Friday, February 27, 2009

I am the happiest girl alive right now.

Obviously, if you've been a regular reader over the last few days, you'll know that I won tickets to watch U2 perform on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge at the BBC Broadcasting House on Portland Place, now one of several London landmarks which hold immensely happy memories for me.

Strangely enough, my win was due to someone posting on the's Freebies board, one of my daily reads. I knew there was a competition going on but I hadn't been following it as I'd kind of gotten into a rather lazy funk over the last week or so.

So bless you, MSE poster, and, more importantly, bless you, BBC Radio 1, for picking me as one of the lucky randomly selected fans.

Doors were supposed to open at 11 am. Having been to the BBC Broadcasting House for a radio show before, and knowing full well of the BBC's overbooking policy, not to mention U2 is just about the biggest band in the world, I arrived at just after 9.30 am so as to ensure I got in. And good thing I did, as the BBC decided to open doors early at 10.30 am given the sheer number of people waiting.

As my friend and I were among the first 150 to get in, we managed a coveted place on the lower floor of the Radio Theatre. We'd waited 2 1/2 hours just to get to this stage, and it would be a further 20 minutes before Jo Whiley would come on to introduce U2.

U2 was due to perform three songs off their new album, No Line on the Horizon (reviews here, here and here). Bono informed the audience - in a lovely Irish brogue which I hadn't noticed when I watched them perform in Sydney nor in U2 3D - that this would be the first time the band would be performing the songs live, and "hope [they] don't screw up."

They kicked off with Get On Your Boots, a title I'm not overly fond of, to say the least.

The song was inspired by the band being on holiday and seeing a couple with a young child. Bono explained that they were just tired of all the war and suffering in the world, and just wanted to celebrate love. This drew an "awwww" from those of us there.

Next up was Magnificent, a song about love with Bono's soaring vocals and The Edge's trademark guitar sound which I quite enjoyed, and, then, Jo announced that U2 was going to do a cover for us(whereupon Bono burst into an off-key rendition of Katy Perry - I Kissed a Girl) but as they'd been so busy with the new album, they hadn't had time to prepare, so, instead they'd perform a vintage U2 song. Bono quipped, "Just think of us as a U2 cover band" before launching into Beautiful Day, an entirely apt song for what this day would turn out to be for me. During the last few guitar bits of the song, Bono sang the first verse of The Beatles - Blackbird, something he'd done before in another concert performance I'd seen (on DVD or in the cinema), but was nonetheless, lovely to hear live.

They ended off the performance with Breathe, the most anthemic of the three new songs, though definitely not in the same stadium-bursting, get-on-your-feet-inducing way that Beautiful Day.

So, as it turns out, U2 will be going on tour in "early summer" and they'd very much like to do Glastonbury one day, but wouldn't commit as to when. Much to my delight, they said they'd be working on "cheaper ticket prices" although there would be "really expensive tickets" available as well, as "rich people have feelings too, I'm told," Bono deadpanned.

I can't wait! As always, I really hope I'll get the opportunity to see them in London, because I doubt the band will drop by Singapore. It's simply not big enough to host a band of this size.

Edited to add: Damn, I missed out on the secret Regent Street rooftop gig! Still, I'd rather have gone for the Radio 1 gig, simply because I could see them, as opposed to being on street level, unable to see much.

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