Friday, 8 May 2009

2005 June - Another U2 Tour, Manchester Vertigo

After the usual four years it was U2 tour time once more, and this time it was the Vertigo Tour which started for me in Manchester. The usual crew, Debbi, Dianne, Julie and I met up at our hotel, the Ancoats Travelodge. I always love the first time we all get together again. We do meet up regularly inbetween tours but as we all live in different cities, and in Dianne's case as different country, we don't see as much of each other as we'd like to. When we do get together for a U2 tour it is always exciting!

That evening we walked the short distance into the centre of Manchester and Canal Street, which is the city's gay area, always very vibrant and lively. We'd gone there not because we're gay , but because a restaurant called Velvet was recommended by a friend. It was really good and well worth the visit and we had a good evening catching up on each others lives over a couple of bottles of wine.

Next day was a dull wet day (unusual for a U2 tour in the UK which generally means a good summer! Bono must decree good weather for us LOL) as we took the half hour walk to Manchester stadium. There were quite a few people already there in queues, and as we had general admission tickets we joined one. We saw our other friends Karen, Serena, Julia and Linda already there and had a chat with them.

Then, a very odd thing happened, the security people built a 8 foot "wall" around our group of about 300 fans and gave us wristbands. We thought it meant something like we'd get into the ellipse and got quite excited.

I later left to go to the toilet and bumped into my friend Dawn and her daughter, it always amazes me how you can meet up with someone you know amongst thousands of people! Unfortunately though I could get back into the fenced off area with my wristband Dawn could not.

At 4pm the doors were opened only to be immediately closed again! People were getting annoyed as we could hear people were being let inside elsewhere. Three quarters of an hour later one door was opened which caused an awful chaos of pushing and shoving, i couldn't believe the stupidity of the security staff.

We eventually got in and saw the ellipse was full so went for the catwalk and got a good place right on the rail near the b-stage on Adam's side. It was going to be a long wait. but at least we had two really good support bands to listen to, The Bravery and the wonderful Snow Patrol. Both were excellent. By now the sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm, but despite all this positive stuff I found it hard to stand for those hours until U2 came on.

U2 spared me a little extra wait time as they started at the very early time of 8.15pm (apparently this stadium has an early finish rule) with a rocking Vertigo followed by a trio of old songs, Will Follow, The Cry, The Electric Co. I noticed Bono seemed to be moving quite stiffly and didn't have the usual "spark" he normally has. I heard the next day that his back was playing up again and he'd had numerous injections in it the day before the Manchester gig. Many would have cancelled the show, but Bono and U2 only do that as a very last resort.

Initially the lighting and screens were ineffective due to the sunlight and early start. But as it darkened the lighting showed it's beauty, and I loved the images on the screen, very effective and often thought provoking. I especially loved it during City of Blinding Lights and the chorus of that song stayed with me throughout the tour (as my friends will testify! ).

We had some wonderful close ups of the band as they walked along the catwalk near us, loved their version of Love And Peace Or Else on the b-stage close to where we were.

It was really good, and a big surprise, to hear Zoo Station once more at the beginning of the first encore. The show finished with Vertigo again, which didn't feel right to me, U2 always finish a show gently, drifting away from us into the darkness. This ending, an assault on the senses, which is great for the start of the show, was not for the end of a U2 show. Later in the tour they did change this and finished with one of their slower songs once more.

Manchester was a good show, and it was wonderful to see U2 play live again, good to see mypals again, good to be on the road again - where to next?

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