If I could play a guitar, it would be a bass, and if I was a famous bass player, I'd want to be just like U2's Adam Clayton. This guy is the baddest bad-ass bass player on earth!
Tonight at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta, upwards of 75,000 gathered around the U2 360 stage for a night of aural delights. Thanks to a street ticket broker and Luck'O'The Irish, my "seat" turned out to be a standing room spot on the inner circle of the tour's distinctive in-the-round staging.
Multiple times during the outstanding show, Mr. Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen and, of course, Bono, passed overhead on a small bridge to the "Red Zone" standing area.
This was not my first U2 experience (some may recall my tales of Philips Arena autograph sessions with U2 during March of 2001, as noted on the blog earlier this year) -- thankfully, it won't be the last as my sister and I have tickets for the U2 360 Tour stop at the University of Oklahoma campus stadium (site of the U.S. Olympic Festival '89 Opening Ceremony) later this month.
But tonight's show may be the closest in-concert (as opposed to previous backstage) access to experience U2's spiritual, Brian Eno-infused and glorious music, and tonight's performance will certainly be one to share with grandchildren.
Man, of all the nights to leave my Flip Camera at home (dang!). (Or as they say in Ireland, Shite!)
Mr. Clayton is so calm on stage -- he makes all those deep down notes blow through the band's hits with gusto. From about 15 feet away, he seemed to barely touch the guitar strings while smirking with joy through "Walk On," "One" and "Ultraviolet."
I'd like to think he was smiling back at me when I gave the thumbs up as he perused our section of the crowd (though something tells me his eyes stopped on the "Line On The Horizon" of three cheering Georgia Tech co-eds standing in front of me).
There is something about "The Unforgettable Fire" performed live that just got to me. Though it is not an Olympic tune, allusion to the Olympic Torch Relay is not a stretch. Also got choked up a bit as all of the post-Chicago 2016 bummer thoughts of late caught up with me as Bono and The Edge sang "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
I was really impressed with U2's infusion of video featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu and references to political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, whose name ever previously crossed my way (but will be part of upcoming study).
Bono reached down from the bridge to pick up a lucky female fan, and it reminded me of a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution photographer getting kissed in the U2 concert photo pit not once but TWICE during her photojournalism career (this lovely photographer showed up in USA Today with that double-smooch story at one point -- she gave me a nice 11x17 glossy print from the 2001 U2 performance at Philips Arena, then a client).
About the only thing that would have improved the experience would have been a surprise appearance by Enya's sister, Clannad singer Moya Brennan, to sing the duet "In A Lifetime" with Mr. Hewson.
I have to wonder (er, hope, er wish and pray) that U2 may somehow turn up in an official Olympic capacity in conjunction with the London 2012 Olympic Games (hello -- how about playing the Opening Ceremony with Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Oasis and Paul McCartney/Ringo Starr!? Anyone at London 2012 taking notes?).
U2's upcoming European leg of 360 includes several Olympic stadiums (specifically, Helsinki, Athens and Munich). If you are near any of these destination venues, taking the 360 Tour is worth the spin!
Photo of Adam Clayton via Flickr