Saturday, 7 February 2009
2001 August - Elevation Tour, London 2, Into The Heart And Soul
Next day we said goodbye to Marian and Julie who had to miss the today's shows due to other commitments. Dianne, Jane and I had standing tickets this time so we headed to Earl's Court really early as we hoped to get into the front heart enclosure. All venues had different ways of organising this and we had no idea how it would pan out.
The whole queue was being organised by one staff member, a chatty Cockney guy, who did a brilliant job of keeping everything in order. We were given wristbands mine was 159. We had to wait in the queue because later we would get our "proper" heart wristbands. It was ok waiting, I spied my German friends Chris and Jenny and chatted with them for a while. The time went fast, at 12.30pm we were put into pens and by 2pm we had the precious heart bands. We were told we could stay where we were in the queue so we could get good places or we could go off and come back later and still get into the heart. We decided to leave, we'd had enough waiting that day and were hungry.
After having a meal we went back to Earl's Court and waited for the band to arrive. The first three Mercedes cars that the band come separately arrived but none stopped. Quite late the last car arrived and it stopped, as the cars had blacked out windows we had no idea who was in this one, it turned out to be Bono. He looked tired and initially sat side on in the back seat with the door open, I had the urge to hug him as he looked so weary, I also felt a bit guilty wanting something from him at this difficult time in his life (he was still returning to Ireland after every show to be at his father's bedside). But then, if he didn't want to meet fans he wouldn't have stopped. Eventually he stood up and just like in Birmingham steadily brightened up as he chatted to fans.
As he signed my CD he looked up, he recognised me and said. "Hi," and gently touched my hand. My heart gave a jump! It was busy and I moved back out of the way to let others have their time with him.
After he had gone into the arena we headed inside our selves. we easily got into the heart by showing our wristbands. It wasn't very crowded in there and it was easy to move about, no crush or pushing and where ever you were you wouldn't be far from the band. We were thrilled to be in there!
P J Harvey was the support, she was ok, but I was impatient for U2. I'd found a great place about four yards from the stage where there seemed to be lots of small women so I could see the stage easily.
Come 9pm U2 were on, and right from the beginning Bono was lively and chatty, so different from the weary man we'd met a couple of hours earlier. He spied an Irish flag near the catwalk.
"Throw the flag down". He said a few times but the fan just kept waving it. Bono smiled and shook his head. "Aren't them Paddies thick?" He said.
He also talked about his father, saying that for most of his life they he and his dad did not get on well, but that in the last few years they had made "a kind of peace" and he was glad about that. It was very moving, then he sang Kite and there were many tears, including mine. Being so close it was easy to see that Bono was choked up too and at times struggled to compose himself. It was both difficult and fascinating to watch. Difficult because I felt almost voyeuristic watching this man's personal pain. But it was also fascinating because few performers can be so open and honest about their emotions as Bono, he laid his heart and soul bare for us all to see.
Having written that, the show was generally very "up", celebratory and full of fun. During Mysterious Ways he tried to belly dance and entertained with pelvic thrusts when the dancing failed. Someone handed him a fiver and he stuffed it down his trousers, more money was offered and Bono took it laughing. He then teased the crowd as he played with the zip of his trousers. All good fun.
At one point Bono took a drink from a bottle of water and then threw it into the crowd. There was a mad scramble for it and suddenly it slithered in my hand - and I wasn't even trying to get it! An Italian man pointed at his watch and said. "I give you my watch, I give you my watch!" I turned him down
Inside the heart it felt separate from the rest of the audience, it felt that U2 were playing just for the small amount of people in the heart. There was a lot of eye contact with band members and the heart crowd, especially from Bono and Adam. It was also so good to be able to see all the facial expressions of the band, and the communication between them during the show.
The star constellations projected during With Or Without You seemed to envelop you within the heart, you became part of the show. The lighting on this tour has been spectacular. During the final song, the rousing Walk On a similar thing happens with the handwritten lyrics that spread out over the audience.
It was one of the great U2 shows, it was a U2 party and we'd been right in the centre of it!