I really don’t think I can fit everything about U2’s 360 Tour into one blog post. It changed my life, literally. I saw 8 shows on the first US leg in 2009 and all 16 shows on the second US leg in 2011. The 2009 US leg of the 360 tour was what I normally did on U2 tours – saw as many shows as was geographically and financially possible with my old U2 friends. It was the 2011 US leg of the 360 tour was what changed my life. I took three months off of my life and drove across the country with my two dogs to all 16 US shows – and saw so much of America along the way. I made so many new friends, visited many great cities, started this blog, wrote a book (which I’m still trying to publish) about my adventures on the road with U2.
My rate the shows I saw on the U2 360 2009 Tour as follows: Las Vegas my favorite and DC, Oklahoma, Chicago1 are close seconds. The other four are probably in the order of Raleigh, Charlottesville, Chicago2, then Atlanta being my least favorite. For me how I rank a U2 show is more than just how the actual U2 concert was, although that’s a big part of it. It’s about who I saw the show with, what city we’re in, where in the concert we’re standing and unfortunately what happened that day leading up to the show. And if I’m going to be completely honest, what sort of Larry moment I had. The Las Vegas show was my favorite because it was a great U2 show, and it was in my second favorite city Las Vegas. It was a great set list that included ‘Viva Las Vegas’ as well as a snippet of In God’s Country. During the band introductions, Bono said Larry was the ‘Elvis of U2.’ Those two Elvis moments really made the show for me. Another great moment was when Larry smiled and waved to me at the beginning of I’ll Go Crazy. The Vegas show was also great because the whole day was relaxed, hanging out with everyone outside before the show and having the freedom to move around wherever I wanted during the show. The DC, Oklahoma and Chicago1 shows were tied for second for very different reasons. I loved the DC show even though it had my least favorite set list because U2 did not play No Line on the Horizon and didn’t replace it with anything. Even though I went alone, the DC show had a great energy from both the audience and the band. This was my hometown show plus it was my first time at the front rail on this tour, and the most centered I ever was. And I did have my Larry moment when he smiled at me from the drumkit while I was jumping up and down in my Larry Mullen Band shirt. And I didn’t imagine it either because someone came up to me after and told me she saw Larry smile at me. Oklahoma was great because it was the first time I was really relaxed and moved around the concert. The first time I went back behind the stage to watch Larry and have room all to myself – not worrying about ‘my spot.’ Larry smiled and waved at me at the beginning of I’ll Go Crazy. Chicago1 was amazing because it was my first show of the tour, and it had the best set list of the tour. I heard Unforgettable Fire for the first time and Pride and Bad, two of my all-time favorite songs, were played for the only time of the eight shows I saw that leg. Chicago1 was very stressful though and very exhausting because we waited in the GA line all day in the hot sun and then had people all around us smushed up against us during the concert. The Raleigh show was good because it was my birthday show (a day early), and I heard In a Little While (my favorite song off All That You Can’t Leave Behind) for the first time since the Elevation Tour. We also go to hear the sound check and had the perfect spot on the catwalk where Larry, Adam and Edge each stopped in front of us during I’ll Go Crazy. The Charlottesville show was good because we stood at the front rail on the side of the stage, Bono sang a verse of Unforgettable Fire to us, and I could really hear Larry’s ‘HEY HEY HEYs’ during Get on Your Boots because the vocals were SO loud. At the time, I did not appreciate the Charlottesville show because of all the horrible traffic we encountered getting to the show. The Chicago2 show was good because Your Blue Room was played for the first time ever, and it was a very relaxed show. The Atlanta show probably would have been better if I wasn’t sick and alone. I had a great spot at the front rail in front of Adam and Larry gave me a nod from the drumkit during Beautiful Day even without my Larry Mullen Band tee. For the first time in my life, and I hope the only time, I left a U2 show early. I left during One because I was so sick, but at least I got to see a little of the show from across the stadium for the first time. A great thing about 360 2009 was that I got to see U2 in cities I had never seen them in before and obviously visit cities I’ve never been to. My whole life I had wanted to visit Chicago and go to Wrigley Field. Because of U2, I got to do that and now I love Chicago! I had always wanted to visit Atlanta as well and got to do that. Although I’m not a huge fan of Atlanta, but I am glad I got to visit the Martin Luther King sites. I had never really wanted to go to Oklahoma, but it was cool to see it. And I had been to Las Vegas twice before, so any excuse to go to Vegas. I love Vegas! 360 2009 was also great because I got to see and hang out with a lot of friends that I hadn’t really seen since the Elevation Tour, because I wasn’t really into the Vertigo Tour.
I had always wanted to drive across the country, and I had always wanted to follow U2 on tour – the whole tour. And last summer that is exactly what I did. I wasn’t working and barely had enough money, but I packed up the car and Elvis, Cilla and I left our house for three months to drive to every U2 show in the US on the last leg of the 360 Tour. Along the way, I visited great American sights, saw 16 fantastic U2 concerts and met many great people.
We drove over 18,000 miles through 31 states – some states we drove through multiple times. We drove through and/or stayed in Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Delaware, New Jersey and Minnesota. I visited Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Deadwood in South Dakota, Red Rocks in Denver, Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Reno and Lake Tahoe in Nevada, the Experience Music Project and Kurt Cobain’s house in Seattle, Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, Harmony Hotel, Joshua Tree Park and Elvis’ homes in Palm Springs, took a bus tour of LA and Hollywood, visited Johnny Cash’s grave outside of Nashville, Bronz Fonz and Summerfest in Milwaukee, the Football Hall of Fame, and saw Soundgarden in Philadelphia. My favorite places were Mount Rushmore, Palm Springs, and Milwaukee.
I saw all 16 U2 360 shows in the US. My favorite moments (my squealing moments) of each U2 360 concert were the following: watching U2 walk through the crowd and walk to the stage, Larry banging the drums to open Even Better Than the Real Thing - boom boom! boom! boom boom!, when Larry and his drums turned around to face behind the stage (where I was) during Mysterious Ways, Larry standing up (back to back with Bono) banging the drums singing “LET ME IN THE SOUND” during Get on Your Boots, Larry walking around with his conga during I’ll Go Crazy, Larry and his drums turned around to face behind the stage (where I was) and then Bono rapping at him during Sunday Bloody Sunday, Larry’s drum solo during Scarlet, and watching U2 leave the stage and walk through the crowd to the tunnel leaving the stadium.
My favorite U2 360 shows were Anaheim2, Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Seattle, but each of the 16 US shows were special. The Denver show was special because it was the first U2 show in the US on the last leg of 360, it was the first time I heard Zooropa and Scarlet, it was in the stadium where my beloved Denver Broncos play, and I met Beth. The Salt Lake City show was special because I heard Love Rescue Me, one of my favorite songs, for the first time. The Seattle show was one of my favorites because I talked with Bono before the show about meeting Larry, Larry walked over to me smiling and shook my hand as he walked to the tunnel as he left the stadium, I watched the show with Jenny, and I met Chuck. The Oakland show was special because Larry sang a part of Lou Reed’s A Perfect Day and I talked with Bono again before the show about meeting Larry. The first show in Anaheim was special because it was the first time Paul McGuinness had ever been on stage. The second show in Anaheim was my favorite 360 show because U2 brought back my favorite song I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For for the first time that leg and I cried, and they completely changed the set list by opening the show with five straight songs off Achtung Baby then played Streets. The Baltimore show was special because it was the loudest audience of the tour, Larry took off his shirt on the way to his car after the show, I got the set list and I watched the show with Tasha. The East Lansing show was special because it stayed light through Elevation and U2 entered through the bleachers up top behind the stage. The Miami show was special because it was the first time U2 played North Star in the US. The Nashville show was special because it was the first time U2 played The Wanderer, in honor of Johnny Cash, they brought up a blind guitar player at the end of the show to play All I Want Is You, and it was the first time I saw Larry get out of his car at the stadium. The Chicago show was one of my favorites because it was the first time I had ever heard One Tree Hill, which was completely spontaneous and the first time it was played in the US since 1987, U2 played Out of Control for the first time in the US that leg, and I shook Edge’s hand before the show. The Philadelphia show was special because U2 brought back the original version of Magnificent and moved it down in the set list, I watched the show will old Elevation friends, and I met Natasha. The St. Louis show was one of my favorites because of the amazing energy both from the audience and U2, and I got a little shout out from Bono about the Larry Mullen Band. The New Jersey show was special because it ended with Out of Control, it was the longest show of the tour, and I met Anisha. The Minneapolis show was special because it was the only show in the US that leg that it rained, a drenching downpour complete with lightning, and I danced in the rain throughout the show with Deb and her husband. The Pittsburgh show was one of my favorites because it was the last US show, Matt and Melissa danced on stage during With or Without You, U2 closed with Bad (one of my favorite songs which was played for the first time in the US that leg), watching the show with Abbey, and my favorite moment of the entire tour was when Larry hugged me on his way to the stage.
I had the best summer of my life on the U2 360 Tour. I learned there really is humidity in Southern California, to never drive around Chicago or Atlanta (especially on July 4th weekend), don’t avoid an outdoor concert in Miami in the summer because you think it is going to be too hot because the shows in St. Louis, Baltimore and Nashville were much hotter, and U2 fans really are the greatest. But the most important thing I learned is to always follow your passion, even if you think it’s impossible or impractical. If I had thought logically and practically, I would have skipped the second Anaheim show to make it an easier drive from California to Maryland to make it to the Baltimore show, but then I would have missed my favorite show of the tour. And if I had been thinking logically and practically, I would have never even gone on the trip to begin with because I couldn’t really afford it, but then I would have missed out on the best summer of my life On the Road with U2 on the 360 Tour.
This blog post is part of my A to Z April Challenge about ‘My U2′ – what I love about U2 from A to Z. Thanks for stopping by. I am also blogging the A to Z Challenge on my other blog Deena’s Days about ‘My Music’ – music I love from A to Z.