It was an interesting week, filled with more excitement than I am used to in my generally quiet and fairly ordered life.
A couple of weeks ago Vern's environmental program at the Resort was being audited. The auditor, from Montana, announced she was going to be back in Canada for the U2 concert in Vancouver on October 28. Vern asked her how she had managed to get tickets to the long sold-out show, and she told him she had a friend who had several tickets she couldn't use...and that she still had five for sale, if he was interested. Vern immediately called me to ask if we should go for it. I said YES! ABSOLUTELY! How much are they? Vern emailed the seller and she wanted only the price listed on the tickets. YAY! The seller said she would put them in the mail the next day, registered, and we would get them in five business days. Of course, it took longer. We finally got the tickets the day before the concert.
It was at the dinner table where we told the kids. Ian, who is your usual self-contained sixteen year old, FREAKED. Galen said WOW! and the girls said they didn't want to go. We decided to invite a family friend who is a big U2 fan. The next day a friend of mine offered her sixteen year old daughter as company for our girls for the night we'd be away. Everything was falling into place. Then the flu hit. Galen came down with it on the weekend before the concert. Fever and cough, suppressed appetite, fatigue, etc. - all the symptoms listed in the first level of H1N1 as described in the government pamphlet that arrived in the mail that day. However, after rest and lots of home remedies Galen was greatly improved by Tuesday and it looked like he would be okay to go to the concert on Wednesday night if he stayed home from school, which he did. He had a nap Wednesday afternoon and woke up ready to go. I wouldn't have let him if we had standing area tickets. Those people stand in line for hours and then, after grabbing a spot as close to the stage as possible, stand for hours more, sandwiched in with thousands of other rabid fans.
My eldest son wished he had a standing area ticket, but he would not have had the view that we enjoyed from our seats in the nosebleed level. We were closer to the ceiling than the floor and technically behind the stage, but with the stage a full circle just below us and screens broadcasting the show as well as amazing, beautiful technicolour images, we had an eagle's view of the 60,000 seat stadium. Ian would have liked to be closer to the musicians, particularly The Edge (the guitarist), and maybe next time, he will be. Beggars can't be choosers, and Ian agreed we were all just lucky to be there.
The warm up band, the Blackeyed Peas, came on at 7:15. I'd heard of them, even heard them, but I've never really been much of a fan. The sold out seats weren't even full for their performance, but they worked hard for their money and Fergie sang her heart out. At the end of their almost one hour set they talked to the audience about how they respected U2 for being together for so long and hoped they would be like them, playing music together for years to come. The audience clapped and cheered politely but you could definitely sense a feeling of "Now for the real show" in the air.
It took forty-five minutes for the crew to reset the stage - enough time for everyone to use the facilities, buy t-shirts and posters if they hadn't already, and get that last alcoholic beverage before they closed the 'bar' (Mike's Hard Lemonade and $7.50/glass beer kiosks). As the minutes ticked by the mood in the stadium elevated. We watched the seats fill like in time-lapsed photography and the black stage transform from one crowded with techno gear to a simple arrangement of a drum set on an elevated platform, guitar pedals in a strip, and a few amplifiers. Guitar and drum techs came out to test the equipment and tease the eager crowd with a few riffs. The electricity in the crowd was palpable now as we all killed time by doing several rounds of 'the wave'.
Suddenly the lights lowered a bit and over the sound system David Bowie's voice sang 'Ground control to Major Tom' (interestingly enough, the first big concert I ever attended was David Bowie) and we were off...the band came on stage to huge roars of applause. From the first song we were taken far, far away from our daily lives of work and play to a place somewhere between land and space. The light show was a work of art. The band played a well thought out mix of old and new material and every song was played for every person in that huge beehive of a stadium. Most of us were on our feet the entire time, singing along, dancing, cheering, moving our eyes from the screen and lights to the real artists on the stage and back again. At one point we even sang 'Happy Birthday' to Bill Gates, who was there with his wife. Two and a half hours, and two encores later, it was over.
I haven't been to that many big concerts: David Bowie, as I mentioned, during his strange Glass Spider Tour; Bob Dylan in the early 90's when his songs were disappointingly unrecognizable to me who had grown up on his music; Joan Baez and Sarah Mclaughlin for free at a local park as part of 'Music 91'. Last Wednesday's U2 concert was far and away the best show I've ever been to, partly because I have been a fan since 1984 - heck, I even know all the names of the band members - and partly because I got to share the experience with my husband and two sons.
I don't usually make deals with God, but I admit to several prayers just before the concert that went something like this: Dear God, if we can only make it to the concert, my boys, especially, who want to go so badly, I don't care what happens the day after. Just pleeeease let those tickets get here and let no one else get sick until after. God took me literally - my older daughter came down with 'the flu' the day after the concert and my little one developed a bad cough. After more home remedies and lots of rest, both of them are recovering nicely. I don't think it hurt that their nurse' feet were still not quite on the ground. Still aren't.