Sunday, 29 March 2009

House-sitting In Ireland

Back to normal life after my sojourn in Ireland where I was house-sitting for friends in Dun Laoghaire, just south of Dublin. I had a wonderful time, the first two days I was by myself except for my friend's cat Max who I was looking after. For some reason cats seem to like me even though I am a dog person (though I don't dislike cats, just never owned one) and the first evening saw Max, who is very shy, sitting contentedly on my lap.

On Wednesday my friend Debbi joined me and that evening we walked to La Strada, a restaurant in Dun Laoghaire that we have been to many, many times for meals and , as usual, it was lovely.

Next day we did the U2 thing and went down to Hanover Quay to see if the band was around. At first we thought they might be and decided to wait for a while. It was typical changeable March weather, one minute we were basking in sunshine that, now it was officially Spring, had warmth in it. Then a squally shower would suddenly start accompanied by a strong wind that whipped around us in all directions causing havoc to our umbrellas! I said jokingly. "All we need is hail now!" I must be psychic because five minutes later we had a hail shower! That was enough even for us and we called it a day.

That evening we stayed in and got fish and chips which were the largest portions I have ever seen in my life!

Friday morning we got up very early as said the Wembley 2 tickets were going on sale at 8am. But when I logged on to Ticketmaster it said they were going on sale at 9am, we could have had an extra hour in bed, thanks a lot! Just before 9am the tickets went on sale but Ticketmaster was too busy, so I went to Ticketline and within a couple of minutes we had our tickets! So easy that we could hardly believe it.

We also decided to bid on the Red Zone auction. There is part of me that doesn't really like something like that - that if you've got the money you can pay to get a great view. But the other part of me really wants to be very close to the band for one show. This time we haven't got many standing tickets, mainly because we feel we can't cope with standing for hours in a queue then hours in the stadium anymore. We've done it numerous times over the years and it is gradually getting harder to do. So, the Red Zone is perfect for us, standing close to the band without the hardship. If we are successful with that we'll hopefully be able to sell our tickets to fans at cost price.

The highlight of our Friday was going for a meal at the Town Bar and Grill in central Dublin. We've been there a couple of times before and the food is wonderful there. It is an expensive place (though worth it) but we did this trip on a budget except for that evening, it was our treat to ourselves. Though we did have a bit of a panic about having enough money for the taxi home so decided to find a cashpoint and get some more money before our meal. We had to walk miles to find one, (well maybe that's an exaggeration but it was a long way, especially when you are really hungry!) but with the extra cash in our purses we knew we wouldn't end up walking the last few miles home later!

The meal was a delicious and well served as ever, the place has a lovely ambiance, low lighting, a piano playing in the background and, despite being expensive has been full every time we have been there.

That meal was a great way to end our trip to Dublin - our next visit will be in July when we are there for the U2 Croke Park! I'm so excited just thinking about it!

The nearest I got to U2 on my recent visit to Dublin!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

On My Travels

I'm off to Dublin tomorrow, house-sitting for friends, so probably will not be updating my blog while I'm away. I'll be back in a week so I'll be sharing my musings again from then. I'm really looking forward to going back to my favourite city!

Friday, 20 March 2009

What A Day!

I spent all day from 8am until 5pm manning the computer trying to get tickets for the second Dublin show and hoping that a second London show would be announced. I got so sick of refreshing the various sites I was watching and it's a wonder I didn't get pressure sores on my arse! My dogs Pepsi and Max wondered why they were only rushed out to the garden every now and then rather than getting their proper walks. And all for nothing, I didn't get a look in at getting a Dublin 2 tickets and no Second Wembley gig was announced. Rumours are it will be announced on Monday but, ironically, I'll be in Dublin house-sitting for a friend then!

But I'm not complaining, thanks to the well organised presale (yes CAN sort things out sometimes!) my friends and I have tickets for four shows. We might get more tickets over the next few weeks, we might not. The main thing is that we have tickets to one show in all the places we will be staying in on our U2 360 Tour.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Got My First U2 360 Tickets!

Well today was the first day of the presale for shows we wanted to go to and, as I'm a lady of leisure nowadays, I volunteered to be the ticket buyer for my U2 friends who will also be going to the shows. Between us we have four presales, two Horizon and two Breathe which is pretty good.

After the chaos at the presales on for the last tour I was worried that would happen again. Just before 10am I went into and first clicked on the Dublin show on 24th July, got straight through to Ticketmaster. Put in that I wanted, four seats, prices were clearly shown , plus a stadium seating plan so I could quickly see where the seats were that the site offered me, lower tier right beside the stage. Excellent! Within minutes they were in the bag.

Next was Wembley and it was the same, very easy, no waiting, no freezing, no crashes. This is how it should be for fan club presales, at last they have got it right!

Now tomorrow it's Glasgow and Nice with the Breathe presales.....

