Saturday, 30 August 2008

1997 May - PopMart Phoenix, The Sun Devil

8th May saw us heading south to Phoenix where we would be seeing our next PopMart show the following day. We heard it was 100 degrees there, things like that remind you that this is the desert with pockets of humanity scattered in it - humanity that wouldn't be there if it was not for air-conditioning!

We passed through gorgeous Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon on the way south. We stopped off at Montezuma's Castle, which is a twenty room, five storey structure built into a natural recess in a white limestone cliff about 70 feet above the ground. There are steps and ladders connecting the various rooms. This was the home of Sinagua Native American tribe who farmed the this land between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. Some time after this time they moved on from the area. It was boiling hot there, the sun seemed to reflect off the white cliffs and I found it unbearable. I'd been there a few years earlier and I remembered it was mind-numbingly hot then as well.

I was glad when we got back into the comfort of our air-conditioned car and drove the last leg to Phoenix. As we entered the city I loved seeing the banks of the highway full of cacti, very Arizonan! We found our hotel, the Fiesta in Tempe, easily. As we walked in we saw Sam O'Sullivan from U2's crew come out - it turned out that U2's crew were staying in the hotel, small world! Of course U2 themselves weren't there, probably a bit too down-market for them, though I thought it was a lovely hotel.

We ate at the hotel and had a few drinks in the bar. Then we decided to go into the pool and jacuzzi. I remember lying on my sun lounger at 11pm amazed at how warm it still was at that time of night. The stars shone above and the lights around the pool reflected and rippled in the water and onto the trees, it was beautiful.

Next day we set off for the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe - it was again 100 degrees. We sat in the meagre shade of a straggly tree outside the stadium. The water we had with us was soon warm, then out of nowhere a man appeared selling ice cold water - we could have kissed him! It got too hot to keep sitting there, so we decided to look for somewhere to eat nearby. We bumped into waterman again and he told us where to go. We had pizza and cooled off a little which was a relief for me, I really find it very hard to cope with such heat.

We headed back to the stadium and went in to our seats which were really good, ninth row in the field not far from the B stage. The show was one of peaks and troughs. Edge did a brilliant guitar solo during Until the End of the World. Do You Feel Loved was the best it had been so far on the tour, Adam was watching Bono perform it on the B stage with a big grin on his face.

Bono referred to the Mecham speech he did in this stadium ten years previously and said, "I like it here. Let's go to church but leave out the religion."

With or Without You was performed beautifully and Bono added a little of Love Will Tear Us Apart on the end. By the encore Bono seemed to be getting tired and was feeling the heat, he was literally pouring water over himself. For us in the audience it wasn't too hot now as darkness had fallen and it was just pleasantly warm. Bono was also often holding his ears as if in pain. Something we had also noticed on this tour was that he was quite thin, which is not normal for Bono, he certainly wasn't 100% at this show. So as I wrote earlier, it was a gig that had it's high and low points, but we still enjoyed it very much.

The end of this show saw the end of our US leg of PopMart. It had been a ball! We'd seen four U2 shows and travelled over 2000 miles through amazing landscapes. It had been a fantastic experience and I am so lucky to have been able to do something like this.

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