We need new dreams tonight......
I was big fan of TFI Friday back in the '90s and had attended a couple of recordings and also appeared on one show. When Chris Evans announced the shows return for a 10 week run, I suspected that U2 would appear on one of the shows. I'd already applied for tickets for every show (but one) of the series. When it was announced that U2 would play on the show last Friday, there were various discussions I saw on the web about the show. Most were about the (non) availability of tickets and the location. Nobody seemed to know where it would be broadcast from, as the previously used studios in Hammersmith had been demolished.
I shared the information that I knew regarding the studio location in Holborn. As I'd found it only mentioned in one article on the web. The interaction with other fans continued for a couple of days. I telephoned the audience company to check on the progress of my ticket application and was told that I had been unsuccessful for this particular show.
10 mins later I saw the Zootopia tweet that said about the possibility of winning a ticket to the show. I applied at once and was surprised to see that I was the first to enter.
I went down to the theatre on Thursday afternoon to check on the exact location, as it was only 10 mins from my work. I was surprised that I was the only fan there. 5 minutes after I arrived I watched the bands gear arrive from Belgium and spoke with Jake, Sam, Dallas and Willie.
I tweeted some pictures of the studio and the bands equipment and also posted some to Facebook.
On my journey home I checked how many others had entered the competition. Surprisingly there were only 25 entrants. With 15 mins left before the draw closed, I messaged Phil Chambers and Alisha O'Brien and suggested they might also enter? As they had both messaged me earlier about the availability of tickets.
When I got Bigwave's message on Thursday evening to say that I was one of the nine winners, I was made up.
I could see from the winners names that Alisha had also won, but not Phil. So I messaged Phil to let him know I had won and asked him if he'd like to be my +1.
It was great to meet up with the other Zootopians at the theatre and some of us met Adam as he arrived and got out of his car and came to say hello.
It was also good to chat with Bigwave and discuss the shows we had been to on this and previous shows. He re-tweeted some of my pictures I had taken on the day and the day before at the venue from the @U2Community account.
I'm pleased to say that there was a great spirit amongst the U2 fans that were there and I'm very happy that all of the fans that I met outside who'd turned up without tickets, were able to still get in.
Inside the TV studio we were put directly in front of the stage, as it obviously makes good TV to have excited fans right next to the band on stage. As other fans have already said, we were close enough to see the sweat on the bands faces and even reach out and touch Bono.
The stage crew were amazing, as they swapped the equipment around for all 4 acts in the show with remarkable speed. We had been told not to take any pictures during the show. Everyone adhered to this during the live broadcast. As soon as the band started to play Song For Someone I saw that some people were taking pictures, so I took a few myself.
I did consider making my debut Periscope broadcast, then thought better of it. Instead I hit record button as the band cracked into Out Of Control. After the band had left the stage we all filed out. By the time we had got round to the backstage entrance I had uploaded my clip to You Tube.
To sum up the whole amazing experience. I would say that it took me back to the days of being alongside the B stage at several Zoo TV gigs. Since then, I've never been close than I was on Friday night. To see the band in front of an audience of no more than 200 people was a definite once in a lifetime moment. The only other show that has ever come close to that for me was The Astoria on the ATYCLB promo tour.
Thanks again to the band, U2.com and Bigwave for giving us the opportunity to be there.
Bring on the 6 night stand at The O2.... with my 50th birthday on night 4.