Monday, 16 March 2009

New Look

I was getting tired of the look of my blog, so decided to give it a spring clean, something bright and breezy!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Tour Stress And It's Only Starting!

Well the U2 community in Europe and the USA/Canada has been all excited with the tour dates being released! My email and phone line has been hot as my friends and I decided on shows we wanted to or could see (bearing mind work commitments, life commitments and money). Plus another thing that makes it difficult for us is that, with the exception of Dawn, my other U2 friends do not live close to me - one is in America! So it's a logistical challenge to work it all out. I think we've got it pretty much sorted now though.

When U2 tour (which as we know isn't often) we always try to incorporate seeing a concert with a holiday abroad. We were going to go to America and see a show in New York this time, I've never been there and it's the kind of place you have to see at some point in your life. But due to the recession and poor exchange rates we decided against that, and instead we are having a week in Nice. I love France (I'd sell my soul for a freshly baked baguette!) and the Cote d'Azur is an area I've wanted to visit for a long time. There's so much to do and see there as well so we are very excited at the thought of going.

We are also going to Dublin for the show there, not quite as glamorous as Nice but my favourite city and second home all the same. In the UK we will go to Glasgow and London. As we have four presales between us we are - hopefully - guaranteed tickets for all the shows. But until the presales are done I'll be stressed - and then what if they add shows...........?

Monday, 9 March 2009

U2 360 Tour Dates

Date Of Show/Venue, City and Country/Public On Sale

30 June 2009/Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain/Wed. 25 March
07 July 2009/San Siro, Milan, Italy/Fri. 13 March
11 July 2009/Stade De France, Paris, France/Fri. 20 March
15 July 2009/Parc des Sports Charles Ehrmann, Nice, France/Fri. 20 March
18 July 2009/Olympic Stadium, Berlin, Germany/Fri. 27 March
20 July 2009/Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands/Sat. 14 March
24 July 2009/Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland/Fri. 20 March
31 July 2009/Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, Sweden/Fri. 13 March
03 August 2009/Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany/Fri. 27 March
06 August 2009/Slaski Stadium, Chorzow, Poland/Fri. 20 March
10 August 2009/Stadium Makimir, Zagreb, Croatia/Fri. 27 March
14 August 2009/Wembley Stadium, London, UK/Fri. 20 March
18 August 2009/Hampden Park, Glasgow, UK/Fri. 20 March
20 August 2009/Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield, UK/Fri. 20 March
22 August 2009/Millenium Stadium, Cardiff, UK/Fri. 20 March

12 September 2009/Soldier Field, Chicago, IL/Mon. 30 March
16 September 2009/Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON/Mon. 30 March
20 September 2009/Gilette Stadium, Boston, MA/Mon. 30 March
24 September 2009/Giants Stadium, New York, NY/Mon. 30 March
29 September 2009/FedEx Field, Washington, DC/Mon. 6 April
01 October 2009/Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA/Sat. 4 April
03 October 2009/Stadium, Raleigh, NC/Mon. 6 April
06 October 2009/Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA/Mon. 6 April
09 October 2009/Raymond James Center, Tampa, FL/Sat. 18 April
12 October 2009/New Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, TX/Mon. 20 April
14 October 2009/Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX/Mon. 20 April
19 October 2009/Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK/Sat. 4 April
20 October 2009/Univ. of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix, AZ/Mon. 20 April
23 October 2009/Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV/TBA
25 October 2009/Rose Bowl, Los Angeles, CA/Mon. 6 April
28 October 2009/BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, BC/Mon. 6 April

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Snow Patrol Take It To Manchester

I went to Manchester yesterday to see Snow Patrol play a gig as part of their Take It To The Cities Tour. I first came across Snow Patrol a few years ago via a friend of mine in Northern Ireland and then of course got the chance to see a short set from them when they supported U2 at a few gigs I saw. I really liked what I heard then and even though I wasn't that into their last album I really wanted to see them play a full concert in their own right.

I met up with my friend Julie in Manchester, and we met up with Debbi and her husband after the show. We decided to give the support bands Cashier Number Nine and The White Lies a miss in favour of going to our favourite Thai restaurant for a meal!

We had great seats at the Manchester Evening News Arena. The stage set up was quite simple but they had some nice lighting effects. Their live sound was great, Gary Lightbody's voice was amazing - and what a tall man he is, never noticed that when they supported U2, probably because I was much further away.

For "Run" Gary left the stage and re-appeared near the back of the arena amongst the crowd. He found a woman willing to hold his mic as he did an acoustic version of the song. Don't know what was going on but he was laughing a lot at first! Things settled and he finished the song very nicely, I was a surprised they did that song that way, but it was really nice. All the lighters and phones were on and as Gary said it looked like the stars had come out.

