U2 Rogers Center – Toronto, Ontario 6/23/17

Another U2 show!! We left around 2 with  4pm ETA so we could meet up with a coworker who I bought tickets for. We didn’t get there until close to 6pm. UGH TRAFFIC!!!! Lei wasn’t leaving until she got out of work at 5, with all the traffic she was kinda worried about making it in time. She missed the Lumineers (who J and I decided all sound the same and were relatively boring), but made it with plenty of time for U2 and found us back on the field. I had told her we NEEDED to see this show together, since we had seen so many together in the last 12 years, and I knew how much she loves Joshua Tree. Plus she was FINALLY going to be able to see Running To Stand Still, and I knew she was going to die. And she did LOL. She cried during Bad in the beginning set, and of course during RTSS she was balling, which made me cry hahaha. I’m so happy she got to see the show, she loved it, as expected. J said it was good but I can’t tell what he really thought. He wasn’t blown away like I always want him to be when I take him to something I love. But it’s the same in reverse, I don’t get excited about his bands either.

The show was a little different than Pittsburgh, adding in Bad (ok apparently they did play Bad in Pittsburgh but I don’t remember it at all oops), and Vertigo, and closing with I Will Follow instead of the new song.

Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year’s Day
Bad
Pride
Where The Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
With Or Without You
Bullet The Blue Sky
Running To Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God’s Country
Trip Through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Exit
Mothers Of The Disappeared

Encore
Miss Sarajevo
Beautiful Day
Elevation
Vertigo
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
One
I Will Follow

It was an excellent show again, looking forward to the Buffalo show in Sept. I’d like to be a little closer, because the stage seems a bit low, so I couldn’t see them that well. It didn’t matter that much, because I focused on the giant screen, and got a different perspective on all the graphics than in Pittsburgh. It didn’t make me feel like I was going to fall haha. Had a great time regardless!

U2 – Heinz Field, Pittsburgh PA 6/7/17

Tuesday night, we were in bed by 11pm, so we could get up early to drive to Pittsburgh for the U2 show. We were going to meet up with Kate and her friends, and later Meredith and her gf before heading home. I did the usual, play games on the phone, read on the phone, to try to get tired while J fell asleep right away, but I just wasn’t tired. Finally after a few hours, I decided to finally try to sleep. J woke up shortly after, played on his phone, got up, came back to bed, got up again. It had been like 4 hours now. No sleep. Finally I sort of dozed off, only to be jarred back awake by J choking. Or rather, throwing up. J hasn’t thrown up in 35 years. But he’s barfing like crazy, clearly sick. Our guess was food poisoning from Pho Dollar, where we had gotten food before going home. We joked around that his shrimp and pork stir fry only had 2 shrimp on it, but thank god, cuz who knows how much more sick he would have gotten (it wasn’t the pork as I had a piece.) Ugh, so now he’s sick, and dying because he’s a boy, so my no sleep continued. Hour after hour went by, 9:30 alarm time inching closer. I tried to sleep on the couch, no luck. He said he was still going to go to the show, but after I got up and showered I convinced him that it was probably not a good idea (which later in the afternoon, he agreed), and sadly he stayed home.

So I picked him up some things, posted my extra ticket on Interference and drove down to PA. Parked at Rivers casino, met up with Kate and the and went over to the stadium. We got in line at about 3:30, got wrist banded (#622), and met up with this guy JD who bought my ticket. I told him he didn’t have to hang out with us after we got into the stadium, but he did, and it was cool, he was a nice guy who had come in from Ohio. Chatted with some other people in line, and got let in around 5. We had been nervous about the weather as rain had been predicted, at least in the afternoon, if not evening as well. It was on the cooler side, and overcast most of the day, which was actually perfect weather for an outdoor concert. It wasn’t hot, I was not sweating and people were not smelly. There was a nice breeze to keep things comfortable and it didn’t rain!

The Lumineers opened. I can’t say it was someone I’d have seen otherwise, and they are not a band I’d choose to listen to but their hour on stage wasn’t bad.

The stage…was HUGE. One huge LED screen, with nothing else on stage for U2. No speaker stacks (must have been behind the screen), no props, just a giant screen with a Joshua tree on it. Trent will probably be jealous because those screens were put to great use displaying super sharp imagery, which sometimes made me ill because it was moving, and it was almost 3d and it made me think I was falling a few times (like how I can’t do simulator rides at amusement parks anymore).

