Monday, 8 September 2008

1997 August - Popmart, Leeds Magic and Mud

August 28th saw me in Leeds once more, I'd stayed overnight at Jane's, Dianne was already there. On our way to the venue we picked up Julie at a nearby hotel. I had known Julie since 1990, she got my fanzine and every few weeks would give me a call. She had asked if she could join us for this show, and so, this was the first time we had actually met. She is a quiet person, but very kind and caring and we are still good friends.

As in Zooropa in 1993 we parked the car at Jane's boss's house and did the trek down country lanes, stiles, woods, golf course, up and down hills. We sat at the cafe by the lake as we had four years earlier and had a drink. Jackie came along and said she was going for her photopass at 4pm. I thought that was too early, but said I'd meet her at the box office at that time. This time fanzine editors got one photopass which I was using here, and 2 tickets which I was going to pick up in Dublin. No hospitality passes this time.

At 4pm I took the long hike up and down hills to the box office and met up with Jackie. No one there had heard of any photopasses. So we went to the box office at gate 3, no passes but they expected some, so we waited and waited. Press passes arrived but nothing for us, a member of U2 staff said our passes should arrive soon. At 6.20 we were told to go to Gate 17 by 6.35 for the passes. This gate was at the other side of this huge venue, memories of the trauma of getting our passes four years earlier came back to me.

We headed off there as fast as we could, they knew nothing of passes there and sent us to Gate 14. We were getting well stressed by now, no one seemed to know what they were doing, including us! At Gate 14 again no one knew anything about passes and said we should go to Gate 3! There was no way we were trekking all the way to the other side of Roundhay once more, we were now getting angry as well as stressed. By now quite a few professional photographers had gathered at Gate 14 so we decided to stick with them. One of the photographer's mobiles went off and he passed on the message that we all had to go to the nearby Gate 17 for the photopasses. There were two women from RMP there, I recognised one as Sandra. At long last, and much to our relief we got our passes, why oh why is it always so stressful?

Shortly after getting the passes the heavens opened and there was a ginormous thunderstorm. Jackie and I tried to shelter under a spindly tree. Jackie who had no mac got soaked. We saw the other photographers had sheltered under a nearby trailer so we joined them. It was really funny seeing all these men bent double under the trailer. It wasn't too bad for me, I only had to bend a little, sometimes being small has its benefits.

When the rain stopped Jackie went to buy a tee-shirt to change into as she was soaked. I stood under the trailer in front of her holding up my kagoul to protect her dignity!

Later we were taken into a VIP entrance and into the backstage area. Again it struck me how unglamourous it was - especially today in its sodden state! We could stay for the first four songs and were allowed to wander freely along the front pit and the walkway half way up the b-stage catwalk. I saw Julia and Linda near the front and gave them a wave.

The show started at 8.45 and before I knew it the band were past me as they walked along the catwalk. I moved to the centre point in the front pit and snapped away. The position was not as good as last time, we were at floor level so the band were high above us and the monitors often got in the way of photos.

Before I knew if the opener Mofo was over and the band were into I Will Follow and then Even Better Than the Real Thing with Bono in his muscle shirt. He seemed to notice me at this point, he looked right at me and went into a pose. Then he got that wicked look on his face and came forward still looking at me and posed once more just two feet away from me.

He talked about George Harrison (who apparently had said something not too good about U2 recently). "Good people of Yorkshire, you're not supposed to be here, George said so!" He said and then gave the finger - I got a good photo of that moment!



All too soon our time was up and we and we had to leave. this time we weren't able to slip into the crowd at the front like in Zooropa. We had to go out of the back entrance and enter through a gate with our tickets. I had some trouble gettng in with my camera, but eventually managed and we found at good spot about two thirds up the hill on Edge's side.

This show was absolutely stunning. It had that special "magic", it was full of fun, Bono did lots of ad libs and talked a lot. He noticed someone in the crowd with flowers and said he always saw them and said that they must be "From the Internet - I can't even work the hoover - don't laugh!" He also talked about a club in Leeds called Tiffany's with it's plastic palm trees where U2 had played in the early days. Jane remembered that club and the palm trees. Bono also said, "Did it really rain?" Oh yes, boy did it rain, but you weren't in it!

Last Night on Earth was great, Bono changed the lyrics from "she" to "we" rather appropriate I thought. There was an extended ending to Streets like in San Diego which was fabulous! Please was amazing with added wails that were so pleading it brought a lump to my throat. A little bit of Whole Lotta Love was tacked onto the end of Discotheque.

By now it was cold and when Bono kissed the camera the the end of Hold Me.... it steamed up! During Mysterious Ways Bono was very touchy feely with Edge, and he added a few lines of Something and My Sweet Lord (a nod to George Harrison) on the end. The karaoke was the very appropriate Singin' in the Rain - what else could it be this night? After a beautiful One the final song was a complete and very nicely done version of the Beatles' Rain.

By the end of the show I had a big, proud grin on my face. U2 had touched every corner of this massive venue. The show was full of spirit, passion and fun, one of those magic U2 shows that just take your breath away. When U2 are at their best it is one of those experiences you never forget and this was one of those nights.

After the show we happily plodded through the deep mud, scrambled up the slippy hills and slid down the other side of them, and got very muddy and wet on the trek back to the car, but it didn't dampen my spirits in the slightest, I had that grin on my face all the way home.

1 comment:

Nanazoca said...

Hey, I´d like to see that photo you mentioned on this post...can you please send me that??

"He talked about George Harrison (who apparently had said something not too good about U2 recently). "Good people of Yorkshire, you're not supposed to be here, George said so!" He said and then gave the finger - I got a good photo of that moment!"

Please answer me by email: nanazoca@gmail.com

thank you