U2 360º Tour, Moncton, NB (with The Arcade Fire)

Well, this was pretty sweet! Two of my favorite bands one after the other with my wife and some great friends in the inner circle just a few feet from the stage.

Amber dropped me off at Magnetic Hill so I could get in line early, which didn’t do much aside from me getting the inside scoop on what was going on. It was pouring rain and I was expecting to be soaked, so it wasn’t bad – the best part of the rain is that it kept the crowds from turning up early. I was number 402 in the line and they wouldn’t give me numbers for Amber, Dallas and Claudia so I ended up waiting for them after getting into the venue (they were in the 900 group if they had numbered the line).

I met some great folks from Fredericton, Halifax, Lévis, Grand Falls, St Johns, Iceland while waiting in line. I was given a seat to use and beer and cherries while waiting in line too!

Sopping wet, we made it easily into the inner ring just 20 feet from the stage. We saw other fans returning from the rear entrance where they didn’t think they could get in, but there were only about 600 people in there when we entered (capacity 2000). Amber gave me a dry shirt to wear as I was soaked (she was dryer). The sun came out briefly and it didn’t rain again from about 5 pm onward.

Carney was the first act. The singer plays Spiderman on the Broadway show that Edge and Bono wrote the music for (and which has notoriously has been postponed for ages). The band has been together for a dozen years, since they were 14 years old. The music was quite good, very classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Queen.

Arcade Fire had a sensational stage presence and their set just lacked a couple of my favorites (Ocean of Noise and Rococo). The entire band put everything into it and got the whole crowd going. I had a perma-grin the entire 12 songs.

The guy beside me noticed Arcade Fire’s setlist taped on a monitor (oops) and got a snapshot of it. He asked if I wanted to see it. I was weak! Great set:
  • Ready to Start
  • Keep the Car Running
  • No Cars Go
  • Haïti
  • The Suburbs
  • Month of May
  • Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
  • We Used to Wait
  • Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
  • Rebellion (Lies)
  • Wake Up
  • Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
It took an hour to switch up the stage for U2 during which time two Canadian Forces fighter jets (CF-18s) did multiple fly overs – we could feel the heat and it was LOUD! and AWESOME!

The Gigapixel 360° Photo Yellow Shirt Crew came out and started riling up the crowd and taking their picture. I was ready for them this time and made sure I was facing the camera. Here’s the shot stitched together. Miraculously, despite all the hands in the air, we can see our whole crew.

Ushered in by Bowie’s Space Oddity, U2 took the stage. The set was quite similar to the one in Edmonton with some nice additions. The crowd was so grateful in Moncton as U2 had never played a show in the Maritimes, let alone a 2-year tour closing show.

  • Even Better than the Real Thing
  • The Fly
  • Mysterious Ways
  • Until the End of the World (with a bit of Leonard Cohen’s Anthem, the song ended right on top of us with Bono and Edge reaching for each other from across the bridges)
  • I Will Follow
  • Get On Your Boots
  • I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (lots of crowd participation on this one, followed by the a cappella first verse of The Ballad of Springhill also known as Springhill Mining Disaster. I’ve been to the Springhill museum just an hour away in Nova Scotia)
  • Stay (Faraway, So Close!) (with intro about how the band was close to splitting up before the Achtung Baby! songs were written, Stay was released later on Zooropa, and how the songs kept them together, the crowd went berserk when he sang “Miami, New Orleans, London, Belfast and Moncton”)
  • Beautiful Day (with the sweet intro by astronaut Mark Kelly in space)
  • Elevation
  • Pride (In The Name of Love)
  • Miss Sarajevo (one of my favorites)
  • Zooropa (so happy they’ve included this on their tour)
  • City of Blinding Lights
  • Vertigo
  • I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight/Discotheque
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday
  • Scarlet (with intro about Aung San Su Kyi)
  • Walk On
  • One
  • Where the Streets Have No Name (with Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah)
  • Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
  • With or Without You
  • Moment of Surrender
  • Out of Control (their first single, followed by some champagne spraying of the crowd by Bono)
  • 40 (what a sacred way to close a concert and a tour!)
Larry Mullen Jr. closed the show as the crowd sang “How long, to sing this song?” with a drum solo and then walked to the microphone and closed the tour with “Thank you Moncton, we’ll miss you.”

Two summers ago, I agreed to go to splurge and fly Amber and me to Vancouver for a U2 show with my friends Chris and Christy as they had an extra pair of tickets for an October, 2009 show. The morning of that show, just hours before we flew to Vancouver, I bought tickets for a newly announced show in Edmonton scheduled for June, 2010. That concert was postponed until June 1, 2011 and earlier this spring the Moncton show was announced just days before we were planning to buy our flights to NB. Originally, I wasn’t expecting to see U2 anywhere, now I’ve seen them three times in less than 2 years and each experience has been unique and magnificent. What a gift.

Thanks to Claudia and Dallas for coming with us and for their photos. Thanks to Papa and Sandi for watching all four little ones. (secretly, I kind of wanted to put diapers on Blaise and Acadia and bring them too – probably not a good idea eh?, but seriously, how cool of a father would I be?

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