U – Dos, San Sebastian

You too! (Get it? Get it?)

I just went to a U2 concert. In San Sebastian, Spain. It was the closing event for this year’s International Film Festival, and I was there, along with a high school friend, Sara, and her friend Colleen – both studying in Madrid this semester.

We got to the stadium quite early, but it was already pretty crowded. We had standing room only tickets, (we snatched them at about 60 euros each!), so we moved as far up as we could, and sat down and ate a picnic dinner while the crowd slowly filled in….

That's right.

The show? It was awesome. What else do you expect of U2? This was the 360* tour, and there was some really creative use of the giant video screens – they showed the concert, they showed animations, they showed poetry, they moved, they glittered… but always only complimenting the music itself. The night air was a little cold in the open-air stadium, but once everyone was on their feet clapping and dancing it warmed up quickly – it was a surreal experience to raise your hands in the air and feel the difference in temperature. My flatmate Gianfranco, who was in Rome for an exam, made me call him from the stadium so he could hear his favourite song. There were odd little Spanish touches here and there, too, reminding us that we weren’t back home in the Scottrade Center. Bono greeted the crowd in English, Spanish, French, and Basque, and, instead of Encore, the crowd sang, “Ole, ole ole ole…. ole, ole.” !!!

We walked back to the hostel on a cloud of elation, riding the wave of concert-goers through an otherwise deserted city. San Sebastian isn’t quite the party capital of Spain, and on a Sunday night at… 1? 2? It was totally empty except for the U2 crowd. A few bars right next to the stadium were absolutely packed, so we kept walking hoping to find one a little bit less busy. We were out of luck, as most of the city was completely shut down and closed up. Once at the hostel, we found a few other U2 fans asking the front desk about places to get food – his only grim suggestion was a vending machine several blocks away. The four of us marched over to what had become a very popular vending machine! Luckily it was a pretty good one that spit out hot toasted sandwiches… enough to get us through the night, anyway. At a pinch, U2 would have been worth going hungry for… at least until we ate lunch in France the next morning! 😀