Archive for the ‘U2’ Category

Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005

Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
live8tixI was so excited about this event for three reasons: firstly because I’d been in Wembley Stadium for Live Aid, secondly to see The Who, and thirdly and most of all to see Pink Floyd again. We (me, Marie, David and Laura) all went, staying the weekend in London. I’d managed to get tickets for the Gold Circle which took us right down the front, next to the stage, so we had an excellent view of the entire day’s proceedings.
Bob Geldof opened the proceedings, followed by Paul McCartney with U2 performing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (It was 20 years ago today! Wonderful). Then U2 performed “Beautiful Day” (with a verse of the Beatles’ “Blackbird”), “Vertigo”, “One” (including a segment from “Unchained Melody”). Coldplay were next up and played “In My Place” with a section from “Rockin’ All Over the World” (cheeky; Quo should have been on stage performing this, but weren’t invited although they of course opened Live Aid), “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (joined by Richard Ashcroft), and “Fix You”. David Walliams and Matt Lucas then came on stage in the role of their Little Britain characters Lou and Andy and introduced Elton John who played “The Bitch Is Back”, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”, and “Children of the Revolution” (with guest Pete Doherty). Bill Gates was then next up on stage to introduce Dido who sang “White Flag” and “Thank You” and “7 Seconds”with Youssou N’Dour.
Stereophonics were followed by REM who were introduced by Ricky Gervais. R.E.M. performed “Imitation of Life”, “Everybody Hurts”, and “Man on the Moon”. Then Kofi Annan introduced Ms. Dynamite who was followed by Keane and Travis. Bob Geldof joined Travis to sing “I Don’t Like Mondays”. Brad Pitt was next on stage to introduce Annie Lennox, then came UB40, Snoop Dogg and Razorlight.
Bob Geldof then introduced 24-year-old Birhan Woldu, the starving Ethiopian child whose image was so powerful in the video shown at Live Aid. Madonna took to the stage, embraced Birhan and held hands with her as she sang “Like a Prayer”.
Live8progMadonna was followed by Snow Patrol, The Killers, Joss Stone, Scissor Sisters, and Velvet Revolver (good but a bit out of place at this event). Then Lenny Henry presented Sting who sang the same songs as he performed at Live Aid: “Message in a Bottle”, “Driven To Tears”, and “Every Breath You Take”. Next Dawn French introduced Mariah Carey who was amazing, and David Beckham presented “his friend” Robbie Williams who got the crowd really going with “We Will Rock You”, “Let Me Entertain You”, “Feel”, and “Angels”. Peter Kay sauntered onto the stage and couldn’t resist singing “Is This the Way to Amarillo”.
Now we were moving to the legends; the bands that I had really come to see. The Who played “Who Are You”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. They were followed by an event which I never thought I would see, the reunion of Pink Floyd and a breath-taking performance of “Speak to Me”/”Breathe”, “Money”, “Wish You Were Here” (real lump in the thrat moment and closed with “Comfortably Numb”. It was left to Paul McCartney to close the show with “Get Back”, “Drive My Car” (with George Michael), “Helter Skelter”, and “The Long and Winding Road”. He finished with “Hey Jude’ to which everyone sang along, and which seemed to go on for ever. We left Hyde Park as the crowd continued to sing “Na Na Na NaNa Na Na….”). The show was originally scheduled to close at 9.30pm, but seriously overran and went on until just after midnight.
liveaidlanyardThe Floyd reunion was, of course, the real highlight for me. Gilmour announced the reunion less than a month before the gig, on 12 June 2005: “ Like most people I want to do everything I can to persuade the G8 leaders to make huge commitments to the relief of poverty and increased aid to the third world. It’s crazy that America gives such a paltry percentage of its GNP to the starving nations. Any squabbles Roger and the band have had in the past are so petty in this context, and if re-forming for this concert will help focus attention then it’s got to be worthwhile.” Waters said on stage: “It’s actually quite emotional standing up here with these three guys after all these years. Standing to be counted with the rest of you. Anyway, we’re doing this for everyone who’s not here, but particularly, of course, for Syd.” The screens showed video from their past shows, and a film of the pig from the Animals flying over Battersea Power Station. This was simply mind-blowing stuff; for me it was a very emotional experience. I found Wish You Were Here particularly powerful; you felt they were singing the song for Syd; which of course they were. Syd sadly passed away the following year. With Wright’s subsequent passing in 2008, this was to be the final concert to feature all four playing together.
A great, momentous day.

U2 Twickenham Stadium London 18th June 2005

U2 Twickenham Stadium London 18th June 2005
The Vertigo Tour
u2prog2005Support Acts: Doves, Athlete
It was 18 years since I last saw U2 and I figured it was about time that I went to see them again. Marie, David and Laura also fancied seeing them so, knowing that demand for tickets would be huge, I joined the fan club to get a chance of presale tickets. Tickets bought, we went to London for the weekend for the concert. Our presale tickets got us seats at the side of the stage looking down on the band, and in a spot where the sound wasn’t good. The joys of stadium gigs. Nevertheless we all enjoyed the concert; so many classics and Bono on good form. It was great to hear old songs like I Will Follow again.
We saw U2 again one month later at the Live 8 concert in Hyde park, which I must write about some time soon. Their short set that day featured four songs: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (with Paul McCartney); Beautiful Day (including a short snippet of the Beatles’ Blackbird); Vertigo; and One (including a snippet of Unchained Melody).
u2tix2005Setlist: Vertigo; I Will Follow; The Electric Co. / Bullet With Butterfly Wings (snippet) / I Can See For Miles (snippet); Elevation; New Year’s Day; Beautiful Day / Here Comes The Sun (snippet); I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For; All I Want Is You; City Of Blinding Lights; Miracle Drug; Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own / No Regrets (snippet); Love And Peace Or Else; Sunday Bloody Sunday; Bullet The Blue Sky / The Hands That Built America (snippet) / When Johnny Comes Marching Home (snippet) / Please (snippet); Running To Stand Still; Pride (In The Name Of Love); Where The Streets Have No Name; One
Encore(s): Zoo Station; The Fly; Mysterious Ways; Yahweh; Vertigo

U2 The Joshua Tree tour, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, 1st August 1987

U2 The Joshua Tree tour, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, 1st August 1987u287tix
Support Acts: Run Rig, Love & Money, The Mission, The Pogues
I went with my mate Ian to see U2 play at Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium in August 1987 as part of the Joshua tree tour. By now U2 were headlining stadiums everywhere, and were one of the biggest acts in the world. We arrived in time to catch rousing support performances by The Mission and the Pogues who warmed the crowd up for the main act. The Joshua Tree is U2’s landmark album, which reached No 1 in the UK and US album charts, and solidified their position in the premier rock league. The album contains a number of important U2 songs including the epic track “Where The Streets Have No Name” which often opened their set during the tour, but which strangely the band didn’t play at this concert.
u287progbU2 were playing quite a few covers during this tour, and Bono was also including snippets from classic rock songs during their performances. At Edinburgh U2 started with two covers: “Stand By Me” (Ben E King) and “C’mon Everybody” (Eddie Cochran) and also played “People Get Ready” (Curtis Mayfield) and Help! (The Beatles). They also included the odd line from “Riders On The Storm” and “Break On Through” (The Doors), Van Morrison’s “Gloria” (rather than their own song of the same name); “Ruby Tuesday” and Sympathy For The Devil” (The Stones); and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (Joy Division) thus showing their influences. I remember thinking it strange that they would start with two covers. I great concert, but very different from seeing the band in a small venue. We ran into old mate Gilly, who lives in Scotland, which was great. A great day, seeing a band who were writing and performing at their peak at the time. u287proga
Setlist: Stand By Me; C’mon Everybody; I Will Follow; Trip Through Your Wires; I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For / Exodus (snippet); People Get Ready; MLK; The Unforgettable Fire; Exit / Riders On The Storm (snippet) / Van Morrison’s Gloria (snippet); In God’s Country; Sunday Bloody Sunday; The Electric Co. / Break On Through (snippet); Help; Bad / Ruby Tuesday (snippet) / Sympathy For The Devil (snippet); October; New Year’s Day; Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Encore(s): Bullet The Blue Sky / Loch Lomond (snippet); Running To Stand Still; With Or Without You / Shine Like Stars (snippet) / Love Will Tear Us Apart (snippet)/Fight For Your Right (To Party) (snippet) / Party Girl; 40
I lost touch with U2 after this tour and it was some 18 years or so before I went to see them again.

U2 Newcastle City Hall 1st March 1983

U2 Newcastle City Hall 1st March 1983
u2cityhall83Support Act: The Nightcaps
In between seeing U2 at the Mayfair and this gig at the City Hall, I also saw them back at Gateshead Stadium, supporting the Police in 1982. I’ve written separately on that concert, when I covered the Police. It was another great concert and another triumph for U2. However it was The War album and that tour really sealed it for U2. They were now a major band. The City Hall concert sold out very quickly and a second night was added, three weeks later. You could feel the power in this band, and you also knew that the next time we saw them it would probably be in a big arena or stadium. This tour was the first and last time the band played the City Hall. It was an amazing show and we were right down the front. Bono, the rest of the band and the audience were all on fire that night. Bono ran around the stage waving a white flag during excellent new song ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and climbed up onto the balcony during ‘I will Follow’.
Setlist: Gloria; I Threw A Brick Through A Window; A Day Without Me; Seconds; New Year’s Day; Sunday Bloody Sunday; The Cry; The Electric Co./Send In The Clowns; I Fall Down; October; Tomorrow; Twilight; Out Of Control
Encore: Party Girl; A Celebration; 11 O’clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow; 40
The next time I saw U2 was in Wembley Stadium at Live Aid, where they played a short two song set (Sunday Bloody Sunday and Bad) and were one of the highlights of the day. Bono famously pulled a girl from the crowd up onto the stage that day. Bono: “I don’t like the distance between stage and crowd. I don’t like the distance between performer and audience. So I’m looking for a symbol of the day, something I can hold onto. Melanie Hills: “Bono looked at the audience and suddenly looked towards me…I was looking around: me? me? And they were saying, yeah, you, you, get up there. Oh my God. And so the security men grabbed me….” A magic moment that truly cemented U2’s position as a major rock force.
After Live Aid, the next time I saw U2 was at a big stadium in Scotland.

U2 Newcastle Mayfair 9th October 1981

U2 Newcastle Mayfair 9th October 1981
u2mayfair81Support from the Comsat Angels.
This gig came a couple of months after we had seen U2 deliver an incendiary performance at the Rock on the Tyne festival at Gateshead Stadium, where Bono clambered up the lighting towers, played the part of the rock star and generally got everyone onside. The Mayfair was packed to the rafters. Everyone wanted to see this new band. U2 had just released their second album “October” and the excellent single “Gloria”. There was something very different about U2; something that it was difficult to get a handle on, or describe in the same terms as any other band of the period. To put it in some sort of context, U2 were coming up alongside The Teardrop Explodes and The Bunnymen; both excellent bands. But there was something almost intangible about U2 that seemed to set them apart. Their music came through new wave, but its roots lay deeply and squarely in the 60s, beat, The Beatles, Stones, soul, religion, spirituality and, of course, Van Morrison.  Jim Green, writing in Trouser Press, in March 1982: “People haven’t asked U2 if they’re the future of rock. They’ve told them.” What I remember of this gig was a joyous, crazy night with Bono singing his heart out for us, and those great, powerful early songs: “Gloria”, “I Will Follow”, “Fire” and “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”. The U2 who played those club gigs was a raw, hungry, stunning act who were a million miles away from the stadium rock band that they would very soon become. A different time, a different band, a different place. It seems so far away now. But on the night, in the heat and sweat and volume and crush of the Mayfair U2 were shiny and young and Newark intense. And Bono ran around that stage and sang and sang for all of us. I know I have written this before about other bands, but on that night, in the Mayfair, as we all watched U2; they were simply the best band on the planet.
Setlist: Gloria; Another Time, Another Place; Rejoice; An Cat Dubh; Into The Heart; I Threw A Brick Through A Window; The Cry; The Electric Co.; I Fall Down; October; Stories For Boys; I Will Follow; Twilight; Out Of Control; Fire; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock

Rock on the Tyne Gateshead Stadium 29th/30th August 1981

Rock on the Tyne Gateshead Stadium 29th/30th August 1981
rockontynetixbIn 1981 the north east for its own rock festival in the shape of Rock on the Tyne, a two day event which took place at Gateshead Stadium over the August bank holiday weekend. So we decided to forego our usual annual trek to Reading and sample the delights of this new event. That seemed a big choice, and a bit of a dilemma for me at the time, as I had been going to Reading for 9 consecutive years. As it happened, having made the break from going to Reading I never returned, which in hindsight was a mistake….
The line-up for Rock on the Tyne was (according to my tickets) as below.
Saturday. Huang Chung, Doll by Doll, The Polecats, Pauline Murray, U2, Ian Dury & the Blockheads, Elvis Costello. [note the programme doesn’t list Pauline Murray, and does list Beckett. I can’t remember seeing Pauline play, and suspect the programme may be correct.]
Sunday. Fist, Diamond Head, Trimmer & Jenkins, Dr Feelgood, Ginger Baker’s Nutters, Lindisfarne, Rory Gallagher.
rockontynetixaOne of my main reasons for attending was to see up and coming new wave Irish band U2; this was their first appearance in the north east. I remember getting to the festival just in time to see their set late on Saturday afternoon. U2 were amazing at this point in their career. Bono was passionate, full of energy and you could just feel how hungry he and the rest of the band were for the massive success which was soon to follow. Stand-out songs were 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow (which they performed twice, once during the main set and again as part of the encore) and Fire. I remember Bono climbing up the lighting rig during (I think) Fire. Or perhaps that was the following year when they supported the Police at the same venue, or maybe it was on both occasions (actually I think it was both times ?) The memories are fading now, but what I do remember is that U2 were the highlight of the festival, and they were the band that everyone was talking about.
My other memory of the weekend was Rory Gallagher. Rory was never less than excellent, and this performance was no exception. He’d put on a little weight and added a brass section, and played the festival out with all those blues rock classics…Well did out ever get up with them bullfrogs on our mind?! Pure class 🙂
rockontyneprogIan Dury was good, Elvis was moving into his country period, Ginger Baker had a massive drum kit (of course). The festival wasn’t that well attended and wasn’t repeated although Gateshead Stadium has been used for concerts since then, including the aforementioned Police and U2 gig which took place the following year.
U2 setlist: With A Shout; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow; An Cat Dubh; Into The Heart; Another Time, Another Place; The Cry; The Electric Co.; I Threw A Brick Through A Window; Stories For Boys; Out Of Control.
Encores: I Will Follow; Fire.
Rory Gallagher setlist: The Devil Made Me Do It; Bad Penny; Nadine; I Wonder Who; Moonchild; Double Vision; Wayward Child; Bourbon; Brute Force and Ignorance; Ride on Red, Ride On; Western Plain (When I Was a Cowboy); Tattoo’d Lady; Leavin’ Blues; Philby; Shadow Play; Bullfrog Blues
This post takes me up to the letter “U”. I will continue with “U” tomorrow, by writing about U2 in concert.

Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985

Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985
liveaidtixI went with a couple of mates. We missed out on tickets when they went on sale and the only way we could get there was to buy tickets for a coach trip from Middlesbrough. So we were up at 4am, drove to Middlesbrough and joined a coach which left at 5am for London. We arrived well before noon, had a couple of drinks and entered the stadium, which was of course completely packed so we found a spot in the stands right at the back. A few minutes later Status Quo took to the stage with “Rockin’ All Over The World” and the day started. This was Quo reunited one year after the split, with Alan flying over from Oz to join Francis and Rick. Their short set also featured Caroline” and “Don’t Waste My Time”. A fitting start to the day. I have so many great memories of that day.
Queen’s performance is, of course, often rated as the greatest live performance by any band. Freddie certainly commanded the crowd the day and it propelled them to super stardom. Their well planned set was a medley with short sections of their anthems: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “Hammer To Fall”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”. They had apparently been rehearsing their short set for days, to ensure perfection, and it showed, and worked. U2 weren’t far behind them, though, in terms of performance, with Bono showing how great a front man he was. U2 played two songs: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and a lengthy version of “Bad” during which Bono dragged a girl from the rush down front to dance with him on stage, and which also included snippets from Lou Reed’s “Satellite of love” and “Walk On The Wild Side”, and The Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” and “Sympathy for the Devil”. Electric.
liveadiprogFor me, however. the highlights were The Who and David Bowie, as I was, and remain, a big fan of both acts. Bowie started with “TVC15” (a strange and poor choice I felt, and remember being disappointed on the day), “Rebel Rebel” (great, good choice), “Modern Love” (well, ok) and then “Heroes” (we all sag along and it was pure magic). I still feel that with a better choice of songs Bowie could have eclipsed Queen and U2.
The Who performed “My Generation”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Love Reign O’er Me” (another strange song choice given the magnitude of the event) and a blistering “Won’t Get Fooled Again” with much mike swinging by Daltrey and lots of arm twirling by Townshend.
Other memories: Elton and Kiki sang “Don’t go Breaking my Heart” (great!). Paul McCartney suffered from sound problems and we couldn’t hear him at all for much of “Let It Be” although I gather it was fine on TV. Geldof drew massive cheers every time he set foot on stage, and he deserved every one of them. The scheduling worked amazingly, with very few hitches. Seeing the cameras pick out Charles and Diana over in their enclosure. The amazingly camp Bowie and Jagger video. The awful, sad and moving video of starving children played to the Cars’ “Drive”. Phil Collins playing Wembley and JFK courtesy of Concorde (show off).
But the truly unforgettable moment came at the end, and will stay in my mind for ever. That was the finale, with the entire stadium singing along to “Do They Know It’s Christmas ?” with Bob Geldof leading us, and everyone else on stage. I’ve never seen, felt, or heard anything like it before or since. We walked out of that stadium to the coach park, all of us still singing…..”Feed The World”…..
Then it was a long coach ride back to Middlesbrough. We arrived back around 5 or 6am, then drove home. 24 hours with hardly any sleep, just an hour or so caught on the bus, but a day I will remember forever.
Line-up: Status Quo; The Style Council; The Boomtown Rats; Adam Ant; Ultravox; Spandau Ballet; Elvis Costello; Nik Kershaw; Sade; Sting; Phil Collins; Howard Jones; Bryan Ferry (with David Gilmour on guitar); Paul Young/Alison Moyet; U2; Dire Straits/Sting; Queen; Video “Dancing in the Streets” by David Bowie/Mick Jagger; David Bowie; The Who; Elton John (Kiki Dee and George Michael join Elton); Mercury and May; Paul McCartney; Finale

The Police & U2 Gateshead Stadium 31st July 1982

The Police Gateshead Stadium 1982
Support Acts: U2, The Beat, Gang Of Four, Lords Of The New Church.
policegatesheadtixSting: “Seven years ago I left this town and I said I would make it. It’s nice to come back and make you part of the success.”
Another one day event headlined by The Police. This one was local to me (no three hour drive home; great 🙂 ). The weather was ok, dull but no major rain problems. Attendance was estimated at around 12,000; well below the capacity, and there was lots of empty space in the stadium. The Police were good, but for me and most of he crowd, the revelation of the day was U2. I had seen U2 a few times before this gig, and thought they were good, but it was at this Gateshead gig that I realised just how powerful a U2 performance could be. Bono was simply sensational; his singing, passion, energy and performance were amazing. He climbed all over the lighting towers and had the entire crowd on his side by the end of their set. The Police found it hard to follow U2, and Sting wasn’t in a particularly good mood; but after a slow start, all those hits got the crowd singing along. The standard Police three piece line-up was augmented by a brass section for this show.
From reviews of the time:
“U2 took advantage of the day’s upswing to reinforce the numerous claims made on their behalf to be ‘the next big thing’. Currently cooped up in the country getting their third album together, they exploded with a barrage of pent-up energy that no amount of pastoral activity can fulfil. “(Sounds)
policegatesheadprog“The Police were totally predictable. Coming on over a tape to ecstatic applause from the half empty stadium, Sting yodelled and changed basses for every other song in sight …. I can’t say that they played badly – they’re much too professional and slick for that – but their many hits were trotted out with a lack of excitement which suggests that their days as a group may be numbered [interesting comment in hindsight]….The audience loved it – but then at £8.30 a time they could hardly afford not to could they? ” (Record Mirror)
U2 setlist: Gloria; I Threw A Brick; A Day Without Me; An Cat Dubh; Into The Heart; Rejoice; Electric Co; I Will Follow; Out Of Control. Encore(s): A Celebration; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; The Ocean
The Police setlist: Message In A Bottle; Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic; Walking On The Moon; Spirits In The Material World; Hungry For You; When The World Is Running Down; The Bed’s Too Big Without You; De do do do, De da da da; Demolition Man; Shadows In The Rain; Driven To Tears; Bring On The Night; One World (Not Three); Invisible Sun (with Bono); Roxanne; Don’t Stand So Close To Me; Can’t Stand Losing You; Regatta de Blanc; Be My Girl; Can’t Stand Losing You; So Lonely

Yoko Ono ‘In the time of shaking’ The Irish Museum of Modern Art 7th May 2004

Yoko Ono ‘In the time of shaking’ The Irish Museum of Modern Art 7th May 2004
shakingbookI’ve been a fan of Yoko Ono for some time. I think her influence on the music of John Lennon and the Beatles, and music in general, is often underplayed and, at worst, completely overlooked. I saw that Yoko had been invited by Amnesty, along with The Edge from U2, to open  the exhibition ‘In the time of shaking’ at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Yoko is a long time Amnesty supporter and in 2002 she gave them the rights to use John Lennon’s song “Imagine” in a campaign for human rights. At the time I was visiting Dublin once a month through work, so I fixed my next visit to coincide with the event. There was one remaining problem; the event was a private view with entry by invitation only. I emailed the Museum, asking for an invitation, and to my delight, a couple of days later I got a reply, inviting me to the event 🙂 .
The press release: “Yoko Ono will attend the Irish Museum of Modern Art and officially open one of the most exciting exhibitions of contemporary new Irish art to go on show in recent years. ‘In the time of shaking’ is a sale, exhibition and book involving over 100 of Ireland’s leading artists in support of human rights and the work of Amnesty International.. has been conceived and selected by Professor Ciarán Benson of University College Dublin, and members of the ‘Artists for Amnesty International 2004’  Committee…  Ciarán Benson explains the title to the show as follows: “I take the show’s title – In the time of shaking – from a phrase I remembered and liked in an old translation of Psalm 27.  ‘Shaking’ is a metaphor for ‘trouble’.
photo(134)I know Dublin quite well, but this was the first time I had been to the Museum of Modern Art. I took a bus and soon found the venue, which is set in beautiful gardens. People were already arriving; the opening of the exhibition was attended by 1,000 people. I had a couple of drinks and a few nibbles and wandered around the gardens and the exhibition, taking in some of the work, which was very impressive. Soon Bill Shipsey, chairman of Art for Amnesty, introduced The Edge. U2 have supported Amnesty for more than 20 years, and the Edge recalled attending the opening of the first Amnesty Irish offices in Dublin in 1984. ‘I’m proud of the way Ireland and Irish people have supported Amnesty ever since then.’ he said, ‘I’m also particularly pleased that this Irish initiative is spear-heading what will hopefully become a series of similar art exhibitions around the world that will raise money for Amnesty.’ Edge then gave a synopsis of Yoko Ono’s life, closing with “Yoko comes to Dublin. Yoko likes Dublin and Dublin likes Yoko”. He then asked Yoko Ono to officially open the exhibition. Wearing a black trouser suit, she emerged smiling (Irish Times, 2004).
photo(135)Yoko said “I am proud, pleased and happy to be here in Dublin today to open this wonderful exhibition which not only helps generate the support Amnesty needs but is providing a fund-raising model which we can use around the world. ‘John was very conscious of his Irish background. He was extremely proud of being Liverpool Irish, which gave him a sense of rebellion and inspired his poetry. I really think that his poetry definitely came from his Liverpool Irish heritage – tradition, beauty, sense of humour and word play all being strong Irish qualities.’
The crowd was a mix of those from the Irish art community, journalists and a sprinkling of fans of Yoko. One guy was right at the front of the crowd with his copy of “Grapefruit”, no doubt hoping for a signature. But there was no opportunity for autographs; as soon as Yoko had finished speaking she was ushered away, apparently to take a tour of U2’s studio.
It was great to see Yoko, albeit fleetingly. She spoke well, looked great, and came over as a charming lady. I even managed to take a few (not very good) photos, a couple of which I’ve included here , along with an image of the “In the time of shaking” book. I was so impressed that I wished I could see her in a performance setting, something which Marie and I did a couple of years later at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool, and which I’ll blog on tomorrow.
Yoko Ono Imagine Peace site:
Irish Museum of Modern Art:


