I think that personal stories on big arena concerts often smack of "nyah nyah, I got to go and you didn't..." so I'm going to do my best to avoid that. As my friend told me today, "I'm seeing all the traffic on Facebook today about U2 and it sort of disgusts me..." I get it.
BUT I have to tell you a couple of funny things that happened... not on the way to the Forum, but at least at the Rose Bowl. (Corny... sorry....)
So, me and 96,000 of my BFF's went to The Concert. It wasn't Woodstock, but oh baby, it was pretty great. Stupendous, actually. All the hype about the staging and how it makes the crowd feel like they are each having their own intimate concert experience with the band... well, it's true. My last arena concert experience was, um, before you were probably born -- I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd, Peter Frampton and Santana at the Oakland Coliseum at a "Day on the Green" concert in 1977.
(My friend and I were most likely the only sober people there that day. Crazy time but unforgettable concert. Freebird for half an hour, Oye Como Va when it wasn't old school, Peter Frampton making his guitar talk.... ah, the seventies....)
Given that I hadn't seen a huge concert for over 30 years, I was easy to impress, right? Sure, you could say that, but oh my goodness, the whole night was impressive. Admittedly, I sat for much of the Black-Eyed Peas. I knew they'd play Let's Get It Started. Wut wut bomb diggety. Fergie does her little sexy dance moves thing and I was very ho hum about it, as were most around me.
But I'm not gonna lie to you -- when they brought out Slash and sang Guns 'n Roses' Sweet Child of Mine, I was standing and singing loud with everyone else. It was a rush. Flat out entertaining and fun.
But nothing beat U2. I run out of superlatives. Just a couple of funny observations...
- I found it odd and hilarious that the U2 360 was presented by Blackberry, and um, there was no cell coverage the whole night, and limited texting. Granted, with jillions of people there, all devoted cell phone users, that must have maxed out all the little antennas in the greater LA basin. But Blackberry was not terribly impressive as a result. They handed out freebies and told every Blackberry user (me being one of them) that I could download the entire new U2 album onto my phone. So what, if I can't even make a phone call for 10 hours, let alone check email or find my other friends at the concert.
- The night was Celebrity Central - no surprise. We're in LA. Duh. Cindy Crawford walked down our row and did the "excuse me excuse me" thing past us to get to the floor. That was a trip, mostly because of the reaction that created in every man within 10 seats of us. Ridiculous. But it gets crazier.... not only did we have stellar seats (thank you Ruth!!) four rows from the floor, we managed to sit next to (yes, I really mean, NEXT TO) the one tunnel of the 38 Rose Bowl tunnels through which all the celebs would use to enter the concert after they had a little personal meeting with the band. So right before the show starts, David Beckham passed about 10 yards away from us. Then Barbra Streisand. Then Rick Warren! My friend Ruth yells out, "Hey Rick! Thanks for all that you do!" He smiles at us, says thanks and waves. And not two minutes later, he walks up the steps (our seats are at the top of these 10 or so steps) and asks, "What section is this? I'm trying to find my seats." He was with his son. We tell him, then Ruth says, "Hey, we both love Jesus and we heard you speak at the last Urbana." I'm just nodding my head like an idiot. Overly starstruck at this point by the parade that has just passed us. Rick cracks a big smile and says, "Then let's take a picture!!" We both had our cameras out -- his son says, "I'll take 'em!" They were incredibly fun and nice about it. So yes... I did not meet Rick Warren at a pastors' conference, or any such spiritual thing. I met Rick at U2....
- My favorite line of his was after we took the photo he said, "Just think... I hugged Bono 4 minutes ago, and now you're hugging me. Ain't that great!?"