I was so excited when they announced they were playing all of the Joshua Tree, as even though it’s not my favourite album, there are so many songs I’ve never seen, and probably WOULD never see if they weren’t going to play the entire album. I got a little butterfly-y in my stomach waiting for it to start, which hasn’t happened to me in a long long time. The stage also had a walkway with a 2nd stage mid field, as they have had for the last several tours, and they actually started the show by Larry first walking out to a drum kit out there, and the rest of the band members each joining him to open with Sunday Bloody Sunday. They did a kind of “Greatest Hits” of their early era before returning to the main stage to begin with JT. That’s where the screen kicked in, with all sorts of nature, and “Americana” imagery to accompany each song from the album.

Holy Crap. While the album opens with songs that are staples in their sets the last 30 years, so everyone was familiar with them, they still sounded great, and Bullet the Blue Sky may have been the best I’ve ever heard it. I had forgotten just how awesome it is live. The Edge just killed it. He killed the entire show. You don’t think of the Joshua Tree as a “guitar” record, but holy shit, Edge just shined all night. He also played a lot of piano, like the usual New Years Day, but also for Running To Stand Still instead of a guitar. RTSS may have been stronger in the past, but it was still fantastic to see again, and LeighAnne will die when she finally gets to see it in a few weeks when we go to the Toronto show. Kate wasn’t impressed with Red Hill Mining town, but I thought it was really good, and over the last few months I was looking forward to Trip Through Your Wires I had forgotten it was coming, and was impressed and reminded all over again that I had been wanting to see it lol. I never listen to Mothers of the Disappeared but I admit it was well done. The only song I thought was meh was One Tree Hill, and mainly just because of the end, Bono doesn’t do the “it’s raining” part well.

After they finished the album, the “encore” was a “Greatest Hits” of the days following the JT era, like One, and Beautiful Day. They closed with a new song, Kate wasn’t sure I’d like because it’s slow, and I’d say she was right. It picks up at the end but overall it didn’t impress me.

But the rest….the rest was just so good. It was fun to be there with Kate, and I told LeighAnne that even if we don’t drive to TO together, we have to watch the show together. It’s going to be great. And hopefully J doesn’t get sick again (although, if he did, U2 announced a Sept show in Buffalo, which we will also be going to, assuming I get tickets on Monday).

Since I had gotten zero hours of sleep the night before, plus really only getting about 5 before that, I scrapped the original plan to drive home after the show. Driving by myself, in the dark, with no sleep was not going to be a good idea so I crashed on Meredith’s couch for the night, and headed home in the morning. It’s a 3.5 hour drive, and not a bad one at all. I feel like we should visit Pittsburgh more often, I like it far better than Cleveland haha.

Setlist:
Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year’s Day
Bad
Pride (In the Name of Love)

The Joshua Tree:
Where the Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Play Video
With or Without You
Bullet the Blue Sky
Running to Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God’s Country
Trip Through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Exit
Mothers of the Disappeared

Encore:
Miss Sarajevo
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
One
Beautiful Day
Elevation
The Little Things That Give You Away

Oh yeah, Exit was fantastic. And before the show JD had asked, what U2 song do you think “defines” them as a band…he picked Sunday Bloody Sunday, Kate picked Until The End of the World, but it was more that it defined them for her, and I picked New Years Day…we got 2 of three. I mentioned I could go the rest of my life never hearing Pride ever again, but I knew that was not happening (like Hurt), and I was going to say I never needed to hear Miss Sarajevo again LOL got that too. The only spoiler I told Lei was “you’re still going to have to hear fucking Miss Sarajevo” since that’s the song that replaced RTSS on the Vertigo tour, which made her never get to hear it (yet).

Also, given that U2 is a political band, and we are in a contentious political era, the show wasn’t very political. He didn’t really say that much, didn’t call Trump out though there was a small old timey (not sure if it’s old or new) video with a character named Trump, who appears to be a charlatan, and didn’t focus on “resisting” or anything like that. Ultraviolet was dedicated to women, and displayed photos of important historic and current women and women groups, but the performance did not sound as good to me as it did on the 360 tour. It sounded muddy like the sound levels were not set right.

dream

dream: I was at a training session at work, with about 50 people in it. The instructor was talking, and made an off the cuff political comment, which spurred some Trump supporter in the back to speak up and say something stupid. Then they picked on Bridget for being against Trump because, “don’t you care about people starving in Indiana” like Trump was going to help them. So I just turned around and yelled “OH FUCK OFF”…then I felt the need to yell “I’m sorry, don’t fire me” because I realized I shouldn’t have had that kind of outburst at a work event.

May books

19. And Then There Were Nuns – Jane Christmas – (non fiction) – The 2nd Jane Christmas book this year, a memoir about following her “calling” to a religious life. Interesting and not overbearing with religion.

I fail at reading in May. I blame vacation week, and wanting to be lazy and play phone games.

