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Old 04-25-2005, 01:46 PM   #1
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My Experience At U2 Seattle Night 1

It's Sunday. And I've never seen U2 before....

I get to the Key Arena. It's 1:30 and there is a line of 245 people, all with their own number (their spot in line), on written on their hand. I didn't ask, but was told the man writing the numbers is from I get number 246 for the GA line. Only 245 people (presale and general sale being different lines, but the numbers were applied to both groups) in front of me. My friends I was going with got there at 9 pm the night before and had numbers 1-10. I wish I would have gone with them.

So I am to be in line under the hot sun for five hours with no one near me that I know. The people in line are very friendly. Three others, who I'd never met, and I sit down in the line and begin to play card games with vulgar titles (such as "bull-shit" and "shit-head"). One of the three has a british accent. His name was Chris and he got his ticket for free. The two others and I ask him how he managed this. Chris explains he works for MTV. Everyone is so friendly, it boggles my mind. It feels more like I am at church than in downtown Seattle.

At 6:35 or so, the doors open and quickly we make our way, double-file, into the arena where there are two long tables set up. At the beginning of the table they put a wristband on. At the end of the table they scan the barcode on your ticket and a computer will either say "Please proceed to General Admission" or "VERTIGO!" If it says "VERTIGO!", you get into the ellipse. Chris got into the ellipse. Lucky bastard. I did not. So once the ticket it scanned, I run as fast as I can into the tunnel and down the steps. I make it into the third row of surging people in front of the ellipse on the left side of the stage (stage right -- in front of The Edge).

Older music is playing over the loudspeakers. A Pink Floyd song I recognize. A Smiths song. Then more moden. A Green Day song off their new album.

Kings Of Leon get onstage at 7:30. Crowd around me talks about how this band sucks. I'd only heard their two singles before. The singer broke a couple guitar strings and was upset about something and yelling a lot to someone off stage left. After the third song or so, the singer's voice annoys me and if I would have been able to leave the arena and come back to my spot, I would have. But I couldn't. So I endured until they finished (around 8:20 or so).

Now, all throughout the day, I'd been preparing for the pit and not being able to leave for anything. Including using the rest-room. So therefore, to prepare myself, I didn't drink anything after noon. By the time Kings Of Leon end, I'm pretty thirsty. Someone near me orders a soda from a vendor. It's warm Coca Cola. After taking one drink the guy near me gives it to the security people at the ellipse to throw it away. I am very jealous. But also very broke. So I can't afford. At some point Bill Gates arrives in the lower seats. Everyone is waving to him and he gives a little bow and waves back. People shake his hand. I am amazing I'm so close to the richest man in the world.

The Killers come on the loudspeakers. People around me say they wish The Killers had opened instead, since they, also, were playing in Seattle that night. A few more songs pass. I am very thirsty now. To the point where I'm almost a little dizzy. And my stomach is sore. We're really packed in. I can't bend my knees, so my legs are stiffened and locked. And they feel like cold water. More songs pass. U2 techs onstage. Dallas walks around the ellipse playing The Edge's white Les Paul, making sure the monitor works in his earpiece. People cheer for Dallas. He tosses his pick into the GA crowd outsdie the ellipse.

More songs pass. The techs are done. Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" comes on the PA. I cheer like a madman at this fact. People around me look at me funny and I realize these people probably have not heard the bootlegs and thusly don't realize what this means. I quickly explain myself. They look at me skeptically, as if to say, "Who do you think you are?" By the end of the second verse, I worry maybe they changed the songs for the one night and I will look like an idiot. But no. "EVERYONE!" The crowd goes bananas. The red overhead lamps come on over the stage. The lights go down. The intro bassy grind of "Love And Peace Or Else" comes over the speakers.

The band appear, high-powered flashlights shining into the crowd, walking around the ellipse. Cheering ensues. Those of us close enough reaching our hands toward, hoping one of them will reach down to us. Larry stops at the middle of the ellipse, where a small drum kit is set up. A tom, a cymbal. Adam and Edge hurry back to the stage.

