22 May 2005, The Wachovia Center

"See the world in green and blue/Tatooed boy, right in front of you..."

The Ticket

I bought tickets to this show the day of the public onsale on Saturday morning months ago. I only got tickets to this show because it went on sale right after 14 May sold out in seconds. It was a depressing morning. I hadn't been able to get anything during the U2.com presale and that Saturday was pretty much my last chance. After 45 seconds into the sale, I knew 14 May was out. About 4 minutes into the sale, I knew with 22 May wouldn't be possible to buy 2 tickets. By 45 minutes into the sale, tears because I had 2 section 114 tickets only to have them taken away due to an "internal server error". Finally a ticket order went through and I got a section 221 single ticket. It said something about a blocked view, but I didn't really care at the time. It was a ticket. A ticket was better than nothing. I bought it. It was the first time I'd bought a face value ticket from Ticketmaster for a U2 show. Ever. I was online via iChat with a friend who was also not having great luck. Partly due to being online to talk to him and partly because I couldn't believe a second-level blocked view second level ticket was all I was going to get, I kept requesting and reloading the page. Finally, a second one dropped. A 100 level behind the stage. Since I had lost hope of being within shouting distance, I happily snatched it. I ordered them both Ticketfast and paid for them.

For months, I went on knowing I was going to the May 22 show, no matter what. Good ticket, bad ticket, I was going and was so happy about that that I neglected to even see where the seats were. I'd determined the 100 level would be my ticket and the other I'd float out there to see if anyone wanted it.

The week of the show, after all the amazing events of 14 May, I got an e-mail from a sibling saying if I still had the extra ticket, he'd take it. I'd shopped the ticket around to the U2PhillyFans list but no one needed it or seemed to be under the impression they'd get better tickets. Some people believe in miracles. Anyway, the sibling in question flew up for the show the Saturday before. It wasn't until that night when he asked me where the seat was that I actually looked up the Wachovia Center in Ticketmaster's website and saw the ugly truth. The ticket in the 100 level that I'd decided to let him have since he'd never seen them before was well stationed but then I looked at the second level ticket and foudn it was probably the worst seat in thr house. Section 221, behind the stage, second level. I freaked. I'd be looking at the jumbotron all night long. I didn't sleep a wink that night. I lay in bed listening to the street noice stressing out about the horribleness of the ticket. I know it sounds selfish and spoiled. I should have been happy just to GO. But I had some idea that I'd be stargin at a TV monitor when I'd bought a compact flash card for my camera for double the Amazon.com asking price. I hadn't waited to order it because the order wouldn't have time to ship when I needed it. Paying more for something I know is worth less bothers me to the marrow of my being. That was part of the reason for the tossing and turning. The other was I just wanted to see Bono up close, pure and simple.

When I'd bewailed my ticket fate after the presales, people had told me to be hopeful because they drop tickets the day of the show sometimes. I couldn't believe them because false hope is painful and because I don't know why Ticketmaster would do that. To play with people's heads? To separate the wildly delusional desperates from everyone else? What? Well, guess what. It happened. Just minutes before a friend was supposed to swing by Sunday to give me a lift the Wachovia Center, I checked Ticketmaster online and boom. Section 123, row 3, seat 6. $160. Take it or leave it. It took a moment for it to register in my brain. I'd never seen Ticketmaster work. Good thing I'm subscribed and it has all my information, otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to get it all filled in since my hands were shaking. I bought the ticket and opted for a Will Call. Ticketfast would have been more sure, but this is a new computer and I hadn't attached the printer. I didn't want an e-mail to get lost or some other TRAGEDY like that.

With that ticket, we had two good seats. But I was restless. I wanted my brother (who had never seen them before) to see them a bit better if possible and that meant out from behind the stage. I decided to try again since it looked like the drop had just happened. Again. Section 107, row 3, seat 1. We debated about thsi one a bit. It was more money and it wasn't like he didn't already have a pretty good ticket. After about 36 seconds of limbo, I went ahead and bought it. Fearfully, but not sure, I plugged in the printer and -- God bless Apple-- the computer recognized it as printer and printed the receipt out painlessly. I think I screamed and made noise.

We got the venue at about 1PM. It was quieter than the previous week, probably because it was a Sunday, it was earlier, and the sky spelled rain. We milled about, talked to people in the GA drop line and started the business of selling the leftover tickets. I asked at the Will Call desk and they said I couldn't get my tickets until 5PM since I'd bought them that day. It was a long wait. I didn't feel better until I actually HAD them in my greedy hands.

And then someone had an idea to go stake out the back of the arena. I was asked what my vibe said since everyone knows me and Bono are a thing (in jest, people, in jest). I predicted they'd be there at 6PM. My vibe was a bit off. They came in at 5PM and didn't stop. Bono, though, rolled down his window, leaned out, and waved. I almost passed out. If he'd have stopped, I think I would have gone mad or fainted. Or run away. I don't know. I'm unpredictable. I got a picture, albeit it isn't a good one since some guy's arm was in my way when the car was close and then I couldn't get the camera to zoom fast enough. Preview of things to come. It wouldn't be the first time I'd miss my manual focus SLR. Seeing him in the light of day was awesome, though. It makes him more real in some ways. And he was so cute in that he almost looked surprised so many people were there to greet them. That's one of the things I like best about the man. He's a huge rock star yet it hasn't gotten to his head.

After U2 was in, we went to tailgate and drink and talk. The clouds had passed by then. I had lined up a buyer for the behind the stage ticket and met her in front of the box office at 6PM. Since we had seats, we all milled around outside and then inside until the King of Leon were off the stage and then, it began.

