Monday, August 17, 2009

Wembley 2 - Up Close and Personal

Well. possibly..... hmmmmm probably.... the BEST gig I have ever been at.
Closeness to the event (in time and in proximity), may be colouring my judgment, BUT.......

After being at Fridays show in the seats (a last minute unplanned offering from a friend - cheers Emmo!)), I was determined to try and get up the front tonight, and amazingly as it turned out, this was achieved. How it was achieved is a whole story in itself, but in short, involved a full guided tour of the inside of the stadium, and a chaperoned escort right up into the bowels of the pit.
None of this was pre-arranged or planned, it was pure fluke, or, I like to think, one of those divine little happenings that tend to occur when U2 are in town and I get my arse down to see them.
It may have had something to do with the angel of a lady who I was attending the show with, who knows, but here is where we stood....



As we were taking pics, a guy offered to take a couple of us if we returned the favour, with claw in background, souvenier-like. Ian from Toronto was there as a last minute decision on his trip to London for other reasons, and wot a geezer...... he had had a few already and offered to buy us a beer if he could stand with us and hang out as he was on his own.
By showtime he was coming back from the bar 4 beers at a time, there was no stopping him! What helped make the night was watching him become ever more awe-struck (and pissed, but in a non-threatening way), as the night went on. He had NO idea what to expect, not quite a U2 newbie, but was not familiar with any of the new stuff or the concept of the tour.
I literally saw his jaw drop on more than one occassion and he spent a lot of the time ringing his Mrs back in Canada shouting 'THIS IS AWESOME!!! and other expletives. When the screen started to descend and the bridges rotate I thought he was gonna pass out. He kept disappearing and re-appearing with water and doughnuts... and more beer...... This is he....looking a bit scary!



I thought The Hours were very good, and into what they were doing, they had a stage manager directing their foldback mixer guy throughout the set, very professional like. Crowd liked them, I think we will be hearing more about them in the future.




Glasvegas... well. I liked their album a lot, but I felt the singer just didn't connect with the audience at all. He didn't seem to handle the nerves or pressure of such a big event too well, which is a shame, but maybe understandable.

The wait for the main event seemed to go quickly, and pretty soon stage was cleared and Bowie came over the speakers and the smoke machines kicked into action. Here we go..... yes we were THIS close :-)







The sound was awesome compared to last night's echo madness, possibly due to being closer to the ground and absorbsion was much better down here - there are real inherent problems with sound at Wembley, I wouldn't say it is great for acoustics for bands - but when the crowd kicks in, like ISHFWILF, well, then you can imagine what it must be like for the footy fans, the atmosphere must be electric, as the sound has nowhere to go it bounces around forever, wonderful for crowd singing, awful for rock music (but I have heard tonights show was way better all round even for those up in the Gods, well done Joe for taming the echo demons at least as much is humanly possible).
Bono bigged up Joe O, and told the story of how he, Joe O, visited Wembley when the foundations for this new version of the stadium were being laid....and how he had discretely, dropped in a plectrum belonging to Edge right into the very foundations of this special U2 place (Live Aid et al.....)

The set tonight was just brilliant, many many highlights. My angel lady friend was praying for I Still Havent Found...and again they delivered, man that crowd singing ripped into the soul, and I bubbled again, a spiritual moment of great heights was attained.





They only went and done Bad again (only 3 times on this tour and I been at 2 of them!), well, it just does not get any better, I am sure they knew I was there, some kind of mind reading going on perhaps? If only! But thats one of the secrets of being a great great act, to engage with your audience and fans on a personal level, and invite you to think that they are singing certain songs JUST for you, and no one else. My lady angel friend thinks this, in Dublin she got Stuck In a Moment, just when she needed it, and tonight got her Still Havent Found.
I got... well I got up close and personal, you want proof? Well you look at this and tell me what you think.

Man playing bass looking down at U2 fan: "Hey, big guy, I was hoping you would make it up to the front tonight. Ah, I see you brought your angel friend. Nice. What do you think of this little riff....? Well, its been nice chatting, must get along this bridge now, I have other people to see, have a great night!'



See you in Glasgow. GET ON YER KILTS!!!!!!

5 comments:

pab said...

Looking at your pics I reckon we were just a little way behind you. Maybe it was your beers that kept passing us by...

What a great night though!

bigjohn said...

Pab!
I looked and looked for you both - my phone went on the blink (that will teach me to hack it to death...)
I did a full tour of adams side of the pit and couldn't see you, mind you there are too many distractions, and very difficult to focus on any people, it just becomes a blur after a dozen faces or so. Great that Martin hooked you up with wristy's and we were all there on that night, it is starting to come through from lots of fans that they think it is one of the all time great shows, I have to agree with this. see you in a fortnight at that other holy place.

pab said...

We were probably four people inside the outer runway, and I was standing on the cable run to the leg (anything for a bit of extra height!).

We nipped out just before Tutu and watched the encores from behind the Red Zone -- lots of space for dancing and breathing there!

Shame we missed out on the full 360 backstage tour experience though.

pab said...

PS our pics are here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulbennett/sets/72157621931308063/

Rainbow dreams said...

just amazing...:)