Glastonbury Festival June 24 – 26 2011

I’ve taken a long time to get round to writing anything about this Glastonbury; I seem to have been catching up on things at work and home since we got back.
We (Me, Marie, Laura and David) all made the journey to Pilton Farm this year, again hiring a campervan. This year’s weather was quite a bit different from last year, with lots of rain earlier in the week, making the site very muddy. Our van got stuck deep in the mud on arrival and, after lots of pushes from staff and others, we were finally towed into the field by a giant tractor. As last year, we studied the clashfinder and made lots of plans of who we were all going to see; however the reality was very difficult, with the mud making it very difficult to make great trecks across the whole site from stage to stage. I’d particularly wanted to see the old-timers on the 71 stage, but in the event, didn’t get much of a chance to do so.
Friday was pretty wet and all of the walkways were deep in mood. It was really hard work walking through the mud which was very sticky; wellies were coming off and people were falling over…..
71 stage: managed to wander over through the mud and saw Martin Stone playing some pretty solid blues/rock. David was over there earlier and caught Noel Harrison singing Windmills of my Mind.
B B King: Some great guitar from a legend. Much better than I thought he might be.
Radiohead: Laura and David went over to the Park stage to see Radiohead do their special guest spot. They returned quite disappointed; apparently the sound wasn’t great, and the set focussed on the more recent albums.
Morrissey: Marie and I watched Morrissey’s set while David and Laura were at the Park seeing Radiohead. He was pretty good, although he didn’t seem in a great mood, telling the crowd “I know you’re all waiting for U2; I’ll sing fast”
U2: By now the rain was really coming down. The set had a good selection of old favourites, and Bono was out to impress. Fraid the rain got the better of us in the end, and we retired to the van.
Saturday was much better weather wise with no rain at all. The mud was drying out, but still very deep and sticky on the walkways over to the Other Stage and Arcadia.
Pulp: The highlight for us. When we heard Pulp were reforming I promised Laura (and myself) that we must see them. So when we heard that they might be Saturday’s special guest at the Park stage, we had to go over and see. And Javis and crew didn’t let us down. The field was rammed; they had to close the gates. Everyone was singing along, and I was surprised how many songs I knew. Started with Do You Remember the First Time? The whole field went mental and sang Disco 2000 and Common People like their lives depended on it.
Coldplay: OK; not my favourite band but seemed to go down well with the crowd.
Chemical Brothers: Laura and David went across to the Other Stage for The Chemical Brothers and seemed to have a great time too.
Sunday was red hot.
The Wombles: This was the highlight for Laura. Mike Batt and co played Avalon in their suits. Started with Remember you’re a Womble and finished with the Wombling Song. The tent was packed; everyone determined to have a great sing-a-long. Shame we missed out on getting a Wombles mask, but Laura bought a t-shirt.
Paul Simon: A good set.
Beyonce: I just didn’t get this. Laura thought she was great, but Marie and I weren’t too impressed. Yet when I got home, the first thing everyone I saw said to me was “did you see Beyonce?” and then told me how great she was on the TV coverage. It seems to me that it may have looked better on TV than from the field itself. Everyone around us didn’t seem to be getting into it.
We left straight after Beyonce and, after getting the van pushed out of the mud by a group of friendly guys, we drove all through the night and were back home at 8am on Monday. It took Marie and I 3 hours to clean the mud from the van, before we returned it to the hire company….