Experiencing the U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2017, Century Link Field, Seattle WA
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to the turntable...
I drop the needle, hear the crackle and start remembering. What were you doing in 1987?
I had just started my career as a flight attendant. Big dreams in a big world. I spent a lot of time flying back and forth across the United States. My trusty Walkman and cassette tapes in tow. There was a new band on the scene that I loved; U2. Their latest album had just been released. Joshua Tree. It was fantastic, and everybody was listening to it. I still remember talking to a co-worker who said she had grown up with Bono. “He’s really not that cool or talented.” Hhhhmmm, I wonder what she would say now.
Well, that was a quick 30 years! Many things have changed in the past 3 decades. But one thing that hasn’t changed is U2. Still the same band members (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.) and still packing out stadiums. Still healthy, still friends, still creating music together. What current bands will be able to say that 30+plus years from now? I honestly can’t think of any.
The moment U2 announced their Joshua Tree Tour 2017 dates, one of my BFFs from college, Marie, asked me if I wanted to go. YES! She oversaw buying tickets. I said, “Whatever the cost is fine.” She came back later and said,” I hope you meant that. I bought VIP tickets! “. GULP. And now that the concert is over, I can honestly say those tickets were worth every dollar! WOW, what an experience!
Our VIP tickets included parking, a catered pre-party, our own merchandise table, a raffle for a backstage tour and an exclusive book (only 35,000 made). The evening started out rather stressful because of…. Here we go again, because I talk about it frequently on my blog. TRAFFIC!! It’s HORRIBLE in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Adding an additional hour to your drive time seems to be the safe plan, now. However, once we arrived and checked in, the traffic nightmares melted away.
We were warmly greeted with our VIP lanyards, gift bags and a giant backdrop photo of U2! We walked inside and the atmosphere immediately changed. The room was enclosed with dark curtains. Tables were set with fine linens, dinnerware and candles. The buffet style food tables were loaded with salads, vegetables, roasted chicken and salmon. Dessert tables were filled with chocolate delights. Everything from strawberries dipped in chocolate to fried bacon? I didn’t try the bacon, but the rest were quite delectable. Two bars were set up in back. The only line I stood in, was for the merchandise table. But compared to the 50 deep in line outside in the venue, this was a piece of chocolate cake! We ate, drank and relaxed. A DJ was set up on the stage getting us in the mood for the concert. It was nice to be chilling out in a private room, instead of battling the enormous crowds outside. I read somewhere that 63,000 attended this concert!
Enjoying a nice sit-down dinner, instead of fighting through crowds to buy a $10 glass of wine poured into a plastic cup, was quite civilized indeed.
The warm up band was Mumford and Sons. When the concert started, we were escorted through the venue to our section. The minute we arrived at our seats and saw our proximity to the stage, we were WOW! This was going to be extraordinary. And, it had stopped raining. Very important, since this is an outdoor football venue (GO SEAHAWKS!) And then, it was time for U2!
The stage layout was in two sections. The main stage, with an incredible, gigantic backdrop video screen. Then an S stage, that curled out onto the floor section. U2 began their performance with” Sunday Bloody Sunday”. They walked down the S stage and started the concert in the middle of a sea of people. The crowd went wild! Marie and I were ecstatic to be sitting so close to U2. My pictures don’t do our location justice.
After 5 songs, they returned up to the main stage and began with “Where The Streets Have No Name.” The video graphics behind them were phenomenal. Very powerful performances. And as is becoming an expected standard at a Seattle performance, a local celebrity musician came onstage for a song. This time it was Eddie Vedder. They took a quick break and came back for their encore with 6 more songs.
I found their setlist on Instagram, posted by do206. It seemed to go by in a matter of minutes. I was trying so hard to absorb the magnificence of it all. Truly an incredible experience. Even though we had seats, we all stood up and danced in our section. So much fun!
Afterwards, we started checking in on Facebook to see who else was there. I knew Bill Bungard was going to be close to the performance. He had a special Press Pass to take photos for The Tacoma Weekly. But then I saw Lynn Sorensen (former bassist for Bad Company. Currently in Seattle with Spike and The Impalers, Magic Bus, The Fabulous Johnsons, Powercell…) and Andrea Hollister were in the Red Zone! Right next to the stage! All great people, so I was happy they got to experience U2 at such an intimate level. I loved looking at Andrea’s photos. They were literally less than 20 feet away at times. I asked her what it was like being so close to their performance. “We didn’t realize what we had until we got in there. I was shocked at where we ended up and was just standing there with my jaw on the ground when the drummer came out and started right there....That concert was amazing. Best one I have ever been to. And I loved the vibe in the stadium. It was nice to step into an area of so many and feel like everyone was one.”
I agree. Everyone acting as one. Music is quite powerful that way. Also, check out Bill Bungard’s photos on Facebook and The Tacoma Weekly. In addition, he was shooting for The Upstream Music Festival in Seattle that weekend. Busy guy!
I want to give a shout out/recommendation to The Georgetown Town Inn, Seattle. Only about a 10-minute drive to Century Link and Safeco Field. When I checked in, they had the Joshua Tree Album playing, and handed me a freshly poured beer from a local brewery!
A busy area, but the ambiance is warm and welcoming. A perfect spot to stay when in Seattle for an event at one of the stadiums. While we were enjoying, a leisurely continental breakfast the following morning, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman sitting next to us. Still wearing his backstage wristband from the previous night. He had grown up in Ireland and had seen ‘the lads perform at the local pubs when they were first starting out.” Quite the interesting conversation indeed. You just never know who you’re going to cross paths with in life.
This was an expensive experience. However, it was SO worth it! Save your time and energy for things that really matter to you in life.
’Bono’ even gave me a harmonica to take home, with instructions on how to play it. 😉That’s a first.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE