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"I see myself in the role as band bodyguard, and I take that role very seriously." — Larry

by Laurie M.

U2 Vertigo Tour, Saturday November 19, 2005 Phillips Arena Atlanta Georgia

My first U2 concert since 1997 and PopMart. I dont think I have been as excited about a concert before this, ever! Spent the last few months listening to old U2 CDs, reading books on their back history and generally studying U2 101 as if it were a college course. Now I am ready!

We enter the venue and notice our seats (section 212, Row M) are slightly obstructed by a major desigh flaw- the upper decks are stretching outward over the bottom in the rear sections [behind the basket] and therefore you are left feeling claustrophobic and you lose the openness of the arena. You can only see part of the floor and not the other end of the crowd. The jumbotron video screens and the beaded light curtains are completely obscured, but we have a pretty good view of the stage from our high perch. Of course, we forgot binoculars, but then who wants to watch a concert with them, anyway?

And then, our neighbors to the front arrive: two middle-aged men with comb-overs and loud shirts covering their paunches, and their female escorts. All four are quite happy to be here, it seems, if the jumping, bouncing, yelling and cat-calls are any indication. Rob and I assume that they will settle down to a nice groove like the rest of the crowd when the show starts.

Lights go down and City of Blinding Lights opensit should be spectacular for those in the floor areathe curtain of lights sparkles, confetti comes down, and that incredilble music, plus all of our combined adrenalin shakes the houseall we can see from here are Edge, Adam and then Bono coming to the front of stage to sing, and this is glimpsed between the heads of our friends in front as they hoot, holler and hop back and forth and up and down. I still get a little bit moist-eyed to think we are really here, and again, we hope the fools in front will get a grip and settle down now.

No hope of that. Their show continues along with the show on the stage. At times I manage to edit them out, and become lost in the music and showmanship, focusing on Edge, or Bono or Adam as they pace around the ellipse. This is especially true for Miss Sarajevo when Bono takes on Pavarottis part, and his voice soars up and up, with such perfect power it gives me shivers. Truly a great moment.

It was nice, also, when they thanked the fans for giving them a great life, and Bono said that they had a deal with us, that they wouldnt make crap music. And the song Where the Streets Have No Name where Bono and Edge sang a lovely African melody as part of itthat was beautiful.

So there were special moments, but I felt myself becoming more and more angry and frustrated with our situation. In the end, it came down to my wanting to do something violent to them, and Rob restraining me. I was very angry with Rob also, because he had not done anything to help the situation. At one point I had attempted to quiet one of the men by speaking to him, but it had not done any good. I also tried walking around the venue to get away from them, but you really cant go too far without security wanting you back in your seat. So there we were, condemned to sit behind these folks for the duration, while they yelled, Bono, youre a faggot!! and You suck! We love you! AAAAAHH!! as they got more and more drunk throughout the show. By the end of the concert I was in tears and furious, both with them and with Rob for not being more pro-active. I felt as though the biggest night in my life had been ruined and it should not have happened that way. I realized that if I had been confrontational, it would have dragged Rob into something he did not want to be a part of, and that also was frustrating. I wanted him to go get security at least, though, and he didnt, which would have been something. To this day, I am not sure how we could better have handled the situation and wish I did know.

But, now that some time has passed, I can look back and I am at least glad that I was there. I would not have missed the chance to see and hear U2, even in the way that I did, for anything.


1. City Of Blinding Lights
2. Vertigo/Stories for Boys (snippet)
3. Elevation
4. I Will Follow
5. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
6. Beautiful Day
7. Original Of The Species
8. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own / Torna A Surriento (Snippet)
9. Love & Peace Or Else
10. Sunday Bloody Sunday
11. Bullet The Blue Sky / When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again (Snippet) / Hands That Built America (Snippet)
12. Miss Sarajevo
13. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
14. Where The Streets Have No Name
15. One / MLK (Snippet)


16. Until The End Of The World
17. Mysterious Ways (Bono danced with girl from the audience)
18. With or Without You (very restrained, slow version)
19. For the First Time (acoustic)
20. Stuck in a Moment (acoustic)
21. Bad / People Have the Power (with Bono walking offstage still singing into his microphone)

Laurie M.

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