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Updated and Relocated: January 21, 2001

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"VH-1 Legends"

It started out simply enough. Tape an as yet unseen U2 special on VH-1 as a lark, no big deal. I'd gotten away from U2 in recent days, mostly because I didn't care much for their last cd Pop, nor had I tried to get tickets for the PopMart tour when it came to Raleigh. I'd already seen the ZooTv Inside and Outside Broadcasts once each, Popmart just seemed like a bigger, glitzier version of ZooTV, and having done those already, I didn't feel much like spending the $50+ that it would have cost me to go. Not to mention that I had just completely relocated 3000 miles to a new city, and was still adjusting to that concept; going to see a U2 show, for an album I wasn't truely crazy about, wasn't really at the top of my list of priorities right about then. Just as well, since it eventually was canceled due to rain (and some say low ticket sales in the area as well; they only sold about 20,000 for a venue that seated twice that, read the article from the N&O about that here) anyway.

I wasn't anti-U2 by any stretch of the imagination. My theory, after watching the group do a complete image change in the time between Rattle and Hum and Achtung Baby, is that after a three (major) album arc, they seem to change gears and go off in a different direction, based on what they've experienced since the last album. Boy, October, and War was one arc, The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree, and Rattle and Hum was a second, with Achtung Baby, Zooropa, and Pop being the third arc.

I figured that after Pop, they would be right on schedule for the start of another three album arc, entirely different from the ideas and concepts of the AchtungZooPop era. Which suited me just fine. There was some great music that came out of those albums (even Pop wasn't ALL bad! :-)), but IMHO, U2 didn't need all the techno brou-ha-ha that came with it. I understood the inspiration behind it (and respected that they had made the music that THEY wanted, and needed, to make at the time; remaining true to themselves at the risk of alienating some fans, which I know they ended up doing, but as Bono once said - "It's best to just let what's in you come out..." If that means putting out a song like "Miami", which didn't do a thing for me, so be it), but was patiently waiting until their next phase, whatever and whenever that would be.

And after the Legends special peaked my interest again a little, I hopped onto the internet, surfed around a little, and found what I was looking for, a little paragraph that said that U2 was working on a new album, and that for this one, they were "going back to basics". Hallelujah, here she comes! The next phase, era, arc, what have you. Needless to say, I'm all revved up again. Ready for the new album, ready for the tour, ready for the laughing gas, ready for the gridlock, yadda yadda yadda. :-)

"It's very much a four-legged table..."- The Edge

I first picked up on U2 back in high school, in 1985, courtesy of my best bud, Susie, who was a big fan long before that. I, on the other hand, was a Duranie (forgive me, I knew not what I did! :-) ), not a shrieking hysterical Duranie, but a Duranie just the same. And not particularly interested in this band U2 that she kept talking about. But one day I agreed to sit down and watch this U2 video with her, so she showed me this rockumentary at her house after class one afternoon, and that was the beginning of it all for me. The vid was U2's "The Unforgettable Fire Collection", and quite honestly, Bono just knocked me OUT! He had me absolutely mesmerized. He was, admittedly, no John Taylor (sorry, Bono! :-)), but there was definitely something about him. The music was serious and had heart, but the vid wasn't ALL serious; all the guys showed a sense of humor, even back then, and that appealed to me as well. To anyone who thinks they were too serious in the pre-Achtung Baby days needs to pull out that tape and FF to things like Adam's photo shoot, the solar eclipse, "Okay, Gringo!", and the like. To this day, I still love that video. (And for those of you who STILL think of the band as being nothing but serious, I've got a separate page of nothing but photos that'll prove you absolutely WRONG! Check that out here.)

"We're gonna make this aircraft hangar work for us tonight! We're gonna make it work because the music is worth it and these people are worth it!" - Bono

It just worked out that Susie had a pair of tickets to the U2 show at the Cow Palace in Daly City that year. I swiped her second one, and just like that, I found myself going to my first concert ever, and WHAT a first concert! (cheap too, just look at that price on the ticket stub. A far cry from PopMart, it is. Of course, that was 14 years ago...) I had such a great time, I swear I didn't come down for at least three weeks after that. And no tv screens, belly dancers, or trabants suspended from the ceiling were required. Go figure. Click on the Cow Palace ticket stub at right for a review of that concert.


Early shot of U2, from "The Unforgettable Fire" tour program

Interlude - Present Day...

Given that I'm currently on a big U2 kick, I've started rewatching some of my collection of videos, starting with "The Unforgettable Fire Collection", the "Achtung Baby" Interference vid, the "Numb" vids, a tape of "Rarities", courtesy of Ron over on ebay (GREAT tape, dude!), the new "Best of U2" video, and am currently working my way through "ZooTV Live From Sydney", courtesy of Steve, also of ebay. I got as far as New Years Day before I shut it off for the night.

