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"Johnny Cash doesn't sing to the damned, he sings with the damned, and sometimes you feel he might prefer their company." — Bono

by Alan Ivory

I had been to both of the Wembley Stadium shows the previous week with my wife and our 3 children. On the 2nd night I met Paul McGuinness and told him my thoughts about both shows and how unhappy I was to be messed about by Ticketmaster who sent out the tickets really late, giving me little time to arrange swaps. The following day I emailed Paul and thanked him for giving me a set list and for listening to my moans. 4 days later (while the band were on stage in Sheffield) I received an email from Paul's assistant Susan Hunter. The email thanked me for taking the time to write and ended by asking if I (and a guest) would like to attend the show in Cardiff as Paul's guests? Who would say no to that one? Actually my wife did, so I took our eldest son Daniel instead, who was only 13 at the time.
After major traffic hold ups, we got to the stadium and collected our tickets. When I was handed the envelope I could feel there was more than just tickets inside. There were in fact 2 tickets, 2 wristbands and 2 laminates. Also there was a note explaining that the laminate would enable us to gain entry to the "Round Room". So off we went to find it. Once inside we discovered it was a hospitality area, which had about 25 people inside. We got a drink and stood there looking around. Over in the corner I saw Adam, chatting to a few people. I thought about approaching him, then decided against it, as I didn't want to bother him.
Adam left a few minutes later and we drank up and headed out to the pitch.
The note in the envelope also explained that the wristband and ticket would give us access to watch the show from the mixing desk.
I had seen shows before from the mixing desk, not only is it a great view, the sound is as good as you're ever going to get. On account of it being where Joe mixes the sound, hence the name. When we got to the mixing desk, it was nearly empty. Which enabled us to stand right at the front. It gradually filled up, until just before the band came on, when an elderly couple appeared just behind us. I asked them if they would like to go in front if us, the lady moved forward and stood next to Daniel and the gentleman stood alongside me. I heard someone ask the lady how she came to be there? To which she replied "my son is in the band". They were indeed Gwenda and Garvin Evans, Edge's parents.
The gig itself was without doubt in my top 3 (out of 49) U2 gigs that I've ever seen. It was the last night of the European Tour and the band were on fire.
The highlight was without doubt "I Still Haven't Found..." Bono introduced the song by saying that Mr & Mrs Edge were there tonight and he'd like to thank them for lending the band a few hundred quid when they needed it most. With that I saw tears rolling down Gwenda's cheek as she watched her son and his school mates play the song.
After the band had played "Bad", Gwenda and Garvin started to leave. I asked her if they were doing a runner (leaving) with the band and going back to Dublin. Gwenda replied, "no we're going to the South of France with the boys". I said to her "as you do" to which Gwenda replied with a big grin "yes, as you do".

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