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The Longest Day, Greatest Night
Boston, MA at the Fleet Center, Show #4
June 9th, 2001

It was just after work. Starting to heat up in Philadelphia. It had been rainy, but now... all clear and starting to get hot. My sister's friend who I'll call Mary had arrived in Philly the previous day. The feeling of anticipation in the air was amazing... and just out of reach.

After work, I rushed home. The apartment was empty. Mary had gone out to get my little sister who I'll call Alice from the airport. I put my work stuff away and showered. I have no idea why, but I kept feeling a horrible knot of fear... almost dread somewhere where my lunch should have been. It was all happening. Three years of planning were all coming down to this. The anticipation of sleeping out in the street in Boston scared me, but I tried to put it out of my mind and focus on the very near present instead.

I put on my comfortable purple button-up shirt (ragged but clean and comfy) and the Gap flare jeans that I had bought a few sizes too big. Then, the black Docs I had bought at Shelly's in London. I packed the red sweater and the orange tank in the bookbag that has seen too many miles. That black bag has been everywhere with me... and now it was going on one of its most exciting and possibly one of its final journeys.

Alice and Mary got home. Mary was laughing cuz she'd gotten the Cab Queen to take the train back from the airport. Alice looked sweaty and dejected. It didn't matter. I was trying to eat dinner when they came in. A chicken salad and an apricot boat I had picked up at DiBruno Bros on my way home from work. Alice ate all the chicken. That didn't matter either. I was too nervous to really eat.

Another friend of theirs was driving up from Baltimore with her boyfriend so she called and I had to give them driving directions. I was amazingly coherent. They arrived at about 11PM that night without any problems.

Fellow U2PhillyFan and instigator of the whole Boston thing was set to arrive at 730PM. I think those couple of hours rank among the longest I've ever had to wait. When she arrived, I was surprisingly calm, as if we were just going on a random road trip. I had my bookbag with my cothes and other maintenance necessities, a shopping bag with foodstuffs like juice, water, apples, and some granola bars (raspberry), and my raincoat that fortunately had a liner in it.

Theresa (name witheld to protect the guilty) was integral in getting the exclusive BonoGirl t-shirts printed and she had the box of t-shirts along with her. I took a peek at them and we both decided they had turned out real well. Only later did I notice the copyright notice did NOT make it on to the final product. Anyway, I took the box back upstairs and dropped it off in my closet, signed my sister and her friend in at the front desk and said goodbye to them.

And that was it. We hit the road. I looked through Theresa's heap of pictures from other shows she had been to. It was amazing to me that soon I'd be there, too. It still seemed unreal (and it would for a while ) that *I* was FINALLY going to see U2. How many stories had I heard? How many reports? Stories that these guys were *amazing* live and you had to see them to fully appreciate them. Bono's voice on CD was amazing enough for me. As far back as I can remember U2 was always this huge, immensely cool rock band that I could never hope to see live cuz they'd never come to my one-horse hometown and cuz their tickets must sell out sooooo fast... Which they had. Theresa and I only had tickets to Boston thanks to a few lucky breaks.

Anyway, we were on our way to Boston, to see U2, to see BONO sing live. That was just amazing to me and as a way to cope I focused very intensely on the present.

It was a long drive up to Boston, especially when you've put in a long week at school and at work and are looking forward to a relaxing weekend. We were both tired to begin with and the long drive up was exhausting. The daylight lasted until around 9PM, and then we were shoved into the night.

We listened to CDs to pass the time. U2, of course. Theresa had some bootlegs of previous shows she had been to, but I wasn't allowed to hear anything before the show Saturday night so those stayed put away. So we heard "The Joshua Tree", "POP", listened to the radio. As soon as 9PM came, Theresa kept mentioning how they were on stage RIGHT NOW for show #3 in Boston. She was expecting a friend to call her from the show when they played "Kite" but the friend never did. I forget the reason if I ever knew it.

We passed New York City, glowing in the distance. Hartford as asleep when we went through it. When we finally entered Massachusetts, we were both ready for a break and got off at a rest stop that surprised me by how busy it was. That many people weren't driving up to see U2, were they? Some guys made a comment on how cool it was that Theresa had been to so many shows (she had some signs on her car).

