Tuesday 15 July 2008

1993 August - Dublin Zoo Time 1

I'd had a welcome weeks break from travelling to u2 gigs before setting off for Dublin. I met Jane at the UK airport and we flew over together. We went to our accommodation in Dublin where Dianne and Caroline were waiting for us. In the intervening week they been to the two Wembley shows and Cork that we had decided to miss, so we caught up on all the news they had from their experiences there.

The next day Jane and I went down the quays to Principle Management to pick up two tickets. It was the first time that I had been there. We rang the intercom and were let in, we walked up the marble steps, there was a huge modern art painting on the staircase wall. The main office was open plan with various U2 pictures on the walls. I noticed the fax machine was in overdrive! The doors to the boardroom were open and I could see a huge oval table with chairs around it in there and discs on the walls. Cecilia came across to us and was very pleasant and gave us our tickets and then we were off out again.

We met up with our friends at the RDS in Ballsbridge and waited in the queue. It was once more a very warm day but luckily we were well sheltered by trees that lined the road.

Unfortunately once more we entered by the gate furthest from the stage and had to run down the field. Needless to say, being crap runners we didn't get to the barrier by the B-stage which was our target but we were fairly close. There was quite a crush and some very pushy fans, I also couldn't really see the main stage so it was far from ideal.

After what seemed like an endless wait the show started in the usual way and followed the usual set. I could almost predict what would be next and what Bono would say. I always remember him once saying that the hardest part of a show is making it look spontaneous. I knew what he meant now, each time he said the same things it sounded like the first time, so he was doing a good job! I kind of realised then that, even though I was enjoying the gig, I'd seen too many shows close together on this tour and vowed I would not do that again - and I haven't.

Stay was performed on the B-stage close to where I was. It was lovely and the voices of U2 and the crowd rang out over the stadium and floated off over Dublin city. Bono grinned from ear to ear impressed with the home crowd. Anytime a band member came to the B-stage the crush was awful, this was the first time I'd experienced this. Being quite small I was getting pushed into people's backs and it wasn't very pleasant. I decided to leave my friends (who were all quite a bit taller than me) and get out of there. I didn't have to move far back to be in a much better position and I could see most of the main stage too.

MacPhisto said that it was good to be home and, "To be where people call me dad. Shall I give them a telephone call?" He dialled the number and got an answer-machine message from his four year old daughter Jordan, "Hello, we're not home, we're away on holiday. And daddy if that's you we're not coming back until you take the horns off." She sounded really cute and chirpy. MacPhisto didn't say anything, he put the phone down and started singing Ultraviolet. The call seemed to affect Bono, he seemed very emotional and distressed afterwards and for the rest of the show.

During Edge's wonderful solo in Love is Blindness Bono got a girl up on the stage and held her close laying his head on her shoulder. Then he took her hands and tenderly ran them down each side of his face, all the while his face was creased with emotion. Bono can't hide his feelings and it was like intruding on something very private, and yet not being able to look away because it was also very powerful.

Can't Help Falling in Love finished the show with the part where Bono and the crowd sing "Falling in love" to each other lasting longer than usual before fading away into the night.

I felt so moved that I was close to tears by the end of the concert and when I met up with my friends again they felt the same and instead of feeling high on adrenalin we felt sad, so powerful was the emotion we had witnessed.

When we left the RDS there was absolute chaos outside. There were at least a couple of hundred Mediterranean fans screaming and running after any car that left the venue. They banged on the cars band members left in and even hung on to them. It was very dangerous for the fans themselves and those trying to stop them and must have been frightening for the band inside the cars. Other fans, including us, just watched this chaos in disbelief. I'd never seen anything like it before and luckily I have not seen anything like it since.

We left and went to Jury's Hotel across the road to get a taxi intending to go back to our accommodation. There were no taxis there and a huge queue so we decided, at 2am, to go into the hotel and see if we could get anything to eat. Surprisingly we could (probably just because of the gig, there would be lots of ravenous fans wanting something to eat post-show).

Our time in Jury's soon lifted our mood as we had the most entertaining waitress. Caroline, who was a vegetarian, asked for a vegetable stir-fry. "Oh don't have that, " said the sour-faced waitress, "It's not very nice, it's bland."

Caroline insisted that was what she wanted, "I wouldn't have it," insisted the waitress seemingly oblivious to the rest of us falling about with laughter, "we get a lot of complaints about it, it depends which chef is on." Obviously it was bad chef night tonight .

Eventually she accepted Caroline's order with a shake of the head and a tutting noise. We were by now hysterical with laughter - all except Caroline, who even now could not see the humour in the situation. I always think it's really sad when you don't have a sense of humour, you miss out on so much.

The waitress continued to amuse us by almost dealing the plates across the table like they were cards, we had to catch them to stop them flying off the table.

Our food was really good and much needed and when the waitress was clearing away the plates Caroline said that she had enjoyed the stir-fry. "You must be easily pleased" said the waitress absolutely deadpan without a glimmer of a smile. That was too much for us, we all just fell about laughing - except Caroline who looked at us all as if we were mad - we laughed so much we were becoming hysterical.

We left Jury's at 3.30am and found a row taxis waiting outside. Still laughing we fell into one and headed off "home". Never will we forget our 2am meal at Jury's Hotel Ballsbridge!

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