Saturday, September 25, 2010

U2 - June 22, 2001

2001 prior to 9-11 was a strange year for me. I was separated from my wife and close to finalizing my divorce. I was dating a new woman who was mentally abusive. And I was lost in my career, not quite sure of what I wanted to be when I grew up. Essentially I was going through my own quarter-life crisis as I dealt with my new non-married life and tried to figure out where to go next.

All the while I was dating Janice who wasn’t the most compassionate person I’ve ever been involved with. She was selfish, at times mean, and into creating drama just for drama’s sake. That got annoying quite fast.

While I was dating her, I would spend several nights a week driving back and forth between her place and mine, which was a good 40 minute commute. She would almost never come to my apartment (for her own selfish reasons), so if I wanted to see her, it meant that I did the driving. During those rides I listened to a lot of U2. Their new album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind had come out that year, and I spent many nights playing that album in my car. They were my road companions and the music spoke to me on a level that songs hadn’t touched me on in years.

Naturally, when U2 announced a June tour stop at the Continental Airlines Arena in my home state of New Jersey, I had to attend. Of course I invited Janice to attend with me and bought our tickets. We were all set to see U2 on a nice June night. It would be my first time seeing U2 in almost 10 years. The last time I saw them perform live, my girlfriend split up with me, so seeing U2 perform brought mixed feelings with it. However, I was excited to see them in concert after so long, and I was really looking forward to hearing the new songs.

PJ Harvey was the opening act and the only thing worth remembering about her was that she was really attractive and dressed like a stripper. Her music wasn’t that good, and I was basically waiting for her to get off the stage to allow the headliners to have the spotlight. I was excited. This was U2 and I couldn’t wait to see them.

My girlfriend was her typical cruel self. Taking shots left and right whenever she saw an opening. She teased a lot, placing a small jab here and a small jab there. Her comments ranged from making fun of my singing to laughing about my obsession with music. As hard as she tried, I wasn’t going to let Janice ruin my night. In hindsight, I don’t know how we stayed together for as long as we did. Ours was an on-again/off-again relationship, and it’s one that should have stayed off a lot sooner than it did.

U2 took the stage with a 1-2 shot from All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Elevation followed by Beautiful Day kicked off the night, and of course I sang along despite my girlfriend’s teasing. She wasn’t going to have me join in her misery. Until The End Of The World followed and sounded magnificent.

Classics and brilliant new tunes were performed in all their glory that evening. The band wisely avoided performing songs from their disappointing Pop, and they stayed away from Zooropa as well. They instead chose to perform greatest hits and new hits, a fans dream show. I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Desire, Bad, and 40 were all performed in between cuts from the new album.

All That You Can’t Leave Behind was well represented with 7 songs being played from that album. Bono and the band had a new record that they were proud of and they were out to show it off. That was all right by me, because I absolutely love All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

The last three songs of the main set were super packed hits that had me feverish with excitement. Of course, my sarcastic, wise-mouthed girlfriend had comments to make regarding my excitement, but by that point I had tuned her out. I wasn’t going to let negativity ruin my evening. Where The Streets Have No Name, Mysterious Ways, and one of my favorites, The Fly were all performed to finish the main set. The Fly was brilliant live and a perfect set closer.

The encore was astonishing as U2 just delivered a multitude of hits to close out the night. With Or Without You followed by (Pride) In The Name Of Love, followed by One into Walk On. Well, it just doesn’t get much better than that. It was an encore to end all encores and U2 had delivered a brilliant performance. I was glad that I had gotten the tickets and paid to see U2 for only the second time in my life.

My history of ending relationships shortly after a U2 concert would stay intact though. Not long after this show, Janice and I split up, although not for good. We would get back together later that summer and I would buy us tickets for the fall U2 concert where this pattern would repeat itself. Sometimes a guy just has to learn the hard way. Idiot!

Beautiful Day
Until The End Of The World
New Year’s Day
New York
I Will Follow
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Stuck In A Moment
In A Little While
Wild Honey
The Ground Beneath Her Feet
Where The Streets Have No Name
Mysterious Ways
The Fly
Bullet The Blue Sky
With Or Without You
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Walk On

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