Boston wasn't far now. We slid into the city at 2AM courtesy of the Mass Turnpike and the JFK Expressway... all still under construction. There's something strangely distant yet familiar about a city when you get there at the dead of night, almost as if you're looking at her face to face. And it was no different this time. I had only been to Boston once before several years before and she looked exactly the same yet fantastically different. I have no idea why.

Following my little map, we found the Fleet Center with no problems. There was a parking structure just across the way with the T passing overhead. Originally, we were supposed to stay a night in Hartford and then go on to Boston but when the floor tickets had materialized, that had gone out the window. I had had to eat the fifty bucks down for the hotel but being in the front was more important. It was a gamble but it paid off in that there were about twenty people in front of us already when we arrived. Some other people were leaving just as we got there and they were very upset about what had happened at the second Boston show with the line and saying that show 3 had been really good... but then it needed to be. Whatever. I won't go on about the line thing in Boston 2. I wasn't there. I won't offer an opinion.

Anyway, they left to their hotel (some people had been there all week) and we settled ourselves down at the end of the line. The bunch next to us was settling down to get some sleep. Theresa had some green fluffy blankets and pillows. It was cooler here than it had been in Philly and I was so glad I had brought my coat. I zipped it up and threw the blanket over my face. I think there was a street light shining down on us the whole night. But that wasn't the most annoying thing.

The group next to us curled up and settled down for the night but the bunch behind us (forward in line... it already curled around once), with one guy in particular, had obviously had too much to drink. They talked loudly for a long time, saying the stupidest things. A sound of someone crumpling plastic bags was right in my ear (turned out to be that aluminum stuff people use to keep warm). This went on for a long time. I think at some point someone yelled at them to SHUT UP. Mr. Loudmouth finally shut his trap at about 5ish, and then was trying to get some sleep. I wanted to kick him awake. He kept me up all night. (This is my site, I can say whatever I want.)

I sat up and looked around at about 530ish. On no sleep but I was okay. I'm used to not sleeping thanks to my beautiful job that I love so much. Theresa slept on some random guy that night. The poor guy next to us with the tarp. Anyway, on sitting up and looking around, I noticed that a lot more people had arrived during the the night. The line now went all the way to the end of the second corridor thingie. Good call, Theresa, on skipping Hartford and coming into Boston directly.

The morning air was cool and we were in the shade. Theresa got up to get breakfast. Since the Fleet Center has a train station on the first floor (the arena's suspended above it), the doors were open with the civilized treats of indoor plumbing, McDonald's, and Dunkin' Doughnuts. Just a block away, there was another little strip of shops and places for a bite. Fleet Center's downtown. The T goes right by there. Perfect place for all this crazy camping out.

Hot coffee helped bring the circulation back. The line was stirring. I noticed I had been sleeping with my shoes in a puddle of sticky beer the night before. Ewww! At this point, I wasn't even thinking about U2 or the show or Bono or ANYTHING. It was hard enough getting through this after a long work week.

Theresa's friends from other lines at other shows then started showing up. I guess they had been at the show the previous night and were now showing up after sleeping at some indoor locale. They were all chit-chatting about the show and about other mutual friends. I was tired. I was stilll pissed off at Loudmouth (who was now trying to sleep... the bastard), and considering what would happen if I went over there and kicked him. I was trying to feel Boston wake up. The T's trains as they went by on their little elevated tracks were mezmerizing. I'm not a morning person. I don't do well in the morning. Theresa mentioned, more than once, that she was worried that I didn't seem excited enough. I didn't have the energy to be jumping up and down screaming, "Bono! Bono! Bono!" plus I just don't reacte that way. I was as nervous as if *I* would be performing that night. When I get really nervous, I get really really quiet. I can't eat. I can't talk. I can't act like a normal person. You have to remember this was my very first show. I saw Bono in Dublin quietly having a drink. I *heard* him talk to me in a really soft voice. I'd see that guy again, hear that voice again that night, doing what he became famous for. The weight of all these little realizations, the projection of time and space was a little overwhelming. As everyone else talked like old friends at a picnic, I clammed up like a frightened turtle.

The day dragged. The morning hours were okay. We were in the shade, on the west side of the building. Up until around noon, things were okay. But then the sun found us cowering on the other side once the afternoon came and it started to burn. Man, I hate sun. If I don't do well in the morning, then I do worse in the sun. I didn't have sunscreen. This wasn't desert sun. More like a pale little light, much weaker than it is at 4500 feet with no humidity on an clear day in August... then, it's a monster. But after being out there for long enough, this little sunlight began to squeeze. I threw my towel over my head. It felt better, but before long the heat starting dripping through. At least it kept me from burning, though.

