All I Need Is U2, The Story of U2@drivel(oringally posted on Yahoo! U2_GTA)
(caution, this is a very long post)
Wow, I was just reading through some old posts (I was bored at work) and noticed that before I joined in mid-December lots of other posted that no longer seem to post. What happened to all of you? I enjoyed reading all of your stories about concerts and meeting the band in the years before I was even in high school. I had heard about Jess having coffee with Bono, but I felt so jealous when I went back and read that post for the first time.
And then there are Sam's posts asking if there are any good U2 tribute bands in the area. Well Sam, I've heard that this band called "Elevation" is pretty good. You might be able to catch them at a really classy place called "Heads or Tails" some Friday nights. They are also playing at a festival in Tweed, Ontario this weekend, wherever that is.
I also noticed that I didn't really even introduce myself to this list. If you've been to any of the U2 GTA events, you no doubt know who I am. If not, ask for some Pez and you'll be pointed in the right direction.
But I feel like sharing my U2 story now. It started in 1987 in the Joshua Tree days when I was not yet ten years old and in grade five or six. I was just starting to get into "real" music back then, not that Sesame Street/Polka Dot Door stuff. I remember my friends listening to George Michael, Madonna, or maybe Milli Vannili. But something changed when I saw a video of some band playing on top of a hotel in Los Angeles. It was amazing. It instantly became my new favourite song. Of course the song was "Where The Streets Have No Name". It would be fourteen years later before I would see that song performed live as it had been to the thousands of LA citizens. Through the years my taste in music changed from rap to Nirvana to retro, but through all those years, my favourite song was "Streets", but I was still a casual U2 fan. In fact, back in 1988 a friend said he wanted the "Rattle & Hum" album for Christmas and I asked him who it was by. Silly me, but hey, I was ten years old.
"Achtung Baby" came out when I started high school and the days of "alternative" on CFNY (before the EDGE102 days) was on its way to big things. As soon as I heard "Mysterious Ways", I loved U2 all over. When I finally got a job and had enough money, I bought a CD player/tape combo. I browsed the music store for some cheap CDs and invariably stumbled upon "Under A Blood Red Sky" because it was part of a 2 for $22 deal and since my brother was also buying a CD from that deal it was a perfect fit and I had the first CD for my CD player. I had heard "Sunday Bloody Sunday" before but none of the other songs. I popped it into my CD player and I was absolutely stunned. The energy of the show was AMAZING. I wanted to sing "40" at the end of a concert. Through high school and university I slowly gathered all of U2's full length albums on CD. I had missed out on ZooTV because I wasn't even old enough to drive, but when PopMart rolled around, I was in university and though I was struggling with money, I wanted to go. A friend of mine had promised me a pair tickets for one show at the SkyDome (Oct. 23?) as well as a pair for himself and his girlfriend. Well, he only ended up getting a single pair of tickets. I told him to go to the show, but he and his girlfriend felt guilty and didn't end up going to the show, and neither did I. He still has a pair of unused PopMart tickets. That totally pissed me off. At least one of us should have gone to the show. Another one of my friends went to both PopMart shows. I was jealous of her.
Fast forward to 2000. "All That You Can't Leave Behind" is released and there are rumours of a tour. I wasn't going to miss the show this time. I joined Propaganda solely for the ticket benefits. Combined with Ticketmaster, I was able to get six GA tickets, two for for the first night and four for the second night. I was pumped. I had waited about ten years at this point to see U2 live. I sold my pair for the first night to some friends of mine and a pair for the second night to my fellow PopMart friends. Though I didn't have tickets for the May 24 show, I still managed to sneak my way in by volunteering for the "Drop The Debt" table. It was a night of thrills. First, while waiting at the back of the Air Canada Centre, Bono's car pulls up and he rolls down the window and smiles at us. He was only two feet away from me. Here I was, a 23 year old guy who all of a sudden felt like at little 12 year old girl at an 'NSync concert. I had a camera with me, but I was so shocked at actually seeing Bono so close that I didn't know what to do. Behind him, I think I saw Edge, I don't exactly remember. Then the next car pulls up and down goes the window and there was Larry. Sh*t! I was seeing U2 in the flesh. I could spot Adam in the other seat. It was f*cking incredible. And as fast as they came, they left. I thought nothing could top that. I was proven wrong. Twice. When the show finally started, I was blown away. They boys were simply amazing. And though I didn't have official seats, some of the ushers were nice and let us stay in the reserved seating area. And with the dying notes of "Bad" came the hair-raising intro to "Streets". Holy f*ck. It was my favourite song from my favourite artist being played. I had waited fifteen years for this moment. That night was incredible and it was the best two hours of my life. That is until twenty-four hours later after the second show and I was on the GA floor. I couldn't believe it, but it was even better than the first show. Near the end of "All I Want Is You", I started crying (yes, I was actually crying), and when the intro to "Streets" came on, I was dying. It was a childhood dream fulfilled. The AIWIY/WTSHNN combo on the second show remains the best ten to fifteen minutes of my life. The second Toronto show was incredibly. I also made it to the show in Hamilton, but I had GC and it wasn't as good as when I had GA.
Today, I satisfy my post-Elevation withdrawal syndrome by attending U2 GTA parties where sometimes Elevation plays. I am also practising the art of Pez dispensing.
And if you made it this far, send me an email and I'll send you a boot.