Tuesday, 2 April 2013

2011 Canada - Montreal 2 Magic Moments

9th July 2011

Edge in Montreal
Due to our very late night last night we had a lie in today.  After breakfast Debbi and I went into the city centre and met up with Michelle.  We saw Edge leave for the stadium, he signed autographs and chatted, as lovely as he always is.  I think he's taken over form Larry as the most youthful looking band member nowadays.Michelle shouted out "Play Out of Control tonight" I was amazed quietly spoken Michelle could shout like that LOL!   

We didn't have time to go back to the apartment before we needed to head for the stadium ourselves so we decided to have something to eat in Chinatown which wasn't far form where we were.  We found a place called The Jasmine Garden that did a buffet meal for $14.95, sounded perfect for us.  It was very nice, so much to choose from, some was unlabelled so some of it was a surprise, I nearly put a chicken foot on my plate but realised what it was in time!

We went back to the Metro and got the train to Namur ready for our second gig.  It had been another hot day but as we arrived quite late the worst of the heat was gone.  We walked to the stadium only to be stuck in another Fan Jam of people this time trying to get through the entry points!  I couldn't believe it, there was an ocean of people inching it's way forward. It took an hour to get to gain entry and by now Interpol were nearing the end of their set, not that I minded missing them.  We all really needed the spend a penny so we joined yet another long queue for the portaloos.  As we got nearer we had a laugh with the people around us, saying we could only have five seconds in the loo, but then we decided fifteen was a little better!  I could hear people counting out loud when I was inside!  

U2's Claw Stage in Montreal
Deb and I parted company with Michelle as she was sitting in another block of seats.  We gingerly made our way up the steps of the temporary stands which were held up by thousands of scaffold poles, it didn't look as if it could hold all theses people!  

We met Dianne and Julie at our seats, they too had be stuck in the Fan Jam and hadn't been in their seats very long.  It wasn't long until U2 came on, and the crowd was even more receptive than the previous night, they went crazy, it created a fabulous atmosphere.  This gig was being broadcast live on U2.com and Bono explained that because of that he would be mostly speaking in English - 

"This has one extra benefit,' he added, 'you don't have to listen to me mangle your beautiful language. "  LOL!

The first few songs were from Achtung Baby once more and the crowd sang along and jumped up and down (no one sat of course). The structure holding the seats rocked and rolled too, it swayed to and fro, side to side and up and down, we were constantly re-balancing ourselves until we learned to rock n roll with it lol!

The first surprise of the gig was Out of Control - Michelle would be one happy woman, maybe Edge did hear her!  It rocked and didn't sound over 30 years old.  During Get On Your Boots Bono got a guy wearing turban up on stage to sing with him and boy was he into it and knew every word!

This was followed by a full version of All I Want Is You, such a treat.  They had tweaked it a little, especially at the end, which included a bit of harmonica from Bono. Beautiful.  This was followed by another welcome surprise, Stuck in a Moment.

Prior to his band intro Bono said.
"We've taken our space station around the world, we're nearly home, we're going to have to find something else to do.  When we were kids joining U2 was like running away with the circus, maybe we need to find another circus...'

Just get down to recording another album lads!  Montreal is the home of the world famous Cirque du Soleil so Bono's intro continued the circus theme.

" Larry is a 'fire-eater, a sword-swallower, the world's strongest man." Adam? 'The bearded lady...' Edge? "Trapeze artist, high-wire act..."  

"Knife thrower," added Edge, pretending to aim at Bono.

"Thanks very much," said Bono, throwing a look at Edge, before adding, "And I will play the clown."

Again Zooropa was a highlight for me.  From our position we had a perfect view of the claw (something you don't appreciate as much when you are closer on the field).  Lights shone out through the Claw into the crowd as the static flickered, and vague words ran across the screen.  It was stunningly effective and went perfectly with the song, just as the undulating reds had when they did The Unforgettable Fire in the early legs of the tour.

During Elevation Bono got a young boy out of the crowd and carried him onto one of the bridges as he sang.  He asked the boy his name first in English, then in French he replied Paco.

During the encore Bono sang a spine-tinglingly beautiful snippet of Hallelujah which segued into Where the Streets Have No Name and the whole stadium went crazy, and I was hoping the structure holding us up would be able to cope with all these people jumping up and down!

Ultraviolet had been changed slightly and we all liked this version.  I love how many U2 songs develop over the years and something new is found within them.  With Or Without You had "Shining like stars in the summer night......" ending, the one soooo many fans love so popular it was trending on Twitter!) and it's been a long time since Bono had used it.  It was so appropriate for this night too, it was one of those magical intimate U2 moments, when the huge stadium felt like a small club.  Wonderful, touching and why I love this band so much.

I read the following in a review and I thought I'd add it in here as it conveys something of what that is all about so well:
"I’ll remember helping to hold up the metal posts of the media tent as the rain blew horizontal Friday night. But perhaps the most enduring memory I’ll take from this weekend comes from the first night, when I turned to my left and saw the girl next to me had two perfect tear streams coursing down her face during With Or Without You. Going in, I’d thought the song should have long since been retired from the live show. Perhaps I was wrong. Connection, intimacy. You just have to pull focus back from the Spidercrab immensity of the stage. Which may be exactly what U2 intended. Build it up to the sky, work that much harder to reach back down and in." (Mark Lepage , Montreal Gazette)

The show finished with Moment of Surrender at the end of which Bono shouted out.
"Vive la difference, vie le Quebec."  Which went down very well with the audience.

This was one of those exceptional gigs, the band was on fire and the audience was amazing.  We felt elated afterwards and for a while didn't talk, each taking in what we'd witnessed. Eventually we returned to the reality of the trial of getting back to our apartment.  We decided to hang back a little to see if the Metro would be less clogged up.  We could see the huge mass of people flowing out as we sat in our seats as long as we could before we were asked to leave.  We then sat on the grass outside for a while until the crowd grew thinner before heading to the Metro station.  And it was nowhere near as bad as the previous night, it maybe took us ten minutes or so to get into the station and soon we were on the train home.

We were home a lot sooner and that night we had McDonalds for our post-U2 supper and only a little wine and were in bed by 3.30am as we had a five hour train journey to Toronto the next day so were sensible for a change.