People kept running out to get food, drinks, etc. I made it until around 1PM. Then, I decided to go for a little stroll. I didn't go far. Just over to the other side of the tracks to see what was available. Bought some water. Washed up. I returned to the line. We waited. Some people went to get lunch. When they got back, Theresa and I got up to get lunch. The line was long by now. It looked like a beach, without the sand and water of course. Charles River wasn't far away, though. Just on the other side of the elevated highway. Elevation. Everything was up in the air. There were some girls there with a stereo, but we were too far away to hear any music. A guy who had been pulled up to play "People Get Ready" with U2 the previous night was there again with a gaggle of people around him. He was twiddling strings on his guitar. Autograph line begins here... I heard him telling his story over and over again. How we had held up a sign (I think). Of how Bono had asked him if he knew the chords to "People Get Ready". How he had said, "YES!" How he had called Bono "dude". How when Bono asked him if he knew the words and he had said, "Sorry, dude, that's your job." He called Bono "dude". Dude! Cool story, though.

The heat and sun got so bad in the afternoon, that my group started migrating to the the shade the highway overpass provided. I went to change my clothes, (exchanged the big purple shirt for the red top) and found all but one in the shade. We sat there most of the rest of the time. I felt bad for the people waiting in line for tickets. They were right in the sun. I don't remember much about that whole time in the shade. People took naps. A weirdo said something equally weird to Theresa; we only caught part of it. He wasn't a U2 person. He was just hanging out, sitting not far from us with a radio on. Someone made a comment that there must be a clinic of a hospital nearby cuz of some of the people that were walking by. Massachusetts General isn't far, just around the corner almost, actually. I wish they were a bit more cooperative of a hospital, but I digress...

The time *dragged*, but at long last 430PM ish came along. We got back in the line. The westerning sun was coming down and a shadow started coming from the highway overpass to right where we were in line. Theresa and I decided that we should take the stuff back to the car and retrieve our tickets from the trunk. The air was beginning to tingle now with anticipation.

A girl in the front had been keeping a book with numbers in it for the line people. They had started giving out numbers the night before, just after the show. So, people had gotten their numbers, gone home or to their hotel and then come back at 10AM, 11AMish expecting to get their places in line. Lovely. Theresa and I hadn't gotten any numbers. Most people had been sleeping, or trying to sleep when we got there. But we *had* been there at 2AM... no doubt about that.

The line was compressing now. I got my water bottle out of the icebox two nice guys had let me borrow. (Thanks!... whoever you were...) We stood there in line. People were talking, hanging out. I was sooooo nervous. I had my ticket, right? I must have checked my pocket about 400 times. People materialized out of thin air ahead of us in line. Even lovelier. But at that moment, I didn't much care. It was just so nerve-wracking, standing there in the sun, going to see U2 in a sold out, much heralded tour. The Fleet Center security guards were walking up and down the line, making sure everything was okay, chit-chatting with people. One guy said he was glad this was all over after that night. It had been a long week for them. They handled everything beautifully. A huge THANK YOU to the Fleet Center and everyone who works there!

"MTV!" someone said. "Hey, look! It's John Norris." A TV film crew was walking alongside the Fleet Center over by the ticket line. A guy in a red shirt I briefly recognized as one of the VJs on what used to be a music-oriented channel. Wonderful. Everything was starting to feel like a circus or a traveling road show. I guess it was, in a way. "Hey, look!" someone else said and pointed above our heads to the driveway that goes right into the side of the Fleet Center, what had provided shade that afternoon. A guy was standing there with a walkie-talkie, looking over the side. Some people seemed to know who he was. Someone called him by name. I don't remember who it was, but someone in U2 security. We saw the ambulance drive into the building. I think I remember seeing the top of a black town car. The band. I don't know if that was them that we saw just then, but some people *did* see them in that spot that very day. I saw pictures of it later.

After what seemed like ages, security opened the door and they started letting people in. I stuck my camera in my jeans. I shouldn't have bothered. No one cared if we had cameras or not. They checked tickets before we went in. I was so nervous. After all the stories about scalpers selling fans bogus tickets, it was the moment of truth for me. Security was using a laser scanner on the tix to make sure they were the real thing. My ticket was scalped. At $150, I could NOT afford to have it be bogus. But it passed the test.

