U2 Summer Night In Tampa

Howling the women and children
Who run into the arms
Of America.  

U2 rolled into Tampa has one of the hottest summer concert tickets, and then the sky darkened as to say hold on mother nature has a few words for you.  A rainbow appeared over the stadium as to say tonight will be magical, spiritual and will take you back to that place in time.  Many wondered why dust off Joshua Tree for a tour; was it because of the new album still in the works and not ready for release, was it to stay relevant as core U2 fans had heard many times before. Or was it simply the perfect time to remind us to take care of each other? 

The night opened the center stage with "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and ended with "Vertigo"  The set list was a roller coaster of visuals and emotions that had fans dancing and with a flip of a switch standing still and staring at the screen filled with images of women, children, hope, and possibility. "Red Hill Mining Town" featured the Salvation Army Band in perfect timing with the performance. Bono had a few words for the politics of America as well as praise. "Thank you for giving us safety for many many many years - this was a promised land for the Irish for years." - Bono  


The Gospel According to U2

Image by Dave Long 2009 U2 360 Tour Tampa Florida We had talked about starting a U2 book Club. We thought we would select the first book and see if we have an interest. We will have a link for threading the conversation. If you don’t have a copy of our first selection you can pick up a copy via the enclosed link.

We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel according to U2 (Gospel According to U2)

The title of Greg Garrett’s book about the spiritual side of Bono and U2 proclaims his central argument from the front cover. The book is called We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel According to U2.

Do you know those famous words?

Rolling Stone ranks “One” (the song in which this line appears) as No. 36 among the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was released way back in the early 1990s, when the band was at a crossroads and nearly broke up. Depending on your age, you might recall the more recent Mary J. Blige version of the song, which also was a hit.

The words that end the song — which prompt men and women around the world to “sing along” — are:

One love, one blood, one life. 
You got to do what you should. 
One life with each other: sisters, brothers. 
One life, but we’re not the same. 
We get to carry each other. 
Carry each other. 
One, one.

And, in singing along, we’re essentially joining in a global hymn, Greg argues. He writes, “The meaning of life, U2 ultimately reminds us, is not in how much gold you pile up, how many mansions you build, how many people you can order around, or even how loudly and devoutly you pray and proclaim your salvation. It is in what we get to do for each other. 
“This is U2’s faithful message to the world.”
 Did you catch that key phrase, “get to,” in the lyrics and in Greg’s book? That phrase means that it’s one of life’s great privileges that we get to help each other. Wow! That’s a sermon that’ll snap your head around, if you stop to listen to the lyrics!

Our spiritual mission doesn’t lie in graciously deciding that we’ll donate a little bit of money or expend a little effort on behalf of the needy — when it’s convenient for us. No. The orientation here is waking up in the morning and feeling thankful that we get to help out wherever we can.


DAVID: We’ve told readers about your work before, Greg — especially your earlier book on the spiritual lessons of comic book super heroes. You’re always drawing creative connections between spirituality and popular culture. Tell us what you do for a living - beyond writing books.

GREG: I am professor of English at Baylor University and I’m writer in residence at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin and I’m a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Church. Mostly, I’m known as a writer and a teacher.

DAVID: We should explain to readers that, in addition to attending U2 concerts and following the band’s work over the years — you once had an opportunity to sit down with these guys and interview them.

GREG: I did. It was back in the days when I was a rock journalist. I interviewed them after they had recorded their second album.

DAVID: These guys are not card-carrying members of any particular religious group, are they? They’re not regularly practicing Catholics, for example.

GREG: No, they absolutely are not. The interesting thing for many of your readers is that they have been people of faith — but outside of almost any organized religious tradition for more than 30 years. 
They grew up in Ireland and saw the people of Ireland blowing each other up over divisions of faith. They’ve felt they could live out their lives of faith more authentically outside of any organized tradition. Three of the four members would think of themselves as Christian but they have not been part of a formal Christian organization for more than 30 years. They seem to be very much in tune with various faith and wisdom traditions, though. They have worked with the Dalai Lama and with Jewish leaders and many others — so it’s a very ecumenical understanding they have about how we are called to be the face of change for the world.

