Sunday 6 July 2008

1993 August - Zooropa Hits the UK, First stop Glasgow

7th August found Jane, Dianne and I heading up the M74 to Glasgow. This was the first time Dianne had come over from the US to join us for a tour and we all got along great. The venue was Celtic Park football stadium and once there we met up with our friends Debbi, Jackie and Karen.

In those days U2 were very generous towards fanzine editors, they gave them two free tickets, two hospitality passes and one photo pass per tour. I had been promised the tickets and hospitality passes for this first Glasgow show. I had absolutely no idea where to go for them but eventually saw as sign saying "U2 Guests". It took three attempts to get them. First try they weren't there, second there was an envelope for me but it only had two tickets in it so I had to go back, but had no trouble getting the hospitality passes. Third time lucky. It was my first experience of the general disorganisation around U2, in the end I got used to it! The hospitality passes made me laugh, they were triangular and reminded me of the badges worn by the agents in the 60's cult series The Man From Uncle! But we were very chuffed to have them, the only sad thing was that Dianne did not have one as well.

When the time came Jane and I separated from Dianne who went off with our other friends as we had seats and they had standing tickets. The seats were really good, lower block near the front to the right of the stage. Celtic Park was very well organised, lots of stewards to keep things right, not one door or gangway was blocked by fans and you felt safe in this vast crowd because of that.

The huge papier-mache heads of Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry that comprised Macnas came on, then P J Harvey and Utah Saints, none of them very exciting. Finally, just after "Television the Drug of the Nation" played U2's set started. Bono rose before the symbol of the EEC, the circle of stars, one star fell down and Bono began his jerky dance to the strains of Zoo Station - and we were off! It was the usual Zooropa set until after New Year's Day the new song Stay (my favourite from the Zooropa album) was played. It was wonderful with everyone singing along.

This was followed by Numb which definitely did not work live, everything kind of stopped, people lost interest and started talking while it was being played.

There was a set on the B-stage and then a live satellite link to Sarajevo which at the time was in the middle of a bloody war. Bono spoke to ordinary people from the city. I'm still not sure that was a good thing to do during a U2 show, though I'm sure the thinking behind it was well meant.

Bad followed and it was scintillating, the hairs stood up on my neck, it was so powerful and emotional and it made me cry as it often does. It was incredible.

MacPhisto was in great form that night he was into Macbeth. "Is this a phone I see before me?" he said as he rang the Scottish minister Lang. He was asked to spell his name and he spelt it out, "M-A-C, I think you're familiar with that, P-H-I-S-T-O." He didn't get through to the minister but shouted, "Out, out damn Scot!" as he put the phone down. Great stuff and very funny.

At the end of the show it took Jane and I a while to find our way to the hospitality area which was within the football stadium's buildings. It wasn't that exciting really, we were obviously the z-lister guests, we saw no one famous but we got a couple of free drinks all the same!

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