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One For The Ages

Posted on September 13th, 2005

I got back from one of the most remarkable experiences that I’ve ever had: a U2 concert in the Air Canada Centre!!!!!!!!!!

As a member of, I got the tickets in a pre-sale. I was limited to two, but I had no problem finding someone to go with me. Unfortunately, it meant missing out on the Embassy’s fall kick-off, but some sacrifices just need to be made.

So Laura (a.k.a. Captain Radio Surfer) set out after my class to Toronto and made it to the lineup in good time. It took a little while to get in, but we were able to find a pretty awesome spot; we were some fifteen feet from the stage! There were, however, some pretty tall people in front of us (including two turds who budded in front of us). Oh, if I was only a few inches taller!

Dashboard Confessional opened up promptly at 7:30pm (which was a pleasant surprise). They did a set that lasted just under an hour and included songs like “Screaming Infidelities” and “Vindicated.” The crowd was warm to them, but the loudest cheer for Dashboard paled in comparison to the quiest cheer for U2.

U2 hit the stage at 9 (entering to an Arcade Fire song, I think) and the crowd (including Laura and me) erupted. I never thought that I would be able to see this band live and, yet, there I was. They are arguably the biggest band in the world, and those tickets went like hotcakes. No longer was I watching them on the TV or listening to them on my iPod… nope, I was in throwing distance to all of them!!

Here are a couple of pictures that I found:

Not surprisingly, they kicked off their set with one of their recent hits. Here’s the complete setlist:

I Will Follow
Electric Co.
Beautiful Day
In A Little While
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
City of Blinding Lights
Miracle Drug
Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
Love and Peace
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet The Blue Sky
Miss Sarajevo

Pride (In the Name of Love)
Where the Streets Have No Name

Zoo Station
The Fly
With or Without You

All Because of You
Fast Cars

Just a note: this was the first time that they ever performed Fast Cars live. Woohoo!

The experience (I shy away from calling it a concert) was surreal. I have few words that can describe how I felt during the event. It was so utterly complete and thorough that I feel that I don’t need to go to any more concerts. This was, without a doubt, the best concert of my life.

There were some points during the experience where I felt overwhelmed with emotions. I would just look at Laura and we’d both open our mouths in complete euphoria. Everything about the show was absolutely amazing: the lighting effects (they had this really cool mobile screen of light bulbs… it was like a huge tv), the presence, the sound, the crowd, the setlist, the words, the memories.. Needless to say, if any of you have a chance to see U2 (and do not despise them…), do it. It’ll be an experience for the ages.

Here is a very brief list of things that really made this experience awesome for me:

1. Shaking the hand of a Bono impersonator. While I went to get a drink, I saw this guy in black, sunglasses, and a cowboy hat. He looked like Bono at first glance so I went up to him, said “Good show”, and shook his hand. I went back to Laura and convinced her to try and get our tickets signed. When she went, he told her that he wasn’t Bono (but offered to sign the tickets anyways). I felt like an idiot. How embarrassing.

2. Hearing U2 tease The Smashing Pumpkins. During “The Electric Co.”, Bono started chanting “despite all my rage, I’m still just a rat in a cage” from the Pumpkins’ “Bullet With Butterfly Wings.” I went ballistic.

3. Hearing U2 tease The Beatles. During “Beautiful Day”, Bono started to sing a bit of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” I guess singing with Paul McCartney at Live8 got to him…

4. Being fifteen feet away from the band. All of them came pretty close to us and it was… beyond words.

5. Seeing the flags of African countries scrolling on the bulb screen. I forget when this happened (I’m thinking for “Where The Streets Have No Name”, but I could be wrong), but it was so good to see that some people remember. Maximum respect for U2.

6. The reading of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights on screen. Somewhat related to the above memory, this was really inspiring to see. It was really refreshing and motivating to know that the fight for human rights and dignity has some champions for its cause. The crowd loved it.

7. Speeches by Bono. One went roughly like this: “I’m excited about the future. Not just because of the scientists, but because of the doctors. And the nurses. Especially the nurses, because they’re the ones that are keeping us alive.” This, of course, made me think of Bre 😛 Another speech talked about the dire state of the world (mentioning London, Egpyt, Turkey, New Orleans, etc.) and it ended like this: “Our prayer for tonight is that we do not become a monster to defeat the monsters.” Beautiful.

8. Seeing Bono pray on stage during a song. So much for going into a room and praying to the Father in secret…

CoeXisT. This picture is not from the Toronto show, but it shows you how it was done. It was so amazing.

Thank you, God, for this opportunity. I live such a blessed life.

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