After the ticket check, they had us go up lots of steps. After a long, grueling day in the sun, this wasn't what everyone needed. But it worked in how it prevented people from running in front of you. Fleet Center security deserves a double thumbs up and a pizza party. They handled everything beautifully and were friendly to fans also. Thank you, Fleet Center. I think I speak for everyone there when I say that.

Anyway, when they had us where they wanted us (I have no idea how many stories up), they lined the first... I don't know, 80 people up in four lines and everyone else waited in one line below. Then, they went around giving the heart bracelets out. Bright pink. "Elevation Tour 2001", they said. And then we waited some more. It was stuffy in there but at least we were out of the sun. Sounds of guitar and I think some drums were emitting from the arena. I think I remember Theresa saying, "It's them! That's their soundcheck. They're here!" It was exciting. Seeing all those tired, sunburned faces glowing with joy and anticipation made me realize more closely than ever who U2 are and why what they do is so important. It's tough to explain. You had to be there.

The sounds died away. I don't remember how much longer we waited. Time and the world spinning outside had seemed to stand still. I remember it vividly. Finally, they said we could go in. The first line started filing in. Then, the next. Then US! I don't remember the way down. I didn't look at the heart from above. I just remember thinking that there looked like there were a lot of people in it already. I had to keep my eyes glued on the steps in front of me all the way down. It was a steep incline and I'm bad with steps anyway. How bad would it be to lose your footing and go rolling all the way down to the floor?

Theresa was just ahead of me. Behind me came her friend.The people already inside the heart seemed to be clumped to the left of the stage, Edge's side. They were just STANDING there. "Other side! Other side!" I head the girl behind me yelling at Theresa. She veered towards the right of the heart, the far side, after security had checked wristbands and tickets again. Walking very very fast. Security was saying, "No running. No running." Theresa rounded the heart. There was a group of girls at the outside of the tip already. People, he's not going to leave her for YOU... but I digress.

More security guards around the entrance to the heart. We ducked underneath, under the heart catwalk. RAIL! Theresa smacked herself right next to the rightmost girl on the rail. I followed. The others came up behind us. On Adam's side of the stage, there had been a nice stretch of rail, something the people clumped on the left had either not seen or had thought of being closer to the Edge or something. It was gone now. It was such a relief to have our spots at last. It was amazing how close all the *gear* was. A three foot wide gutter between the fans and the stage was peopled with security guards. The central mike wasn't far. He'd be right there. They'd ALL be *right* there! Except for Larry, stuck in Drumkit Siberia...

We were excited but we were also tired and it was a long time before lights out still. People had discussed this out in the line (how bored had we all been???), and on cue everyone sat down. Sitting there with my back to the rail looking up at the roof of the Fleet Center, watching the heart fill up was when I think it finally started to hit me. I was going to see U2. U2. In the flesh. Had been planning this for three years, right? Three years was a long time to wait but here it was.

The guys behind us were sunburned and tired like everyone else but they were soooo excited. It was tight foot space. We all had to share. One guy went off to buy t-shirts and came back a little later with a bag, and a checkered wristband had joined the single-color one on his wrist. He asked me if he could put his bag on the shelf behind the rail in front of me. I put it there for him. I went out of the heart and then back in just to get a checkered wrist band. I'm a geek!

Theresa started talking to one of the security guards. His name was David and he's all over my pictures since he stood in front of us the whole show.

The arena still had large stretches of empty seats by 730PM. This one guy was handing out cutouts of a big fish and a little fish on fluorescent paper. Theresa explained that it was for a song during PJ Harvey's set. Someone had started it in Albany. Seemed like a good thing to do, to welcome and show some respect to the woman with the hardest job in the world. Theresa quickly briefed me on what to do and when.

Anyway, just after 730PM, the lights dimmed. PJ Harvey and her band came out. The heart cheered. Good for them. I was completely unfamiliar with her music. Really. I could not name you ANY track of hers at all. But I cheered along with everyone and she surprised me in that she ROCKED. Really. I'm not just saying that. I didn't know a single lyric and I still don't, but she boldly went through her set like a rock star.

