Monday, September 21, 2009

U2 Pilgrimage: Saturday's U2 Adventure "LET ME IN THE SOUND"

4:14PM: We're now under the bridge that marked "the front of the line." It's where we wanted to be earlier...not just to be closer to the front, but shaded by the sun. There are at least 200 people under this bridge...we're now ahead of some who were behind us earlier, and some who were behind are now in front. Some grumpiness, but excitement is trumping. The only question is do the security people have a clue on what to do next???

4:18PM: A word about "Lucky Dave." Jason's friend Dave has the best U2 karma ever (no relation to Roger). Dave has met Bono twice (getting his picture both times...but once blocked by Bono's fingers' doing a peace sign in front of his face...true story), and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. For once, Dave is behind Jason in the least, that's how the day started. Jason gets a text...Dave's about 50 people behind us...for now.

4:21PM: Smart move by security. Just ran a rope that divided the first group of people from the second, held by security. They walked the first group of to the entry gate, and the next group forward in a very organized manner. We just missed the first group, but everyone is really impressed. The crowd charts chanting the security head's name: "TONE---NY---TONE--NY---TONE---NY!!!!!"

4:28PM: Tony apparent let his fame go to his head...instead of repeating the process, he just got a group of security to walk in front of us and say "walk, don't run." Right...we all get shuffled around, and the four of us end up in different turnstiles.

4:39PM: The event people are all doing different things, some are putting wristbands on people, others are yelling at each other, and some just don't have a clue. WILL WE EVER GET IN!

4:44PM: Somehow we all get back together and we all "walkrun" to the next checkpoint to stand and wait. I nearly run into a rail guard in the middle of the walkway that comes up to just below my waist...would have been really bad. Then again, I could have easily then sung the high parts with Bono...

4:58PM: We're on the Solider infield!!! The Claw/Spaceship stage is incredible!!! It towers over us. The floor is covered with plastic coated stuff so you can't see any of the turf. The Bears organization will love that next week... We have to make a quick decision: the stage and viewing areas are shaped like a bull's eye: The circular stage, a section to stand, an outer walkway for the band, and more standing area. Do we go into the middle, where we will be surrounded by people and is quickly filling??? Or do we grab the rail of the outer standing area where we will have no one in front???

The stage is really high, and imagining being compressed on all sides isn't a pleasant thought, so we opt for the rail.

5:02PM: We are at our viewing places for the U2 Concert!!! We're 30 feet from the main stage, 5
feet from the walkway with no one in front of us and a rail to hold onto. We're happy.

You can see our view of the stage!

The picture of the entire stage is from after the concert, so you can see where we stood: just to the right of the front left leg of the claw. In front of the walkway is a fence and rail, just to the left of the two security guards in red.

5:03PM: Two hours now to wait until the opening act, Snow Patrol!!!

5:08PM: Jason just got a text..."Lucky Dave" squeezed into the center standing area...go figure.

7:06PM: Snow Patrol, from Ireland, gives an excellent opening far the best opening band at a U2 concert I've ever seen. The band is fun and really into it, and the sound is great! Gary Lightbody, the lead singer, is wearing a Chicago Bears shirt...nice touch. The floor shakes with vibration!!! They say that they are honored to open for U2, at that we are in for one of the greatest experiences of our lifetimes!!!

7:42PM: DeMink Moment #2: Chris turns to Jason and me after Snow Patrol finishes. "I dropped my ID again, but this time I found it on the ground before someone else did!" Jason and I are speechless...

7:44PM: The changeover begins! It's amazing all that is going on. I'm facinated most by the triple spotlights that fit under each leg of the claw.

Three people sit on this contraption, each working their own spotlight. They strap them in with safety harnesses.

Then the three of them get lifted into the air about 50 feet, connecting to the top of the claw!!! What a great job!!! Terrifying, but great!!!

The prep continues: guitars are tuned, cameras adjusted, lights tested, and we all stand, wait, and buzz in anticipation! U2 is scheduled onstage @8:30PM!!!

8:26PM: Minutes away, just time enough for the security guard to take our picture.

8:34PM: There's been quiet music playing in the background, but any time now, the real sound will be turned on. U2 always has an "entry song." This tour, it's David Bowie's "Space Oddity," to go with the spaceship stage. All ears are waiting!!!


(U2 takes the stage next time...I promise!!! KURT)

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