Saturday, 28 November 2015

U2ie Tour London, Part Three - A Crisis, a Kiss and Gig Heaven

29th October

Our last full day in London and our last U2 show in London. We still had to complete our Mission to give Bono a copy of our book and decided to go into the city to try to catch him at the hotel where many fans were waiting and had meetings. However I received a phone call about a matter that I had to deal with quickly so I said to Debbi to head into the city at the time we planned and I would follow on when I'd sorted out the matter. Before I had time to get into the city centre after sorting out the problem I got a text that Debbi had completed the Mission, she'd given our draft of the book to Bono, apparently she arrived just as he was leaving perfect timing! I was pleased that she had handed over the book and got a meeting with Bono, but was a bit sad for myself at missing out on that, through no fault of my own, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

After dosing myself up with cold medication again (still felt quite rough) I waited near the Greenwich North tube station for Debbi to return and while waiting met three friends who had just arrived and who we were going to meet again later in the day. When she got back Debbi was excited and happy and had lots to tell me.

Later a young man who we had met the day before (who had become a U2 fan by listening to his mother play their albums in the car as he was growing up) had a word with us and said that there were limos lined up at Greenwich Pier which is about half way between the O2 and our apartment. There had been a rumour going round that the band were arriving by boat so it made sense, we went round. Not far from the pier we came across a throng of screaming teenage girls! Surely they weren't there for U2? Debbi asked one of the women standing at the back who the kids were there for and she said The Vamps and rolled her eyes. We battled through the over-excited hoard and into the welcome peace of the Olympian Way which runs parallel with the River Thames.

Bono and Me
Sure enough there were three cars waiting there. There were only four other women and us three waiting there which was surprising, but good. After about ten minutes a small cabin cruiser came round the bend of the river and docked at the pier. It was about five minutes before anyone got off, but sure enough we quickly recognised all four of U2 walking up the pier. Larry went straight into one of the cars but the other three came over to us right away. First Edge and Adam and then Bono, they all looked well though Edge seemed a bit tired. I gave Bono my gig ticket to sign, I had nothing else, he signed it and, as he always does, looked up at who he was signing for. Immediately there was recognition in his eyes and he smiled and said, "Aww hello" and came forward and gave me a big hug and kiss. I have met him many times over the years, but the last time was six years ago and I couldn't believe he recognised me after all that time. I must admit my knees went a little lol and he smelled lovely! Debbi also got a kiss and autograph, Bono asked in surprise how she got here (remembering the meeting in the city centre) and she said the Tube (considering it was three hours later not an amazing feat, think he'd lost track of time.) While Bono was busy with other fans I got Edge's autograph but missed Adam. The young man asked Bono for a selfie and he got a great photo. Bono was nearly ready to go but I asked if we could have quick photos too and he said, "Of course" and pulled me in close and rested his head on mine for the photo on which I have a daft grin on my face lol! Then it was Debbi's turn, however it took my camera phone a while to reset and Bono just moved away as I took the photo, so it wasn't a brilliant photo unfortunately. I've been a U2 fan for a long time and the band members are always so friendly and respectful to their fans and meeting them never seems to be a chore to them. Bono when you meet him is so different from that larger than life showman on stage, he's calm, very quietly spoken and polite and has the ability to make everyone feel important.

Everyone was very happy as we waved at the cars as they left for the short journey into the O2 itself. I had to smile to myself as the band would see that scary throng of screaming prepubescent girls to their left as they entered the O2 not knowing why they were there!

We were both very happy as we walked the short distance back to our apartment from the pier and had a drink and waited for our friend Marian to arrive, she was going to the show with us and staying over this one night. She arrived at about 5pm and we had a cup of tea and a good catch up before leaving to meet up with our other friends. We met in the Square Pie within the O2, it was cheap and ok, though the pie I got wasn't what I ordered but I couldn't be bothered to complain and wait for another.  As were were sitting and chatting it occurred to me that these people from the UK, Ireland and Canada were friends I'd first got to know through U2 (except Marian who I know from schooldays) and had been friends for at least 25 years, pretty amazing!

We went our separate ways to our seats and tonight got into the arena smoothly, no waiting this time. We were on the opposite side from our last seats but a very similar position, as many people have said there are no bad seats on this tour. We heard the guitar tech play a few notes from Bad, we were keeping our fingers crossed that they would play it. The second song played was Gloria which was a treat to hear live, what an amazing song that is. I'm loving all the new songs, they are strong live, Iris very moving and Raised by Wolves is powerful, love the way this is performed, Bono doesn't just sing the songs he lives and feels every word he sings. New Years Day was a nice surprise, long time since I've heard that live.

Video Screen
And yes, we got Bad, shivers went down my spine at those opening notes and I was in heaven, this is the quintessential U2 song, that could not be performed by any other band.  I'm not ashamed to say it made me cry. It segued into Patti Smith's Gloria then someone with log grey hair came out with no announcement to join the band to sing it. It was none other than Patti Smith herself, and she launched into a live version of People Have the Power (the song that plays just before the show starts.) It was absolutely fantastic, it really rocked and Patti's voice was strong, Bono joined in on the chorus but most of the time he looked in awe of her and said at the end that she was one of the reasons U2 were around in the first place. It was a great ending to a very good show.

We met with our friends briefly outside, Sharon had that stunned look on her face that Debbi and I had after we'd seen our first show. Once home we had a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate the end of the London leg of our U2ie tour, and what a leg it had been, wonderful shows, a posh afternoon tea, great times with friends and a kiss from Bono, what more could a woman ask for?!

Goodbye London

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