Sunday, 10 May 2009

2005 June - Hot Days, Hot Gig, London Vertigo Tour

A few days after returning home from Manchester I was travelling again, this time on a train to London. When I stepped off the train in London I thought I'd come abroad it was so hot! Got to our hotel in Kingston where my old schoolfriend Marian joined and Julie and Debbi. Our hotel was basic but fine. That evening we went to a lovely Italian restaurant close by. The "sculpture below was just by our hotel, I like an artist with a sense of humour!

We got a taxi to the stadium at Twickenham, it was three miles away, further than I thought, everywhere is further than you think in London!

The stadium was huge and we were right at the back in the middle tier, wonderful. But at least from that position you could really appreciate the huge screen across the back of the stage. I liked it especially during Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own and Miracle Drug. In the latter it started with an ECG trace in green, very effective. Bono dedicated the song to. "Doctors, nurses and scientists who keep us alive.... especially the nurses!"

The set was very similar to Manchester with the addition of All I Want Is You and Running To Stand Still both songs I love. Bono was in much better form with a lot of smiles and interaction with the crowd.

Bono got a girl up on stage at one point and filmed her, but he was holding the camera on its side. He gave the girl the camera and she continued to film sideways. When the girl gave Bono the camera back Edge walked up to him, took the camera, turned it the right way up and gave it back to him. All the while Edge had a kind of "he's hopeless" look on his face. Bono laughed and shrugged his shoulders. A funny moment.

I really enjoyed the show, despite being a million miles away from the stage. It had a lovely atmosphere and the balmy evening was pleasant too.

Afterwards we went round to the backstage entrance to see if we could catch the band leaving. After a long wait Adam came out and was his usual gentlemanly, polite self. Then Larry came out, he looked very thin, but he was pleasant and signed lots of autographs for people. A car with tinted windows came out and people thought Bono was in it, which was probably right as we did not see him that evening. Edge was the last to leave and he spent a while with the fans.

It took us ages to get back to Kingston. It was late and we didn't know the area and no taxis passed by. We eventually saw a bus stop for all night buses that stopped close to our hotel and we didn't have to wait long for a bus. The next night we realised we could have got a bus from right outside the backstage entrance of the stadium!

That night it was difficult to sleep as it was so hot, there was no air conditioning (not usually needed in the UK!), our window was open but no cool air came in, it was like being in the Mediterranean!

Next day it was 33 degrees centigrade and the highest humidity for 30 years in London! We had planned to go to Hampton Court Palace today as it was not that far from where we were staying. But the heat was draining and instead we found an air conditioned bar, cooled off and had cocktails - mine an appropriately named Alligator Cooler which was delicious!

We didn't have tickets for the second show, but, as it was a lovely day, we decided to go to the stadium and sit outside and listen to the show. When we arrived we could hear Beautiful Day drifting through the sunshine from the stadium up the road, very apt.

Quite a few people had decided to do what we did and it was really pleasant sitting in the sunshine at the backstage entrance with other fans listening to the music. No one told us to move on though there were plenty of police around. At one point a nearby blackbird on a roof sang its own beautiful song competing again Bono!

The show finished and people streamed out of the stadium. A couple of girls with an Irish flag asked a policeman to pose for a photo with them which he did. There was a really lovely laidback fun atmosphere.

The band left early, not long after the end of the show, Edge first, he didn't stop. Bono came out not long after him and stopped. The crowd was bigger than last night and a bit rowdy (as they often seem to be in London). I caught a glimpse of him, he was shaking hands with fans. But the crowd gathered round him and he disappeared from sight and I got pushed back, I didn't want to be part of that melee anyway, it's so disrespectful and potentially dangerous. I was told later that a woman had asked Bono to kiss her young daughter who was asleep by the gate, he did this and ended up pushed against the gate by the crowd. He left after that and I don't blame him.

So that was our London leg of The Vertigo Tour, which I'll always remember for its hot days and balmy nights.

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