A few thoughts crossed my mind while I was watching it. Random thought number one? Hopefully the tour for the new album will have at least SOME reserved seating, watching all the people squeezed in so close together in front of the stage like that, all screaming "Bonooooo!!!" at the top of their lungs, made me claustrophobic. :-) I said before that I was NOT a shrieking Durannie; as much as I love U2, I'm also not a shrieking U2 fan either. I can "Whoooooooo!" and cheer with the best of them, but a the rest? Fugetaboutit. (To their credit, not EVERYONE who is squished into the front rows is a shrieker and a grabber, I know. I saw at least ONE person on the Sydney tape who was right in front row, who had her arms resting on the barricade, just singing along, like any sane person. :-) )

Random thought number two? I found it odd that as good as the music was on the first 7 songs (One is in my personal top ten list of favorite U2 songs of all time), the first song to actually give me a good old fashioned U2 chill (like you get when the music really hits a vibe) was New Years Day. Strange... They say the new album is "going back to basics"? I really DO like the sound of that...

"Live Aid"

The next big historical U2 event that comes to mind was "Live Aid". Once again, that was another one of those "big chill" moments, I can play back the tape of Bad from that day and still get goose bumps. "Live Aid" was a day I remembered well, it took place on my 18th birthday, and I couldn't have been further away from the concert festivities, I was on a road trip on vacation up the Oregon coastline. I caught very little of it on the road, but had a tape set to get at least 6 hours of it back home... Eventually I got to see the U2 portion of it, many MANY times. :-)

"The Joshua Tree Tour"

The next time I actually got to see U2 play live was for the Joshua Tree tour, when they played Oakland Stadium, November 14, 1987 (again, click on the ticket stub at left for a "review" of that concert). I have no idea why we didn't get to the April show when they came through the Spring before, but the review of THAT show is here. U2 was the final band in the three band "Day on the Green #3", playing after The Pretenders and The Bodeans. They had just done the free "Save the Yuppies" concert in San Francisco a few days prior (Remember "Stop the traffic...Rock 'n' Roll"?), but Santa Clara was a little too far from San Francisco to even think about getting there to see it. Susie and I took BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) out of Fremont to get to DOTG and back, a pretty good way to go, once you got past the cattle stampede to get back to BART after the show was over. Whew! Did I mention being claustrophobic? :-) But we sat at the far end of the stadium in Oakland, opposite the stage, so while the bands were tiny, we had a relatively well centered view of the whole stage. Click here for a few more photos from DOTG. After comparing the two reviews, from both the spring and fall shows, it sounds like we missed the better of the two, but other than a few contrived moments in regards to the graffiti, I remember the fall concert as being really fun. Not quite as good as the show at the Cow Palace, but I didn't feel like I'd wasted my money in going, by any stretch of the imagination.


Later shots of the band, from the Joshua Tree tour program. I've always liked these...

Excuse me, present day intruding again...

Well, just finished up with ZooTV Live From Sydney. As expected, I loved the stuff on the small stage, where they left the Zoo paraphernalia on the big stage and just played. Which isn't to say that the high tech equipment didn't have it's moments. "Satellite" with Lou Reed was kinda neat, the screens with their flaming crosses during "Bullet" had impact, but once again, the moment that I had to stop and play back a second time was the segueway between "Running to Stand Still" and "Where the Streets Have No Name". The opening of that song, ever since the Joshua Tree tour, has always sent chills down my spine and damn near brings tears to my eyes. Every single time. I still can't figure why U2 took a song like that and made a video for it that does absolutely NOTHING for the song. "Streets" deserved better visuals, IMHO. But then, that's just me...

"Is Film Expensive, Phil?... ... Just Checking." - Edge

Past and Present Day are sort of coming together at this point. Enter U2's rockumentary "Rattle and Hum": See the Movie. Buy the Soundtrack. Read the Book. As I'm tripping through my U2 archives, I've just started rewatching "Rattle and Hum" (having purchased the Video some time back as well!) and can't find a single thing wrong with it so far. I vaguely remember my only gripe being that some of the best songs from the movie didn't make it onto the soundtrack, but other than that I thought it was great. Most critics were a little harsher than that, I think, in regards to the movie as well as the soundtrack, but some, like the reviewer here, were in agreement. Of course the biggest question was "Why'd you make a movie, what's the movie about?" In the book "Rattle and Hum" manager Paul McGuinness says "It came about for a number of reason but one of the main ones was to kill Red Rocks, which was made in 1983 and now looks very dated." I like Larry's answer in the movie as well, it was very simply put - "It's a musical journey!" :^)

Back in the here and the now...

