‘Music can change the world because it can change people.’ – Bono

So as mentioned on our previous post we just came back from a trip to the UK this month. The main aim of this trip was to watch U2 live in concert. One of the things Steph and I bonded over was our love of music. Steph is in love with U2 specifically – even though she does love all music – U2 are one of the major loves and influences of her life, she even had their name tattooed on her wrist.

Belle loves all rock music ranging from indie and classic to Metal, punk and blues rock. Each style has a meaning and a time and place. For example what got me through my final year university was black metal – it helped with the expressing of all the bottled up energy from spending so many hours sitting down at a desk.

A few years back I was introduced to the world of live concerts -long before me and Steph were even friends. The first concert I went to was Coldplay (with Frany a good friend of mine) and from then on I was hooked. I saw U2 live in Berlin in 2009, I went to see them alone – I was living in Groningen, Netherlands back then – I took a train to Berlin to see them as I did not manage tickets to the Amsterdam show and none of my friends could afford to go with me to Berlin so I got a seated ticket and went alone. Steph saw them in 2009 and 2010 in Italy.

So when the Joshua tree tour was announced we were all set to get tickets for 2017 concert. We hoped to see them in Dublin, but unfortunately we didn’t manage to get tickets on time. Luckily we succeeded in getting tickets for London on the 9th July – with 4 tickets in hand (me, Steph, Fran (the girl who introduced me to concerts) and Luis). We started queuing at Twickenham Stadium around 5.30 pm – we didn’t go too early this time around as one of our concert buddies had problems with her foot and couldn’t stand for too long, but luckily we managed to get in quickly and find a spot which was very close to the stage. This time it was a different experience for me as I was with good friends and I was standing in the heart of all the excitement.

As we waited patiently, U2 sucked us in even before taking the stage, scrolling poems across the screen about justice and immigration, life and death and freedom – scorching our consciences with the names of Miguel, Juan, and Olga in the ‘Puerto Rican Obituary’ – it outlined the innumerable difficulties and deaths these people faced searching for their dream of freedom and a better life for them and their kids (I suggest you google this poem if you’ve never heard of it). I personally loved ‘leaves of green’ by Walt Whitman – in fact I plan on getting hold of the book now that I have some free time as work is a little quieter over the summer months.

Many people around us weren’t noticing the poetry in fact many were too busy drinking and kissing and hugging each other. The love that the U2 family has for each other is palpable even before the music starts. However even if I was there with friends I love and adore, the poetry had me enthralled and I was already emotional from the very few moments of stepping into Twickenham. This concert was not just a musical experience but an emotional and spiritual one too.

Noel Gallagher started the concert off with some lovely songs and got the crowd warmed up – for those who remember Oasis in their good old days they even played some of those songs which took me back to my teenage years. After he finished his appearance Larry Mullen Jr. slowly walks out to his drum set and calmly sits down – in fact we weren’t even sure they were starting yet. But the force and fury of his snare quickly launches the concert into high gear with “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” a 40-year-old message for peace and unity, originally inspired by the violence in Ireland. Still very relevant today in 2017 were the whole world seems to be in turmoil. The concert continues with New Years day, Bad – I have waited a long time to hear this live and the opening chimes of Bad actually had my me having palpitations .

The transition into streets was great and the screen provided the feeling of being in a different reality and had some fantastic images. Steph was so engulfed in the emotion that by the time ‘where the streets have no name’ came on she was in tears. There must have been an organ playing somewhere during Streets as it could be felt – the experience of hearing this song live felt spiritual in some way and then Slowly Adam, Larry, Edge and Bono move and plant themselves under a massive Joshua tree. Bono likes to say that ‘music is a sacrament’ and indeed this moment was truly awe inspiring. The actual presentation of songs is spectacular, including some lovely film work by Anton Corbijn who the band thanked profusely throughout the show. This album is almost 40 years old and every song is still relevant and full of meaning. This is Music – true music that can change your life.

As the concert progressed we moved on to “Beautiful Day” which really grabbed everyones attention, with a fantastic array of sound, colour and lights – It was a show that awakened all of our senses. A song that had everyone Jumping up and down and all over the place 🙂

From there, we danced to “Elevation,” and were mesmerised by “Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” with its tribute to female leaders and innovators, and heard about the need for girl’s education and the place of women in society (which unfortunately we are still light years behind on). In fact Bono dedicated this song to “the great women we know, the women who insisted, resisted and persisted. As many of you who know me know – women rights are very important to me and the fact that U2 put this huge issue at centre stage of such a huge tour attended by hundreds of thousands of people means a lot.

When Ms Sarajevo came on and flag of the Syrian refugee was passed over the audience It was my turn to end up in tears. This was a unique and historic occasion for us. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get Bono’s words on video as I was too engulfed in the moment but its a moment in time that will stay with me forever and I want to thank U2 for giving me such an amazing moment.

By the time the concert ended we were all a mix of emotions – its very difficult to quantify the emotions into words. This year we will be lucky enough to attend another concert by Andrea Boccelli and Joseph Calleja and a gig in Malta by Lacuna coil. All amazing artists in their own rights 🙂 we will update you about our experiences as we go along. In the meantime in Bono’s works It’s a beautiful day…Don’t let it get away.