April Books

14. Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple
15. Today Will Be Different – Maria Semple – Both books were excellent, and I may have a new author to keep tabs on. I haven’t had that since Chuck Palahniuk over 15 years ago. They both take place in Seattle, with a tie in of the same school being featured in both, but they are not a series. Quirky female leads star, without being the typical bang wearing ukelele playing hipster nerdy quirky girl we’ve gotten used to (Eleanor and Park, Star Girl, Zoe whatshername Deshanel?) The storytelling style made you want to keep reading, and I finished “Today” in less than 3 days (another thing I haven’t done in years and years). They weren’t mind blowing, twist filled, stories like Palahniuk’s were, to grab my attention, they were just so well written, and entertaining. Loved.
16. Incontinent on the Continent – Jane Christmas – (non fiction) A travel memoir of a mid 50s woman taking her elderly disabled mother to Italy for 6 weeks. It was amusing, and sometimes sad, and sometimes funny. I can’t imagine what kind of insanity took over to even think that a trip like that was a good idea. In 20 years when I’m in my mid 50s, and my mom, if still alive is mid 80s, I can’t think of a worse idea than to try to go on vacation to Europe with her for a week, let alone 6 weeks.
17. Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson – (non fiction) Interesting book, with lots of history and environmental info, about hiking the Appalachian Trail.
18. The Lost City of the Monkey God – Douglas Preston – (non fiction) Enjoyed this very much. Story of the rediscovery of a jungle city in Honduras, and the trials and disease the team faced in finding and excavating it. Fascinating.

March Books

9. My Seinfeld Year by Fred Stoller – a very short Kindle published “book” about the author’s year on the Seinfeld writing staff. He wrote the “soup is not a meal” episode. It wasn’t that interesting, but it was quick…more like a long magazine article.
10. How to kill 11 million people – Andy Andrews – a short essay published as a book, asking how the public could stand by while the Nazi’s killed so many, and why standing up for truth matters. Seemed a worthwhile read for the times.
11. Station eleven – Emily St John Mandel – a post apocalyptic book following a handful of interrelated characters as they survive through a flu pandemic that killed the majority of the world’s population. With so many end of times books out, it was a refreshing interesting page turner.
12. Hidden Figures – book the movie was based on, telling the story of the black women mathematicians working for the government in aeronautics. Good stuff.
13. The All Girl Filling Station – Fannie Flagg – one of my fav books ever is her Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man. This one didn’t approach the humor level, but it kept to her style of telling a story about strong women and women discovering themselves. An easy fun read.

Dream

Crazy dream completely due to the new book I started, Station Eleven, about a new flu virus that rampages the world.

The flu was getting reported, and I was out with Jason and Adam, and started freaking out that we were going to get it and die. They were like, no we’re fine, we’re not sick. But I was like, everyone else might be, and we’re around people, and I’m going to get it and I don’t want to die. Adam said he had this gel at home that you rubbed on your orifices to prevent germs from getting in, so we went to Olean to get it and I rubbed it all over my face, except it was like grey foam, so you could tell I had it on. Then we were in a big house with like 15 other people, all freaking out about the flu, and we all sorta fell asleep, because we were getting sick. So I was asleep, and dreaming in the dream that I was about to throw up, so I was like, Sara wake up you’re going to barf, so I woke up from the 2nd dream as I was starting to throw up, and was able to run to a kitchen to throw up in the sink, because others were waking up having to barf too and there weren’t enough bathrooms. It was also “coming out both ends” so no one knew what to do first (lol). I realized that while I was barfing in the sink, Adam’s mom was laying on the floor under the sink, also sick with the flu. It sounds funny but it was really terrifying and I was able to wake myself up in real life to stop it. But then the rest of the night I kept going back to that dream in some form.

Dream

I was on a trip to London, and wherever I was, Prince William and Kate showed up. They had all their guards with them, which made a big scene. It was like I was hosting them, because I was all ashamed that I wasn’t staying in some fancy place. We were at a restaurant and I was nervous because I didn’t know all the right etiquette to be around royalty. Kate was sort of uppity the way women are when first meeting other women and are nervous. Then we all got in the shower and Will and Kate were speaking French to each other and they didn’t know I could understand them. Then I went to some other part of England and was staying in an inn and got to borrow the inn keepers car because I was going to the white house. I got there and Obama was there and I was like, omg I’m so happy you’re still here and he was like, yeah I’m just hanging around. But trump was still president and his people were getting things ready for me to meet him and I was like, no that’s ok I don’t want to. They were like, what?? How can you not want to meet him, and I kept insisting I didn’t want to meet him. Then there was something about going shopping with Kate, cuz she warmed up to me, but I was still nervous cuz she was a royal, and didn’t know where to take her, but she joked she’d buy anything as long as it wasn’t by Ivanka. Then it was back at the white house again, and something about Melania, feeling bad for her or something. And it was time for me to leave and Michelle Obama was there to walk me out and I was so sad but she hugged me and was sad too, and said something touching and uplifting which made me cry as I left. Once I was outside I realized I left my phone in the white house and had sort of stolen the car from the inn keeper, but I couldn’t get back in the white house and didn’t know how to get in touch with the inn. 

