Recap: U2360° Tour in Edmonton

Last night I attended the U2 concert at Commonwealth Stadium here in Edmonton along with more than 63,000 other fans. Considering I purchased the tickets way back on November 2, 2009, it’s fair to say it was a long time coming. Fortunately, Bono and crew did not disappoint! Here’s the official U2 entry for the tour.

U2360 Edmonton

This was the first thing we saw as we walked toward our seats around 6pm. Called “the claw” or “the spaceship” it very nearly became the star of the show. The structure is 164 feet tall requires 120 trucks to transport. Oh and there’s three of them because they take so long to setup and teardown!

U2360 Edmonton

It was Sharon’s first real rock concert, so that just added to all of the hype leading up to the concert!

U2360 Edmonton

Our seats were so high up that I joked we could see the balcony of our condo downtown! We could see the building anyway. Being high up turned out to be totally fine with the large stage and video screens. Plus I think it probably resulted in better photos.

U2360 Edmonton

The Fray opened the show at about 7:30pm. They performed some familiar singles like “How to Save a Life” and “You Found Me” as well as a couple of new songs.

U2360 Edmonton

Then we waited. And waited. While we waited, the Claw showed us interesting statistics and the local time for cities around the world.

U2360 Edmonton

Finally around 9:15pm, U2 emerged and the Claw started to come to life! The show was on!

U2360 Edmonton

For most of the evening, the data connection on my phone completely stopped working. Apparently the antennas were just overloaded with everyone trying to text, tweet, and call (archive).

U2360 Edmonton

One of my favorite aspects of the evening was watching the Claw transform. There were all different kinds of light combinations, and the video screen in the middle actually expanded and contracted as well. The two bridges connecting the inner circle to the outer circle also frequently moved around throughout the evening, meaning the band could interact with fans all around the stage without having to walk too far.

U2360 Edmonton

The first part of the show didn’t seem very political, at least compared to the latter half which featured Amnesty International and the ONE campaign.

U2360 Edmonton

At one point Bono pulled a lucky fan on stage, and she could barely let him go! Bono didn’t do too much talking throughout the show, but he did spend some time talking about Edmonton Oiler Gilbert Brule. It turns out that Brule and his girlfriend picked up Bono and his assistant while they were hitchhiking in West Vancouver (archive)! Honestly, I thought he was joking at first.

U2360 Edmonton

That was my favorite shot of the night. As it got darker the lighting of the Claw just looked better and better.

U2360 Edmonton

Near the end of the show, Bono encouraged everyone to take our their cell phones. It created a pretty spectacular sight in Commonwealth Stadium!

Here are three quick videos and a longer one that I recorded last night:

Sharon and I had a great time! It was truly a unique experience, and U2 delivered a high energy performance from start to finish. We avoided the nightmare that was the lineup for the LRT by walking home afterward. As we walked past the loading area adjacent to the stadium, we noticed the big trucks were already in motion – presumably they waste no time in tearing down the stage!

You can see the rest of my photos from the evening here. I’ve also created a playlist with some short videos here.

Al Gore is the new Bono

Post ImageWhat do you call people such as Bono (Paul Hewson) and Al Gore? They are stars, activists, and political figures, that’s for sure. It almost seems as though we need a new word to describe them though, because they transcend so many labels. There are many others who might fall into this category of people I have in my head (such as Bill Gates perhaps), but Bono and Gore are the two that come to mind first. You might say “activist” is a good enough word, but I don’t think so. More on that in a moment.

When I say Gore is the new Bono, I mean that in a good way. Al Gore seems to have taken the template used by Bono and adapted it for his own purposes. It goes something like this:

  1. Become famous.
  2. Find something you’re passionate about.
  3. Use your fame (and perhaps wealth) to support your passion.

Obviously Bono wasn’t the first person to do this, and Gore won’t be the last. I just point them out because of timing – I’m too young to really recognize the pattern in anyone before Bono, and thanks to the Internet and other present-day methods of global communication, the efforts of Bono and Gore are more visible than ever before.

I should also point out that Bono and Gore are different from people like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and others. All are activists, sure, but the latter group are famous because of their activism, whereas Gore and Bono became famous first for something else and then turned to becoming activists.

Bono has been a special guest at all sorts of events that you wouldn’t expect a rockstar to be at. Gore is doing the same at events you wouldn’t expect a former Vice-President to attend. Bono helped organize Live8 back in 2005, and Gore is doing the same for Live Earth this year.

Bono was named by Time as a Person of the Year back in 2005, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times. Gore has been nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and who knows, maybe he’ll grace the cover of Time come December.

Bono’s passion is for humanitarian issues, Gore’s passion is for environmental issues. Makes me wonder who will come next and what it is that person will have a passion for.

Time Persons of the Year

Post ImageTime announced their “person of the year” for 2005 this morning, except that it’s “persons” – three in fact. Dubbed the “The Good Samaritans”, the magazine has chosen Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono as the “Persons of the Year“. From the cover story article:

These are not the people you expect to come to the rescue.

Rock stars are designed to be shiny, shallow creatures, furloughed from reality for all time. Billionaires are even more removed, nestled atop fantastic wealth where they never again have to place their own calls or defrost dinner or fly commercial. So Bono spends several thousand dollars at a restaurant for a nice Pinot Noir, and Bill Gates, the great predator of the Internet age, has a trampoline room in his $100 million house. It makes you think that if these guys can decide to make it…

For full access to the article, you can watch a brief advertisement, otherwise you’ll have to pay a few dollars (or wait for the actual magazine to come out). I think the three make a very interesting choice. There’s no doubt that Bono is an activist unlike any other, and the Gates give more money each year than you can imagine.