One of the fan-gatherings on this odyssey I’d been looking most forward to was in Seattle. A very popular U2 Tribute band from San Francisco called ZooStation was playing at a small pub called the Owl & Thistle the night before the show (as well as immediately after the show). I don’t know why more cities don’t have a tribute band in the nights surrounding U2 shows – it’s the best time to bring them in, and there certainly are quite a few of them around. Through my memberships on U2 websites like Interference and @U2, as well as my followers on Twitter, I’d been looking forward to meeting quite a few fans that night as well.
After a lot of Irish Courage (in the form of Guinness and very very generous shots of Jameson) I asked Bonalmost if I may introduce someone special to me, and he was a brave man to let me have the mic. I introduced the room to my friend Cheryl, who is the stuff of legend, as she actually met my teenage idol – Joshua Tree Edge. She is also in Rattle & Hum, if you look closely during “Pride”, you will see a girl just off front row centre with a white balloon. That is her, and I was thrilled to spend more time with her that night after having first met her in Vancouver in 2009, we’d kept in touch ever since. She is also the one I’d mentioned in my feed from Winnipeg when they started playing “Pride”. Every time I hear them play it, I can’t help but think of her. It’s exactly that sort of lasting friendship that makes this crazy “following U2″ thing that I do worthwhile.
Even though I enjoyed perhaps a bit too much Irish cheer, I helped to avert a small crisis in the form of a malfunctioning guitar during Bad. I don’t know what it is, but when I’m in the room it seems like Bad gets screwed up (see the first few notes of Chicago 1, 2009 for the other famous time it happened). I let ZooStation Edge know that we couldn’t hear his guitar, and because they were using equipment he wasn’t used to he wasn’t able to hear it in his monitor. Even though I hardly had a hand in fixing it myself, I was amused for the rest of the night as everyone started calling me Dallas Schoo… I really hope I get the chance to hear Bad this summer as it is my favourite song – I’ll even be all right if it sounds a bit screwy…
The setlists over the two nights were amazing – and funnily enough the song that absolutely slayed me was “Rejoice”. I don’t know what it was about that opening riff but that night it just packed this amazing baby-U2 punch that really got us going. It’s the song that a lot of people confuse for “Scarlet” (as the lyrics to Scarlet are simply rejoice rejoice rejoice rejoice which Bono still manages to forget) but it’s nothing like it. “Scarlet” is of course in the current U2360 set – it’s a Joy Division Atmosphere-esque piece of beauty, but “Rejoice” is a hidden gem on October with a great punky riff by our Edge. If you can get past giggling about those hot red trousers, you’ll see what fun this one can be live.
The night soon degenerated into me doing a big bombastic round of “Discotheque” Boom Cha’s on my chair, drunk photos of myself and The Sledge, Bonogirl and I trading headwear and sunglasses with Bonalmost and The Sledge, bribes in the form of Jameson shots to hear “Running To Stand Still” and epic bouts of 80′s dancing .
The band were great guys, and massive U2 fans, and another amusing part of the weekend was that I’d run into The Sledge the next day not only outside the Hotel Fabulous, but also at the U2 show. I of course can’t run into ACTUAL Edge, so I think The Sledge is actually stalking ME.
I returned to the Owl & Thistle after the show, and even though I knew I had to get up at 5am to pack and catch the train to Vancouver to fly home (yeah, I know, I lied. I actually DID travel by train…) I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I joined my friend Heather from Edmonton, Me & U2 Cathal and our new best pal, “Yorkshire Dave”. Cathal and Dave had seen the last 5 and they were most certainly dismayed over hearing the same set for all of them, and ZooStation was the perfect antidote. To those who love this band and bypass a quality U2 Tribute because “it’s not the same”, you really need to see what you’re missing. Because, you really still haven’t found what you’re looking for until you do.
(Sorry if this post appears a bit disjointed. It is currently 5am and I am sitting in the Regina airport waiting for my flight to the US to start this thing again in East Lansing on Sunday… more soon!)