My U2 Experience – Attending a concert solo, with or without you ;)

Seems like a thing with me lately, doesn’t it? Doing things solo? I mean, we’ve heard of solo travelers, and reading is always a solo activity, but doing other things alone? Most people would cringe, or think, she has lost her marbles.

Add to that the fact that the person signing up for all these solo experiences suffers from major anxiety issues. Like major. You already know about it from my other posts – the pre-event anxiety, thinking of all the way this can go south and freaking out about it, trying to shut your stupid brain down from sabotaging your very good life and yet not succeeding, the list goes on and on. Others who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

So people ask me, why do I do this? Hell, I’ve asked myself a million times the same question – why do you have to put yourself through this Prachi, every darned time?! Especially when I’m in the tight grip of an attack, which generally happens before the event. So I asked myself one day, when I was not having an anxiety attack, and here are the reasons I do what I do:

  1. The very simple and obvious one – I cant find the right company at the right time most of the times. I don’t have the patience to coax people, I’m a bad group activity planner, and I can deal with my own company along with its inglorious panic attacks, than having to be stuck with a very annoying or very boring person. My husband is the best choice, but we have a three year old and she can’t be taken to all the places we want to go to. So, we split our activities and travels, and I go solo πŸ™‚
  2. The other reason, which is not the obvious one, is that I think of it as a challenge. Papa used to be the one person who would always tell me, ‘who says you cant do this?’ or ‘what’s stopping you?’. But now that he’s not around, (and I pray he really is in a better place or in another place), there’s no one to tell me that. So I say that to myself. I set myself up for these challenges to see if I can overcome my fears. I fear a lot of things. So when I am able to overcome my fears and go through one of these experiences and come out alive, and most of the times with a feeling of accomplishment, and sometimes with a feeling of elation, I feel great about myself πŸ™‚

So, coming back to the U2 concert, I had booked my ticket months back, as soon as I heard that U2 was finally coming to India to perform! I have been a fan of their band since I was in college and some of their songs have got me through so much in life. There are a handful of bands whose concerts I had decided I would try and attend, if I could get the chance – Metallica (I attended theirs in Bangalore), Pink Floyd (unfortunately, only Roger Waters came to Mumbai, but still, it was worth it), Linkin Park (I’m so sad that Chester has passed 😦 ), Coldplay, Maroon 5 and U2. So, you can just imagine my excitement!

The concert was in Mumbai and I live around 4 hours away from Mumbai. And I had to come back the same night, since my husband had an early morning meeting on Monday. Luckily, the concert guys had arranged buses that would ply from Pune to Mumbai and back again, so I booked a seat there. On the day of the concert, amidst constant anxiety, I boarded the bus. I was probably the only girl on the bus who was alone. But that was alright. I plugged in my earphones and listened to U2 all the way to the stadium.

The concert was being held at DY Patil Stadium, and we reached earlier than expected. I had eaten a packet of chips/crisps for lunch and was starting to get hungry already. It was hot and humid, but people were waiting patiently. I waited as well, alone, looking at all the different kinds of people who had turned up for the event. There’s a certain joy in people watching, you should try it πŸ˜‰ Finally, the gates opened at 4 pm.

Inside the stadium, the show organizers had arranged for the RFI card top up counters for cashless payments, very few food counters, and a drink counter. The biggest bummer was, that although they had a smoking corner and were selling cigarettes, there was no alcohol! Sigh. I was so hungry that I bought an entire personal pizza and gobbled it up. Then I walked around, and finally went to my seat.

U2 started right on time – 7:30 pm and they played non stop until 10 pm! They had Noel Gallagher as one of the guests, but sadly, he didn’t sing. The last two songs were Ahimsa and One where AR Rahman accompanied U2, and those songs were superb. The entire performance was surreal. I was alone and yet I felt as if I was a part of the entire collection of people in the stadium. I was singing on the top of my lungs along with all the others, swaying and jumping and head banging with the others, turning my phone’s torch on to make it a candle, along with the others, and I had no idea how the hours passed by. The experience was surreal and one that I won’t forget.

Here is the song line up, that they performed that night:

The Whole of the Moon – On tape
(The Waterboys song)

Sunday Bloody Sunday
I Will Follow
New Year’s Day
Bad
( with “Give Peace a Chance”)
Pride (In the Name of Love)

The Joshua Tree

Where the Streets Have No Name
(with “California (There Is No… more )
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
With or Without You
(with “Shine Like Stars” coda)
Bullet the Blue Sky
(with “America (West Side Story)” snippet)
Running to Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God’s Country
Trip Through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Exit
(with “Wise Blood” and “Eeny… more )
Mothers of the Disappeared
Desire
(with Noel Gallagher)

Encore:

Elevation
Vertigo
(with “Live Forever” and “I… more )
Even Better Than the Real Thing
(Fish Out of Water Mix)
Every Breaking Wave
(acoustic)
Beautiful Day
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
Ahimsa
(with A. R. Rahman) (live debut)
One
(with Noel Gallagher) (also with A. R. Rahman)

But once the concert was over, I literally ran to find my bus, and finally managed to get a seat. That was when exhaustion took over. My entire body hurt, but my head was still buzzing with all the songs they played. What a night! I reached back home at 2:30 am in the morning, thankfully, nothing untoward happened to this woman traveling alone during the whole time. What an event and what a day!

Here is a small badly made video, of my experience and U2’s performance πŸ™‚ Sorry about that ugly pole in between, but my phone wasn’t able to cut it off..lol πŸ˜€

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