A lot has been said about the disappointment that U2 fans have felt over being told that the show they hold tickets to (and in a lot of cases the reason they bought tickets) is the ‘last show of the 360 tour’. Now whether that is of the tour LEG or the actual TOUR is yet to be seen, but right now, that’s the reality of it. We just don’t know.
I personally held tickets for the ‘last show’ (at the time) twice – NYC in 2010 on the original date (understandable, we all know what happened there) and Minneapolis in 2011 (I can even understand this, because they never actually said it was the last show, I just was happy to see that it was likely going to be at the time). When they announced Pittsburgh, of course I was upset knowing I couldn’t make it due to a lack of vacation days, even though I’d be spending the majority of my July a mere 3 hours down the road in Cleveland. However, I soon became complacent after the original announcement, knowing that several good friends in Ohio would still be going and was happy for them. And really, sometimes I have to sit back and be happy that I’m going to 9 shows. That’s what a lot of U2 fans can only dream of!
The problem with the Moncton announcement is that Pittsburgh WAS billed as the ‘last show’, most definitely. So I am with the fans 100% who are upset about Moncton being tacked on to the end. Moncton is not an easy place to get to logistically. It is a very exclusive airline market relatively speaking, and although it is a beautiful gem in Atlantic Canada, it’s not the easiest and cheapest place to get to. I, for example, would never see a return flight from where I live in Western Canada to Moncton for less than $700 – that’s just the way it goes. It’s about as expensive as it would be for me to fly to Dublin, for goodness sakes. Americans flying up from the US will also find the route to be extremely cost prohibitive, but that’s not U2′s fault. What is their fault though, is failing to realize that the ‘last show’ really is a big deal to many of their biggest fans. On the flipside, their camp will see it as a chance they had to take – they had the opportunity to play a market they’d never played before. In the end, the fans in Atlantic Canada have NEVER had a show, so it is making one group of fans happy at the expense of another.
Although everyone can’t be happy no matter what they do, the biggest mistake was actually putting out to the universe that Pittsburgh WAS the ‘last show’. Fans holding Pittsburgh tickets would be disappointed if they added Moncton no matter what, but like my Minneapolis situation, I would understand if it was never actually billed as such. The combination of Moncton being a very expensive destination travel-wise, and the expense many fans are already going through to get to the other shows (including Pittsburgh) makes it just too much for some, and no wonder there is dissent.
All this being said, as someone who has travelled to shows and made friends along the way, I’ve learned quickly that what makes a U2 concert special for those of us who choose to “follow” them, is seeing the friends you’ve made along the way and sharing the experience with them.
I know that although it would be my personal dream show, they won’t be tearing out AB/JT/RH in their entirety just because it’s the last show, nor will Edge be doing a special version of “Van Diemen’s Land” just for me because he knows I’m there. (Edge, if you read this, I’m not coming to Moncton – choose one of my other 9, would you please? ) I know people want to be there because it’s special, but quite honestly it may not be much of anything at the same time. When I went to Vancouver in 2009 I’d built it up in my head to be such a big deal as it was the last show of the leg, but as far as the setlist, it ended up being identical to the RoseBowl which we all have on DVD. I was of course thrilled to be at another U2 show, but would it have been any different had I gone to (insert another 360 show here)? It can be a bit of a letdown if you expect it to be something more than what it is, another fantastic U2 show in its own right, but nothing that people will be talking about forever more because they played ______ for the first time EVER. (Really though, would they wait for the last show to play _____ for the first time ever? Not likely!)
What we all have to remember through all of this re-adding/rescheduling hell that can easily depress us is – every U2 show has the potential to be the best show ever for YOU personally.
In 2009, Chicago 2 was better than Chicago 1 for me, but it was because I was with my husband and we got a good spot and had a lot of fun with the people we were with at the time. Vancouver was special because my mom was with me – it was great to finally share this band I’ve been listening to forever with her, and watching her singing along to “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” literally brought tears to my eyes.
Toronto 1 was ultra-magic because, well, this happened right in front of me.
And although Chicago 1 was my very first show, due to some circumstances that I wasn’t really expecting, I ended up by myself in GA watching the show. It had those magic moments that I was actually seeing The Edge gasp! for the very first time, but I also felt like a bit of a freak inside because I couldn’t “share” that with anyone that I would ever actually talk to again.
So, that’s all taught me one thing. It’s the PEOPLE that make the U2 show no matter what. Edge playing Stay right there for me made Toronto 1 totally special, but do I have to go all the way to Moncton for that opportunity? Heck no. That can come along at any of the other 9 I’m already going to, and I control my own destiny for getting that close to the stage again, and THAT’s what’s special to me personally. If The Edge takes just two seconds and actually looks me in the eye, I’m going to feel for that moment that he’s playing for “me”. The city I’m in, or whether it’s the first show, last show, or 14th show, all becomes irrelevant at that moment. Your last show, or your first show, can be just as special as U2′s last show, and if you can’t make it to Moncton, make every moment count at the ones you can attend!