My U2 360 Moment

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@U2 Staffers Remember the U2 360 Tour

Talk about an impossible task! Take 25 months of touring, 110 concerts, countless memories and ... pick just one?!?

Are you kidding?? Nope. That's what we asked the @U2 staff to do.

See, we were chatting internally about how best to sum up the U2 360 tour. Sure, we could post an article with some of the amazing statistics that 360 generated -- 7 gajillion tickets sold, $$700 bazillion in ticket sales and on and on and on. But then we thought: Is that really how we'll remember U2 360?

No.

U2 360, like U2 tours before it, isn't about cold hard stats, or numbers in a spreadsheet. It's about what you feel inside. It's about that one moment you'll remember forever. You know you have one. You're probably thinking about it now. Some of our staffers have been thinking about it, too. Here's how they described My U2 360 Moment ...

U2 at Giants Stadium

I only saw one 360 show: Chicago 1, nearly two years ago. While that was a fine concert, it did not contain My 360 Moment. That happened Aug. 6, 2010, and it happened online. This was the night of Bono's return to the stage in Turin following his frightening back surgery and several grueling months of recovery. The entire U2 online community held its collective breath for Bono while we searched for live streams and scanned Twitter for updates as showtime approached. Was he going to be okay? He was better than ever. Redesigned and rebooted by German technology and cheered on by ecstatic Italians, Bono pranced down the catwalk to a peppy instrumental no one had heard before. It was as if the being that inhabits the body known as Bono had been given a brand-new container in which to exist, and he was gleefully putting it through its paces the way a teenage boy might test drive a sleek, black Mercedes with a star on its hood. I've watched this triumphant 35-second sequence countless times: the strutting, the grinning, the "We're Off To See The Wizard" skipping, the justifiable demands for applause, the one dance move of his that I truly enjoy (side-to-side pseudo-boxing), the hilariously random bird-flipping. When he sings "Torrr-EEEEEEEEEEEE-nooooooooooo!" it's the most joyful noise I've ever heard. That was when the entire U2 online community exhaled. — Kelly Eddington

Sept. 20, 2009. Gillette Stadium. Foxboro, Mass. 10:09 p.m. U2 have just finished playing "The Unforgettable Fire," the already giant video screen has expanded (to this day it still boggles my mind) and the intro to "City Of Blinding Lights" has begun. A shiver rolls down my spine as I realize I'm about to witness something special. Larry's drumming propels the song through to the second part of the introduction, and as Edge's slide guitar starts to wail, spotlights atop The Claw beam UP into the black of the night sky. Not surprisingly, the lights and video up to this point in the concert have been superb. But they've been reserved for the audience in the venue. The intro to "COBL," however, is something entirely different. For the first time in the show, lights shine UPWARD out of the stadium like a beacon, letting everyone else in the world know that something special is happening. And the color choice for this moment is brilliant: Instead of one dominant color, it's the entire spectrum, as if a prism exploded into an intense, inviting emanation of color from the heart of the "spaceship." It is so much more than "just" lights accompanying music. It is absolutely breathtaking. — Christopher Endrinal

My U2 360 journey began in Berlin in July 2009 and ended in New York in July 2011. Over those two years I saw 11 shows, and while there were certainly many great times, the standout moments for me were the Dublin shows in July 2009 and the Gothenburg show a couple of days later, both for very different reasons. After going through the whole GA experience in Berlin, I was able to relax a bit for the Dublin shows. I didn't have to concern myself with GA lines or how to get to and from the venue but could just take in the buzz that was around the city that weekend. And that buzz was everywhere, from bars and restaurants in the city welcoming U2 fans from all over the world, to colleagues in my office -- who normally wouldn't pay any attention to U2 -- talking about the shows. I even got calls from family members asking me if I knew of any tickets for sale! My other U2 360 moment came in Gothenburg when "Electrical Storm" was played for the third time on the tour (Barcelona and Milan were treated to it prior to that). It was always one of my favorite rare U2 songs, and when they started to play it, for that split second, I thought, "I don't recognize this song" (shocking!). It was a treat for me to hear it live, and will always be something I will remember about that show! — Carol Foster

"Zooropa," Minneapolis, July 23, 2011. Coming into my final 360 show I knew I was going to have a fantastic time; I always do. Yet as I made the 400-mile-plus drive, I began to question if it was really necessary to see so many shows. How many were enough? Walking into the stadium feeling guilty with doubt, I had no idea those feelings would be permanently set aside forever. Anyone at the Minneapolis show will tell you about the pouring rain that fueled the crowd's energy as U2 performed song after song, seemingly having as much fun as we were. My doubts from earlier easily slipped away as the rain poured heavier and heavier and thunder and lightning shook from above. When the honeycomb screens descended as the opening notes of "Zooropa" filled the air, I had a moment of clarity: There are never enough U2 shows! Watching 60,000 rain-soaked fans sing and dance along with me only solidified and removed any doubt that U2 truly is the greatest band. — Jessica Guadiano

