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When you buy tickets almost the year before the concert the importance of such concert is always bigger. The waiting usually doesn’t seem too long. Time always flies too fast, that’s why the day X comes exactly when you don’t wait for it. I still was impressed after P!nk’s concert and its “after-effect”, but we already had to go to U2 concert.
This time our stay in Helsinki was a bit longer than usual, that’s why Thursday’s morning we arrived there already. The weather was perfect, it was warm and sun was shining. But the first day passed way too quickly. Shopping, walking, meetings, cinema took us the whole day.
Next day I as usual couldn’t decide by what time I had to go to the stadium. Of course I wanted to be as much closer to the stage as possible, but I didn’t want to go there very early. In the end I decided to go to the stadium by 14-00. Along the way I couldn’t help but take a picture in front of this poster.
I was worried that by that time there would be alot of people and I was pretty nervous all the way there, but I was surprised to see that there were not too many people next to the stadium. It was Friday, a working day and all actual fans who could sit there were at work. The first group of 200 people mostly consisted of fans who came from other cities and countries. That’s why they were sitting there from the early morning and some even from the previous day’s evening.
We bought merchandise first and then I took a place on the ground in the second group. I received this text message from Lena (it says: “I was talking to Bono in front of their hotel a moment ago”) , I was impressed so much and started making plans for the next day. Some minutes ago Sasha (anshelepin) came and we spent some time talking. Later Finnish Television arrived and they started shooting gathered people and looking for someone to interview. Girls behind me denied giving an interview, but joyful drunk Finnish guys in front of me agreed with pleasure. The girl interviewer was asking questions and they were talking something passionately. Later this evening they were showing this coverage on TV. Mother told me that she saw my shoulder there.
Meanwhile a soundcheck was going on the stadium loudly and after each song the waiting audience was applauding. The Olympic Stadium is not to high so we could see the little top of The Claw.
As it was promised security arrived by 16-00 and they started to make barriers. Everyone of course stood up and was waiting for the time to come. When they let us to come forward, people took off running really fast. Guards even couldn’t stop them at first. They said “don’t run”, but no one listened to it. They didn’t check our tickets, they quickly checked our bags. After we got through the first “step” we had to stand along the stadium before we could enter the stadium. At first we were standing a bit farther the first group; there was some space between them and us. After some time they took away the barrier and we could move closer. People run really fast again, including me, so it let me get the place in the very beginning of the second group. Now I was standing not too far from the entrance of the stadium.
Waiting there was the most exhausting. My legs were hurting; everyone couldn’t relax, because it was impossible before we could take our places on the stadium. It was stated on the tickets that the gates would be open at 17-00, but it was already 17-30 and they didn’t open anything. The Russian girl who was standing not too far from me said: “It’s okay, at least we will be waiting less time inside”. Finally we saw some moving in the first group. They were said to line up as a “train”. Each put their hands on shoulders on the other person and they formed some wavy snake. So that snake was entering the stadium. Our turn was next so I was so excited and I couldn’t take a picture of that funny parade. The first group entered, but we were still waiting. They let them take best places, because they deserved them waiting for so many hours in the queue. But then we went too. It’s not the right work though, we darted off. Tell the truth I’ve never seen so passionate Finns. They were just crazy. They pushed and pressed everyone trying to get through the crowd next to the entrance. Even security couldn’t tame them. But actually I did the same they did, I got through the crowd. To enter the stadium we had to run around it. I remember it from Bruce’s concert. We had to run a long distance and really fast. I was running like crazy till I was completely run-down. I barely could breathe. All my energy left me when I entered the stadium. I tried to run faster for the last distance, but it was really hard to breathe. That’s why I couldn’t run anymore, I just walked to the fan-zone – the inner circle. The entrance to there wasn’t straight either, I had to go around again just like in a labyrinth. I got there, took my place and I still could believe my eyes. I was right in front of the stage! The third row from the barrier. My place was almost on centre. At the concert it was somewhere between Adam and Bono, even a bit closer to Bono than to Adam. Since I was standing on the left side in front of Edge at the last concert and I almost couldn’t see anything, I wanted to be on center this time, even if it was farther from the stage. But it turned to be much better. I was on center and I was THAT close to the stage.