Well, I just finished watching "Rattle and Hum" the rest of the way through, and now remember why I went out and bought it within the first month it went on sale. :^) It's a great tape, although I really WOULD liked to have seen more interview footage; they always seem do a little something offbeat. Loved that version of "Desire" that they filmed for it though...

Oh listen, Mofo is playing. Well, I guess YOU can't hear it, huh? Sorry, turn off the midi at the bottom of the page, toss "Pop" in your CD-ROM drive, then you can hear it too. :^) I opted to play "Pop" today, since I had the ride to and from work to myself this time. Had a VERY bad day. Mofo, played very loudly with extra bass in the car on the way home, is a GREAT remedy for a very bad day. (And word to the wise? DON'T get DirecTV. Or if you do, WATCH your bills very carefully. Just some advise from me, your friendly neighborhood "Satellite Guru", keeping your DSS, Cable, and C-band providers honest. :^) )

Hello, where have I been!?!...

It's now about a week later. I'd forgotten how little time I actually have to work on new page additions, when it's a) not a long holiday weekend, and b) there are no hurricanes threatening the Raleigh area, keeping one indoors for safety. Dennis came straight through Raleigh last weekend, the good news is that it was downgraded to a "Tropical Depression" by that time, and all we got was some MUCH needed rain. The BAD news is that Hurricane Floyd is on it's way, still quite a ways out, but heading right for us at the moment. *SIGH!* I traded in earthquakes for THIS?!? At least those only came once in a while, hurricanes threaten every year out here.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I'd just finished Rattle and Hum and was HATING all the satellite companies. Really funny, considering how closely U2 worked with satellite stuff for ZooTV. :^) But NOW I'm currently working my way through my PopMart in Mexico City video, seeing what DIDN'T come through Raleigh, for the first time. Gee, now I wish I'd seen it live and in person. It really WASN'T just a glorified and glitzified version of ZooTV. U2 used that HUGE vidiwall to great effect, I think. But the one thing that I really missed by not catching PopMart, if the vid is any indication, was seeing Bono sing as Bono, not as The Fly, not as the Mirrorball Man, and most definitely, not as MacPhisto. And the accoustic set (but of course!) I thought was terrific. I LOVED how Edge sang "Sunday Bloody Sunday" all by his lonesome. That was different. But I've only gotten as the end of "Streets", ready to start in with "Discotheque", but am liking what I'm seeing much more than I did with ZooTV.

On an entirely different note, a quote that has popped up on the internet appears to have many fans in a bit of a tizzy. In regards to the new album, Bono has been quoted as saying - "I don't want it to be our last record but it feels like if it was, that would be OK." Perish the thought, having the next album be the last. Oy. It IS encouraging though, that he thinks that what they're working on now apparently really is the best that they've ever done. Just so long as it's the best they've done SO FAR, with even GREATER things to come in the future...

Oh, and while we're on things being said on the internet, I have to say a hearty congratulations to Bono and Ali on the birth of child number 3, son Eli, whose full name is (and I'm sorry, I have to do this, because I am absolutely amazed at the full name they've given him, I think the name is bigger than HE is! :^) ) "Elijah Bob Patricius Guggi Q" Hewson. Hence why they call him just plain "Eli" I think. <grin>

Well, eventually I'll move ahead in history and get up into the Achtung Baby/ZooTV era, but not quite today yet...

Hello, where have I been!?! (Part 2)
(Added January 21, 2001)

Well, people, it's been quite a while, hasn't it. Where had I left off before, oh yes, being threatened by Hurricane Floyd out in the Atlantic. Well, to say that Floyd came through Raleigh would be a bit of an understatement. We woke up the morning after Floyd roared through to about 2 inches of water standing in my basement bedroom. Minor stuff compared to what other people ended up with, definitely, but when it's just you and your mum living in a house, clean up was QUITE a job. The waterbed had to be drained and dismantled, the sopping wet carpet removed, the place mopped and dried out, and the waterbed put back up and refilled again. Whew! But it DEFINITELY could have been worse.

Needless to say, this page went by the wayside in comparison, and then with the return of hockey season, and the arrival of my digital camera, my hockey pages blossomed and this one stagnated. But I'm once again inspired to continue this page, having just picked up a ticket for the U2 Elevation show in Charlotte on March 29th yesterday. I wasn't going to go initially, Charlotte is NOT my favorite city anyway, and is three hours away. Small potatoes to people who are willing to fly cross country to see U2, I know, but I pretty much figured I'd be making the trek by myself to go see them, and while I tend to enjoy little adventures like that on occasion, this was CHARLOTTE I'd be going to, not my favorite spot. Plus the 29th is a Thursday night, a "school" night. But this is U2, maaaan. I hadn't seen them in YEARS. So after hemming and hawing for nearly a week, decided to go after all.

