Tuesday, 2 April 2013

2011 Canada - Toronto, Memories, Heat and the Last 360 Show

11 July 2011

We had arrived in Toronto the previous day from Montreal. It felt very strange for me being there again. I had worked near Toronto as a mothers help for a year when I was young. And in the thirty years since then this was the first time I'd been back. Of course lots had changed since then, but there was still lots still there that I remembered too.  And at times I felt like I was that young girl for whom it was all such an adventure again, though also I did not really recognise her.

We felt refreshed and ready for anything when we got up on show day.  We decided to go to the nearby St Lawrence Market and have some breakfast there.  However, it was closed on Mondays so we found a Starbucks around the corner and had coffee and cake.  While we were sitting outside a man tied his gorgeous little dog beside us while he went in to buy something.  The dog was so sweet, chilled and loved a tickle.  When the man came out I asked him what type of dog it was and he said it was a Maltese cross and that she was a lovely dog, she was called Poops (hopefully a nickname!)  It was so sweet to see how much he loved his little dog and vice versa.  

At lunch time Debbi, Julie and I walked to the Radisson Harbourfront Hotel where we were meeting Dianne and her husband Dan (who had flown in for the show) for lunch.  It was nice to see Dan again, he's such a lovely man.  I had a delicious salad with goats cheese and strawberries, a perfect combination, just the thing in the hot weather.

We walked the short distance to the Rogers Centre which was beside the still elegant (after 35 years) CN Tower that dominates the city. We waited for the band's arrival, we only saw Bono smiling and waving from his car.  It was an extremely hot day, and Toronto was the hottest place in Canada  - at one point the mercury hit 33 degrees centigrade!  Add to that the humidity created by the Great Lakes and it was unbelievably hot, for me, an English rose from northern England that was very, very hot, I thought I'd melt, but somehow I survived it!

We didn't want to go into the stadium until the as late as possible so we ended up back at the Radisson and had something to eat outside on the patio overlooking Lake Ontario, there was a nice breeze coming off the lake so it was pleasant there. Even with the heat I was loving Toronto, it's such a handsome city, fabulous location, lovely vistas, great new and old architecture, for me it beats Montreal any day.

Then it was off back to the Rogers Centre.  It was all well organised, no Fan Jams, easy to find seats, toilets, food etc, in other words, how it should be!  We had cheaper seated tickets this time so were quite high up, but each row of seats had a metal bar in front of them so it felt safe and helped my vertigo!  The stadium was round rather than rectangular and very high,earlier in the day the retractable roof (it was the first in the world) was closed as a storm had been forecast, but it was now open as the storm hit further south.  This was one of the few stadiums the Claw didn't peek out of.  Opposite us stood the CN Tower soaring into the sky.  It was still very hot and humid and sweat stood on my brow the entire evening.

U2 started at the usual time and we were up out of our seats and bopping away only to realise most of the people around us had their arses firmly planted on their seats!  Though a U2 audience is always very mixed age-wise around us it was mainly young people and I just could not believe they were so boring!  As the seats were so steep we didn't block people's view so we just stayed stood up.  Even in the pit around the Claw people seemed not that into it.  Bono worked really hard to get the crowd going and they did improve but were not a patch on the two Montreal crowds. 

For the Toronto band intros Bono apologised for the year's delay caused by his back injury last year referred to the changes in the members during the tour. Adam "became a father for the first time." Larry was in a movie with Donald Sutherland; and Edge wanted to write a musical about a "superhero? scientist?  - being bitten by a spider and becoming a nerd." He rambled on, "Who can fathom the workings of this man's mind? A genius on guitars and everything else... very good at train sets."  To which Edge mumbled something about modesty LOL! 


During City of Blinding Lights Bono got a boy up on stage and walked an entire circuit of the walkway with him, the lad imitating Bono's stance etc. prompting him to say, "you're not a shy boy are you?"

All through the show the Claw had a rival unique to Toronto for special effects - the lights of the CN Tower.  Lights of varying colours pulsed and rippled around and up and down the tower, often in time to the music, it looked great!  The lighting on the CN tour is controlled by a computer we heard later.

At one point Bono said he had "breaking news" and the stadium became amazingly quiet and he continued to say that over the last two years two million more Africans had been saved from AIDs-related illness in the last two years.

A one point Bono was on one of the bridges and someone threw a Canadian flag at him.  He picked it up and put it in a back pocket of his trousers, "Canada shining out of my backside" he laughed.  He briefly mentioned the moon, saying we couldn't see it, but that it was, "smiling down on us."  Strangely Bono didn't mention the tower, maybe he couldn't see it from the stage.

The set was the same as the first night in Montreal, I was hoping for Bad but it wasn't to be.  It was a good show, but not a great show.  I think part of that for me was due to the lacklustre crowd around us, don't know why they pay good money to sit in their seats for a rock concert! 

It was also my last 360 Tour show and I felt a bit sad as I watched the band leave the stage.  360 had been a part of my summer for the last three years and it was now finally over for me.  Lots of travel, fun, highs and lows, sun, rain, wind, magic U2 moments, good friends - what wonderful times we have on these escapades.  Now I'll have to start saving for the next tour!
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