Thursday, October 15, 2015

Played in Belgium : U2 Innocence & Experience Tour in Antwerp

In the summer of 2001 I started to hang out with Jan a lot in the Netherlands just by the end of my professional assignment there. He was enquiring whether I liked U2 and I had the feeling he'd surprise me with tickets for the U2 tour passing through Antwerp that week.
"Don't you dare buy tickets for me as I am going to visit X that evening and I can't just cancel because I've found something more fun today. We've tried for weeks a date that worked out for us and I probably won't find another anymore before I return to Belgium"

Turns out he had indeed managed to obtain 2 tickets and wanted to surprise me and take me on a date to go and see U2 together. I remained stubborn (although annoyed knowing that I let this big chance pass through my fingers) much to his disappointment. So Jan drove up and down from the Netherlands to Antwerp to see U2 with a delighted Australian colleague while I went for a dinner date with a Dutch colleague/friend that I've never been in touch with anymore after my return to Belgium.

....fast forward 14 years and in the mean time I'm married to Jan and we've both seen U2 twice in Brussels on the big stadium tours: the Vertigo tour in 2005 and the 360° tour in 2010.  Those were awesome. But I had never forgotten my, with hindsight, stupid choice to miss out that concert long ago. What an idea to say no if a boy surprises with U2 tickets!


Nevertheless neither Jan or I have been paying a lot of attention last year when the new tour stops in Antwerp were announced and sold out right away. As the tour was kicked off and touring through Europe, that seemed more and more a pity.
But 3 weeks ago all of a sudden an opportunity dropped in Jan's lap with 2 tickets for U2 in Antwerp this week...on a day he already had a double booking to be both in London and in Barcelona for work. But I wasn't going to let go that quickly...so Jan managed to set the tickets on my name, I arranged babysit and surprised my sister with a concert invite. Ha, once Jan went to see U2 without me and now I'd go without him.


So 2 nights ago my sister and I drove to the P+R edge of Antwerp and then took the overloaded U2 fan tramline towards the concert hall.



Our seats were pretty good seats on the 6th row which gave us with the current stage setting a quite good view on the stages, catwalk and screens. I recognized some friends and colleagues from Jan in the audience and Griet also ran into an acquaintance. Not bad amidst 21000 people :-).



And then at 20h20 Bono climbed the catwalk and made a macho entree solo (with hideous blondish hair??) and we were off for a 2.5h show alternating more intimate songs with good old classics, with surprising screen technology that turned out to be an additional surprising catwalk/stage where the band could be part of the images projected.  Very cool done!

This tour might not be as hyped as the 360° degree tour as 5 years ago (with the famous Belgian claw stage!!) and U2 might not automatically be able to claim the world's biggest band title at the moment, but they proved they are still among the greatest. Woohoo. Glad I could go :)











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