Monday, May 15, 2017

Dreams Really Do Come True

The year was 1987, and I was just becoming aware of music outside of my parent's record collection and favorite radio stations. I was finding my own radio stations, and a pen pal sent me a mix tape full of songs from the band U2. I was hooked. Their album The Joshua Tree has been a steady sound track to my life ever since it was released that glorious year. But there was zero money for travel from our small town, let alone to buy concert tickets, so I contented myself with my pirated mix tapes.

A decade or two later, there was an opportunity to see U2 in concert for their newest album at the time, but I was newly married and still barely making ends meet, and paying over $100 per ticket just wasn't a wise choice. In retrospect, I was probably being too conservative and part of me wishes I had just thrown caution to the wind, but you know what they say about hindsight...

2017 was apparently the year for me. Thirty years after that favorite album was released, U2 set out on a second The Joshua Tree tour. I wanted to go so bad I could taste it. So, I twisted my dear Farmboy's arm (he likes the band, but is not nearly as enthusiastically as I), recruited a fellow long-time devotee along with his (also not quite so enthused) wife, and booked train tickets to Seattle.

The concert tickets themselves were high up in the nose-bleeds, but at last, I was GOING TO A U2 CONCERT! Thirty years of waiting. And boy, was it ever worth it.

There are a billion nay-sayers out there, criticizing anything and everything about this particular band, but you have to admit that they are gifted in more ways than one. I don't know many other bands that have stuck together as long and produced as prolifically as U2. They are currently one of the world's best selling artists in history, having sold 175 million albums worldwide. Not bad for a bunch of Irish school boys.

The train ride from Portland to Seattle was a first for me, and a highlight of my year, just because of the beautiful architecture of the old train stations; Union Station in Portland, but especially King Street Station in Seattle, with it's amazing ceiling and art deco tile work.

Despite a weather forecast that looked chilly and wet, Seattle provided mostly blue skies for our entire visit. A relief, as the concert venue is outdoor (who in their right mind plans an outdoor concert in May in Seattle?). We had fabulous Uber drivers, waited in lines around the stadium with a lot of other middle-aged people reliving their teen years, ate yummy stadium hot dogs, and then, when we finally stepped into the arena, we realized that our previously side-view nose-bleed tickets that had been upgraded by the ticket agent at the last minute, were now just about as good as it gets without being on the ground floor.

Giddy about our seats. Is this really happening?

Mumford and Sons opened with a great set of some of their biggest hits. This was just the icing on the cake, as they are also a band that I like a lot.

The videography for  U2's concert set was incredible. Breathtaking. The people they have running the show behind the scenes must be a highly skilled and talented group of people. It was hard to tear my eyes away from the screen to look at the little figures of those four musicians on the stage. Even if I had been disappointed with the songs (which I wasn't) or with the words spoken (again, not), the spectacle of lights and video were enough to make the evening memorable.

But feeling like a teenager again... that was the most priceless part. I'm still wishing I could relive that day over again even though I'm typing this up 7 months later (gotta love that post-dating feature that blogger has!).

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