It was a sunny day and lots of people were hanging around the back entrance of the NEC so Jane and I joined them figuring this was where the band would enter. A tour bus arrived and I didn't take much notice of it, but, surprisingly, Bono must have been on it for suddenly there he was walking towards the crowd.
He started signing autographs and chatting at the opposite end to where we were and I thought there was no chance that he'd get to us as there were a lot of people there, about 60 or 70 I'd guess . But he was very patient , took his time and soon was near us. He was being bombarded with all kinds of questions, one I remember was,
"Do you still read the Bible?" to which he replied yes. He also said that there would be a "few surprises" in tonight's show.
Jane passed him her programme to sign and after he signed he looked up and immediately recognised her,
"Hi! How are you?" he said smiling and Jane said she was fine, "Were you at last night's show?" he continued. Jane said that yes we were and that we'd gone to Paris as well.
"We weren't happy with the seating in London," Bono said and with that Jane told him that we couldn't see a thing and that it was very disappointing. He shook his head and then asked,
"Which show did you prefer?" Jane said Paris and he nodded in agreement.
With that he moved on and was almost at the end of the line of fans when it started to rain. At this point a very pregnant woman was let around the barrier to go up to him. Bono's face was a picture and everyone was laughing.
"What's happened to you?!" he exclaimed to even more laughter, the woman said something to him and he said, "Oh that's wonderful" and gave her a big hug, it was very sweet. Then he got hold of her hand said goodbye to us all, and proceeded to run back into the NEC dragging this woman with him.
Bono had barely gone in when the heavens opened and there was an almighty storm! Shortly afterwards the lovely security man Jerry came out and said to the now much smaller group,
"If any of you want to see the soundcheck come in!"
I couldn't believe it, there were about 30 fans and of course we all went in. We sat at the front to the left of the stage and Jerry told us just to sit quietly and not take any photos, the pregnant woman was already there. So we hung our soaked kagouls and jackets up to dry out and waited. Edge, Adam and Larry came out and went through Zoo Station, Mysterious Ways, Angel of Harlem and Satellite of Love. It was really interesting to watch them, Bono didn't appear at the soundcheck at all.
It lasted about thirty minutes and afterwards we were allowed to stay inside the arena. So we got our merchandise, food and drink from crowd-free stalls as the doors had not yet been opened, what a treat!
The NEC is like a huge shed but our seats were really good, on the side close to the stage, there would be no problems seeing the band this time! I'm not going to write up each show I saw in detail here in the blog, as I feel that could get a bit repetitive - and I have seen a lot of U2 gigs! So I will pick out highlights or special things that were unique to write about in each show.
Birmingham was so different from London. We could see everything, the audience was lively and responsive from the start and the band were on excellent form. Bono was in a very playful, mischievous mood throughout, at one point he said,
"Edge-man, I think I've split me trousers!" I looked but I don't think he had
Afterwards we were all high on the adrenalin of the show, we'd had such a brilliant time. We went out and to the back of the NEC again wondering if we'd see the band leaving, again there were already a lot of fans waiting there. Suddenly Bono appeared out of the shadows and, ever the performer, leapt in the air like he was performing Zoo Station. He looked like he was getting into a car then he suddenly started running towards the fans - he caught the security people unawares and one had to quickly leg it after him. Bono looked great in a burgundy corduroy suit. He didn't sign anything, just went along the line of fans saying thanks, shaking hands and kissing people. It was a lovely thing to do, I think we all wanted to just say thanks.
"That was better than Paris" Jane said when he got up to us, he said nothing but leaned over and gave her a big hug. Then, as quickly as he arrived he was off again and into the car, the other band members didn't come over. We really appreciated what he did and it made a wonderful night just perfect.