The U2 360 show in Pittsburgh on July 26, 2011 is one of my favorite concerts. It was my final U2 360 show, my 16th of that leg of the tour, my 24th of the 360 tour and my 75th U2 show overall. This last U.S. show ended on amazing high note, more than I could have hoped for, more than I imagined – Larry hugged me on his way to the stage! So it obvious why I chose Pittsburgh 360 as my favorite ‘P’ U2 show.
I began the day in Pittsburgh just as I had for the previous 15 U2 360 shows – walked the dogs, ate breakfast, watched tv, napped, ordered lunch and went to the stadium in the afternoon to wait for U2 to arrive. I met Abbey and Anisha in the lobby of my hotel the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh, and we took the free shuttle over to the stadium at 2pm, even though it was close enough to walk. It was a beautiful day – 80s, sunny, breezy, and not humid. I saw many friends old and new, including Jennifer and Chris, Tyler and his dad, Tim, and Sarah. But the surprise was Matt, Melissa, her parents and Kim. I had no idea they were coming and very happy to see them – and it turned out to be very fortunate for me as well.
U2 arrived just around 5pm. Bono and Edge came out to greet the fans. I couldn’t get close enough to talk with them, but I did see Larry and Adam get out of their cars and walk inside. Matt and Melissa talked with Bono and selflessly told him about me and how I had driven to every U.S. show and would like to meet Larry. Brian, Bono’s security guy, told them to wait there and he would see what he could do. Brian came out later and told me Larry was in a meeting, but he told Larry about me and Bono told Larry about me. Maybe Bono and Larry knew he was talking about me, since I talked with Bono in Seattle and Oakland about meeting Larry and Larry sometimes waved to me as he walked to the stage – and Brian said he had seen me at the shows. Brian took my phone number and said he would look for us inside. He also gave us wristbands for the soundboard and for the red zone.
Although I had the credentials to go to the soundboard and the red zone, I went to my usual spot on Edge’s side of the inner circle to wait for U2 to enter. Abbey was with me and Deb and her husband and Melissa’s parents were also there. Brian came over and told me that he was still working on getting me to meet Larry. Interpol didn’t take the stage until about 7:45 and played their usual set. I’m not sure when U2 came out, probably just about 9pm. When they walked out of the tunnel (on Adam’s side) I noticed that Larry wasn’t first as usual. Adam and Edge were first and Larry and Bono were behind them, so I kind of thought something was up. But then somehow Larry moved up front. As Larry walked up the ramp, he locked eyes with me and was smiling. He walked across the platform, jumped down to me, and hugged me. He didn’t say a word, he just put his arms around me. It felt like the hug lasted forever. He definitely pulled away first because I kept hanging on. I think I muttered a ‘thank you.’ Larry gave me the biggest, best hug ever and then went on stage. I burst into tears. My friends around me congratulated me and hugged me, which made the moment even more special. I was so excited and in shock that I don’t really remember the first few songs of the concert. I never in a million years thought Larry would ever walk over to me and hug me on his way to the stage before the show.
During “Even Better Than the Real Thing” Bono said, “Hot summer night in the Burgh!” Bono introduced “The Fly” saying, “Some crowd rock circa 1991! Achtung Ya’ll!” Instead of singing “Until the End of the World,” I kept singing “You were acting like it was the end of the tour.” During the band introductions, Bono said, “This is the last night of the 360 Tour in the United States. We’ve had some cool people come out of our town. Would you say behind me you might call this man the Charles Bronson of U2? Larry Mullen on the drums. Our very own movie star.” U2 again wore their LED jackets during “Zooropa” and “City of Blinding Lights.” I love Larry in that black, leather, 1950s Elvis looking jacket. He should always wear black! At the end of “Vertigo,” Bono sang a snippet of “Two Hears Beat as One,” which is the first time I’ve ever heard it in concert. At the end of “Where the Streets Have No Name” Bono shouted, “Tuesday night in the old steel town!” I decided to go over to Adam’s side of the inner circle during “Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me” so I could watch U2 leave.
As “With or Without You” started, Bono brought my friends Matt and Melissa on stage and said, “60 shows. Matt and Melissa. Where love stories begin.” They met at a U2 show, got engaged at a U2 show and got married the day before a U2 show. Matt and Melissa slow danced while U2 played. It was beautiful. After “Moment of Surrender,” U2 took their bows, huddled together and then played “Bad” with a little snippet of “40” at the end! It was fantastic! It lasted for almost nine minutes. Bono dedicated “Bad” to Andy Rowen who was at the show and whom the song was written about. Andy Rowen is the brother of Bono’s friend Guggi and the brother of Peter, who is on the cover of Boy. “Bad“ is one of my favorite U2 songs, and I hadn’t heard it since the opening show of the second leg of the our in Chicago in 2009. I am so glad “Bad” was the last song I heard U2 perform. As U2 were walking off stage, I could have sworn I saw Larry looking for me on Edge’s side where I was when he hugged me at the beginning of the show. But when they were almost at the tunnel, Larry saw me, smiled and gave me a thumbs up – twice. It looked as if Larry was going to walk over to me, but then security ushered him toward the tunnel. I am so glad Larry smiling at me was the last image I have of the U2 360 tour.
After the show I saw Chuck and Tasha and told them about Larry hugging me and then I met up with Beth and shared my story with her. I walked back to the hotel alone (with thousands of other happy U2 fans) across the bridge looking back at the claw for the last time. I got back to the hotel and talked with Patty and her husband. Then I took Elvis and Cilla outside where Abbey met us, and we chatted for a bit. Then I went back inside and wrote in my journal about my last night on the U2 360 tour. I barely slept that night, only 3 hours.
The set list of the U2 360 show in Pittsburgh was as follows: Even Better Than the Real Thing, The Fly, Mysterious Ways / Someone Somewhere in Summertime / Promised You a Miracle, Until the End of the World / Anthem, I Will Follow, Get On Your Boots, I Still Haven’t Found / The Promised Land, Stay, Beautiful Day / Space Oddity, Elevation, Pride, Miss Sarajevo, Zooropa, City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo / Two Hearts Beat As One, Miss You / I’ll Go Crazy / Discotheque / Psycho Killer / Life During Wartime / Please, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Scarlet, Walk On, One, Hallelujah / Where The Streets Have No Name, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, With Or Without You, Moment Of Surrender, Bad / In The Garden / Walk On The Wild Side / 40.
This is part of my Blogging from A to Z Challenge about ‘My U2 Concerts A to Z.’ Thanks for stopping by. Please come back tomorrow as I write about my favorite ‘Q’ U2 show.