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Old 04-25-2005, 02:06 PM   #2
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I'm with ya so far!

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Old 04-25-2005, 02:12 PM   #3
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Old 04-25-2005, 02:15 PM   #4
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Extremely high energy. Everyone is dancing and singing along to Bono, who has more charisma than I'd every imagined by watching the U2 dvds and vhs. Nothing can prepare you for being less than ten feet away from Bono. Nothing. At. All. During the "Brian Wilson" part of the song, Larry heads back to the main stage. And Bono beats on the tom like a madman, with much better rhythm than on some of the bootlegs I'd heard.


More cheering than for Love And Peace Or Else, due to the fact I'm sure people knew it better. Everyone around me is singing along. The chorus hits and Bono sings "Hello! Hello!" And then points out the microphone to the ellipse as the whole arena sings back "Hola!" to him. People didn't sing along nearly as much on the Stories For Boys snippet. I, however, did.


Despite the fact I think this song has very cheesy lyrics, it is extremely crowd-involving and high energy. Everyone singing the "Wooooo" and echoing Bono and then the way the song explodes. I like this reworked version quite a bit better than the original live version. It almost seemed to me as if they were going to go into the full band part of the song early and someone around me said something involving the word "tease." I couldn't hear exactly because it was so loud in the arena, but that made me laugh because it's true. Bono is, indeed, a tease.


Before the beginning of this song Bono mentioned they'd played this next song at a club in Seattle a few years back. He sang the "I was a boy, I was a boy, I was a boy.... I used to cry, I used to cry, I used to cry.... Now I'm a man, now I'm a man, now I'm a man.... And now I know why, I used to cry, now I know why...." for The Cry. And then it flowed into a flawless version of the song. More people than I thought would know the song did and were singing along. At the end, during the "I Can See For Miles" part, Bono took off the shades and covered his eyes with his hands. And then the last time he sang "I can see for miles....", he put his sunglasses back on and smiled.


Before the beginning of this song Bono said they'd play one more song off their first album. When the song then began and I knew which one it was, it made me happy because I've always considered An Cat Dubh and Into The Heart to be one song. And now I know that Bono does, too. The Edge's guitar on this song really is haunting. During the solo, Bono got down on all fours and stalked around on the ellipse and then pulled a girl up on stage and hugged her and walked with her back to the main stage while singing Into The Heart.


A show-stopper. Everything about this song was on fire. The confetti. The Edge's guitar lines. Bono's voice. Larry's powerful drumming. Adam's thick bass. The swirling colours of the lights from the stage as they lit up the entire arena. It was beautiful. The way Bono threw an open palm up and the crowd mimicked him in between each word of "Oh! You! Look! So! Beautiful...." An instant live classic. Axver: You will not be disappointed.


Crowd, still on the high of City Of Blinding Lights, went ballistic at this song (perhaps U2's most popular and recognizable song in the past 14 years). Bono's voice really showed he's on top of things. He hit every note and it didn't seem strained at all as it has on past tours (not just this song -- I know this song has only been played on Elevation; I just meant in general). He didn't even seem out of breath as some interferencers had mentioned. Also on the note of interferencers talking about the live show and complaining about sound, it must have just been the venue they attended. The Key Arena sounded wonderful. I could hear everything Bono said or sang, every subtlety of Edge's guitar, and every thump of bass guitar, bass drum, tom-tom, snare, and crashes of the cymbol.


