U2: My Night In Toronto

So I didn’t bother telling everyone my surprise last week. My wife came home and surprised me with tickets to the show. She ended up bailing after she found out it was going to be hours of standing and hot as blazes. So my two youngest girls came with me. I will scatter pictures throughout that I took. I have not necessarily put them with the particular song or moment so don’t think they are (some will – just don’t expect all). The pictures I took with my shitty digital camera were a mess but I got a few good ones.

We arrived in Toronto around 3:30 (that was when we joined the GA line) after a 90 minute drive. There were tons of people. Based on the line though we knew were were going to be close but not in the circle. There were lots of characters around and I had good chats with a few people. This guy was funny – calls himself U2brother and his outfit was brilliant:

The doors finally opened around 5pm. We trudged our way through the line which moved fairly quickly. After a quick search, we were in!! We head down the stairs of Rogers Centre and sprinted across the field. The centre was 5 deep already but we saw an opening on the left side near the front left strut of the stage, against the railing!!! My daughters are just to the right of the guy in the white shirt walking.

The Rogers Centre dome was closed on arrival…likely due to potential thunderstorms. However, that passed and we got to witness the dome opening. A great bonus! With the dome open, the CN Tower was in direct view and it lights up at night so it added to the show.

After hours of waiting, talking to folks, exchanging stumper lyrics questions with the woman next to us and holding our ground to maintain our spot, Interpol took the stage. I am a fan of this band and I was thrilled to finally see them live. I jumped around and sang. Seemed like there were a few like me but we were scattered. I didn’t care. they were awesome!!

So they finish up and you can feel things change. The stadium is filling to the rafters.

And finally, the moment has come!!! The trivia and world times have scrolled off the video screen. The smoke is blowing. The first strains of Space Oddity begin. The roar of the crowd reaches a crescendo. The screen lights and there they are. Is this real? Am I THIS close? And I am. As Edge blasts off on Even Better Than The Real Thing, we all erupt and the priceless night of rock and roll has begun.

I could sit here and write about each song. I won’t. I will say that after following and posting about this tour for two years, the very standard setlist could have left me disappointed. It did not. You can sit and watch Youtube videos and listen to shows online. There is nothing. Not one thing. Nada. That can replace the experience. The music vibrating through your body. The melding of 70,000 strangers into one singing soul. The band feeding off the energy. there is simply no way to experience this without being there.

So this was my best shot of the night, bar none.

So highlights beyond the experience itself. Hearing Stay live was spectacular. And of course the song that is in my top 5 ever – Zooropa. The guy beside me asked if it was coming up. It was a fav of his as well. We had a moment when it started!! hahahah Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me is such a killer song. I was so glad to see that one. And I have to say seeing my two kids dancing and singing (one is more of a fan then the other but they both loved it) to my favourite band is something I will cherish. If I could ever get all six of us to a show together and that close would be the only way to top it. The night really reaffirmed why I love this band. The funniest moment had to be someone throwing Bono a Canadian flag. He stuffs it in his back pocket and goes to the top of the bridge. Turns his back and starts to wiggle his ass and says ‘I have Canada shining out my ass’ several times (I may have the wording wrong but it is close). And then of course is the prayer. Moment of Surrender. It is just such a powerful, moving song. And the rap he includes is a favourite piece of mine. Kind of made the whole night a celebration and wrapped it up with a prayer of thanks. I would have folded to my knees if I had the room and if my legs weren’t so tired after 8 hours of standing.

So the spectacle and the awe and wonder that is the Claw did something I had read about but didn’t expect to experience. It really does disappear. Yes, I looked at the screen from time to time but my focus was the band. I forgot about the massive girders. I forgot the camera person right near us. I forgot about those 3 poor souls who are raised into each leg to man the spotlights. Just fucking awesome!!

Here’s some other picks you can scroll through:

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6 Responses to U2: My Night In Toronto

  1. larrylootsteen says:

    Thanks all for the kind words. It was a wonderful night I don’t think I’ll ever forget!

  2. crush-monkey says:

    Your wife is awesome for getting you tickets!! How cool that your daughters went with you too! You all got awesome spots in GA! Whoa!!!
    The photo of U2 Brothr is great. He is from the U2 interference message board AND I saw him on the news the next morning being interviewed!

    All your photos are great! It isn’t easy to take good pics at a concert! How cool that they opened the roof while you were inside. That must’ve been cool to see!

    I stayed at the hotel attached to the stadium and i asked them why they put the black curtain down behind the claw. They don’t allow the rooms to be stadium view for concerts…only baseball. That made no sense to me!

    I saw the GA line when i was coming back from the CN tower….it was very organized and everyone was in very good spirits!

    That Bono pic….WHEW!!!!!!!! : )

    i finally posted my review too. Loved Toronto!

  3. Cath says:

    Wow it sounds great and it awakes some memories in me.
    I saw them in Gelsenkirchen on the 3rd of August 2009 (my first time live, since I’m still quite young I didn’t have the opportunity to see them before) with a closed roof and then again in Brussels on the 22nd of September 2010, without roof this time. In Brussels I managed to get into the VIP corner, due to a little bit of tricking and chance. When I think about those gigs I feel nostalgic and I’m sad to know that I won’t see them live again for a while. If I had had the money I would have followed them around the world, because I think each concert is different and special in it’s own way.
    Thanks for sharing and thanks for your blog!
    Cath

  4. Smirkdirk says:

    Sounds like a great night! The roof being open was a great bonus. During their Atlanta show the roof was closed – there’s something about a stadium concert in the open air that is like nothing else, and since U2’s the only one that does stadiums anymore its actually kinda rare. The last time I saw them under the night sky was ’97.

    Like the pics too!

  5. poppyany says:

    thank you very much for your summary your pics and your passion about
    your u2 gig in TORONTO
    i saw you write ….”:And the rap he includes is a favourite piece of mine. ”
    can you please put this piece here beause i cannot never understand myself
    thank again

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