Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Montreal Part 3 / Show 2

This is part 5 in my series of posts about my summer trip to Canada to see U2! If you missed the others, you can read parts one, two, three and four via those links!

After getting soaked the night before, most of our group decided against even trying to line up in the morning for the 2nd show. We all slept in a little, enjoyed the continental breakfast (I was weirdly addicted to apple juice on this trip!) and several of us hung out in the lobby to use the free computers for a while. Around 11am, we started hearing reports back from the people in line that the people running the lines (other fans, not U2's security) had decided that if you left the line today, you couldn't return. This is totally different from how things are usually done, where you're free to leave for an hour or so now and then to rest, shower, get food, etc. Some of the people in our group who had dutifully gotten in line at 4am were so stressed and fed up with the system that by 11 they were saying screw it and going sightseeing. It made those of us who had slept in even happier that we'd gone the lazy route!

I again considered going sightseeing today- I really wanted to see the Basilica if nothing else, but it was after 11 by the time I left the lobby, and I knew I'd want to start getting ready for the show around 2:30, so I decided to just hang out in the room again. I'm still a little bummed that I ended up seeing almost none of Montreal, but it just wasn't meant to be this trip! If we decide to do Canada again next tour, I'll try to arrive a few days early so I can actually see the city!

(A side note- As I'd been hanging around the hotel this afternoon, two of my roommates went to stand outside of the band's hotel and ended up meeting Edge and getting autographs. They will never, ever let me live this down. I'm not really comfortable with waiting outside of hotels, though, especially not for like 5 hours, so I'm still glad my day went the way it did.)

If memory serves, we all left the hotel around 3:30 or 4, and the line was already moving when we reached the stadium. This went SO MUCH BETTER than yesterday! I'm not sure if security figured some things out or if it was just because we weren't so far up in line, but it was nothing like the crush of the day before. Part of the group was set on watching from the soundboard (about 2/3 back on the field), but most of us had decided to at least try to get into the inner circle, even if it meant being way over to the side. After feeling like I'd been watching a movie the night before, I wanted to be close enough to feel more connected to the show tonight, even if it was from a weird angle.

I found this snazzy panorama on Flickr for those not familiar with the setup. The inner circle (that circle around the stage) holds around 2000-2500 people. We wanted in there!

To get inside the circle, you have to go waaaay back around the back claw legs and come in through the back (on the left of the photo). We came in on Adam's side, since it is usually less crowded than Edge's. Most of the group stopped at a surprisingly good spot near where Adam would be, but I was determined to get my ass over to Edge's side. I asked if anyone wanted to come with, and Liz volunteered. Squeezing through the crowd was pretty crazy, some people refuse to believe that you're just passing through and not cutting in front of them, and I think I was actually kind of bitchy to some of them that gave us trouble about getting through. Don't get between me and Edge, dude!

Eventually, we found a spot that seemed like the best place to stop, and settled in. Only after being there for a few minutes and having time to really get my bearings did I realize that we were basically RIGHT in front of where Edge would be, just about 6 people back from the stage. SCORE! Not the best spot ever, but surprisingly good given that we had just wandered in at 4pm! Lazy Club FTW!

These people are dreading having to see Interpol again in a few minutes.

I'd always wondered what it was actually like to be in the crowd in the inner circle, since it is so hard to tell just how crowded it is from photos. It really wasn't bad at all- for the most part people are pretty good about trying not to smush up against you. There's usually room to sit down for a while, but security made us all stand up at 6pm, which nobody was a fan of. There were vendors selling bottles of water ($5 CAD), beer, and some form of red beverage in a glass with ice cubes that looked like an oasis of awesomeness, but I was too cheap to buy. I'd brought some Powerade in a water bottle, but ended up buying a water, too, just to have something cold and because it just sounded SO much better than Powerade at the time.

Our position was pretty awesome because we were basically in the center of the pit, in terms of being about 5-6 people back from the stage, and about 7 in front of the back rail, so whether the band was on stage or out on the catwalk, we were close.

I'd brought both my camera and my mom's camera on the trip, since I wanted a back-up in case anything happened, and I'd decided to use mom's tonight. That was a pretty terrible idea, because all of my photos and videos turned out TERRIBLE. I wasn't familiar enough with the camera to attempt something as complicated as concert photography, and the camera's microphone just couldn't deal with the crazy sound where we were standing. I'm going to post this video anyway, just because it gives you such a great perspective both on where we were and how crazy-awesome the atmosphere was. (You'll want to turn your speakers WAY, WAY down before hitting play! You've been warned!)

When the bridge passed over us, I was all "OMG, The Edge is on top of me, I think I'm pregnant now!" Liz and I are still in debate over which of us yells out "YEEEAHHH, EDGE!" like a giant dork around 2:10- we're both convinced it was us.

This show was SO. MUCH. FUN. Being closer made all the difference to me. Plus, the setlist was INSANE. The band has changed up the set quite a bit over the 2 years on tour, but for the most part, those of us who follow along know pretty well what to expect. Not tonight! They played Out of Control, which according to Bono is reserved for "special occasions", "All I Want Is You, New Year's Day, and it seems like I'm forgetting something else. Regardless, it was one of those things where Liz and I kept grabbing each other at the beginning of songs like "WHOA! NO WAY! FOR REALS???" It was epic.

One super cute moment was when Bono brought a kid up on stage. Everyone was "awwwww"-ing, but someone near me yelled "BONO IS KIDNAPPING!" which is pretty much the funniest thing in the history of ever.

OH! I just remembered the other awesome thing we got! The "Shine Like Stars" verse of With or Without You! The lyrics to songs are always evolving on tours (mostly because Bono can't remember them), but this extra verse is so great I'm not sure why they don't do it all the time! I don't know how to explain what a big deal it was, other than saying that "Shine Like Stars" was a trending topic worldwide on Twitter that night.

The Shine Like Stars verse starts about 4:43.

SUCH a good show! The great exodus from the Hippodrome was SO much more chill tonight, given that we weren't being assulted by rain. Still, 80,000-ish people all leaving a place at once is a pretty amusing sight, so I whipped out the camera:

It's still hard to get the idea of how weird it is for there to be a sea of people as far as the eye can see in almost any direction.

We made a quick stop at Tim Horton's on the way back, where we had planned to grab coffee (For some reason an iced cappuccino sounded SO AMAZING at almost midnight, mostly because my throat was killing me), but after waiting about 20 minutes in life for the bathroom, we decided to skip coffee and just go back to the hotel. Once we hit the lobby, we noticed a big "WELCOME U2 FANS!" sign on the wall and started wondering if they would give it to us. I asked the front desk guy, and moments later it was in my hands. SCORE! I haven't figured out where to put it yet, but it makes me happy! (We had all been eyeing the street signs that had gone up all along the street between the hotel and Hippodrome, warning of road closures and general U2 fan insanity, but most of those had been stolen before we got a chance to... you know, steal one.)

Funny enough, although I remember being back in the room after the first show with perfect clarity, I have ZERO memory of anything after this show except meeting my roommates at the computers in the lobby, where they discovered that Edge had snapped a pic of them waiting outside the hotel with his BlackBerry and posted it to Twitter:

Montreal. Leaving for the show.

Sharing a bed with someone in a photo Edge took is the closest I came to sleeping with Edge on this tour, but hey, it's something, right?

Still to come: PARTY TRAIN!, wandering around Toronto, the Toronto show and Niagara Falls.

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