Bono dedicated the song to a girl (I believe her name was Jennifer) who was at the concert that night who was very sick. And dedicated it to all the doctors. And spoke of science and God and saying that science was from God and not against God. Larry sang the "woah-ohhhhh" part right before Edge's slide guitar part. Edge sang his piece flawlessly and Bono sang along for the "I hear your voice, it's whispering".
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:01 PM   #5
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Bono dedicates the song to his father. The performance is amazing and everyone goes nuts duing the "Can you hear my when I sing" part. Everyone is singing along. At the end, Bono was right in front of me on the ellipse when he was singing the "no tears goodbye..." part. He was less than ten feet away from me. I was singing the "no tears goodbye..." part, too. Hoping he might hear me and be impressed I know exactly what he's going to sing (since that part isn't in the studio version). Bono looks extremely emotional and on the edge of tears.


The crowd is on the emotional high of Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own and this song works perfectly in this slot. One of the most recognizable U2 songs, most everyone in the crowd is singing along. (I, myself, sang the background vocals with The Edge during the chorus) During the solo everyone was jumping and Bono began to clap and everyone clapped along with him (as in most of the videos and dvds).


Like New Year's Day, highly recognizable to any casual U2 fan, much singing along. It seems as though the vocals were nearly in the same key as the original. Bono's voice continues to amaze me. During this song, he wore a white bandana and during the political schpiel in the middle of the song, he said something like, "Jesus, Jew, Muhammud, too... we are all one, great idea if we could all get along..." I'm sure my wording for the second part is all wrong, but the sentiment is still there.


My favourite U2 live song ever. Ever. The transition between Sunday Bloody Sunday and Bullet The Blue Sky was amazing. I'd always liked the transition between Miami and Bullet The Blue Sky from Popmart, but this was better. I don't know how Larry did it, but the drums were just perfect in the transition. The crowd was very quiet during this song except for on the chorus. The Edge's solo from Bullet The Blue Sky was very much like the Zoo TV version with less distortion on the guitar. Very bluesy. Oddly, for the first time listening to the song and watching The Edge, I saw him less than a god and more as a person as he missed a few notes he tried to play (the fast upward scale about 3/4ths of the way through it that he played on Zoo TV but not at Popmart or Elevation). But I still love him! During the normally more political part, Bono sang "The Hands That Built America". Someone around me said it was a very clever move. And then they ended it with the "Johnny Comes Marching Home" snippet. By the end of the song, the lights were all blue and The Edge was up by his piano.


I'm not sure I understand how a song that is about drug abuse can be dedicated to the armed services. But I do know that I love this song. Bono played harmonica at the beginning of the song and then played guitar and sang it. Instead of "steam train" he sang "fast train." Near the end of the song where usually Bono and The Edge would sing "I'm still running," they weren't. A guy behind me named Jason Ott of a local Seattle band called Glimpse sang "I'm still running" and I echoed him as The Edge would have echoed Bono. After three or four times, more people were singing this, too. And Bono and The Edge did. I'd like to think this was inspired by Jason and me, but I'm not THAT much of an ego maniac. They ended the song with the "Hallelujahs" and then the Declaration Of Human Rights video came on. The crowd actually loved the video. I was skeptical at hearing about it from people on here. But when I saw it, I realized the emotion of it. People all around were cheering for each and every one listed and raising arms with fingers outstretched.


Perhaps the most rocking live version I'd ever heard. The distortion is mild, but present and the whole crowd sings along (as I believe that this is U2's MOST recognizable song). Again, as like with Sunday Bloody Sunday, this song is played higher than I remember it being played from last tours. I might be completely wrong, but usually I'm a fair singer and can hit all the notes they sing when they drop the songs a step or so live like they usually have done with songs like Pride, Bad, and Sunday Bloody Sunday, etc. (since Bono's voice is lower now than I was when the songs were recorded) However, his voice was up there past my range and that made me happy. He's regaining strength that was less present during Popmart and Elevation. During the last verse, there was definite cheering for MLK. And during the speech at the end like the rest of the Vertigo shows, the whole crowd sang the "oh-ohhhhhh-oh" over the speech. And Bono said to sing for Dr. Martin Luther King and the crowd, again, went bananas, roaring.