Of course "Chasing Cars" was a highlight and I must say I felt tears welling up, it is such a fantastic, emotional song, a classic. The band got a good reception from the crowd throughout.

For the encore they played The Lightning Strike a three song epic consisting of What If This Storm Ends? The Sunlight Through The Flags and Daybreak The Lightning Strike accompanied by a brilliant video. The video, which lasted about fifteen minutes was beautiful and really drew you in. It was very intricate and cleverly done and absolutely fascinating. I've never seen a band do anything like that before, but it really worked, I loved it. Below is part of that video taken by a fan at the recent Dublin show - though I must say it was much more effective live.

All in all, a great show!

"Shush Now" Bono

Read the quote below from Bono after the Fordham gig and it really pissed me off!

"Every album is like our first album. And we want to do the thing we did with our first album and go out and play the colleges," Bono told MTV News on Friday after the show. "Play to the people who are living closest to the music."

Bono said that for the most part, young people can best appreciate new sounds. "They're often students," he said. "They're often not people in their 30s. Bob Dylan has this line, 'He not busy being born is busy dying' [from 'It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding']. I love that line. I often think it applies to music. People, as they get older, they stop listening to the music. We want to go to where people are still passionate for music."

I'm sick of Bono saying things like this, why can't he appreciate ALL U2 fans' ability to embrace the new? I know he was speaking at a college and so was focused on young people, but there was no need to write off most older people. Do you lose passion for music just because you are over 30? I know lots of young people who have never even been to a concert and are not into music at all, and yes there are older people like that too, my point is you shouldn't generalise about people as Bono seems to be doing here.

I am still passionate about music and so are my U2 friends who are all well over 30. Music is one of the things that I think actually keeps me young inside. And there are still times when I get that that special feeling when I hear a new song, you know that feeling - when a song touches you deep inside and you go "Wow!" I love it when that happens and there is no age restriction to that. In fact the last time that happened to me was last Monday when listening to a new album some middle-aged band called U2 ......

Ok rant over, maybe I'm just a bit cranky today, I'm tired. I feel better now.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

U2 At Fordham

There's a great write up about the U2 mini gig at Fordham yesterday. Read about it here

Friday, 6 March 2009


Well, I've decided to try Twitter. I've heard so much about it so decided to plunge in, I'm not the best a technology, but my SMS text to myself worked so I'm doing something right! I've put a link in the sidebar of my blog for anyone who is interested in watching my tweeting or whatever it's called LOL!

No Line On The Horizon - Take Two

Well here I am five days after the U2 album release, having had the chance to listen to it many times and for me to really sink into it (great description Captain, hope you don't mind me pinching it!) And , as expected, a lot of my views have changed.

Still love NLOTH, unbridled is the word that comes to mind when I think of it. The energy of it, music pounding away relentlessly, the way Bono's impassioned vocals soar - especially like the bit where he sings softly and then, wham, in comes the music full force, brilliant!

Magnificent too is still a favourite. It's much more classic U2 than NLOTH, but there's nothing wrong with that! I really like the intro building up to the vocals. This would be a good second single as non-avid-fans would easily like this song.

Another long intro for Moment of Surrender, and this is a song that has grown on me a lot. Love Edge's fab guitar solo that is a totally new style for him, lovely. Bono's voice is amazing on this and he's written some of the best lyrics on the album for this song. The sadness it evoked in me still is there.

Number four on the album, Unknown Caller, still is my least favourite. It doesn't capture me in any way. Edge's guitar and Bono's voice is there during the verses, but I don't like the chorus of male voices where Bono only just discernible, it doesn't feel like U2 for me.

I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight, God what a convoluted title! As I thought this song has grown on me as well. As I've listened to it I kept thinking "What song does this remind me of?" and then yesterday I realised, Original Of The Species, especially the chorus, but I feel this is a much better song. We'll all be singing along to this at the concerts! Again Bono is singing his heart out brilliantly here.

Again I'll miss GOYB, I've said all I can about that song.

Rockin' guitar on Stand Up Comedy, Edge almost going heavy metal! LOL! Great bass line and drumming, this song will really rock live. Not amongst my top five of the album, but I don't dislike it either.

For me the biggest surprise has been how Fez - Being Born has grown on me. I'm really loving the unusual rhythms within it, mixing east with west, and it's experimental nature. It's great that U2 are willing to put something like this on an album, this is them exploring music is a truly creative and open way. I admire any artist that is able to do this when it would be so easy to stick to a winning formula.

I liked White As Snow from that first listen last Monday, the purity of Bono's voice and the all pervading sadness is what struck me then. I still find it very evocative, sad and yet strangely beautiful. Bono has said this song is about a soldier dying in Afghanistan and the length of the song is the time it takes him to die. Yet even without knowing that, the overall feeling is of sadness. It also feels very intimate, like Bono's singing into your ear, you can hear each breath he takes -which considering the song's subject matter is quite poignant. I find it a very moving song, I just know I'll be crying if they play this live!

