Where to start? Where to start?
Our sitter met us at the house at 1:30 p.m. and we were officially on the road by 2 p.m. Traffic was decent, and we got to our hotel around 5:15 p.m. Unfortunately, our room wasn’t ready yet, so we went to go grab a quick bite to eat and then went back to get our hotel keys. We dumped our stuff and took a minute to decompress, then got in the car at 6:30 p.m. to head to the show, which started at 7 p.m. (we knew the opening act wouldn’t actually take the stage until 7:30 p.m., so we figured an hour was more than enough time seeing as the stadium was only 5 miles away from our hotel).
We got to the Wade Avenue exit right by the stadium and came to a complete halt. NO TRAFFIC WAS MOVING. I was texting with my friend Dave, who was already there, and asked him to tell us when Muse took the stage. At 7:26 p.m. we were still sitting on the exit, and he texted to let me know Muse had just started. We slowly inched up along the exit, the skies getting darker and darker. That’s when people started ditching their cars on the side of the exit ramp to walk to the stadium. NOT a good sign.
Sometime after 8 p.m. I got another text from Dave saying that Muse was done with their set. We were still on the exit ramp. I stayed with Denis in the van until 8:30 p.m. (STILL on the exit, by the way) and finally got out to walk. I walked about 20 minutes or so and finally got to the stadium. I made it to my seat just as U2 took the stage – not a moment to spare.
Denis wasn’t so lucky. He was still in the van, off the exit at this point, but now attempting to get to a parking lot. He didn’t make it to his seat until U2 was singing their 6th or 7th song of the night. And he STILL had to pay $20 for parking despite missing half of the show. What a ripoff.
The show itself was decent. U2 played a lot of good songs, and the spidery set was amazing despite being distinctly spidery. However, I felt very badly for the people that bought seats behind the so-called 360 degree stage because the band mainly faced only the front. It would have been much better that the stage revolved 360 degrees, with the band rotating 45% after each song. THAT would have been awesome. If I had had a rear seat I would have been TICKED. As it was, we were along the side of the stage, so we mainly saw their profiles the whole time, except for when they walked around the circular catwalk they had set up.
Denis got some decent pictures, which we’ll post shortly. A few pictures below!
The show would have been better had I not had Drunk Fighting Couple standing next to me. They were fine (and happily making out) through the first half of the U2 set, and then moved on to bitter fighting. I just wanted them to leave. Oh, and I did I mention that I had to stand the entire time? That wouldn’t have been bad, but since I had no room I had to stand a bit in front of the people on either side of me, *and* leaning forward a bit to avoid being elbowed by Drunk Fighting Guy. The couple on the other side of me were perfectly lovely. Needless to say that after 2 hours my calves and feet were killing me from standing in a slightly forward leaning stance the whole time.
After the show (thankfully Drunk Fighting Couple left before the encore so I enjoyed the encore tremendously) we met up with Dave and his wife, Cakes and his wife, Oscar and his brother, and a couple other people. There was a bar near the stadium where we chilled as we waited for traffic to die down. Then Dave drove us to our van and we parted ways with a plan to have brunch together this morning.
Alas, Dave texted me this morning to say that they had moved brunch from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., but we weren’t able to stay that late and still make it home in time to get things done at home. So after we texted our apology, we got up and hit the road instead.
Would I go see U2 again? Sure – but only in Charlotte and if I had really REALLY outstanding seats. Would I go to a stadium show again? Probably not. Would I ever go to Raleigh to see a show again? ABSOLUTELY NEVER – AND NOT AT CARTER-FINLEY STADIUM EVEN IF I GOT PAID TO DO IT. Needless to say the U2 show is NOT going to top my list of great concerts.
SO THANKFUL that I know my “SYTYCD” show in a couple weeks will be infinitely better. Not only does Charlotte know what they are doing as far as crowd control and parking, but it’s a smaller venue and I have a seat right up front.