Not only is today Larry Mullen Jr’s 51st birthday, but it is also the 11th anniversary of the night Larry and I shared a drink – the second Elevation Providence show on Larry’s 40th birthday 10.31.01. Here is what I wrote about that night:
October 31, 2001 – Providence 2 – Larry’s 40th Birthday
This was the best show ever! There will never be another one like it! I woke up outside around 8am – pretty good sleeping outside in 30 degrees for 5 hours. I went up to the warm hotel room until about 10am, then had some breakfast. I stayed in the GA line all day without leaving, except to take a shower around 3:30. I got everyone in the GA line to sign the big orange birthday card I made for Larry. I put my name and email address on the back just in case. The band didn’t arrive until after we were inside Dunkin Donuts Center. Me, Tasha and Paola wore our Larry Mullen Band shirts. We got our spots at the rail up front and center between Bono and Adam. I held up my birthday card for Larry as they walked on stage, but he didn’t notice it. There were many, many signs including one saying, ‘Bono let Larry sing.’ During Elevation, Bono sang, ‘ Celebration’ then said, ‘Happy Birthday.’ After Stuck in a Moment, Larry’s 40th birthday celebration began. We sang Happy Birthday to Larry. A birthday cake was brought out and presented to Larry. Bono said, ‘Larry loves chocolate cake!’ Larry pretended to throw the cake out into the audience. Larry took the mic and came to the front to talk while Bono sat behind the drums. Larry said, ‘Bono can’t play the drums. It took me 40 years to get up front. I’m glad I’m spending my birthday with 18,000 of my closest friends. I feel like I could borrow money from you.’ Then Bono asked for a bottle of champagne, which he shook up a la ZooTV and sprayed the audience. Edge took a swig, then Larry drank and continued to drink for the next few songs. After Kite, Larry got off the drums and made a B line for me. I got my card and present in hand so I could give it to him, but that’s not why he was there. He gave me the champagne bottle – with champagne still in it. I drank some then shared it with Paola and Tasha. Larry wanted to share his birthday with ME! He wanted ME to have a drink on his birthday. I was SO excited that I didn’t even know they played Wild Honey - I thought it was Staring at the Sun. I didn’t really come around until Please. After Pride, Larry came back over to me so I could give him the birthday card and Elvis tee shirt I had for him. I said, ‘Thank you. Happy Birthday.’ He smiled and said, ‘Thank You.’ He looked into my eyes, just like he had in Jersey a few weeks earlier when he gave me his drum stick. Then Paola gave Larry her Larry scrapbook, which contains the picture of him hugging me. Later on, Bono noticed our shirts, shook his head and smiled. Before leaving the stage Larry took Michelle’s Elvis sunglasses with sideburns and put them on. I was so elated after the show – walking around hugging the champagne bottle. What an amazing Larry night! I will never forget it!
That Providence 2 Elevation show was my favorite U2 show, as well as my favorite concert ever. I doubt there will ever be another night like it. Granted it was Larry’s 40th Birthday, and I love Larry, but also for the energy and for the rarities U2 played that night. Slow Dancing was played for the first time on the Elevation tour, and only the 11th time ever. Party Girl and Wild Honey were played for the first time on that leg of Elevation – and I’ve only heard those songs a couple of times ever. There was just a great energy in Providence that night that I haven’t experienced since. I still have that champagne bottle, displayed on my shelf along with Larry’s drum stick he gave me in Jersey.
Providence 2 set list 10.31.01: Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until the End of the World, New Year’s Day, I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Stuck in a Moment, Happy Birthday Larry, Party Girl, Slow Dancing, Kite, Wild Honey, Please, Bad / 40, Where the Streets Have No Name, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Pride, Bullet the Blue Sky, What’s Going On, New York, One, When Will I See You Again, Walk On
Happy Birthday Larry Mullen Jr!