W the lovable goof.

When I re-did this site and re-read most of my old blog posts from the last 15ish years, it never occurred to me that I would also revisit my opinion of George W Bush and his 8 years in office. In Obama’s first few years, a certain friend joined a FB group called something like, Let History Be The Judge of George W Bush. He also “liked” pages for Bobby Jindal after his speech rebuttal. I couldn’t fathom this person being a republican, but I can’t fathom that a lot. I laughed at the “history judging” W, because it seemed so clear that he was terrible, and created terrible policies.

And then came Trump.

And I’m forced to admit that Bush (and Cheney) are moderate! That I long for those 8 years, when the world may have hated us, we were still respected. Bush seems like just a lovable goofball, fighting with is poncho at the inauguration, talking about being a pet portrait painter. That I wouldn’t mind getting a beer with him (or a hot dog, if you’re Stephen Colbert). That I actually respect his opinion on the current administration (!!!). Dick Cheney is a voice of reason. That I’d rather see Karl “Ham” Rove over Kellyanne Conway. Because at least their lies and distortion weren’t so blatantly obvious, so it seemed reasonable that people believed them. WTF has happened?!?

Trump.

I can’t keep up with my outrage over the administration’s first 100 days. I can’t keep up with the horrible cabinet picks, and terrible legislation regarding the environment, and terrible travel bans. I just hope the Russia ties turn into a big thing and the whole lot of them get pushed out.

The Tea Party – 2 night stand @ Town Ballroom

As suspected for a while, the Tea Party announced they were going to tour Transmission, like they did The Edges of Twilight, for it’s 20th anniversary. Yesssss. My favourite album. They announced 2 shows in Buffalo, and Town Ballroom was offering a slightly discounted 2 night pass. Since it was likely that this tour will be the only time I get to see most of these songs, I was going to go to both.

First night we planned to meet up with Eric and Mary at Expo Market for dinner before hand, where we were joined by Kark and Kelley. It was like old college times again, and I hadn’t seen them since Eric’s wedding, which was 10 or 11 years ago. It was great to see them again.

The shows had no opener, thankfully. Unlike the Edges show, they didn’t quite go in order, moving Temptation to the end, as they typically close with it, and switching things up a bit in the middle. After finishing the album, they took a 20ish minute break, before coming out for a 2nd “greatest hits” set.

Nights 1 and 2 1st Set:
Army Ants
Babylon
Psychopomp
Gyroscope
Emerald
Alarum
Release
Transmission
Embryo
Pulse
Aftermath
Temptation

Night 1 2nd set:
Writing’s on the Wall
The Bazaar
The Ocean at the End
Heaven Coming Down / All Along the Watchtower
Save Me

Encore:
Winter Solstice / Sister Awake / Paint It Black

Night 2 2nd set:
The River
Fire in the Head
The Ocean at the End
Heaven Coming Down / All Along the Watchtower
Save Me

Encore:
Winter Solstice / Sister Awake / Paint It Black

Both nights were more or less the same, except the first 2 songs of the 2nd set. The crowd was a bit more into things on Friday, I think, and the band was a bit more playful with all 3 of them loving the “Stuuuuuu” chants, and Stu was more animated than I’ve ever seen him – hamming it up, egging on the “Stuuuu’s”, flexing his muscles. Jeff Martin didn’t get super political, mentioning how much 2016 sucked and alluding to the political climate, but turning it more about the musicians that were lost, and dedicating Aftermath (I think) to Bowie. The 2nd night had more political allusion, changing Temptation lyrics to “We live in a world where the fear of the President is real”, and both nights they expressed their support for women, and the White Ribbon campaign before playing Release. Jeff’s voice held up pretty well, unlike when they first got back together, where the Lockport show followed Toronto, and his voice was a big old mess.

Mary was super excited for Emerald, which was great to hear, but I was more excited and impressed by Babylon, Alarum, and Transmission. The album sounds great live, and we both thought they should keep some of these songs in their set. The 2nd night, Eric had an extra from his 2 night pass, because he was only going to Thursday so I had invited LeighAnne. Then when Eric picked up his tickets on Thursday, they had given him a whole 2nd pass on accident, so he had another extra, which I offered to Kate. Mary was supposed to come, but wasn’t feeling well and I don’t think she made it.

Leading up to the show I was trying to remember how many times I had seen them. Turns out, these Tea Party shows were number 19 and 20!