"Space Oddity ends," the last puffs of smoke rise from The Claw, and the opening riff from "Return of the Stingray Guitar" chimes out. Edge was on fire, Larry grimaced and Adam looked cool -- nothing unusual for a U2 show! Then Bono appeared, strutting his stuff like I've never seen. He bounced, leaped, skipped and ran around the outer circle like a man possessed. I held my breath. Just what in the world was he thinking?? Around me, 50,000 U2 fans I swear did the same. In May 2010 the news broke: Bono had hurt his back. Shows in the U.S. were postponed and a "cautious" view was expressed that Bono would be fit for the next set of European shows. I was worried. What did this mean for Bono? What could it mean for U2? Would they be able to tour again? Would I ever get to see U2 play again? It sounded serious. Aug. 6, 2010, Stadio Olimpico, Turin, and the opening two minutes of "Stingray" is My 360 Moment. Bono was back ('scuse the pun!). Thankfully, due to some nifty German engineering, Bono had recovered and everyone could see the joy he felt performing with his friends at a U2 show ! All my worries and concerns started to drift away -- he was OK -- and the opportunity for future U2 shows was still there. A simply great moment for me. — Kenny Irwin

I had the privilege of seeing the U2 360 tour five times, but thanks to the online fan community I experienced most of the tour in real-time. No matter where U2 was performing, fans around the globe generously brought the shows to us through audio and video streams, Twitter feeds and other social media. It did not matter where you were -- you could be at the Rose Bowl live via YouTube, Moscow via UStream, Buenos Aires via someone's webcam, or Raleigh via 1000mikes. Each tour over the past decade saw the rise of new technology: The Elevation tour was the first time people used their cell phones to call friends to let them listen in. The Vertigo tour saw people using their phones for shooting photos and video. U2 360 brought streaming audio/video and faster Internet connections (for those who had coverage). Fans embraced the technology so they could share with the world the powerful message U2 brought to the stage each night. This tour seemed to transcend space and time as it did not matter if you were in space or on Earth, you could be at a U2 show. Seven million attended in person, but millions more came night after night. Those nights spent in global communion were some of the best times I've had experiencing a U2 concert. — Sherry Lawrence

I shouldn't like U2 concerts, because I don't like big crowds of people. I'm not agoraphobic, but I much prefer a little breathing space, quiet and people not sloshing beer on me. For U2, of course, I can put aside crowd-control issues. Still, I was a little wary of my first U2 stadium show, which also turned out to be my first non-U.S. show, in Cardiff, Wales, in August 2009. The rush came as soon as the band walked out: I experienced the true, heartfelt roar of a crowd. I'd never heard anything like it -- the most welcoming, pulsating thunder that never stopped, not once, throughout the entire concert. The surge abated somewhat during slower songs, but the jubilant crowd never relented, and I didn't want them to. We were loud and exuberant; U2 were even louder and more exuberant. Corny U2 lyric reference coming: We were One, even through we were 66,538. — Karen Lindell

What do you get when you combine the biggest band on the planet, a jet-lagged fan alone in Europe, and an intoxicated Irishman? You get my experience seeing 360 in Seville on Sept. 30, 2010. After flying into Spain the morning of the show, I rushed to the stadium, surviving on the adrenaline of seeing U2 in Europe for the first time. Hearing "North Star" and "Ultraviolet" under a beautiful Spanish sky was a dream. When the show ended, the dream became a nightmare when my terrified non-Spanish-speaking self couldn't get a taxi back to my hotel. Insert Gerry from Ireland, an older man I found at the bus stand. He was trying to leave the concert, too, and was a little drunk. We formed an odd pair and killed time walking around Seville, waiting for the crowd to disperse. He bought me a Heineken and we exchanged details of our lives. In the end, he was my knight in Irish armor for boldly asking a stranger to drive us back to our hotels for 30 euros. As I walked into my room at 3 a.m., my fear of being alone in Europe vanished. The rest of my vacation was incredible. Thank you, U2, for bringing Gerry and I together. Gerry, if you're reading this, thank you for making this American girl recognize the kindness of strangers. — Jill Marino

Seeing U2 live in their home country was one of the goals I had set for my life, and in 2009 it was finally going to happen. It was amazing to see how the whole city of Dublin lived and breathed U2 in the week around the shows. Their music was everywhere, tribute bands played pubs and fans in U2 T-shirts could be seen wherever you looked. The hostel I stayed in was practically around the corner from Croke Park, and from the entrance one could see the tip of the spire protruding from the stadium. I was wondering if I'd be the only fan at the hostel, but of course about 99 percent of the guests were going to the show. I made some new friends there, and also met up with some @U2 fans through the forum. Having a nice pint of beer with your fellow fans, with a U2 DVD playing in the background, made for a great pre-show atmosphere. Then, finally, the shows themselves. Energetic as always, but visibly happy to be home, U2 delivered, with "The Auld Triangle" as a fun surprise. Bono commented on how many people from abroad had come to see the band, and was delighted with all the exotic attention. After the shows it was amazing to see the thousands of fans walking to Temple Bar, crowding the streets and invading the pubs and bars. U2 live in Dublin was a fantastic experience, one I'll cherish for the rest of my life. — Liseth Meijer