The cue came. It was during "Down By the Water" that the fishes made their appearance. It was cool. She wasn't expecting it. She loved it. At the end of her set, she said something like, "I thank you from the bottom of my heart." And then she said, "I like to take some of those fish." I stuck my hand way out with the cutouts. PJ came over and took Theresa's fish and mine also. The crowd cheered. She really did seem to be touched by the gesture. Thanks to those that started it. The guy who had passed the fishes out (I know his name but remember real names are being witheld here) had a stuffed animal. A sheep. He had taped small fluorescent fish to the sheep's front paws. Polly Jean, though realizing how quirky this was, laughed. She said something about it during her set also... and she doesn't look like the chatty, gregarious type. It was a cool set and I think I'm a mild Polly fan now. At least the woman has my respect and best wishes.

After Polly was done, I think we stayed on our feet. Actually, I know we did. Theresa was still exchanging words with the security guy, Dave. I watched the stage crew take down the PJ stage set and start setting up for the big guns. The black tarp that was over Larry's drums came off. These huge black boxy things that I can't decide if they were lights or speakers came between us and the band :( The mike was set up in the very front... Bono... Some of the equipment came away from where Edge would stand. How cool was this? You have no idea. The lights had come back on for all this. I think I was clutching the railing so I wouldn't pass out or something. It was immensely intense.

Music started coming out over the PA. Some of the old soul and R&B classics I think. Sorry if I don't know the names. I don't listen to any of that. People around me knew the words, though and they were singing. The Fleet Center was suddenly full by now. The time pushed onto 9PM. I'm not hard core into the Beatles, but I think I knew which song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was. "This is it!" people were saying. Everyone was singing along to something and clapping. The heart, especially the group in the front and the middle, was jumping up and down going "Whoo, whoo..." from Elevation. You could hardly hear the music over the PA. I glued my eyes to the back of the stage. I wasn't sure where they'd come from but kept my eyes peeled.

It seemed like forever (kind of about how long it's taking you to read this story if you're still with me). The energy was through the roof. The floor was concrete but it was almost bouncing with all the screaming, jumping people... and the band wasn't on stage yet! Then, the back section over towards the left of the stage (left as you face it) went nuts. They were already pretty exuberant, but this time people were just about bouncing off their rows and to the one below. I stood on tip toes. Adam Clayton himself, familiar glasses on, wearing a pleased smile was coming out of some mysterious, unseen door. It was amazing. One of the all-time high points in my existence.

Larry followed with face averted, almost as if he didn't want to be seen. As it was, I hardly saw him. He slid in behind his drums. The arena was an explosion of sound by now. Everybody was on to them now. And then, EDGE. Wearing a red t-shirt and his familiar black knit cap. He was smiling. By this time, Adam had come over just *feet* away from where we were. I waved at him and he smiled. He had his bass on by now, too. To say the noise was deafening would be trite and far too short of the truth. Everyone was still "Woo"ing, too.

Just after Edge, Bono was strutting out. I have a picture of him as he comes to the from of the stage behind a laughing Adam Clayton. He came out with the persona of a huge rock star, super-cool LV... and our friend. The crowd lost it. He came to the mike (I LOVE his shoes!), grabbed it as the PA music faded away and as if they had all received a telepathic sign to begin, U2 began.

"Hoo-oo, whooo..." EVERYONE sang. Like psychedlic popcorn on caffeine, the heart was bouncing up and down, arms up, singing. I couldn't hear the vocals, but there he was just feet away. You could tell he was singing, the jugular in plain view. He was all over the place. Right to the tip of the stage, shoes hanging half off the stage. Hands reached up to try and grab him. Jumping up and down like the rest of us. Shoving his foot up in the air (you know what I mean...). In the meantime, all the house lights were ON. It was an incredible, incredible moment. This was the culmination of a lot of things. My hair must have been standing on end.

Looking down the spectrum of time, it was incredible to think that this guy on stage acting like the Energizer Bunny was the same guy I'd seen in Dublin. The voice had been so quiet in Dublin, sweet and raspy. Here, it was like a light beam, cutting through the fatigue, the weariness, the materialism,the jaded, bored attitudes of what it is to live in the world today. He cut through everything and in a few short minutes, he had the crowd whipped up and kneeling at his feet. If Bono had said "Jump into the Charles River" we all would have bolted for the nearest dock.

