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360 Degrees

May 30, 2011

U2 Stage at Winnipeg StadiumU2 Stage Under ConstructionU2 Stage layout (picture not taken in Winnipeg)


So there it is. The stage of stages for the show of shows. And the pictures don’t really do the concert justice. Standing 25 feet from the stage with Bono and The Edge within perfect view, we experienced a U2 concert the way it was meant to be experienced. If you look carefully, you can see that the ring is actually a walkway where the artists strutted their stuff. Moving bridges gave them access to the walkway and they made full use of them. Several times, Bono stopped on the bridge as he made his way across, and he was within arms reach of us. For some statistics about the tour itself, a friend of mine wrote a post on his blog here  a while ago that will satisfy some curiosities, and his words still ring true, “So, is U2′s 360° Tour wretchedly excessive? Yes. Will it be a good show? Most definitely.”

It was a good show. As a local radio jockey would say, “It was Phenomenal”.

Having said that though, I must admit i can’t remember at least half of the show. I know what some might be thinking, but no, i wasn’t drinking. In fact, once we found the spot where we were going to stand, i didn’t move all night.

“So Jay, if you weren’t drinking, and you didn’t leave your spot all night, how could you possibly miss, or not remember, over half the show?”

Well i’m glad you asked.

We arrived early and, like i said, we got a great spot to view the show. Naturally, as shows like this go, there was a lot of alcohol being consumed by those around us. Before it even began, there was a group of people nearby who had made three or four trips to the liquor stand. Each! I chuckled to myself because their actions slowly got more telling of the state they were in. If you have been to a social (for those readers outside Manitoba, you might be unfamiliar with this concept, but if you Google “Manitoba Social” you’ll be informed quite quickly), or any sort of party you might recognize the behaviors of the over consumer: 1) The need to constantly be “cheersing” (tapping cups together); 2) Dancing wildly when there is no music playing; 3) Constant stumbling and falling over; and last but not least, and this seems more common in women than in men, although men do it too; 4) Cheering and wooping excessively which turns into giggles and laughter which turns into more cheering and wooping (repeat).

That wasn’t a rabbit trail, this is all leading somewhere, so stay with me.

All of this excessive behavior was already going on around us before the opening act, The Fray, was even on stage. The presence of any band on stage just seems to highten the need for this type of behavior.

I should stop here and say though that i was mildly impressed with The Fray. Having never heard them before (at least not to my knowledge) i found some of the tunes quite good. One critique, if i’m allowed, was that they very quickly retreated within themselves on stage and did not engage the fans the way they could have, given the great opportunity. After a couple of songs, the lead singer sat behind a piano, and didn’t really get up much after that. He did, but not much. That’s the sort of thing that will quickly take a crowd out of what the band is trying to do. Just my thought.

Anyway, as i looked around at the people that were present, and their actions, an enormous burden gripped me. My eyes were opened to how lost the people around me were. My heart began to ache because of the lack of hope in the people. I saw women dressed the way society says they should to feel better about themselves. I saw men ogling over those women. I saw depravity and hopelessness, and i almost buckled under the weight of it all. I wanted to fall on my face and plead with God that he would intervene in these lost lives, these embittered lives, and knock on the door of their hearts. I wanted to fall on my face, but i couldn’t, so i stood there, quietly praying.

The Fray played their set, and the roadies came on stage to make way for U2. After a break that i think was too long, U2 took the stage at 9:00. Not every song they have has a great message, but many do. The expression of faith can be found in U2’s lyrics, which is good. But even in the moment, standing 25′ from the band, my heart was in heaven pleading with God for a revelation of truth that the people needed to hear.

Never in my life, would i have thought that i could actually see U2 in concert. Never in my life did i think that if i saw them, i would be that close to the stage, that close to the interaction. And never in my life, did i think that if that moment became a reality, that i wouldn’t even be paying attention to the music and the stage and the spectacle of it all because i would be praying for the lostness of the people around me.

But that’s what happened. I don’t remember a lot of the show because at times, i wasn’t really at the show. Yes there were times when i was present with reality that i did catch the songs, and the moment. I didn’t miss it all. But i am so glad that i had that opportunity. I am so amazed at God’s presence, no matter where we are. I am so thankful that God spoke in that moment, and that the Holy Spirit, living in me, gave me strength to not ignore the burden on God’s heart in that moment, but rather that i had the strength to pray, and be confident that God was listening. I am so glad, that i could hear God over the roar of the music (which by the way, sounded awesome. Outdoor shows are always sketchy for sound, but these guys seem to have figured that out).

It was a great show, and i’m glad i got to experience it.

I’m going to do something i don’t generally do. I don’t ask much from my readers, but today i’m making an exception.

To get to the show yesterday, we parked at a garage close to Portage Place and took the bus over to the Stadium for the show. This of course meant that we needed to bus back to the garage after. The bus was packed on the ride back after the show, standing room only. After a while some people got off at their stops, and a seat opened up near where i had been standing. I offered the seat to some others, but they declined and so i found myself seated next to a lady. I started a conversation with her, knowing we only had a few blocks before one of us would get off the bus. In a matter of moments, we were in a fairly deep conversation and i found out a lot about her trouble life.

I won’t go into details, but can i ask you, my readers, to pray for Theresa. She’s going through a crazy difficult time in her life. God knows the situation, but as you are reminded, lift her before the Lord, and the Holy Spirit will give utterances where you are unable. Thank-you.

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