People in first two rows were standing, because they were afraid to lose their places, but I sat down on the ground. There was an Italian group from my left side. They were about 40-50 years old. They probably were the most active and passionate. Even before the concert they loudly were discussing something and were singing songs. There were Germans behind me. English people were from the right side. Russians were talking in the middle of the crowd. U2 are able to unite all nations and they even are able to gather them all at the one concert. Finnish girls were making a banner next to me. They brought paper, glue, sealing tape, scissors and got creative. They were cutting out letters and put them on the paper. It’s pity that they didn’t get a chance to put this banner up in the air. It was too huge and probably it was disturbing them, that’s why it died under everyone’s feet.
The Claw was beautiful against the clear blue sky. When I just saw it I thought it was huge. I even thought that last time it was much smaller.
Razorlight band went on stage right on time according the schedule. The thin boy with a naked chest said: “Hi, my name is Johnny and I’m from England”. I knew some songs of them, overall it was not bad, but I wasn’t impressed. They finished their set and left, and we kept waiting. I found the best way to spend time before the concert. It was to take an interesting book with you. So I did it. I got into reading and I even didn’t notice how time passed. U2 supposed to come on stage on 21-00, but to the whole audience surprise, workers started to take screens off the stage. They was put them down and worried workers with ladders started to do something with them. There was the main organizer too. Some minutes ago he said: “Unfortunately our little TVs are broken and we had to fix them, because you deserve every bit of it. You have to wait a bit longer. Thank you for your patience”. After about 15 minutes the same thing was said in Finnish.
There was a black security guy in front of us, I remember him from both P!nk’s concerts. He was really lovely and funny. He was trying to improve everyone’s mood and he was telling funny things just like at P!nk’s concerts. He said: “My life sucks, I’m so close to the band, but I can’t watch the show”. Later he was talking to people from the first row and I couldn’t hear what he was talking about. But he was smiling so well. He always spoke English by the way. He gave earplugs to people from the first row like it was candies. During the concert he was glowing sticks to those people from the first row. It was so nice. To make things better and to improve people’s mood who were a bit disappointed because of the delay they put Jacksons’ song “Can You Feel It”. In a moment people got energetic, they started to sing along and to dance. Our black security man dance a Moonwalk for us.
The house was heavily packed, I mean the stadium was completely full. Seemed like all seats were taken, every single one. It was impressing.
And finally workers started to get down from the ladder, public went noisy. When they took the ladder away, everyone started applauding. And when they started to lift screens up the whole audience was happily screaming. Just right after this we heard familiar Bowie voice which tells about the beginning of the show.
I was standing way too close to the stage so I couldn’t see screens. I had to hold my head up to see them. Fantastic Four went on stage and we could see their welcoming faces on the screen. I got indescribable feeling when I saw them approaching on the stage. It was unreal joy that there are these guys, they are here, and they are so close. Bono run to the outer circle right away so in the first moment I even didn’t understand where he disappeared. We had to turn around to somehow watch what was going on there. Return of the Stingray Guitar was long and intensive. And then it slowly got into Beautiful Day! I think there can’t be better opener. It instantly made people get off the ground, everybody was lifting up rhythmically as they are jumping up.
When the band only appeared on the stage white pieces of cloth were lifted up in the air as well and not only standing area was full of them, tribunes were full of them too. That’s why after the song Bono thanked everyone for white flags. And he looked so breathtaking that I couldn’t get my eyes off him! Plebians were right saying that one of his best decisions was to wear leather pants and jacket.
The next song was New Year's Day. After this song Bono told about meeting with Mari Kiviniemi, about how he admired Finnish people for being themselves, how they are not afraid to look like they feel and how they proudly walk in their country in all their diversity. He apologized for making them wait for so long, for all that time the band didn’t come to Finland. Also he said that he excited to know that country’s authorities liked rock music, since Mari and other attended the concert.
Then they played explosive Get On Your Boots. Actually the setlist deserves to be described as a single thing. Because it impressed me so so so much. Seems like it couldn’t be better. U2 played all their very very best songs, there wasn’t any song that didn’t fit. The half of the concert I was like: “OMG, these songs are amazing, these songs are amazing!” I heard the beginning of the next song and then the next song and I got goosebumps all over my body. Personally I really really love U2’s last album, I fell in love with it especially about two months before the concert. That time I couldn’t listen to anything but только No Line On The Horizon. But I know not everyone likes it. So there weren’t many songs from только No Line On The Horizon in this setlist, only the best ones. And the rest are classic hits which tested by time and generations of fans.