Breathe has continued to grow on me, good rocker, not sure if it'll be high in my top U2 songs list but I like it much more than I did.

Cedars of Lebanon is another song that hasn't grown on me much, good lyrics, but it hasn't really done it for me.

So quite a few changes in my views of No Line On The Horizon - as I knew there would be. I find it fascinating how snippets from songs from their past have crept into the new music. Moment of Surrender - the oh ohs at the end from Stay. Unknown Caller the hypnotic few guitar notes right through the song reminiscent of Bad. Crazy, touches of Original of the Species and some Ultraviolet "Baby's". Wonder if that was done on purpose, kind of reaching to their past, where they have come from with one hand, whilst taking the future firmly in hand with the other.

I feel really proud to be a U2 fan at the moment!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Three Friends, One Album And U2

I've had a few days off blogging as my good friend - and fellow u2 fan and blogger - came to stay for a few days so we could listen to the new U2 album together for the first time. There was a real glut of U2 appearances in the UK last week both on radio and TV which was a treat, so much after years of so little from our lads! Now the PR focus has moved across the Atlantic and I'm left with the new album for my U2 fix.

Debbi and I were joined by another friend, Dawn who lives close to me yesterday to listen to No Line On The Horizon for the first time. We had all been very good and the only new songs we had heard were No Line On The Horizon, Breathe and Magnificent on their UK TV appearances.

As we listened I wrote down my very first impressions and feelings about the songs and that's what I've put here. I know my opinion will change as I listen to the album more, (and I will write an updated review in a while) but I want to convey what my very first views of the album was, so here goes!

No Line On The Horizon

I'd seen the live performance of this song already on The Culture Show and absolutely loved it on there and I feel the same about the album version. This is exactly how I love U2 to be, it has the passion, rawness and energy reminiscent of Mercy, a song that's a firm fave of mine. Great insistent, almost punkish guitar. Bono's voice a bit raw and rough round the edges, breaking with emotion. When Bono sings this way it touches me deep inside, I love the sheer abandon of it. And the song really rocks.


I'd seen this live too on the BBC rooftop performance, so it was not entirely new to me. Wonderful Edge guitar work, that vintage "waterfall" effect. This for me is the most classically U2 sounding song on the album. At one point Bono's woo hoos blend into Edge's guitar very much as happens With Or Without You. Gorgeous, soaring song.

Moment Of Surrender

Back to Bono's raw singing here, he is in amazing voice on this song. It has a very strong baseline and Edge plays as I've never heard him play before. There's a blanket of sadness hanging over this song. It is very long, maybe too long.

Unknown Caller

The beginning reminds me strongly of Bad. The chorus vocals don't sound like U2, who is singing there? This song doesn't do much for me at all.

I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight

This song has a strong vocal, think this one will grow on me, not sure at the moment.

Get On Your Boots

I've already written about this in an earlier post so won't write more now.

Stand Up Comedy

I hear touches of The Fly at times here. Quite a rocker, could be great live I think. I found it a bit disjointed, but think it will be a grower.

Fez - Being Born

Strong Moroccan influence, the wailing intro reminds me of the iman calling the faithful to prayer from the minaret. I feel Eno's influence here is very strong. The most experimental song, not sure if it works for me.

White As Snow

This is adapted from a traditional song and that is easy to hear, I like that. Beautiful song, Bono's voice is so wonderful nowadays, rich and full-bodied like a vintage wine, but with a slight roughness to it.


I'd heard this song twice before on the Jo Whiley and Jonathan Ross shows and wasn't that keen on it then. But on listening to it on the album I am warming to it. Think it will be good live and that it will grow on me more.

Cedars Of Lebanon

I feel this song is more of an impression, a narrative than a song. It didn't really do much for me on the first listen.

So there we are, my brief first impressions of the songs on U2's album. Overall thoughts I have are that it is a brave album, it's not instantly commercial, it needs to be worked at and really listened to, it definitely is a grower. It is different to all they have done before, yet frequently there are touches of songs from their past within the new and that just seems right somehow.

It will take me time to get used to Bono writing in the third person, I am so used to him bearing his soul to us lyrically, but here many of the songs are in the third person and that feels different to me. A pall of sadness seems to hang over much of this album.

Edge's guitar work is as fabulous as ever, and we are hearing a lot of new stuff coming from him on this album. As I've mentioned before, Bono's voice here is wonderful! It has a richness, maturity and passion that is captivating.

I am pleased U2 have given us a release like this, after two good but "safe" albums I was wondering whether they had the guts to go out on a limb, were they still willing or able to experiment? This album shows us they still have the balls to be different and to show all the others how it's done. Whether it will be a big hit I'm not sure, maybe it's not commercial enough, but it certainly is a hit on an artistic level.