Sunday, 15 March 2009

2001 September - Elevation Tour, Glasgow - The End Of Our U2 Road

The 28th August saw Julie and I sitting on a plane en-route from Ireland to Newcastle. We picked up my car there and drove back to my place in Cumbria, had lunch and then set off north to Glasgow - ahh this jet set lifestyle of U2 fans eh?

We arrived at the SECC at 3pm and one of the first people we saw was our friend Karen. She told us that the queue for the heart enclosure was just up the hall and that we could still join it. I said that we only had seated tickets and she said they were selling standing tickets now at the box office. We didn't have to think twice, we bought tickets and quickly sold our seated tickets for cost prices to grateful fans.

We joined the very organised heart queue. One of the things I love about the Scottish shows is that they are always well organised and most of the more obsessive fans who are at the front of every queue tend not to get that far north!

We were let into the heart at 6.20pm in an orderly manner. After going in we couldn't go out into the main hall, but there was no need to as there was a merchandise stall, refreshments and toilets just for the heart crowd, absolutely brilliant almost like being VIPs!

The support band was a local band The Cosmic Rough Riders which I enjoyed and who the crowd loved. Then it was U2 and the audience went wild! There was plenty of room to move about and even though we are both small we could easily see everything on stage.

Bono seemed very tired, I think all the physically and even more the emotional and psychological strain of the last few weeks were catching up with him. But he still put all he had left into the show. The crowd were great, you can always feel the special Celtic bond between the audience and U2 when in Scotland. Glasgow was a last minute addition to the tour as well and I think the crowd really appreciated that too.

It was quite a short show, no New York or In A Little While. The song that really got to me that night was With Or Without You. Bono said, "This is for my dad - and this is for you" to us. Later he said that the audiences at shows during that time helped him get through those difficult personal times, and by singing that song at Glasgow he was telling us that. It was a very emotional performance and there were quite a lot of tearful people in the crowd including me.

Mysterious Ways was special that night, it wasn't playful and earthy like in London, it was spiritual, that's the only way I can describe it. Bono totally lost himself in the music. He had said earlier in the tour that music is magic, well we saw a bit of that magic in Glasgow that night.

It's always a bit sad at the end of the last U2 show you are going to see on tour. This UK leg of Elevation had been very special because of the illness and death of Bono's father. I was quite emotional myself and related a lot to Bono, because my mother too was terminally ill at the time and died a few months after his father.

Bono shared stories about his dad with us and gave us an insight into what he was like, and it struck me that in many ways Bono was very like him. All this created an intimacy about these shows, a closeness, as we supported Bono emotionally as he poured his heart out to us in each show. It could only happen at a U2 show and I feel really privileged to have been part of it all, they were truly special times that I will never forget.

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