Back in the Nineties I’d been to a few TV studio recordings to see bands that I liked; such as Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, The Wonder Stuff and The Mission, appear on TFI Friday, The Word and Rock Steady. I loved those bands and I frequently saw them in club sized venues. U2 on the other hand have always been huge and they have always been my favourite band, they don’t small gigs really do they?
So it was with great excitement late on Thursday night they I discovered that I had won a place in the U2 TFI Friday Ballot for myself and a friend and I was going to have to change a few plans for the next day and get to London.
My friend and I arrived at the studios quite early and after checking off names and ID, we were given purple wristbands and told to come back by 7pm, off to the pub it was then although only for one as I didn’t want to have to find a toilet during a live TV Broadcast. When we reached the pub we found a few more people who were going that had red wristbands, what did the colours mean we wondered?
When we got back to the outside the studio and met up with Bigwave and a few other U2 fans, we discovered that they all had purple wristbands on too .The door staff told us that we should join the back of the long queue but also that we would all be called up early to enter as we were the completion winners, These purple bands gave us priority.. After a bit of confusion from the stewards we were called up early and we went in to the studio and managed to grab spots all around the stage, wow that was a tiny stage.
After some introductions from the warm up guy and lots of TV crew running around the place, at 8pm U2 appeared silently on the stage in front of us and the show’s familiar theme music played out as we watched the titles on a huge monitor. Chris Evans said a few words, we all cheered , cameras moved through the air, the band started up and before I knew it I had Bono two feet away from me live on TV and I was singing my heart out to Raised By Wolves and wondering if I looked like an idiot grinning away on everyone’s TV. The four minutes of the song flew by and we were soon being shuffled backwards so that the catwalk stage could be removed.
A couple of other bands played: Slaves were one of them, they were impressive , I saw Bono keenly watching them from the guest balcony, a lot of other musicians of his standing probably wouldn’t have been doing that . Take That were another of the support bands, they played one song, they have never been my cup of tea but their more recent work has caught my ear as being credible competent pop musicians, so far from how they were twenty three years ago though. U2 were interviewed upstairs although I will have to watch my TV recording to find out what they said as it was quite noisy in the studio.
Fifty minutes after it all started , the TV crew were moving us around a bit and U2’s catwalk stage extension was brought back , no mean feat by the crew as they did this in a huge crowd with little spare time. The lads came back on and we were treated Vertigo during which I became aware that it was nearly 9pm and show finish time. U2 stayed on stage, the cameras carried on rolling and we had Song For Someone and Out Of Control, all for the extended Saturday night edition of the show.
It was an amazing night, I never ever dreamed that I would get to see U2 play a “gig” this small , I never thought I would be a couple of feet away from them , I still can’t really believed that it happened , Thank you U2 TFI Friday and Zootopia for making this happen , I hope that they can give us fans the chance to do something again.