I was lucky to see U2 360 several times: in Europe on the first leg, and in North America on the first and third legs. Each show delivered amazing moments. I heard songs I'd never heard live, or hadn't heard in a long time, like "Unforgettable Fire," "Stay," "Ultraviolet," "Bad," "MLK," "Your Blue Room," "Zooropa" and "One Tree Hill"! Musically, my favorite moment was early on, at the third show in Dublin in 2009. The band played "Unknown Caller," a song I happen to like a lot. I especially like Edge's guitar solo at the end of the song. It still gives me goose bumps. I recorded the song there and admit I enjoy reliving the moment. I love that I can transport myself back in time to feel exactly what I felt at that show. Personally, my favorite moment was sharing the Chicago 2011 concert with my daughter. I secured my first GA tickets of the tour and was excited to take her to her first U2 concert. We were outside the circle, but could see the band and had a good view of the LED screens. It was funny; she preferred to experience the show without much conversation, immersing herself in it. I like to do the same so I can soak up every detail. I was tempted to tell her song titles and meanings, but I watched her take it all in. It was magical sharing that with her and I can't wait to do it again! — Becky Myers

I went to both Anaheim concerts in June 2011; the second night was one for the history books. U2 played "The Fly," fired up "One," "Amazing Grace" and "Streets" five songs into the show, and made us feel like it was a 20-minute concert with a two-hour encore happening in Larry's kitchen. But my evening was historic for another reason: This was my sons' first U2 concert! Daniel, 8, Michael, 12, and my wife, Tracy, and I were seeing U2 together, as a family. I made special T-shirts for the boys. Michael's read, "Every generation gets a chance to change the world." Daniel's continued, "Pity the nation that won't listen to your boys and girls." Lots of people noticed, smiled and commented. As the boys and I waited in a bathroom line, one man confessed, "That's beautiful; you're really setting the bar high. My wife's pregnant and I hope I can take my boy to see U2 someday." The T-shirts were an important part of the event. I want my boys to grow up believing what their shirts say, that they can make a difference, and that they can shout to the darkness and squeeze out sparks of light. I want them to feel the elation of going crazy for something that's worth going crazy for. And I want them to stand for many of the things that U2 stand for. That's why the night was historic for me. U2 was great, but being there with my family was the greatest. Here are my boys in their shirts at Angel Stadium. — Tim Neufeld

It had been a beautiful sunny day in Zurich, and we had to shield the sun from our eyes as we watched the opening act. When U2 took the stage a torrential rain started and we were taken by surprise, as we had no rain gear. The rain was hard, stinging the skin, and cold. We were soaked within minutes. Many on the floor had left the pit and sought shelter in the overhanging areas of the stadium. Thanks to this, the pit was roomy and spacious, and you could move around and dance. With every song the crowd thinned further. The songs were great. The band sounded amazing. U2 were having fun interacting with the crowd and getting wet with us. Then I heard the opening notes of "Mercy," and I started to jump. There is a joy in those opening sounds that forced my feet off the ground. And even though there have been many changes since the recording leak, I still knew enough to sing along. Since this track leaked, it's become a favorite, and I was so excited to be hearing it live as it debuted in concert. I jumped high, never expecting the reaction this song would bring out of me in concert. Thoughts of the rain disappeared. Thoughts of being cold left my mind. The rain didn't stop. If anything, it got wetter and colder before the end of the show. The band enjoyed every moment. And so did I. This was my favorite show of the 360 tour. And hearing "Mercy" live, totally unexpected, was one of my favorite moments. — Aaron J Sams / @u2wanderer

My U2 360 moment is truly a moment ... actually less than 60 seconds. I've expressed many times to U2 fans how much the album October means to me. I've often called it a quiet masterpiece. It is a beautiful journey into these young men's souls, dealing with the loss of a parent, their spirituality,and their future. I have three close friends who feel the same as I do about this album. My heart skipped a beat when I heard Bono actually sing the word "rejoice" as Larry's drums played "Scarlet" in New Zealand. Not only was it a song from October but it was a most unexpected and beautiful one! It is powerful in its simplicity. It was my greatest hope that I would get to hear it live at my show at the Meadowlands. I did not hold out much hope of it staying on the set list. As the concerts went on, "Scarlet" was still there. It served as a beautiful introduction to "Walk On" -- the emotional Aung San Suu Kyi tribute. On July 20, 2011, I witnessed a U2 show described as "epic" by Rolling Stone magazine. So much from that evening could have been my U2 360 moment, but nothing touched me more than hearing Bono sing the word "rejoice." Though two of my three friends were not there that evening, we were all connected in such a special way that transcends time and place. That moment will live in my heart forever. — Lisa Zeitlinger

© @U2/2011

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