Wednesday, December 18, 2019

U2's Joshua Tree Concert in Mumbai

I heard U2 was coming to perform. I was not a huge fan of U2 though I liked some numbers. The video where thy play 'Where the streets have no name' on a rooftop remains etched in my mind. Other numbers one can't forget are 'With or without you', 'I still haven't found what I was looking for' 'Pride - In the name of love', 'Mysterious ways' etc. Their music had some unknown angst, some lonely element, of a life incomplete. It was somewhere there - not up there, nor way below. Anyway, it looked like it was too much effort, the ticket prices were high, so all in all I decided to drop the thought.
Until Malay called me from Pune a couple of months ago and said - keep yourself free on Dec 15, we are going to the U2 concert. He also told me that I had introduced him to U2 when he was much younger, so he was buying me the ticket. The concert was one thing but this story was lovely so I said yes. Also this was their last concert - for the Joshua Tree!
Waiting for the action to begin!
So off on Dec 15 to Mumbai. Headed off to Tharian's place in New Mumbai - haven't met him in ages. Met him first in 1991 as a trainee in Bharath Petroleum, got to really know him but within a month he was transferred to Mumbai. Years later met him in Mumbai when I was posted in Mumbai and we have been in touch since. He came home to Hyderabad, I spent many days at his flat in Mumbai. Met his wife Marina and Sanjana, his sixteen year old, who is doing her 11th. A great lunch with beer and biryani and off to meet Malay, Sarah, Kalpak, Shraddha, Bhavna and Nicola at their hotel. Spent a while there and headed to the concert close to the gates closing time. DY Patil stadium was huge, the stage was huge.
The Joshua Tree
We were in the standing front crowd and the youngsters headed off to the front. I am not a big fan of the crowd up front so I found a place to sit at the back and waited. There were many fifty plus people - men and women - who had grown up with U2 in the 80s. All of them trying hard to be young again in their clothes, self-conscious dance moves, outrageous behavior with a few. In all this one sees a complete fan who is not bothered about what is going on and is fully immersed in the experience, singing it word by word.
Super impressive screen
There were no cover bands and sharp at 730 the band came on and started singing some numbers. The screen was unlit. And then the act picked up and the popular numbers came on one by one. When the screen came on it was beautiful - the biggest stage and screen I ever saw. Bono was full of energy, said al the right things - vote carefully, women and minorities must be safe etc. When the lights went off the entire stadium lit up with the mobile candles. Nice sight but nothing spontaneous about it anymore.
The band is a speck at the bottom
Somewhere in the stadium were Shrini, Nandita, Ram, Chandra and LV and some others I knew of later. The music got louder and louder until my ears hurt. But Bono went on and on without a break for the entire period. In the end came 'Ahimsa' with AR Rahman and his daughters. The background was peppered with women heroines - Kalpana Chawla, Arundhati Roy, Rana Ayyub and Smriti Irani. What was the idea I wonder. Perhaps it's better to stick to the music and let that speak than send out confusing messages.
Lights off, mobiles on
Magic moments - 'Pride' for me. And the visuals on the screen. Not the best I've experienced overall, but glad I was there. (Pride - In the name of love!)

My best U2 song (Mysterious Ways)

Roger Waters, Bryan Adams, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Enrique Iglesias, Yanni.


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