Thursday, 19 February 2009

He's messy, but he's my friend...."

Bono is adorable in this.... very funny and extremely skittish! How many glasses of wine did you have Bono? Tsk, tsk?


Next time, it's for real....

Just got back from a whirlwind trip to London to see the Brit Awards. Sue and I had a strange and interesting time, watching a red carpet event at close quarters for the first time. We had time to wait for a while and watch the stars arrive... although by the time we had to go and pick up our tickets, Bono had not arrived, or else he had gone in the back door. I am yet to read or see any reports of the red carpet, so he may well have made a grand entrance.

We had a great spot (eventually - we moved a couple of times) right on the front of a barrier. We were not on the spotlit side where the artists did most of their schmoozing, but several nice people came over to us poor relations, causing the cameras problems I am guessing as the line was not lit for TV! :)

The first to arrive was Tom Jones... looking good for a man of his age. His grey hair suits him a lot better but he needs to lose the tan now to flatter it more. A whirl of celebs arrived in a stream of limousines... most of whom we did not know, but the young kids waiting screamed a great deal, so they were obviously popular (showing my age now!).

The hosts (James Corden and Matthew Horne) arrived together and ran over to us on the other side. They seem like nice boys... very funny young men. I forget the order in which people showed up, but we saw Kylie, Katy Perry, Alan Carr, Gok Wan, David Hasselhoff, Girls Aloud, Kings of Leon, Duffy, Simon Pegg, among many others. Quite a mix of personalities, with comedians being well represented. Was this the Comedy Awards?!

We got excited when our Edge arrived. His car stopped right beside us as there was a hold up in front, and I saw him through the window. I thought he would be with Bono, but he was the only band member in the car and indeed that we saw arrive. He did the red carpet thing and then stopped at the top of the stairs for a chat with Sarah Cox, who was doing the meet and greet.

I tried to take pictures, but the light was not good (and as I said, our side of the road was not lit). I got some blurry shots, and some not so blurry, but none really brilliant.

We eventually had to drag ourselves away, which was not hard since it was getting very cold and we were fed up! We went to get our tickets, and thought it would be a nightmare, but it was very well organised and we got them in minutes. Our seats were great, up high and right near the stage. We had a great view, and there was a giant screen right in front of us too where we could watch.

Everyone performed so well tonight. Aside from U2, who did a great job (more of that in a minute) Coldplay's set was particularly memorable, culminating in a shower of "leaves" lit by red and blue light! It was very effective. Chris Martin bounced around as he always does, so full of energy.

A particular highlight for me was Kings Of Leon, who did a stonking version of "Use Somebody".... that Caleb's voice is amazing. They won both their categories... Best International Group and Album, and well deserved I say.

Take That emerged as if by magic in a very PopMart like "spaceship" high up in the air, right below where were were sitting. Curiously, they were all wearing spectacles that looked like 3D glasses.... a bit geeky looking. I am sure if you are a Take That fan it all makes perfect sense. They were brilliant though.

The whole show was very enjoyable, much better than the Meteor Awards we went to in Dublin a few years ago. I liked most of the acts at this one. The time went quickly, which is a good sign.

And now onto U2's performance. After the worry of the Grammy's, this was a hundred times better. The sounds was spot on, and it was so great to actually be seeing them onstage for the first time in 4 years. The only iffy part was "Let me in the sound", which seems to be something they need to work on for the live shows. Edge does all the work with the singing, with Bono contributing very little. I have to say though, that since watching the TV show today, you can hear Bono more than I remember hearing him last night, so maybe it was a sound issue at the venue. Still, this needs work, and hopefully the few awards shows that they are doing will iron out the creases in this song.

Bono looked so good all dressed in black with a jacket with sparkly lapel. His eyeliner has been joined by full eyeshadow, which is just plain sexy. I'm all for it. Make up is not for all men... you have to have a certain something to carry it off. Bono has it.

I took a couple of pictures off the giant screen since the band were a little dot when using the camera pointing at the actual stage.

I felt so excited to be seeing them, and strangely proud that our band were opening the Brits. It's weird to be opening a show and still being the main event, but I felt they were. A headline act at the head of the show. They are still the band to watch and I don't really think that is in dispute.

After the show we headed out and checked out the entrance again. Stars were leaving in quick succession in their cars, but you could not see into many of them, so who knows who was passing us by? We were entertained by a couple of security guards who were like a comedy double act (maybe they should have presented an award tonight!).

Two men stood out for me tonight after hours. One is - surprisingly - Louis Walsh. Who would have thought that this man who I've never really given much thought to, could be impressing me? But he did. There was a woman there who - to put it delicately out of respect for her - is a little "over zealous" in her obsession with him, and maybe known by certain people for all the wrong reasons. Louis came out to go to his car and she was hysterically screaming his name, and crying. He came over to her (he knows her situation it seems) and gave her a kiss and was very kind. It made her night and she went home so happy!

And someone who made my (and Sue's) night, was Dermot O'Leary! He came over and we had a few words and he posed for photos and signed my book (you'd never know the squiggle was him, but, oh well). He was so sweet, and when my camera was not working and I was worried I was holding him up, he was so patient and told me not to worry. He was such a gentleman.

And so, our little "rehearsal" for the coming U2 tour madness came to an end. Next time we do this, it will be for real.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

One Week To Go

One week from now, Sue and I will be at the Brits!!! Can't wait. Hopefully we will see a rocking version of Boots and come away happy.

I will be blogging about it when I get back so watch this space....

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Take these boots, they're going nowhere....

My, U2 are testing us lately. I am exhausted with all the hiccups and "reasons" why this and that is not finished, or why it's delayed etc. And amazed at all the faux pas they seem to have made. For a band of their stature to be embroiled in artwork copying and copyright scandals is ludicrous. I wonder if they have been so "hands off" lately for whatever reason (time, mostly, while people who will remain unnamed are busy doing something else for 99.9% of the time), that they are just relying blindly on people who do not know, or do not care, what they are doing.

I just got an email from telling me to "click here" to watch the video premiere of Get On Your Boots, and ten minutes later, it is still stuck on 46% loading!

Oh well, I've seen it anyway. And don't even get me started on!!!

I really admire Bono for what he is doing with his time. I understand why he has to do it, and why he wants to carry on doing it. It's essential work and important that he does it. I respect that. But there must come a time when all that has to be weighed up against the fact that U2 are a band. Musicians. Do they still want to do that? I suspect that they do, but appreciate that it must be so hard.

And yes, I was getting impatient for a new U2 album... last September when myself and three of my friends were enjoying a week in Dublin, we had long conversations about it. It was about then that we had learned of them scrapping it all and starting again, and that they had 60 songs to try to get through. It didn't sit well with us. We were getting itchy feet. How can a band be out of the public eye for so long and survive, we mused. We were loyal and devoted fans who had stuck with them for years, and probably always would, but there were surely the lesser devoted who would get bored and turn their backs. U2 needed to act fast.

Maybe they thought that too. And maybe they acted too fast.

Because depsite my impatience about the album, I would much rather they get it right, than offer something up that is not up to par. Maybe, on some level, they think that too. Maybe they are getting nervous about just what is on that album.

I'm just musing and speculating. I don't know. All I know is that it is very weird, all this.

But amongst the confusion is hope and optimism. Deep down I feel it will be worth it, and that the very reason that there is all this confusion is because our guys want to give us all that we want.

And the tour.... that's something to look forward to. My friends and I are already dreaming about a sun-drenched French riviera, and gourmet food and good wine along with the music of the band we love!

It will all come out in the wash, as the saying goes!