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Last night myself and Megan were extremely privileged to be able to attend the first Auckland U2 concert. The venue was Mt Smart Stadium, and despite the concert being delayed for eight months, we were amped to be there.
Before I get into the post proper, I should warn you that I shake uncontrollably normally, so take awful photos. Unfortunately, I have an old camera that doesn’t help me out in that respect, so most of my pics are quite blurry. I guess that’s why I don’t take photos for a living.
Thanks to our fairly basic reconnaissance, we knew that queuing early was a good idea because we had general admission tickets, so theoretically, the earlier we got there, the further forward we’d be.
We arrived at 2pm and the gates opened at 5pm. I was actually worried that we weren’t going to be early enough. As it turned out, we could have been one or two hours later and got the same position, but we weren’t to know that, so I’m glad we went when we did.
So at about 4:40 they started letting us into the stadium (we had been queuing in a huge tent known as the supertop). It was pretty awesome walking in and seeing the stage for the first time, and realizing how close we were going to be to U2.
Fortunately, once we got into the inner sanctum we could still leave (thanks to freakish looking stamp on our necks) and return. I imagine this option wasn’t available to those glued to the rails, so I guess they weren’t taking in any liquids.
Dave, Megan and Matt shortly after ariving at the stage
It’s worth a side note here to mention the weather. Every forecaster had been predicting showers in the afternoon and evening. Not entirely pleasant, but easily counteracted with a good coat. Before we left, my strangely absent co-blogger, aka my wife Megan, asked me whether she should bring anything additional to wear. “Bring a coat,” I said, “it’s going to rain.”
Upon exiting the car after parking, it was realised that Matt hadn’t bought a jacket. Megan decided she didn’t want the hassle of holding a jacket all night and left hers behind, as did Ray. “Alea iacta est” I said. Or something like that. Later, while in queue, the issue of jackets came up again. And somehow, in the course of the conversation, I said that if it rained, I wasn’t giving Megan my jacket.
Needless to say, before Kanye came out and played it rained. And it rained on and off until just after Kanye finished. Megan got wet. And cold.
So anyway, Kanye West came and went. He played a short and uninspiring set which started late and seemed to finish early. He still seems like a very odd choice for a supporting act. At one point early on he was talking to the crowd and he made some statement like “in all the venues we’ve been in on this tour, you’ve given me the warmest reception.” He actually got some boos from the crowd when he said this, because it was so obvious that it was an empty statement made to win the crowd over. I’m sure anyone who went to another concert where he played can confirm this for me.
After Kanye exited the stage, the real excitement started, the Edge’s beautiful White/Cream Les Paul Custom came on stage. I was almost as excited as when U2 came on stage. The others will attest to this.
I have to say, by the time the stage cleared of techies we were pretty excited. There was an air of anticipation all around the stadium. When the song which we knew they were coming into started and then the lights turned off, we were almost jumping out of our skins. When Edge came on stage and started playing City of Blinding Lights, we pretty much did.
The first half dozen songs were definitely the highlight of the night. From memory, City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo and Elevation were the first three, and were simply awesome.
One Tree Hill was also a huge highlight. Having the Koru on the back screen (as pictured below) during One Tree Hill was really awesome. They did a great job performing it.
The concert proceeded and continued to be unbelievably awesome all the way through. Unfortunately, at the end, the hours of queuing started to take a toll, and my legs, and back were significantly painful. I was also pretty tired, but still loving being there.
It’s also interesting, whenever you get into a big group of people like that, you see how society is constructed of different types of people. For instance when Megan was trying to get back to where we were at one point, she was confronted with a solid group of people. Apparently a guy said to her “have you got friends in there?” To which she answered “Yeah.” “Oh crap” he answered and followed up by grabbing one of his friends to pull him out of the way to at least give her a chance of getting through.
On the other hand, we saw a number of queue jumpers, and during the concert we had two people push in front of us, and then stand there. I yelled at them and then pushed them out of the way, but it makes you wonder about some people.
Anyway, last night was wonderful value. The best $99 dollars I’ve ever spent (same price as a standard PC game) and had one of the best nights of my life. Thanks U2. I hope you’re working on a new album so I get to go to another U2 concert.