It was hot and sweaty in there. It was a light beam of energy. I needed pictures. I had packed my camera with ISO 800 Kodak film and had an extra roll in my pocket. The hardest thing I have ever done was changing film in the middle of a rock show. Hardest because I needed to tear my eyes away from him so I could load the film. The man is so completely magnetic, that looking away and staying still in the hysterical crowd to set and point and shoot was sooo sooo difficult.

Trying to describe this song for song is impossible. Nor can I remember which song came after which. (I don't have the boot yet.) But I do remember some small details that stand out like sharp pieces of glass in the sand. I remember when Bono had been out on the heart and he was coming back on stage over by our side of the heart. He took his time coming back and was standing there on the walkway above our heads with the lights shining on him like the Rock God himself. Wow.

And I remember "Gone". All of it. It was amazing, like all the techno fluff removed and finally being able to shine out for the first time. All those many colored lights and Bono with his guitar, singing from the bottom of his *soul*.

And the biggest moment of all if I had to pick one. Bono with the glasses still on going up to the mike and *screaming* out, "GET OUT OF CONTROL!" The crowd, already delirious, lost it. They knew every word. This was an old song, from the 70's and everyone seemed to know the words. I was in a crowd of die hard fans. And Bono lost it, too. I think for a minute there, he had to clutch at the mike stand to keep himself on his feet. I couldn't hear him sing, it was so loud in there. Edge got a little grin on his face before he started playing the song, as if to say, "You guys are going to love this." And we did. And I couldn't believe my ears. The song meant so much. He'd written it when he was 18... and now at 41, you had to wonder how the meaning, the relevance had changed for him. There were plenty of 18-year-olds in the crowd.

"Mysterious Ways" was sweet and sexy and groovy as always. My favorite live song when I was still the CD boot only set remained a hit in my mind as I stood there on a concrete floor watching these four Irish guys weave the same web. The shining tendrils of light and sound cast their spell over all upturned faces. They had a silhouetted dancer image on the screens behind Larry. Bono disappeared into the back of the stage for a minute there. Since the front of the stage was covered up with those black boxy things, I couldn't see what he was up to. But there was a roar from the crowd.

The acoustic set at the tip was phenomenal even if I couldn't see anything. Bono said something like, "This was always about the bassist." He and Edge then started into a familiar tune... familiar only on CD, rarely played live- "Party Girl". Oh, YES!

The screens during "New York"... The pinwheeling lights during "Kite"... the bass thudding right into me... clapping in rhythm during "Desire"... "Bad" cut to the very soul of what it is just to BE in the MOMENT. Speaking of moments, "Stuck" was transcendant. Edge rocks.

Pandemonium reigned during "Where the Streets Have No Name." I peeked around me when all the lights went on, and it looked like I was in the pinnacle of the universe, in the midst of humanity, and every person in the whole world was there, standing there screaming with their arms above their heads. The lights were especially amazing during that song. Bono ran around like a sprite. Geez, that boy can sprint.

I didn't recognize "The Fly" at first. It was a bare-fisted, soul-baring rendition of itself. Bono slamming himself into the video screens like "a fly on the wall" was hilarious. He's a rock star.

Then, I saw him take a light from one of the stage hands. The screens became alive with a video of body bags, children holding guns, and then Charlton Heston saying that his motto was there are no bad guns, there are no good guns... Then, the band launched into "Bullet". It was the most frightening version of "Bullet" I have ever heard. Bono was on the ramp, Edge's side on the heart. Swinging his spotlight around, shining it into the stands, the upper balconies. I noticed the words were different. He said something about Lennon. "America at war with itself..." All the headlines we've all seem came flashing back. Then, he started swinging the lamp and *screaming* out the name no one says... Mark Chapman, Mark Chapman. At the time, I didn't know what he was saying, but the WAY he screamed that out, as if trying to frighten away lingering ghosts gave me goosebumps, gave me the shivers, frightened me. It's the eeriest thing I've ever heard. It's one of the more disturbing bits. See a lyric sheet of what he said that night in the Reviews section.

"With or Without You" seemed like an old friend you're so glad to see even if you know them so well. His voice sounded sweet and soft. The lights were blue like starlight.

