Sunday 31 March 2019

U2 Experience and Innocence Tour - London, October 2018

Greenwich, London 22nd October 2018

We arrived in London the day before our first concert and soon settled into our lovely apartment overlooking the Thames in Greenwich. We had a meal in the Slug and Lettuce in the O2 and finished off with macaringues which we both loved!

23rd October 2018

After breakfast we went out for a walk. There was a lot of building going on and some new buildings since we'd last been there. We walked right round the O2 a pleasant walk in the sunshine.

Edge looking good, me not lol!
Later we went to the pier to wait for the band arriving, there weren't very many fans. The band's boat arrived and Edge was the first to come off. He was lovely, shook hands and chatted with people. Then Bono arrived and it got a bit chaotic with two big men pushing people out of the way. I just stood back then I noticed that Edge was still meeting and greeting further on so I went across said, "It's me again" and asked if I could get a photo with him. He said of course and I looked behind me thinking Debbi was behind me (to take the photo) and she wasn't. I mumbled that I wasn't very good at selfies (which is true) and Edge immediately said, "I'll do it for you" and took my phone, set it up, was impressed that I had a countdown on it and snapped the photo. I thanked him and he said, "No problem." It was a good photo of him but not so much me lol! Such a lovely man.

We went back to the flat as our friend Marian was joining us there, and, after a cuppa, we all went to the O2 to find somewhere to eat. It was very busy but we managed to find a table at a place called Iguana and had a real good meal there.

Moon rising over the Thames
We then went into the arena which took a long time with all the security checks, but that's not a problem for me, it's to keep everyone safe. We had good seats on the same side as the Manchester ones but a bit higher up.  Again the shows was great, the Zoo section being my favourite part. There was a slight change to it, instead of finishing that section with Stay they did Wild Horses and it was very impressive as the screen came down around them as they played and disappeared from sight. The crowd took a long time to get into the show but they eventually did. Bono managed to mess up the lyrics to One but he covered it up well lol!

Afterwards we walked the short distance home (bliss after the awful hike we had last year when they played Twickenham.) We had some prosecco and chatted well into the early hours.

October 24th 2018

Marian left to go home first thing, I saw her off and then went back to bed as we'd had a late night. In the afternoon we went to the pier again to see if we could meet Bono this time. There was a lovely security woman who was chatty, her main job was in social services looking after troubled children which she loved. She did the security work when she could. At one point some people who were waiting for the London Clipper boat mistakenly stood with the fans, eventually security sorted it, the boss asking us are you waiting for the clipper or ....? So funny, not really trying to keep quiet about who was coming as most security people do.

Bono arrived quite late and although there were more fans they were well behaved. He looked his 58 years (he told a fan further down the queue to wash her hand after shaking his as he had a f------ virus.) He was warm and friendly as usual and shook hands with people, didn't talk much as he was saving his voice. He was soon past us and that was it.

The security woman came back and she was all giddy she had spoken with Bono, Another woman who'd been on the pier had a lovely photo of her with Bono, she was giddy too lol. The effect he has on females!

For this night's show we had GA tickets. Debbi went into the crowd by the b stage but I stood back a bit as I'm small and would just be looking into someones back if I was in the crowd. There was plenty of room and I could easily move if someone got in my way and I had a good view of the b-stage and screen. The show had minor changes from the previous night and the atmosphere was good.

Towards the end I moved to where Bono would walk out at the end and soon Debbi was there too.  Security was keeping that way clear but a woman wanted to go back in the arena and went ballistic when she wasn't allowed to. She roughly just pushed me out of the way, screamed at the security people and tried to hit one of them. Everyone tried to calm her down and she did a bit , she was standing in front of me and I asked her to move which she did. Security ended up letting her back in which I thought was wrong as it only encourages that kind of terrible behaviour. Anyway, Bono passed right by us shortly afterwards as he left the arena and that was the end of the London shows. I'd been a bit concerned about having GA for the show as I'm not a spring chicken anymore but I was fine, I think it helps if you can walk about a bit and lean on things.

