My First U2 concert was an event for me. I was living in Edmonton at the time and had been into U2 since the live at Red Rocks EP and then went back and bought the early albums, “Boy”, “October” and “War”. When The Unforgettable Fire came out I was speechless, here was a band that could play straight forward rock and roll with the best of them and had lyrics that were deep and meaningful as well.
I never dreamed that they would come to Edmonton because back then nobody came to Edmonton and so when I had a chance to board a plane to see them in Vancouver, I jumped at it. I remember the feelings boarding the plane the butterflies, the excitement were they going to live up to all my dreams and expectations. I arrived at B.C. place and thought I have to sit through these boring opening acts.
I still remember The Bodeans and Los Lobos and they were very good preparing the crowd for U2. I had not heard of The Bodeans but Los Lobos had the hit la bamba so I knew a few of their songs.
Then the moment came, when the lights dimmed, the crowd went crazy and I am not ashamed to say I had a few tears in my eyes, there they were those 4 boys from Dublin and from the first chords of Where the Streets have no Name the crowd was mesmerized. This was to be the first of many U2 concerts for me (the count sits at 19) but this was the first and the most special.
I watched as they went through there remarkable array of material from The Unforgettable Fire to In God’s Country through to a blistering version of Bad prequel by a cover of Beatles Help. U2 were on their game this night both passionate and angry as this concert was only days after the Enniskillen bombing in their home country of Ireland. To hear Bono, talk about the bombing you could hear the anguish and frustration in his voice over a country torn apart that he loved so much.
The band ended the main set tearing through New Year’s Day and Pride and left the stage with the crowd singing and cheering for more. They did not have to wait long as the band came back for a scorching version of Bullet the Blue Sky and then proceeding into an emotional version of With or Without You. The concert ended with U2 playing 40. The crowd was singing in unison with the band and then Bono left and the band played on with the crowd singing and then The Edge walked off and still the rhythm section of Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. played on with the crowd and then Adam walked off. The crowd sang on to the beat of Larry’s drums and finally Larry left and there was 50,000 plus singing away “How Long to sing this song” and it was minutes before the crowd realized they were on their own.
I don’t if U2 were even still close to the stage or back stage to hear the thunderous roar that went up from the crowd when we realized we had been part of something special. I have seen them many times since then but nothing will erase my first U2 concert.
My next review will be the U2 concert that inspired me to buy a ticket to next nights show immediately after the one I had just seen.