I'd signed on to Propaganda again sometime back, figuring that would be the best way to get first news of the tour and first crack at tickets, and with Raleigh having recently completed their new Entertainment and Sports Arena (the ESA, for short), I figured they'd be making a stop in Raleigh. Alas, no. Who knows why, could be because PopMart didn't sell well here last time, or because they're in the area right smack dab in the middle of hockey season, and the arena floor is covered over with ice. I lean towards the first explanation more, given how many stops on the tour are in places that are also hosting hockey games at the same time. They seem to manage those nights just fine. In any case, Charlotte is going to be the place to be on March 29th, I guess.

I DID get my ticket order form from Propaganda, about a week before tickets went on sale to the general public at Ticketmaster, and HAD been planning to use it, since I hate Ticketmaster and their lousy service charges. But since tickets were going on sale to the general public the same day the form had to be postmarked, I thought I'd try my hand at getting them on my own, and if they sold out, I'd still be able to get to the post office and get the Propaganda form mailed in enough time to get the tickets through the fan club. But I showed up at my favorite Kroeger Ticketmaster outlet (I'd had great luck there for Sister Hazel tickets, ended up with 6th row center for that show) at about 9:30 and the place was deserted, I was the first one there (having many MANY Ticketmaster outlets in Raleigh helped, I'm sure, as well as the fact that there was absolutely ZERO promotion for the show in the newspaper here). By the time 10am rolled around, the line was about 7 or 8 people deep behind me.

The half hour wait gave me time to figure out where I wanted to sit and how much I wanted to spend. General admission floor ($45) was out of the question, the thought of being squished amongst all those bodies has always been a little un-nerving, plus you have to get there early to claim a spot, and can't EVER leave it, or you lose it. Not what me and my tiny bladder need to deal with. :) So that left $85 reserved seating in the stands, or $130 Golden Circle seating. I went in planning on the $85 seats, but the more I thought about it the more I figured "Okay, I spend $40 to $80 a month for hockey tickets, drop $100 without batting an eye not once but twice for Hurricanes University, U2 comes by once every 8 or 9 years, AND I'm going to be driving 3 hours to see them, let's make this worth my while!" So splurged and got a ticket for a $130 seat. I think I did pretty damn good, Larry. :D Section 108, Row A2, Seat 7. Click the link for a photo of what that equates to at the Charlotte Coliseum. YES! Hallelujah, here I come!

Needless to say, I'm rather stoked. As well as rather BROKE! :) I justified the expense by NOT getting tickets to the Canes vs Kings hockey game at the ESA yesterday, which I had been planning on attending, saving myself a quick $40 in the process. And yes, Ticketmaster hit me up with some MAJOR service charges since I put the thing on my credit card, adding on $11 to the ticket cost. But I weighed my options while I was waiting there for the U2 sales to come online at 10, and figured that Propaganda would be hitting me up for their $5 handling fee right off the top, plus I'd I'd have to buy a money order, plus pay the postage to get it there and the SASE to get it back, all the while leaving it up to THEM to determine where my seat would be, and leaving it to the postal service to get my ticket back to me safely. I figured it was worth the extra $5 or so dollars to pick out where I wanted to sit myself, know that I couldn't be downgraded to a lesser seat, and have ticket in hand on the spot.

Anyway, so it looks like I'm going to Charlotte on March 29th. Chances are pretty good I'll end up spending the night up there and driving back the next day (there goes my first vacation day of the year!) so I don't have to deal with the three hour drive back after the concert, but that's still up in the air at this point.

You know? With all this brouhaha about the concert, I've yet to say anything about the new album. As y'all know it's called "All That You Can't Leave Behind" and it's GREAT. There are a few tunes I don't care much for, which are growing on me more each time I play the cd, and several songs that are absolutely spectacular. One of which is that bonus track "Always" that is on a cd all by itself. I'd have to rank THAT one to be THE best track NOT on the album proper. :) I'm going to TRY and set up up the song as a streaming real audio file and add it to this page in place of the current midi, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. :) So if you hear something other than the old midi file, you'll know it worked this time. :)

Meanwhile, check out something COMPLETELY different (hint, it's a U2 parody...). Just click on the -ehem- cow (?) below...

Already seen the cow link? Then head over to my main webpage for something else entirely.

OR... looking for more U2? Check out the U2 webring. You know how those things work, just click and go...

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So until next time...

"Adios, amoebas!" <LOL!>