God entered the room at this point. At sound of the opening synths over the crowd's "oh-ohhhhh-oh"'s left over from Pride, shivers were sent down my spine. I have a feeling it wasn't just my spine that shivers were going up and down. Everyone in the whole building was jumping up and down with arms raised. (I accidentally stepped on the toes of a guy behind me) Everyone also sang along. The light beads behind the stage went through all of the flags of African countries and Bono sang the poetic lines about the mouth of the Nile and the top of Kilimanjaro. It was really beautiful and Bono ran out onto the ellipse. There is nothing in the world that can prepare you for being less than 10 feet away from Bono when he's singing "Where The Streets Have No Name." Nothing. At. All. That moment is one of the top ten moments in my life. And unless it happens again someday, I don't believe it will ever be supplanted by anything.


During the orchestral intro to this song, Bono asked us to text our names to the phone number for the One Campaign. All of the lights in the building went out and the cell phones glowed like a thousand fireflies or stars. He also thanked Bill Gates for his contributions and a man named Steve something-or-other who worked with World Vision who was present and was the man who first took Bono to Africa in the 1980s. They kind of stumbled through this song. Bono broke a string and Dallas brought out his other one (which looks exactly the same) and swapped it. Bono didn't sing half of the second verse or the second chorus, but when the bridge came, the song strengthened. I was a little disappointed with the lack of the extra verse (Do you hear us coming, love? Do you hear us call?). But the song was strong all-in-all. Bono says thank you at the end and the band leaves the stage. A couple more casual fans around me said something like, "Well, that was nice...." as if it was really over. I laughed to myself about this.
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:32 PM   #6
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Bono in a military dress uniform hat and some shades that I'd neary consider Fly-Shades. They were black and hard (if not impossible) to see through. He actually sang the words really well on this song and got most of them right; at the point where he sang "I'm ready for the Acrobat" on the first night, I sang that (since I was singing along to all of it anyway). Sadly, Bono didn't. I believe this is the song he went out into the crowd on. My friend Levi Andersen was front and center, first row behind the ellipse and he and some of his friends were the ones who were holding Bono up. I was extremely jealous and again wished I had camped out with them instead of going on the weekend retreat with my girlfriend's bible study group. Oh well, though. Levi Andersen. Lucky bastard!


As with Zoo Station, a song Bono had trouble with the words with at the beginning of the tour, he seemed to have them down really well. I couldn't believe it that the guitar The Edge was making that sound with was an acoustic guitar. The song was high energy and had the crowd surging. The Edge's solo was brilliant as usual and is my third favourite live U2 solo (first favourite being Desire w/shredding from 1/10/90, second favourite Bullet The Blue Sky from Zoo TV, third favourite now being The Fly from Vertigo). At the end, Bono again sang "The universe exploded cos of one man's fucking lie." I thought to myself that the people at interference will love that.


Perfect performance. Again, Bono's voice had no problem with the higher moments (as it did in Popmart Mexico). During this song, he picked another girl out of the stage and they danced provocatively and then Bono picked her up until his back and gave her a piggy-back ride to the main stage where she sat up behind Adam. During the piggy-back ride, Bono's hands were on the girl's butt. What a story to tell the grand-children someday! At the end of the song he kissed her hand and then she kissed his hand back and then she headed onto the ellipse toward where she was (which, mind you, was outside of the ellipse!) and Bono chased her down as the song ended and kissed her. People cheered. And girls were jealous. And Bono then said, when she was back in her place again, something along the lines of, "That's what you get for being a paying customer!" People laughed quite a bit. At the end of Mysterious Ways, the band all put down their instruments and almost left the stage, but then they huddled up and picked their instruments up. Bono spoke of rock stars and how even though they knew they were going to come back on stage, they really liked leaving the stage for some reason. With that, they blasted off into...


The band was really, really on with this song. One of the best performances of the night and Bono was playing the tambourine while the crowd clapped along with his tambourine beat. Edge's solo was masterful. I wish he'd improvised a little more. Maybe at their next tour. Either way, there was definite crowd involvement on the song. Intellectual tortoise never sounded better.


