Now that the sleep deprivation is subsiding....
Time changes suck. Well, they probably wouldn't suck so much if I had still gotten some sleep while I was out there. I was up for over 24 hours Wednesday then only got 3 hours of sleep from Friday into Saturday...partying like the hidden rockstar I am gets exhausting. So much fun, so little time.
My flights were wonderfully uneventful. I got to visit with my friend Von during my short DFW layover on the way down. It was so great to see him. He brought me some lunch and we sat on a bench just outside the baggage claim area and quickly caught up with each other. I then spent the flight from DFW to Phoenix perched at the window watching the landscape changes. Crop circles and rocky mountains that flew up out of nowhere. Beautiful.
I landed in Phoenix with a wall of heat in my face. It was somewhere in the 30's when I boarded the plane in Boston so the drastic change wiped me out. I managed to find my friends, Sweet P and Sonny, who had landed just about an hour before me. We got hooked up with the rental then made our way to the resort. Our condo was a one bedroom on the second floor. It had a balcony that overlooked the 10th hole of the golf course. We had a living room, full kitchen and beautiful bath. Very nice.
We lounged around most of the afternoon getting adjusted then hit the Outback for dinner. After dinner we went to the Albertson's to get some supplies and food then went back to the resort to chill. We sat up talking, laughing and reconnecting until about 2am Phoenix time. I had gotten up at 4:30 New Hampshire time so I was WAY beyond the 24 hour point when I hit the fold-out couch.
Thursday Sweet P played 18 holes while we hit the malls. Huge. The malls went on forever and ever. I decided I'd done enough walking that I didn't need to do a workout in the fitness center. I glanced at my watch at one point and panicked. It was quarter of 5 and Sweet P had wanted to leave the resort around 6 for the show. Something about trying to find the band's bus. We changed clothes and were on the road to Glendale around 6:30.
We made our way to our seats and can I just say HOLY SMOKES! Our section was just to the right of the stage in the lower level. I was in row 12 and my friends were in 13 directly behind me but we were basically at even level with the stage. Bono and the boys were essentially 100 feet or so from us. They had to have heard me screaming my blood block off at them.
The show was, as Sweet P's friend Scout put it: PHENOMENAL!
The lights went down and as the crowd roared, these people with enormous spotlights came up from underneath and were shining it around the arena at the crowd. At first it seemed like it was just random people but it was actually the band which was so cool. They made their way to their places then the lights came up and Bono and LMJr were at the front of the outer circle. LMJr whaled on just a large tom-tom while the Edge and AC were back on the main stage. I wish I could find some shots on their website of the stage layout but they don't have the new set up on their site yet.
For the next few songs, they mixed a lot of the old with the new: Vertigo and Elevation along with Electric Co and An Cat Dubh then City of Blinding Lights with Beautiful Day and Miracle Drug. Completely Rocking!
After slowing it down a bit for Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, they started a string of 7 classics: New Year’s Day, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet The Blue Sky, Running to Stand Still, Pride in the name of love, Where the Streets Have No Name, and ended it with One just before the first "break". I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say that I was teary-eyed by the time they left the stage. It was incredible.
When they came back out after that break they continued their streak with three more top-notch tunes: Zoo Station, The Fly, and Mysterious Ways.
After taking another bow and leaving the stage, they came out and closed the show with All Because of You, Yahweh, finishing with the return of "40" with the crowd closing the show singing "How long to sing this song" just as they did so long ago at Red Rock.
The staging was fabulous so that they were seen from every angle and they had drapes of lights that rolled down at certain points to add graphics. Very cool.
Just before they did One, Bono had everyone flip open their cellphones and had the techs shut off the lights and the arena was basically lit up by the phones. It was really a cool moment. I won't get into the politics of the speech that went along with it. If you're interested, click on the new banner in the header.
All in all, the experience was really out-of-body and beyond anything that I could ever put into words. It was like a pilgrimage of sorts. Not that I wouldn't see them again, but it was like I was finally where I belonged, at least for a couple of hours.
Friday was spent lounging around and hitting the malls again while Sweet P played another round of golf. Later in the afternoon I walked around the resort to take pictures. As I passed through the lounge I noticed that the pro shop was open so I decided to pop in there to maybe get myself a little momento. As I stood in line to pay, I realized that the clerk working the desk looked really familiar to me but I know that I don't know anyone that lives in Phoenix. I kept staring at him and thankfully he was busy waiting on the people in front of me in line so as to not notice my unyielding stare. As he finished with the first person in line and moved on to the people that were just in front of me I realized who it was: The husband from the second Dr Phil Family! I didn't make like I recognized him as I didn't want to embarrass him but it was funny that I figured it out.
Then Friday night we went out to dinner at this really awesome Italian place in Scottsdale then hit a bar there to see a really great U2 cover band called Zoo Station. Though obviously not as good as the real thing the night before, we really had a blast rocking out with them and singing along with them. Their guitarist is really excellent. We stayed out until almost 2 then got a bit lost on the ride home (my first time driving the entire trip) and I didn't get to bed until after 3. The alarm at 6:30 came way too early for me.
Saturday was spent flying and visiting with another friend and his family.
All in all, the trip completely exceeded my expectations, dreams and wishes. Memorable isn't even the word for it. I gave my e-mail address to the woman sitting next to me at the show so she could send me pictures that she took. If she sends them, I'll post them. Promise.