have any injuries after falling near those turnstiles. It's always great to enjoy these concerts as you get to sing along with their songs along with several other fans just like you.