Once home we had a few drinks, pizza and chatted much of the night away. I love when we are on tour like this!

25th October 2018

We had decided to have another day in London after the shows as we wanted to do our usual afternoon in Claridges which had become a bit of a tradition for us when visiting the city. We had sharing platters of duck spring rolls and cheese and biscuits washed down with a lovely bottle of white wine. The bar is very relaxed and not snobby at all and you are well looked after without the service being over-bearing. We stayed for three hours and thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was a great way to end our visit to London, next stop Dublin!

Sunday 17 March 2019

U2 Experience and Innocence Tour, Manchester 19th October 2018.

Finally got round to updating my blog! I just haven't been into writing it recently but now am ready to catch up with all I have been doing in the last few months.

Manchester 19th October 2018
Debbi and I met up at Piccadilly station and went to our favourite Thai restaurant for a late lunch. We then went to our hotel, the Trivelles, which was a bit out of the centre but near Salford Crescent station. It wasn't the best of hotels, but it was cheap.

Later we headed to the Metro Arena and took our seats. It was a bit thought provoking going there after the awful terrorist incidents when so many young people lost their lives not that long ago.

We had good seats on Edge's side. The set up was much like the Innocence tour, main stage, central walkway that ran almost the full length of the floor with an equally long screen above, then at the end of that a round b stage.

Selfie Time
The band's entry was low key, they just walked out onto the stage and immediately went into The Blackout, which really rocked and I liked it much more live than on the album. I was surprised how emotional I suddenly felt, the power of U2 live is stunning. This was followed by Lights of Home, then two oldies, I Will Follow and Gloria that were very well received, then Beautiful Day which I can do without nowadays.

Then screen sprung into life and lowered and much to my surprise Edge's unmistakable intro chords to Zoo Station blasted out and Bono did the "puppet" dance as I call it (those who saw the band in the Zoo days will know what I mean!) and walked onto the walkway to sing Zoo Station, it rocked, absolutely loved this version. Again I was overcome with emotion, so many great memories flooded back, and to hear this song after so long took me right back to great times. This was followed by Stay, Who's Gonna Ride your Wild Horses and The Fly. It was just wonderful and this Zoo segment was the highlight of the show for me. I could hardly believe I was hearing these songs again. It also made me realise what amazing songs they were. Bono was in good voice and there was a lot of energy.

There was a short intermission and when the band came back on they went onto the b stage and went into Elevation, Vertigo and others. At one point Bono once more becomes MacPhisto, his best ever character, this time his make up was digital and it worked quite well the older version with proper makeup. MacPhisto was as evil as ever, good to see the old man again. The band then went into Acrobat which again was a surprise for me, what a great song that is. It was followed by a beautiful acoustic You're the Best Thing About Me.

The rest of the show was a mix of old and new songs, well put together. The show had, as usual with U2, a low-key ending with the beautiful 13 (There is a Light.) Where Bono stayed on the b stage while the others disappear along the walkway into the darkness. There's a model of his childhood home on the stage and he opens the roof and out comes a light bulb symbolising the light bulb in his childhood bedroom,which he swings before leaving the stage through the crowd.  An echo of the Innocence tour where the light bulb makes an appearance near the beginning of the show, everything has come full circle.

The screen throughout the show was stunning and at times simply beautiful. It didn't take away from the music, it complemented it perfectly. I thought the screen and stages were used to a better advantage than on the Innocence tour. It all flowed perfectly and our seats enabled us to see it all very well.

Afterwards we headed back to our hotel, and picked up a Maccy D from the place opposite our hotel. We had it with a bottle of champagne we had, strange combination but it went down well! First show done, and we were not disappointed, there was another show in Manchester the following night but we were not going to that one, London and Dublin were our next shows.