The chicken looked good, so we had that, with a variety of trimmings - and wow, they piled the plates high! And it was indeed good - moreish comfort food, for an awful, cold, windy day with intermittent showers. As we ate, a constant soundtrack of U2 played - and, in fact, a staff member came over to us and explained he had a VIP backstage ticket for tonight's concert, going cheap, if we were interested - his friend was unable to go! I hope he found a taker, eventually..
As we were leaving, we picked up a couple of chocolate-drizzled croissants to take upstairs with us. We hung around my room for the afternoon, watching a very interesting documentary on Irish architecture, and an old episode of Friends. And after a cup of tea, it was time to go. As we passed the Ferryman pub at the end of the road, for the first time since Monday it wasn't blaring U2 from its speakers! What a night to pick to stop.. After a not-very-long walk, we got to the entrance of the 3 Arena, and stopped off for burgers. A passing Guard asked whether they were good. "Very!" "Good," he smiled. Not as many people looking for tickets tonight - unlike last night, where we had the guy mimicking the homeless, with a sign that read "Ticketless. Please help." And the couple who'd flown over from Amsterdam, on spec..
Possibly this was because it was earlier. We'd got there early, to grab her a t-shirt; goodness knows, I have enough! Mind you, there was a small queue when we got to the stand. We had plenty of time though, and with two of us it was easier to squeeze to the front. And she had soon secured a t-shirt of her choosing, in the correct size. Just as well she wasn't looking for a Dublin-specific one, though - they were already down to their last ones in white, selling the display shirts. And other styles only had Large sizes left..
Climbing to our elevated seats, I had an attack of the wobblies again, and the very kind usher trotted back to give me his arm. That makes such a difference! We had a good view, if further back than I'd have liked. It did occur to me that, if seats this high up / far back were sold at the premium price, where were the lower-priced ones?! Practically every seat there must have been sold at the higher price. The only ones I could think of that might have been sold cheaper were those end-on to the vidiwall, and those right at the far edges. Or maybe the back five rows. Few enough, anyhow.
I had a good look at the people sitting behind us, when they arrived, to see whether they looked likely to complain if I stood. They didn't seem the type, but you never know. Handily, for once the guy roaming the stands, selling wine, happened our way, and I treated myself to a bottle. It was the last show of the year for me, after all! And I could use the handy cup-holders attached to the seats. The wine was a little sharp, but never mind.
My friend asked whether I was excited. More nostalgic, was my reply. Just think - I've spent almost a year planning for these concerts, anticipating them, organising transport and accommodation, surmounting obstacles, waiting with bated breath.. and here I was, waiting for the very last one to start. 'Twould bring a tear to the eye.
The place duly filled to capacity, and it was time for Bono to come on. And to my delight, almost everybody in my section jumped to their feet as soon as there was a whiff of anything happening! Ah now, THIS is what a U2 concert is supposed to be like - just like the good old days. Bless - I could stand and sit when I wanted, and it was terrific to see the manic enthusiasm of people on all sides. This crowd was head and shoulders above any other on the tour. As Bono said at the start, last night's crowd was "mental", and he was expecting more of the same.. he also issued a warning to out-of-towners, that we had an unofficial national anthem, and it went "Olé, olé, olé, olé".. which, of course, just set them off. ;-)
- The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)
- The Electric Co.
- The Fly
- Angel of Harlem
- City of Blinding Lights (with Ne Me Quitte Pas outro)
- Beautiful Day
- Bad (with 'Mother and Child Reunion" intro)
I roared myself hoarse at the very start - well, why not? It'll be a while before I have a valid reason again. The Electric Co. was manic, and by the end of the first four, I was as breathless as usual.
Mysterious Ways was interesting - of course, Bono always brings someone onstage to dance with at the end of this song. Well, tonight - once again - he had a special guest lined up - enter Miss Panti Bliss! She made a spectacular entrance, in a sparkly dress and sky-high heels, strutting her stuff along the catwalk she was born to tread. And after she and Bono threw some shapes, he handed her the mobile, to Meerkat the next number, which turned out to be Desire. And he asked the "Queen of Ireland" to use it to film the "Queen of Rock and Roll" - enter Imelda May.. So Desire was Panti Bliss filming Imelda May singing a duet with Bono. Cue much confusion on Meerkat, with international viewers wondering (a) was Panti Bliss RuPaul? and (b) who was the other one..?
After the dramatic and unexpected entrances of these two, Angel of Harlem began with what Bono described as a third first.. when The Edge broke a guitar string! Always handy to have a spare.. guitar. The usual chorus of "Olé, olé, olé, olé" filled the gap, and again Bono had to quiet people so they could do the quiet numbers. Bullet the Blue Sky ripped its way through the auditorium - the rhythmic clapping of the audience was quite chilling, as scenes of brutality filled the screen.
The break before City of Blinding Lights gave the two ladies in the row in front of us an excuse to leave - they hadn't stood at all for the entire show, which I don't think they got much from. And yes, we got Bad, for the third night in a row - which is another first. Thank you, gentlemen - you made a few thousand people very happy. To end the best show of the best tour ever, they left us with 40 - movingly dedicated to the late Dennis Sheehan, whose family were there, it seems. And so, farewell from me to U2 for this year.. see you next year?
Tomorrow, I'm back to London - weather permitting, it's quite stormy. And supposed to be picking up the keys to my new place, although I haven't got a time from him yet.. On Monday, I'm headed to The Homecoming by Harold Pinter, at Trafalgar Studios. Stars Gemma Chan, Gary Kemp, John Macmillan, and Jon Simm. And the good old London Dramatic Art group has tickets for cheaper than I can get them anywhere else! Premium, front row seats too. Excellent - and I'll be glad to meet them again, it's been months! Finally (for now), on Tuesday I'm joining the Kensington Classical Music group, who have the cheapest tickets I can find for a performance of the pianist, Lang Lang, with the Philharmonia, at the Royal Festival Hall. Features my two favourite classical composers - Mozart and Beethoven.