So, here it goes. U2, arguably the biggest band in Rock N Roll, decided to turn Somerville on it's ass last night... and they did!
Let's say this first, U2 doesn't really need to do stuff like this. They can get press just by going to lunch. They just played in front of millions of people last month on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
But, U2 are smart... They know that to stay on top, you gotta work on it. And, most bands forget that when they get to a certain level of success. U2 hasn't played a venue this small in decades, since the early part of their careers... and according to The Edge, they really 'don't like doing it all that much'. At least that's what he told me last night... ;> I'm such a name dropper aren't I? Ha!
We got the call, that we would have tickets to give away to this 'secret' show, and that the PD (program director) and MD (music director... that's my job) could also attend the concert.
I have said in the past (check my U2 'No Line On The Horizon album review blog) that I was not always a fan of the band. And, as I get older, I feel that I understand the music more and more. So, this was going to sway me one way or the other... This intimate show was going to make me a 'real' fan, or not... Seeing a band in a small place like this, really shows how good (or bad) a band really is... There is no place to hide, behind huge video screens etc.
Well, this show turned the city into a frenzy. My phone was ringing off the hook with people asking for tickets. And, I wasn't even allowed to bring a guest, never mind get a bunch of friends, athletes, musicians or super fans in.
I went to the Museum of Science, as instructed, by 'super secret' email to check in, get my ticket, and get on the bus, to head to the show. I got my standard concert ticket, a hot pink wrist band, to get me onto the bus... and a BLUE wristband for the 'hush hush' AFTERPARTY!
I arrived in Davis Square, to hundreds of fans begging for tickets, people holding signs, street performers, TV cameras and busloads of luck winners who were screaming as they 'de-bussed' and waited to get inside. It was CRAZY! I was told 'no cell phones'... I could have brought it in... many other people did. But, for the first time I played by the rules... NEVER AGAIN! I got the pat down and went inside.
The Somerville Theater is beautiful inside. It's got a great vibe, and every seat is a good one. The beer lines were LONG! I got to my seat, and there was an electric buzz in the air... I talked to Gayle from The Inside Track for a minute, we were trying to spot 'famous people'...
I was surprised to see SWAY, from MTV, was going to host. I heard they tried to get Denis Leary, but he was out of town. The announcement was made that the album went to #1 on the chart in it's debut week, selling over 500,000 copies and that the band would play 5 songs and answer questions. I knew already that it was going to only be 1 hour, since we were airing it LIVE on WAAF. Before the band came out, I was told by Rob from the record label, that I needed to be outside 10 minutes before the show was over, to board a bus, and head to the after-party where the band was headed before they flew out of town... Cool!
They hit the stage, looked and sounded GREAT and the crowd of lucky fans ate it up! They went NUTS! 5 songs, no frills, no bullsh*t, just Rock N Roll. It was cool.
They broke for commercial, set up some chairs on stage and brought the band out to answer questions. The questions were submitted on index cards by fans, who were all too excited to stand and yell "That's Me" when they were credited for asking their question. They asked some good ones too. A 16 year old, even wanted to know when Bono lost his virginity... It was pretty funny.
At 9:50 during the Q&A, I went outside, ran to the WAAF van, where I had left my cell phone, grabbed it, and headed for the 'cool kids bus'.
The bus was filled with PD's and MD's from stations all over the east coast, all the way to Florida and back. I was the WAAF representative. There was no TV, or newspaper reporters allowed. This was a chance for the band to 'thank' the programmers of the stations that had helped U2 get to where they are today... I thought it was a nice gesture, not many bands do stuff like this... especially bands this big!
We were bussed to Harvard Square, to Upstairs on the Square, a really cool bar, with a fireplace and a cool vibe. They were playing the new album on the sound system, and everyone was drinking...They had a OPEN BAR and cool food... Not a bad way to spend an evening...
I was standing in front of the fireplace with a PD from Baltimore, when I spotted Edge, walking through the bar... No fanfare, no introduction to the small group of 40 who were invited... The band just walked in and started to mingle... It was a cool way to make an entrance.
I was brought over to meet Edge, he was nice, polite and had no ego at all... I congratulated him on another #1 album, and began talking about how U2 'never liked playing in small clubs, even when they were a club band'. ' They always wanted to bring in more lights, more PA equipment, and make a bigger show for their fans...' He said, "they hadn't played a place that small in almost 30 years, and that is was weird to see the back wall of the theater". He continued saying that "he had fun playing the show and was happy that everyone loved it and that the city had fun with it". and then he was brought to meet someone else...
The word from the record label, was that the band had to catch a private plane at Hanscom, and had to take off for IRELAND by midnight, per rules of the airfield... So the visit wasn't going to be long.
I was again, by the fireplace, watching Bono 'hold court' with a group of people sitting at a nearby table.. sipping a margarita... (not what I expected him to be drinking... But I am a tequila person too! Way to go Bono!)
I was told to 'stay put' that they were 'going to bring Bono to meet me' and then he had to leave for the airport. I was having fun picking out the private security people mingling around the room, trying to blend in. The earpieces always give it away!
Adam came over and I said a quick 'hello', he was polite as well.
I was then introduced to Bono as the 'very important Music Director from WAAF, here in Boston' HA! I laughed too... Me? Important? Ok, whatever! Bono, kissed the back of my hand, and said' pleasure to meet you'. He asked me what I thought of the show, and we started talking about the album. I told him that I liked Breathe the best, and that I enjoyed the 'darker stuff from U2' he said that 'he loved writing that stuff, and that I must love the last 3 songs of the album, very dark' . I now know what it feels like to be the 'groom' at a wedding... Everyone at a wedding, is watching the bride (Bono) and the only person looking at the groom (Me) is the bride...
Bono has an uncanny way of making you feel like you are the only person in the room. It was unnerving to have everyone looking at me, because I was talking to him. You feel like the center of the universe, when he is talking to you. He's charming that's for sh*t sure! We talked for a good 5 minutes when I noticed people looking at their watches...
I asked if I could take a picture with him, he said 'of course'
As he put his arm around me, he grabbed a bit too low, and cupped my left butt cheek, 'by accident'... HA! Too bad I had my cell phone back there. so he must think I have the lumpiest ass in the world! I got my picture and then just as quietly as they arrived, they were gone! Everyone took a while to realize that they were gone, and then all we could do, was talk about what just happened!
I could not believe how gracious they were. Not that I have heard they were a**holes or anything, but I have met people, not as successful, who were jerks! U2 are some of the nicest rock stars I have ever met, and some of the biggest!
It was a great night, not one I will soon forget!
'Every once in a while, the sun shines on a dogs ass', last night was my turn!
My pictures are on the way!!!