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[T]his has got to be the maddest and most absurd experience of my life. -- Bono, on meeting the Pope

by Michael

I was a casual U2 fan before 11/21, when I saw them in concert for the first time. And then I was casual no more. A phenomenal show. So phenomenal, in fact, that Jon, the buddy I went to the MSG show with, started crafting a plan to make it to the Hartford show. A roller-coaster of logistics and ticket searching ensued, with another buddy, Allan, a real U2 nut (a succesful attorney, he'd already somehow found time to see 7 "Vertigo" shows), joining the mission. Our Hartford plans only finally formulated when we scored 3 GAs on the day of the show. We got up there at 7, following a 3-hour drive from NYC (traffic), left our coats in the car despite the 1/2 mile walk to the Civic Center in 25-degree weather (Allan: "you're not going to want to hold it for 4 hours"; he was right) and took our position, amazingly, only 15 feet from the outer portion of the ellipse. 35 minutes later, we "Wake Up," Bono magically appears from below, practically in front of us, for "COBL" and we're off. The next 2+ hours were a blur. Now, back in NYC, I'm just to trying to piece it all together. Trying to figure out if rock's most charismatic performer -- our generation's Lennon -- really sang "Love and Peace," "SBS" and "SIAM" almost within arms length. Trying to figure out if my voice will recover from singing along. Trying to figure out how Allan didn't pass out from his excitement. Trying to figure out how long before Jon starts hatching another plan. Trying to figure out how music can be such a powerful force. Trying to figure out how I became a U2 junkie looking for another fix. Trying to figure out how I suddenly have become interested in visiting places in the U.S. like Omaha. Or Portland. Trying to figure out how to get to New Zealand . . .

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