And then came "One". Bono took a guitar, thanked Boston for the great week. For the fans he had had the fortune to meet outside the band's hotel (who else calls people that stalk you a pleasure to meet???). He said they didn't have plans totally straightened out for the fall yet and didn't know if they'd be back or not, but thanks for this week. Boston had been stuck in a U2 moment the whole week. I don't need to say the song was as beautiful as ever.

"Walk On"... I knew it was the last song. It was sad, but at the same time, I don't know how much more I could have taken. The girl next to me reached over to someone behind her for a bottle of bubbles from someone else. She started blowing them. Bono saw them and immediately came over. She reached over the railing with the bottle. The security guard held it up for Bono as he blew little bubbles of his own. My camera was taking shot after shot after shot. He was two feet away from me. I just held the shutter button down and let the overworked little thing do what it could. I must say though my camera was overmatched for all these concerts, it behaved like a champ within its limits.

Almost all the way through the song, this big guy started running onto the stage. Bono didn't see him right away (it was so loud in there that it was impossible to hear it). Adam got out of the way as security just about tackled the guy. This happened right in front of me. It was alarming. I mean, Bono's so tiny. Security was being rough. Bono saw them. In a moment, he had left his mike and was over to the right of the stage. I have never seen a human being move so fast. The bad kept playing without the vocalist as the drama unfolded over on Adam's side of the stage.

Bono pushed away one of the security guards who was coming up from the pit to help the others restrain the guy. Another one of the security guys who was on stage got shoved. Bono raised a fist at the last guy and the word f*** came flying out in the middle of several others. His face was all red. He looked *pissed* off. So it's true. The man has a hot temper. I still had film but I didn't take pictures even if I could have gotten some great ones. I was just sooo shocked that it was happening. It was scary.

Security backed off since the boss was gonna beat them to death if they didn't. The guy and Bono went center stage as the Fleet Center again reached another summit of noise (the place was noisy the whole time). Bono hugged the guy. He held his arm up. Bono looked like a little leprechaun next to the guy. Then, the weirdest thing happened. Even weirder than the whole fight thing. The guy picked Bono up and swung him around. It was SOOOOO surreal. I don't know. It was surreal, surreal stuff. Then, Bono pointed out to the heart ramps. The guy started taking a slow lap around it as our favorite singer finished up on "Walk On". Leave it behind... Just leave it all behind... It felt right. It felt like the end. Geez, I wish I could hug him.

The guy finished his lap and left the stage to cheers. U2 waved. Larry came out from behind his drum kit and waved for a split second. Adam had a tech light him a cigar. He waved also. Bono said his goodnights. The crowd was soooo soooo loud. We were so grateful. That was it. That was the end of Boston. Onto Philly...

"Grace" from the PA faded away and the lights came on. Theresa got a set list from Dave the security guard. They were supposed to play "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" but played "Stay" instead. Security was trying to throw us out. They needed to pack the heart away and head for Philly. We were among the last ones out of the heart.

Getting out of the Fleet Center was aweful. The place is an engineering accident waiting to happen. It was packed with sweaty, happy people making their way down the stairs. "The best yet" people were saying, "The best yet." And I had seen it and it had been my first show. Amazing. I was in shock. I couldn't think. I couldn't talk. I was in AWE. I was trying to keep my poor shattered mind from forgetting things. My ears felt like they were stuffed with cotton.

Theresa and I went back to the car. It was a very full parking lot. I think we got away with paying a lot less than we owed. We had been there for almost 24 hours but they only charged us $17. We were riding high. People were blasting ATYCLB from their stereos. The streets were jammed. We didn't know where we were going. A guy in a van next to us said something about the list of shows Theresa had on her car. "Cool!!!" They were from Arizona, come to see the show.

We got lost on our way to the hotel. It was night. I'm not overly familiar with the city and we were tired and excited and beat and whipped and dehydrated etc. But finally found it without too much trouble. I wonder how we looked to the front desk receptionist. I had called earlier in the day to let them know we would be getting there after midnight. We got our key and our room was nice. BEDS!!!

I made a beeline for the shower. By the time I got out, Theresa was already asleep with the TV on. I shut it off and shut off the lights and tucked myself into bed (oooooh, soft!) and finally slept with the sound of an Irish angel singing in my head.

It was an amazing experience. Standing there against the rail was literally the most liberated and free I've ever felt. Like family but without the things that tie you down. Leave it behind... They drove the point home. Thank you, THANK YOU, U2. You're all angels.

Now, on to Philly.

 

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