Edge on acoustic guitar, Bono on vocals, Larry on keyboard, Adam on bass, all at the middle of the ellipse. Truly the best transition from full band to acoustic (in my opinion). The Edge's vocals were really strong on this song. And it was very fun to see Larry standing there picking the notes out on a keyboard. Also, completely off the subject of this song, Adam wasn't nearly as stationary as he is in the videos. He walked around the ellipse a few times playing. I'm now just waiting for he and Bono to have a duel. Or for him to sing background on a song. U2 with a four-part harmony? Perhaps one day! Larry proved last night that he can sing!


Bono sang in key! (One of the boots from the first week, Bono sang this in the wrong key) Adam and The Edge switched instruments on this song and Adam is a very good guitarist. Even if is riffs are simplistic, his riffs with the delay and the way he works with volume, feedback, and the whammy bar, he paints some wonderful landscapes! Bono and Adam left the stage first, then The Edge, and Larry had his solo while the whole crowd sang "How long to sing their song..." We sang it until the lights came on and the techs came out and the music over the loudspeakers came back on.

It was truly a religious experience. For two hours I forgot that I was thirsty. I forgot that I was hungry. I forgot my legs were falling asleep standing there. I forgot I wasn't friends with anyone I was around. I will never forget last night.

Now I wonder if I will ever forget tonight! I will be going back in three and a half hours and seeing U2 in five and a half hours for night two in Seattle! Tonight I have reserved seats so no lines. And the excitement ensues.... Thanks for listening to my rants!
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:46 PM   #7
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awesome review!!! have fun tonight, I'm sure it will be amazing!
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:52 PM   #8
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Great review! See you at the show tonight!
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:04 PM   #9
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I can't wait! 22 days till NJ and 26 until MSG
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:10 PM   #10
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thanks for the great review and have fun at the show tonight!!
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:27 PM   #11
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great review!
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:04 PM   #12
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seattle u2

hey u2 last night were awesome n u were talkin about us playin cards outside in ur post!! u forgot to mention me bein taken on stage in ur post tho haha that was awesome i have pictures from the show includin me bein on satge which ill attach when i can do that!! cool to meet u glad u had fun!
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:08 PM   #13
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Thanks for the wonderful, detailed review. It enabled me to relive the 2 Denver shows from last week just reading it. Have a ball again tonight!
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:10 PM   #14
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Originally posted by one4u2
I can't wait! 22 days till NJ and 26 until MSG
That's almost the same as me...23 days to NJ and then MSG!!!

What a fantastic review! I really (almost) felt like I was there. Have more U2 fun tonight!!!
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:24 PM   #15
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Re: seattle u2

Originally posted by crissyboi
hey u2 last night were awesome n u were talkin about us playin cards outside in ur post!! u forgot to mention me bein taken on stage in ur post tho haha that was awesome i have pictures from the show includin me bein on satge which ill attach when i can do that!! cool to meet u glad u had fun!
I was going to, but I couldn't remember which song it was that he pulled you up on stage.
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:55 PM   #16
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the tourist- thankyou much for the excellent review...cannot wait for October even more
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Old 04-25-2005, 06:19 PM   #17
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great review!!! thanks for posting...

and i want to see pics of the girl(s) onstage!!
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Old 04-25-2005, 07:12 PM   #18
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Wow! Rant on...

Thanks for sharing...

Have fun tonight.
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Old 04-25-2005, 07:24 PM   #19
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God entered the room at this point.
OMG...I totally feel the same EVERY time I heard Streets 'Live' or even on a recorded live dvd. My words exactly. I can so relate!

BTW..your post was amazing. Thank you.
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Old 04-25-2005, 08:36 PM   #20
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Great review. I'm already reliving last night.

Oh, how I wish I was there tonight but I'm already back in California.

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