Pre Show

It was covered a bit in the previous sectuon. If anyone has pictures of Bono driving into the Wach Center, please let me know. I won't post them, I just want a better picture of a great recent highlight of my life. I was a bit less embarrassing to be around this time but still crazy. It was great meeting people out in the lot and the music rocked, even if there were fewer people and fewer tents this time.

The Songs

City of Blinding Lights
Vertigo - Stories for Boys
The Ocean
Beautiful Day - Ultraviolet
Miracle Drug
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
Love and Peace or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet the Blue Sky - When Johnny Comes Marching Home
Running to Stand Still
Where the Streets Have No Name

Zoo Station
The Fly
Mysterious Ways
With or Without You
All Because Of You

The Show

What can I say. I had an awesome seat. A seat so awesome that if he'd have been wearing more cologne, I'd have smelled it. The ticket said row 3, but rows 1 and 2 were empty because they'd have been below stage level. So I was essentially in the first row.

I sat next to a rather flavorless individual who was taking pictures with his cell phone. A couple with a nice camera and a lot of enthusiasm sat next to him. On my other side was a bunch of friends who were into the show but liked the beer, too. The guy nearest me thought he needed to tell me about U2. They were older, as if they'd been into the Joshua Tree when in high school or something. I didn't let on that I've read Flanagan and that Bono's my married lover. Sometimes it's best to just let some people talk. Especially middle-aged guys need to feel as if they're enlightening the world or something.

"Everyone... everyone... everyone..." Oh the awesomeness! The place was crazy. Once again, though I had a hard time understanding what Bono was saying when he talked to the audience. The sound seemed clangy and the vocal wasn't clear. That's so extremely unfortunate. What else was I doing there if not to hear and see Bono? I heard him nail "Sometimes...", though. Even a deaf man would hear that. They were crisp and tight and so close to me. The ramp bending around in front of me cut off Edge's feet from my view but the rest was all clear and they were so close when they passed by on the ramp. I was determined to take pictures since I consider them my ultimate souvenir, but that's also a big disappointment. I love my digital camera but I missed my film SLR that night, or a film snapshooter if only for the quickness of the fire button and the focus. Since it was so loud in there, I couldn't hear the beep the camera makes when it's in focus (I think I'd turned the chirp off anyway) and a lot of the pictures came out totally unfocused. There was no visual clue this was happening. And the most frustrating part was how slow to zoom in or out the lens is. SLOW. I miss manual, but it was nice getting something up close when I could. When the guys walked by on the ramp in front of me, they were so close, I needed to adjust the focal length. But the lens is so slow that my the time I'd gotten it right, the passing U2er was gone. The one exception was when Edge was sauntering out for "Zoo Station". It was awful! I missed extreme closeups of Bono and Adam as well (Larry never walked out on my side of the ramp). I ascribe some of this to my overwhelmed state of mind and being so close to Bono.

That's all the negative. The positive is every moment of the buildup, the show, the coming down. "Gloria" was awesome. I didn't recognize it right away, I admit. But it was great to hear it and a lot of people seemed to recognize it which was good. During "Beautiful Day" Bono pulled up some shirtless guy from the crowd who had a bunch of tatoos. It was kind of bizarre but the guy obviously worships the ground Bono walks on. "Elevation" I love as a sing-along. It's gained a new life since it's such an "Elevation Tour" song. They know they can't take any fire away from the new stuff. They've been doing this longer than I've been alive. I had never realized until that night that Bono changes wardrobe on stage. I always thought he went underneath or something to some secret changing room. But instead, he did it to the extreme corner of the stage nearest me (which is why I now know). Even if it was close, I could barely make out the silhouettes of the wardrobe person and the LV as he outfitted himself for "Love and Peace or Else". It's a new career possibility for me. During "Love and Peace or Else" he took a cowboy hat from the audience and put it on for a second. Later, I learned it belonged to a member of the U2PhillyFans group.

My favorite moment of the night, by far just because of its timeliness was when Bono took his jacket off on stage with all lights on him. I only say this because for long I've hated how he teases and smirks at you as he takes the jacket only halfway down his arm or something. The constant game (though he may be doing it unintentionally, I don't know) has prompted me to want to make a sign for the fall that reads: Take It Off! I like things straight up, you see. I mean it only innocently to stop the game of jacket peek-a-boo.If he chooses to interpret it any other way, it's his business. Anyway, that night when he took the jacket off, it was all I could do to keep from diving headlong into screaming hysteria. I didn't even take a picture. I was so dazzled at his compliance with my wish. He's still seeing my sign in the fall, though.

He chose some chick out of the audience to dance with him during "Mysterious Ways" and then kept her on stage for what is said to have been an impromptu "With or Without You". Some friends with binoculars that could find Pluto in the night sky said they saw the setlist on stage and it had "Bad" listed on it but not "With or Without You". Either way, it was that girl's night of her life and I hated her with every cell I have. It's not personal. I'm just insanely jealous, that's all. SHE hugged HIM. That's all I want. Another thing that was awesome about "Mysterious Ways" that night as the cute little sound effects he did just before he picked out the girl. How does he choose who to go for? I'm curious. I'd never want to be on stage. I'm afraid I'd faint away.

They closed with "40" as usual. It was lovely. It's almost depressing to think that they're leaving our shores soon. I wish some people had been immortal.

The Pictures

I put them in the U2Literary Picturebook section though I may transfer a few here at some later point. Photo editing is so much work and I've spent the better part of my day doing this.

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Created and maintained by R. Lorenz, 2005