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U2 Can Make Memories from a Negative Experience

Twenty years ago Shelly and I went to our first concert together – U2 at the SkyDome in Toronto. And last week the iconic band, U2, kicked off their Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary tour here in Vancouver. We anti’d up some serious coin to get seats – like $350 of coin for the upper bowl! Hey, I’ll never begrudge anyone – minimalist or otherwise – who wants to spend money on an experience, even if it turns out to be a negative experience, like ours.

Van City was abuzz on a Friday afternoon, with patios at capacity due to a seldom-seen sunny day. We met up with a friend for happy hour and after some food and a couple of pints we were on our way to line-up for some much anticipated Mumford and Sons, who opened for U2. Now, Mumford and Sons are headliners themselves, and there are a few songs we truly wanted to hear, but to our dismay we were stuck in a four kilometre lineup (that’s 2.5 miles) outside the stadium, forced to listen to Mumford and Sons play to a near-empty stadium. Here’s an article on the epic mess BC Place was for entering the show.

Luckily we got to our seats in time to see/hear Mumford and Sons perform I Will Wait, which was awesome, because it’s kind of an anthem song for Shelly and I. Seemingly the last people to reach our calm and mellow section, we stood and jumped and danced to this song like nobody else was around. Oddly, we were the only people in our section on our feet, arms in the air, jumping and bouncing to the beat. Seriously, our entire section remained seated. Was this a concert, or an episode of Punk’d where Ashton Kutcher comes out and says to us “That wasn’t even Mumford and Sons, those were former Power Rangers looking for work”!?!

Mumford and Sons played one more lesser-known tune to finish their set, then the wait for U2 began. We waited patiently. We chatted up the people beside us. We did the wave. Then U2 appeared. We rocked to Sunday Bloody Sunday to start the show…and it was mostly downhill from there.

They played their Joshua Tree album to varying degrees of excitement and enthusiasm – both from the crowd and band itself. The video screen was non-existent for the first quarter of the show, taking away from any possibility of seeing the band on said screen. And the acoustics, well, that’s probably what made this a negative experience overall (we can look past a 57 year old Bono screwing up lyrics numerous times). I don’t blame U2 for the acoustics, it’s the stadium (even though they practiced at that venue for over a week). From what I’ve read/heard, floor seats had better acoustics, and BC Place isn’t known for great sound. Note to self…don’t perform to sold out BC Place.

So, after U2’s first encore, which consisted of a couple hits from other albums, we split to beat the crowd.

As much as this expensive evening was a negative experience, I won’t REALLY look at it that way – it was a MEMORABLE experience! While the outside line-up was a frustration and extremely confusing, we all laughed about it while we sauntered like cattle to get past the gates, often joking about the lack of people inside!

If there was one song we wanted to hear from Mumford and Sons, it was I Will Wait. And we heard it – and rocked out to it like nobody else in our section could!

And so what if the acoustics sounded worse than Roseanne Barr singing the National Anthem. Now we have a baseline for all concerts going forward…“Well, those alley cats having sex sound WAY better than U2 at BC Place”!

We’d have loved for it to have been smooth sailing for the entire show, but maybe it would have been just another ordinary concert without any iconic moments for us to pinpoint and remember fondly when we turn 57 and can’t remember song lyrics.

A negative experience isn’t always as bad as it seems, it’s often a matter of perspective, or at least having the ability to pull out a positive – even in the most seemingly negative experience.

Now go sell all your stuff and find something great about a negative experience!


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