"It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get where you wanna go as long as you get there in the end" -Bono, Manila, December 2019
Bono's quote back in December perfectly summed up my thoughts on my trip to Australia in November. My journey there was a 30 year bucket list dream that finally came to fruition. I will save you from the holiday slideshow; but if you do want to see some of those photos, I have posted some in the Amazing Pictures thread in the Adam Folder.
Apologies in advance to those who have heard this before, but my best friend and I became friends when we worked at a movie theater when Rattle and Hum came out in 1988. We would always take our breaks together and go sit in on the movie whenever we could, usually during "Streets" or "Bad". In retrospect, it's a bit funny because prior to the movie being released, I thought she disliked me and vice versa; but through the love of that film, we formed a lifelong friendship. In full fan mode, we searched out any and everything we could and the next year, saw the "U2: Love Town" documentary about U2 in Australia on the LoveTown Tour. We decided then that we would one day hopefully make it to Australia to see the band there. Over the next 30 years, life happened; but when the tour was announced in 2019, we decided this was our "now or never" moment to make that dream come true. She had just turned 50, I'm not far behind and have, with my husband, successfully raised our kids to the self sufficient stage. So we took off on our musical journey, picking up several of our friends along the way, all of whom we became friends with right here in Zootopia, and the show in Melbourne became the night our bucket list dream came true.
The Melbourne show felt like I was home again. Something I still have not been about to pinpoint is that for me, the shows on the 2019 tour seem more complete or polished than the ones on the 2017 tour. I can't explain what or why that is, maybe it had more to do with me. Sadly, due to circumstances, it was not my favorite show. I will just leave it at I will never in my life understand why people go to concerts and get so intoxicated that they will never even remember the show the next day. Despite that, the actual show was great and it was good to see the band in full force.
Not wanting to make the trip solely about U2, we made sure we had time to see some of the beautiful country that Australia is. After our few days in Melbourne and the Melbourne show, we took off. We traveled the Great Ocean Road, then moved on to Sydney for a few more days of sightseeing parts of the city, The Blue Mountains and one of the wildlife preserves.
One thing that we got to do while we were in Sydney was to attend The U2 Conference. If you have never heard of the U2 Conference or not sure exactly what it is, it is educational and lots of fun and I highly recommend going to one if you ever get the chance. The U2 Conference was created by Scott Calhoun and the Sydney one was the 4th one ever and was organized by Naomi Dinnen and they did a great job putting it all together. This particular one was a day of exploring some of Bono's lyrics and their relation to the Psalms, dissecting the sonic construction of "Mofo", having a look at tattoos that were inspired by The Joshua Tree with Beth Nabi's U2 Tattoo Project, looking at touring statistics (which I was amused that my one hometown show made one of the slides as one of the places in the US that they have ever been just once) with Andre Brett, U2gigs very own Ax, and getting to listen to some very special guest speakers.
The first guest speaker was The Edge's guitar tech, Dallas Schoo. I have always adored Dallas from watching him do the pre-gig guitar checks and seeing how he connects with the fans too. (I have often wondered if other bands' fans connect with their roadies like U2 fans do.) He's relaxed, he's funny, he's professional and he has a book's worth of stories. He talked to us for about an hour and I could have listened to his stories all day...and he probably could have talked all day too. Most of the stories he told, I feel he told with a sense of "what gets told in this room stays in this room", so I don't feel like I can really share most of what he said, but I can say that I will never hear Mister Mister again and not think about how U2 "stole" Dallas from them.
The second guest speaker of day was Richard Lowenstein, director of "U2: Love Town" and most recently, the "Mystify: Michael Hutchence", both of which we got screenings at the conference. He also had some great stories surrounding his relationship with the band, especially during the time that he was working on the Love Town documentary. He did a formal 'meet and greet' before the screening of "Mystify: Michael Hutchence" and autographed movie one-sheets. As I said earlier, one of the reasons I had wanted to go to Australia was from seeing his documentary "U2: Love Town" in 1989. I was able to chat a bit with him and tell him that it was his documentary that started the spark of the dream.
Sydney 1 and 2 were some of the most epic U2 shows I have ever seen. Sydney 1 had quite the rain shower before the show, which locals assured us that Michael (Hutchence) was making his presence known. Stories have it that after Michael passed away and U2 were there for one of their tours and Bono was singing MLK and it started raining as he sang the lyrics "let it rain" and it was Michael letting Bono know he was there in spirit. The story seemed plausible since Sydney 1 was the 22nd anniversary of Michael's death. The rain did subside before the band hit the stage, and the band and the fans who loved Michael felt something very special that night. I do feel like Bono was singing his heart out for Sydney and for Michael. The show was especially powerful and emotionally charged and the tribute to Michael with "Stuck in a Moment" was heartbreaking.
Sydney 2 had the same energy and fire to it. The band was in amazing form and seemed relaxed and happy to be there; and the songs sounded wonderful and I was completely lost in moment. Everyone that knows me, knows I'm a crier at shows and oh how I cried at that show. I cried because I still couldn't grasp that I was actually in Australia seeing them. I cried because it was my final show for the tour, the last time I would ever hear The Joshua Tree played in full, the last time I'd hear Red Hill Mining Town live, fully realizing that I had heard it 6 times more times between 2017 and 2019 than I ever in my life thought I would. I cried because I didn't know if/when I'll ever see them again. Most of all, I cried because I made a dream come true. It took me a long time to get there, but I got there in the end.