Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Singing in the rain

The crowd assembles for the concert at the stadium
around the spectacular set-piece, nicknamed "The Claw"
The small circle in the middle is the stage,
and the two bridges to the outer walkway move.

Did you hear about the outdoor concert in Minneapolis last Saturday, July 23? Fifty-six thousand attendees (yup, you read that right—56,000) sat (or stood) enthralled, even though the heavens opened up and drenched them for more than two hours straight.

Did you hear about the gridlock afterwards? Even attendees who thought they’d outfox traffic by arranging for chauffeured limos to wait outside the stadium spent multiple hours getting home.

Did you know the spectacular 167’ tower and stage (the largest set piece ever devised for an outdoor tour) took 200 stagehands and several cranes five days to set up?   

Did you have any idea that I, Sallie Glerum, was there? Yes I was! I traveled to Minneapolis to be one of those lucky thousands in attendance at U-2's 360° Tour.

This is the U-2 tour that was originally scheduled for 2010, but postponed for one year because lead singer Bono injured his back while preparing for it. This is the concert my youngest son, P., invited me to attend as his guest in celebration of my big SEVEN-OH birthday. Of course, my seventieth was last year . . . but because of Bono’s injury, my gift couldn’t be ‘cashed in’ until I turned seventy-one. And now I can cross that off my bucket list. Yes, it was my first rock concert. . and quite probably my last.

We knew the weather forecast, so all four of us (P., his wife, his mother, and his sister) carried raincoats, despite the heat and humidity of the evening. We'd read that the concert would NOT be cancelled due to weather, but little did we know that a huge downpour would begin at 9:10 p.m. (ten minutes after the concert began) and not let up until 11:20 p.m., just as U-2 left the stage and the final applause began to peter out. It's probably just as well we didn't foresee how the rain would soak us . . . through raincoats and clothing . . . how even our underwear and socks got wet! Did we care? Not really.

Below are FAQs  from friends and acquaintances, beginning with my seatmate on the airplane home:
  • Did I like it? Yes! (in the words of a younger person, "OMG, what was not to like?")
  • Was it too loud? No. I was wearing ear protection, of course, but several times during the course of two and a half hours, I sneaked a “listen” without the protection. It was glorious, actually. 
  • Was the crowd wild? No. Mellow would better describe the audience. (It probably helped that the U. of Minnesota stadium forbids the sale of alcohol inside the stadium.)
  • Was the music spectacular? Yes. Moving? Absolutely. Isn’t U-2 music always moving? It gets me in the gut.
  • Had I ever before stood willingly in a torrential rainstorm for more than two hours? No.
  • Am I sorry it rained? No. The concert was worth it, and the rain made it all the more memorable. And, I’m quite sure relatively few of the thousands left early.
  • Did Bono get rained on? Of course! His stars-and-stripes umbrella helped a little, but his hallmark leather jacket and trousers must have been soaked through.
  • How about The Edge? Yes, drenched! Bassist Adam Clayton took off his shirt—one way to solve the problem of being soaked to the skin. Only Larry, the drummer, stayed relatively dry under the ingenious umbrella, part of the stage design.
  • Did Bono acknowledge the rain? Subtly—snippets of Singin’ in the Rain, Purple Rain, and Raindrops Keep Falling appeared inside U-2s repertoire.
  • How long did it take to get back to P.'s house? More than two hours.
  • Did it rain all the way home? No. But it was muddy. We walked a couple miles through construction on campus and city streets toward town (we’d taxied from downtown to the stadium) where we'd parked the car. Eventually, P. ran ahead another mile-plus to get the car, then doubled back to pick us up.
  • Will I ever forget this event? Never! Not unless senility gets the best of me.
I cannot thank my son enough for the privilege of this evening. I absolutely loved it.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful time! So glad you enjoyed it!! --Jan

Pete (son) said...

I'm so glad you came and enjoyed it. My 10th time seeing it but probably the best as i was with the best group - wife, mom and sister - all that was missing was my kids. I wonder what show they will bring me to on my 70th?

Anonymous said...

Sally, that is so cool that you went to this! I can only hope that my kids take me to something like that when I'm 70. Great picture too.