Here is the setlist:
Return of the Stingray Guitar
New Year's Day
Get On Your Boots
Until The End Of The World
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
North Star (An Acoustic Version)
In A Little While
City Of Blinding Lights
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Remix)
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Where The Streets Have No Name
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
With Or Without You
Moment Of Surrender
When I heard an acoustic version of North Star I instantly thought: “New U2 album will be amazing!”. I really like the song. Glastonbury was good enough too, rrrrrock song!
Miss Sarajevo always touches me the most, especially the part in Italian. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight remix sounded much better. Everybody was dancing to a perfect rhythm. They added parts from the original version into the remix and I was so pleased. By the end of the song Bono started singing Discotheque. Boom-cha!
Somehow just like in Germany I was blown away by Sunday Bloody Sunday. Before it I was a bit distracted, but during this song I felt such excitement and all kinds of feelings and emotions fell on me. It’s that moment when you forget where you are, who are around you, what language you speak, where you are from and what you have to do. In that moment you completely vanish into music and you don’t think about anything else. You have only one thought in your head: “It feels so great!” All “earth” things and problems are not that important anymore. They “let me in the sound”. Probably it’s that magic which concerts can give to you. It’s a feeling which can’t be compared to anything.
When Bono was running along the outer circle someone throw an Irish flag to him. He proudly put it into his back pocket and show it to all of us.
We had two encored. The second one was started with Ultraviolet. They played it the second time for this tour and everybody was so happy. When Bono appeared in his lightful jacket the audience went crazy. The next song was With Or Without You and somehow I was sure that it was the last song. I put my camera into my pocket and I impatiently was looking at the stage to absorb everything on the stage with my own eyes. You can imagine how surprised I was when it turned to be not the last song. The last one was Moment Of Surrender, it’s probably my favorite song from No Line On The Horizon. I was singing really loud and I got a real pleasure.
I'm always a bit disappointed with the fact that some moments of the concert I would like to tell about are erasing from the memory. Right after the concert I remembered all of them really well, but some days ago I forgot them. I steadily tried to keep them in my mind and I hoped I would be able to write them down when I was home. When you stand right in front of the stage you can see much more than the rest of audience can see, because not everything is shown on screens. There were such moments too. But I don't remember them already and Bono's speeches neither. But you can be sure that they were wonderful.
The most memorable thing we could notice at the concert is guys' mood, especially Bono's. We could see that he had a perfect mood and he wanted to share it with everyone. He really was on fire and rocked that place. It wasn't a standard set, it was a real sincere performance where every song gives pleasure, a pleasure for them from performing and a pleasure for us from listening.
I'm really happy that I was in the fan-zone. A day before the concert I thought: «Is it really necessary?». But later I understood that it IS necessary. It's a place where you can get a huge amount of energy from real fans. To be in front of the stage is not only clearly see the band, it's also to be among people who really appreciate that band. The inner circle was shaking during the whole concert. Our hands were up in the air almost all the time, our legs were constancy jumping and a head up. Everyone who were there was enjoying it like no other. They were impressing emotions, reacting like I always want them to. Bono liked great audience's reaction too, that's why not the one time he showed movements with his hands and it was followed by everyone in the standing area. Everybody was singing wonderful too. All 50000 people were singing as one.
Bono said the right thing: «We did this show the way that everyone could feel himself as a fifth member of the band». It really was that way.
The concert was over and we slowly were going home. Finns organization is the best one. We came back to the hotel by the midnight, full of emotions and with songs which filled all free space and our heads.
Somehow this concert turned to be better than concerts in Gothenburg and in Gelsenkirchen. Seems like it's the same stage and the same show, but this concert was much much better. It was overwhelming and spectacular.
The second show the next day was really different. The energy was different and perception was different. But I'll write about it later. If I don't forget all those moments I wanted to tell.
And you've already seen my first reaction: http://fionaa.livejournal.com/701008.html