Sunday 29 June 2008

1993 June - Cologne, Danger and Old Devils of Zooropa!

In full U2 tour madness we - Jane, Sharon and me - booked another trip to see the band abroad, this time it was in Cologne, Germany. This time there was a bit of luxury - we had an overnight stay before the concert so it wasn't as tiring a trip as Rotterdam had been.

Unfortunately behind us on the coach was a bunch of lager louts who got drunk during the journey. It was hellish and considering there was supposed to be no drinking on the coach not on! If we complained we just got a load of abuse, not a good situation.

When we arrived at our hotel in Cologne we were put on the same floor as the lads. We spoke with the driver and asked if we could be on another floor because they had been abusive and we knew they'd bother us all night. We were moved to the floor below and good job we were. We heard from other people that the lads had kept people on their floor awake by playing music loudly, and running up and down the corridors knocking on doors all night. They managed to disturb the whole hotel at 2am by setting off the fire alarm too. Typical lager louts who give the British a bad name abroad. They got a severe warning from our driver and were better behaved afterwards.

Anyway, our room was nice and the hotel had a nice bar so we went in there and had a few drinks and had a lovely evening.

Next morning we went into the centre of Cologne for a few hours, did some shopping and looked at the awe inspiring cathedral there, those spires really did seem to be reaching up into heaven, it is a beautiful building. I felt a link with the city too as I have ancestors from there, so it was perhaps more special for me than the others.

We went back to the coach and headed for the Meungersdorfer Stadium where the gig was being held. Almost the first people we saw there were our friends Karen and Jackie - it's a small world. There were no instructions on the tickets what entrance to go to and no staff around to ask so we just joined a mass of people waiting to get in, no one queues in Germany!

The gates opened at 4pm and everyone just went crazy and ran and pushed and jostled. A barrier gave way and I tripped over it's foot and fell to the ground. Jane nearly fell too but was able to grab a fence nearby to stop her falling. I lay on the ground absolutely terrified, I could not get up because people were jumping over me! I was just waiting for people to start falling on top of me and crush me to death! I could hear Sharon Screaming, "Stop, stop" at the top of her voice. Then I heard an man shouting, "Vorsicht!" (caution, careful). Then I felt strong arms lifting me up. and relief swept over me, two young men had lifted me up. They were very sweet and caring and made sure I was ok before leaving. I really don't know how that situation would have turned out had it not been for them.

By now the worst rush was over and we tried to get ourselves together, we were very shaken. Sharon was ok, but Jane had a nasty gash on her leg from the fence she'd hung onto. I had a couple of cuts to my leg and my ankle and wrist were sore, bruises were already appearing on my leg. We went to the toilets to sort ourselves out before heading to our seats.

We had good seats on the right lower balcony near the front. Support was Die Toten Hosen and Stereo MCs, neither of which I enjoyed (for me the support bands on this tour were dreadful). U2 were really on form that night, lots of energy and fun. During Sunday Bloody Sunday Bono got an Irish flag from the crowd and tore off the green and orange parts discarded them and hung the white part over the microphone. Bono sang a lovely version of Bob Marley's Redemption Song which he dedicated to the weak.

Mr MacPhisto was there again in the encore. After Desire MacPhisto said he was going to ring, "Chancellor Mr Kohl," we thought he was going to get through he was treated very cordially, but no he didn't get to the Chancellor. The audience loved it.

As Ultraviolet began Bono took off the horns and physically shook Mr MacPhisto out of his body and there was Bono again to sing With or Without You. It was a very moving performance sung entirely into the boom camera, his face expressive, pleading on the huge screens. To me it felt like he was singing literally to the media and the cameras, fame, adulation, fans "Can't live with or without you." Underneath all that there is a human being, and watching the performance on those screens he seemed very vulnerable. One of the things I've always so admired about Bono is his willingness to be so open and bear his soul to us, it's so very brave.

After the show we got back to our coach and immediately headed off home. My ankle and leg, which I'd not felt during the show, really hurt. By time I got home my entire left leg was bruised and I needed two days off work! The things you go through for U2!

No comments: