DAYS 69&70 – JULY 21&22
With just under a week remaining in my U2 360 tour across America, I was exhausted as I drove from New Jersey to Minneapolis – again driving back through Pennsylvania and Ohio where I had just drive a few days before. I left the morning after the U2 show in New Jersey, just before 11am, and drove 443 miles to a Motel 6 in Richfield, Ohio arriving around 6:30pm. I had to stop twice along the way to stay awake and didn’t drive as far as I originally wanted. The next morning I left bright and early at 7am to make my way to Minneapolis for the second to last U2 show on my 360 tour. I spent over $18. on the Ohio and Indiana Turnpikes and was stuck in traffic for over an hour getting around Chicago. There was so much construction all the way through Illinois. After stopping once in Illinois and once in Wisconsin, I finally arrived at the Days Hotel in Minneapolis 13 ½ hours and 754 miles later. I ordered a pizza and went to bed.
DAY 71 – JULY 23 – U2 360 #15 – MINNEAPOLIS
I stayed in bed all day before walking over to TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota at 2pm. Luckily my hotel was right next to the stadium, just as it had been in Denver. It was a bright sunny day when I left, but they were calling for rain. With the exception of a short sprinkle at the end of the Chicago show, it had not rained at any of the 14 shows I had been to so far on my 360 tour. I walked around the entire stadium trying to figure out where U2 would drive in. I thought it might be this spot in the back, but continued around to the other side of the GA line where I saw the crew going in and out and a bunch of fans waiting. I finally met Wendy whom I’ve been chatting with on twitter and facebook for months. I also met Stuart and Paul and talked with Jason, Tim, Cathal, Suzi and Denise. Turns out I should have followed my instinct and stayed in that spot around the back of the stadium where I thought U2 would drive in because that’s where they came in and I missed them – but no one stopped anyway. This was only the second time I had missed U2 arrive at the stadium – the other time was in East Lansing.
I went into the show around 6pm and went to Edge’s side of the inner circle so I could watch U2 walk to the stage, even though they were entering from the tunnel on Adam’s side I prefer to watch them walk under the stage – which is on Edge’s side. Deb and her husband were already there waiting. We ended up hanging out throughout the entire show, which was great fun. While were waiting for Interpol to take the stage, a guy from the crew told us they have names for each of us, but he wouldn’t tell us what they were as I am sure they are not flattering. He said they even play bingo and mark off spaces when they see us at a show. I told him to tell Larry I’ve been to every US show and was anxious to meet him. He said he hadn’t even met Larry. While waiting for U2 to take the stage, I met Jill and her friends who were also at the shows in Anaheim. Jill is now helping me get my book published. My friend Shelly who I had been chatting with on Twitter was sitting behind the stage, shouted down to me and took a picture of me waiting behind the stage. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get a chance to actually talk in Minneapolis, but we have become friends since. She was kind enough to make me audio copies of all 16 U2 shows I traveled to last summer. As U2 walked toward the stage and made that turn to go into the underworld, Larry saw me and smiled and waved just like he did in St. Louis. I sort of captured it on video, but didn’t get a picture of it. Shelly told me after that she saw Larry wave to me, so I know I’m not imagining it. Please watch my short video of U2’s walk to the stage.
During Even Better Than the Real Thing Bono said, “Come on now. The Twin Cities. Where are you going to take us tonight? Minneapolis. St. Paul.” To introduce The Fly Bono said, “Ya’ll want to hear some crowd rock circa 1991? Achtung Baby etc.” It started to rain toward the end of Mysterious Ways. Bono said, “Rain come. Love like rain. Love like rain comes in the summer.” Bono introduced Until the End of the World saying, “Are you ready for this rain dance?” The rain caused Edge to have guitar issues, and he couldn’t make it out onto the bridge when Bono was waiting for him. Because of the umbrellas above the drum kit, Larry and Bono could not stand back to back during my favorite ‘LET ME IN THE SOUND!’ during Get on Your Boots. Bono finished song by saying, “Get on your boots in your fancy new stadium.”
Before the band introductions, Bono mentioned that Minneapolis was originally supposed to be the last show of the tour, then they added two more shows. He said, “This is the place to begin the end of the tour party.” Bono talked about how the past few shows had been some of the best. He said, “The last show I thought I heard thunder, and I felt like a flash of lightening. Then I felt like a truck had hit me. Then I thought I’ve got into the ring with Mike Tyson. He’s beating me in the back of my head. But it was none of those things. It was Larry Mullen Jr on the drums!” There was a huge applause, more than usual for Larry. Minneapolis really likes Larry! After I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, U2 launches into a full version of Stand By Me. During which, Bono brings Somali pop star K’naan on stage. Bono had spoken with K’naan before the show about the famine in Somalia. Please watch my video of K’naan and U2’s performance of Stand By Me.
U2 played Stuck in a Moment instead of Stay. Bono introduced Stuck saying, “We wrote this next song for Michael Hutchence, but you will understand if tonight we play it for Amy Winehouse.” Amy Winehouse had died earlier that day. At the end of Pride, the audience kept singing the ‘Oh Oh Ohs’ and Bono said, “That’s a beautiful sound. The sound of America in the rain singing its heart out.” It had been raining since Mysterious Ways, but when Zooropa started it was really pouring – a cold sideways rain of huge drops. I just remember full out dancing with Deb and her husband in the pouring rain. It was so freeing and fun. Some people had left or were standing under the bridges, but if U2 were playing their hearts out in the rain on the stage, I was going to give that same energy back.
Unfortunately, the rain did cause some problems for Larry. He seemed to be uncomfortable, he was constantly adjusting his seat throughout the show. And because of the umbrellas, Larry’s drum kit didn’t turn around during Sunday Bloody Sunday – much to my disappointment. Bono wore his army green hat during the encores. I did not walk around to Adam’s side after Scarlet as usual to wait for U2 to leave because I was afraid I would fall in the pouring rain on the way over. Instead, I stood at the stairs and watched U2 leave the stage. Larry again saw me and smiled and waved.
The U2 show in Minneapolis was great – a fantastic energy much like it was in St. Louis. The rain didn’t damper the experience at all. In fact, it made it even better – and my hat survived the downpour. The rain began during the third song Mysterious Ways and continued throughout the show, raining harder and harder and lightning during the encore. It ended my ‘no rain’ streak – 14 shows on the last leg of the 360 tour with no rain. The highlights for me were a full performance of Stand By Me with K’naan, Stuck in a Moment instead of Stay, and of course Larry smiling and waving to me as he walked on stage and as he left the stage. It was a great great show, even though Magnificent was not played.
The set list for U2 360 in Minneapolis was as follows: Even Better Than the Real Thing, The Fly, Mysterious Ways / Rain, Until the End of the World / Anthem, I Will Follow, Get On Your Boots, I Still Haven’t Found, Stand By Me, Stuck in a Moment, Beautiful Day / Space Oddity, Can’t Stand the Rain – Elevation, Pride, Miss Sarajevo, Zooropa, City of Blinding Lights / Singing in the Rain, Vertigo, Miss You / I’ll Go Crazy / Raindrops Keep Falling / Discotheque / Life During Wartime / Psycho Killer, Please / Sunday Bloody Sunday, Scarlet, Walk On, One / Purple Rain, Hallelujah / Purple Rain / Where the Streets Have No Name / Singing in the Rain, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, With or Without You, Moment of Surrender / Singing in the Rain.
The next morning I would leave for my last show and my last chance to meet Larry. I had already seen 15 great U2 shows and had shaken Larry’s hand in Seattle as he was leaving the stage, so whatever happened at the show in Pittsburgh would be icing on the cake. Little did I know, it would be the most amazing, delicious icing I had ever had!