On Wednesday October 28th I saw the long-awaited U2 360 Tour, Vancouver concert. My friends on the east coast had been posting pictures and updates as U2 slowly made their way across the continent making me completely jealous, and it created more anticipation as the days grew closer. I own the U2 Live at Slane Castle DVD, but this was the first time I’d ever seen the band live. Yep, I was born the year their first album came out, and its taken me 30 years to get to the point where I could say I’ve seen them live. It was well worth the wait.
I was a more than jealous of my east coast friends when I found out that I would have the Black Eyed Peas opening for U2 instead of Snow Patrol. Snow Patrol has been my newest band of choice in the last couple of years, and I really hope they will visit Vancouver again in the near future. I would never have gone out my way to see the Black Eyed Peas, simply because I considered them a fluff band. I was most definitely mistaken in that opinion. At just under an hour long, the Black Eyed Peas put on a fantastic show. They had a ton of energy, and their vocals were top notch. Fergie was most the impressive to me; as she sang some of her solo work I realized it had more impact on me than I believed. As I sang along to the song Big Girls Don’t Cry, I couldn’t help but think about how 2 years ago, that was my theme song for my move out west. My move to Vancouver wasn’t about anyone else but me, and I was going to be strong as I moved. Where is the Love? brought back so many memories of my time in Boston, as it was just taking off on the radio as I lived there. I was a Canadian girl living in the US, solo aside from a roommate that I didn’t connect with, and I loved waking up in the morning to that song. I wish they’d ended with that song, but lets face it, Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night was the perfect song to lead into U2’s set. Overall, I was incredibly impressed with Black Eyed Peas, and think they did an awesome job opening the show.
U2 impressed me even more. I’d seen their live DVD, and friends had told me about concerts back east, so the 360 stage was all set for Bono to give his typical energetic performance. However, Bono mostly walked the stage, and from the ‘flare prayer’ asking to have a voice 1/3 of the way into the show, I could tell he was sick. His voice was higher pitched than normal, he had to take breaks from singing, and he didn’t run that evening. Instead, Bono fought. He fought to keep singing. He fought to tell us about Burma’s leader under house arrest. He fought to keep us all energized and give us a night worth the money spent to “give them a great life.” He fought to be passionate. And he fought the emotion of the evening as his band members hugged, on this years final performance with the boys on the 360 tour. I can only imagine what the tour did to him physically and emotionally, and I believe it came out that night. They created a live version of Gonna Go Crazy that was far better than the mellow original recording. (honestly who puts mellow music with the lyrics I’m gonna go crazy if I don’t go crazy tonight?). Renditions of Stand By Me left the building singing and hugging, as he took out his earpiece to listen. Sunday Bloody Sunday held the same if not more passionate tone every time he sings it, and I couldn’t help but wonder at how timeless U2’s lyrics truly are. Over all, I don’t believe Vancouver had a normal U2 performance. How can we, when Bill Gates was somewhere in the audience for his birthday, and to thank him for all his support, the entire stadium sang Happy Birthday? I believe we got more, simply because Bono didn’t give up fighting. I am so humbled, that a man would fight so much for one packed stadium audience, and I think how lucky people are when he takes their cause. Because I know he will never stop fighting, for whatever cause he believes him. I think I have a lot to learn.