After a lovely and lively dinner last night with Emily Evans Eerdmans and Christopher Petkanas who were in town for Hugo Vickers’ lecture on the Duchess of Windsor (which I missed because of another engagement), I was too wiped out to edit the dozens of images from the U2 concert and then post them.
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The logistics of the 360 tour were massive – there are more than 400 people in the road/stage crew, the tour carries its own generating plant, the top of the stage is more than 160 feet tall – and once I saw everything in situ, it was clear that is was an incredible feat to get the show on the road. In each of the four legs, there were three guys who were hoisted up to control the lights and cameras. You can see them hanging below, before they settled in place. Although they were tethered into their seats, you’ve got to be pretty fearless to do this job! The evening started with a fun performance by Florence & The Machine, who were great and had the crowd singing and dancing along to her tunes. Finally, the sky started getting dark, the stadium began filling and anticipation mounted. A huge screen descended and started showing times around the world, and random facts and figures (Elevation of Baltimore: 38 feet). These were fun for me, since I adore random things like that. All of a sudden, the smoke machines turned on, the lights turned off and the screen showed the band walking from the bowels of the stadium onto the stage. The noise was deafening, and got even louder when the band kicked into their first song “Even Better than the Real Thing”. By “I Will Follow”, everyone was on their feet, singing along and dancing.
One of the fun bits was having astronaut, Mark E. Kelly, introduce “Beautiful Day”, recorded on the Space Station, send greetings to Baltimore, and say how much he loves his wife, Gabi Giffords. Hokey, perhaps, but moving.
From our seats (no seats, just feets), on the field, we actually had a brilliant view of the band. Short as I am, I could see the guys playing and moving across the stage, and the bridges that went out over the crowd. But if you couldn’t see as well as we could, the 360* screens gave you an incredible view. Most of it was live footage, but some was overlaid by graphics and video from other sources. And after a little while, the huge screen became even more massive as it spread apart – and still continued to show the show! The whole time, the tower on top of the stage was streaming out smoke, flashing with lasers which pierced the smoke, and turning into a giant disco ball, sparkling lights all around the stadium. The band played for a little more than two hours, and managed to get in a lot of everyone’s favourite tunes, including one of mine, “Miss Sarajevo”. Here’s the set list.
Even Better Than The Real Thing
Until The End Of The World
I Will Follow
Get On Your Boots
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
City Of Blinding Lights
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Where The Streets Have No Name
With Or Without You
Moment of Surrender
“Moment of Surrender” was played as a tribute to the late Clarence Clemons, and it was just incredible when the lights were dimmed and Bono asked everyone to hold up their cell phone, a la the old rock concert days of holding up your lighter! I have to say I am super-proud of the pictures that my little Canon SD1100 Digital Elph camera was able to take, including this little series of Bono on the acoustic guitar. It’s got a 12x digital zoom on it, and with our location and the zoom, I got some decent shots. Thanks so much to my dear friend Cat for inviting me to join her! It was a memorable night spent with 75,000 of our closest friends!