We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel according to U2 (Gospel According to U2)

DAVID: In a way, they’re a voice for the “Nones” — the growing ranks of Americans who answer with the word, “None,” when pollsters ask them for their “religious affiliation.”

GREG: Yes, Brian McLaren talks about them in this way. In a very real sense, they model new ways of being a faith community. The have a very clear sense of mission — we are called together to help people. And, as they work out this mission, they seem to be modeling a new way to be people of faith.

DAVID: Why are they so enduring in their popularity?

GREG: Not only are they a band with incredible longevity, so they have lots of sales and awards and fans who follow them, but they’re also a band that continually reinvents itself and keeps itself relevant. The new album, No Line on the Horizon, has new sounds and ideas. 
I don’t want to criticize other bands by name, but people know which bands only go back to work when they need more money. U2 was freed from that necessity very early in their career because of some smart business decisions they made. They’re free from having to worry about making more money. So, in an album like No Line on the Horizon, there are elements of their past albums — but you also hear some new Eastern stuff that comes from recording in Morocco. It’s recognizable as U2, but they’re still exploring new music. They’re not resting on their laurels.

DAVID: They started out with some concerns very close to home, but they’ve become world citizens. That’s a pretty surprising transition for four guys from Dublin.

We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel according to U2 (Gospel According to U2)

GREG: The four did grow up in Dublin. Ireland was what they knew. But they soon had some powerful experiences of the world. 
Particularly, Bono traveled to Central America and Africa. In Ethiopia, he had a father hand him a starving child and tell him: “Take him home with you, please. If he stays here, he will die.” That’s powerful stuff. 
Their consciousness expanded so greatly that they came to see the whole world needs help — not just the people in Ireland.

DAVID: Is this spiritual mission we’re talking an effort by the entire U2 band? Or is this really Bono we’re talking about in terms of these spiritual commitments?

GREG: That’s a cool question and difficult to answer. From years of following U2 and from my research for this new book, I would say: Bono is the point person, but he is representing the band in concerns they share. 
When we look at the benefit concerts they do — or the benefit tour they did for Amnesty International — you can see this is a thrust they’re making together. It’s like they’re part of a family and they make these efforts together. 
 Here in America recently, the guitar player The Edge partnered with Gibson guitars to help get instruments back into the hands of musicians along the Gulf Coast who lost their instruments in the big hurricane. So, the whole band obviously cares about these issues.

DAVID: With so much music released over the years, what albums would you suggest that newcomers pick up to familiarize themselves with U2?

GREG: The obvious and perhaps the easiest answer is to get one of the Best Of albums. If you listen to some of the music from early to mid career, a lot of people will say: “Ohhh, that song is by U2?”
 Another good first choice is All That You Can’t Leave Behind. This is the album that came out in October of 2001.

DAVID: Rolling Stone called it the band’s “third masterpiece.” Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby were the first two in Rolling Stone’s list.

GREG: This is the album associated with many of the things we were dealing with after 9/11. Then, early the following year, they performed at the Super Bowl. So that album is a good choice. 
But I also recommend the new album, No Line on the Horizon, because it’s as intentionally spiritual as anything they’ve ever written.

DAVID: In Part 1 of this U2 story, we shared some of the words from a song on that new album, “Cedars of Lebanon.” The song warns people to “choose your enemies carefully, ‘cause they will define you.”

We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel according to U2 (Gospel According to U2)

GREG: Yes, they’re warning that we can be defined by our hatred. The album has allusions to the Middle East adventures of Great Britain and America. 
U2 has been standing up against practices like torture and rendition that are just now coming to light more fully. In a very real sense, they’re saying that your enemies will define you. You’ve got to be cautious about how you combat evil — because it can make you evil yourself.

DAVID: They seem to be stepping into the classic tradition of the ancient Hebrew prophets — these courageous figures who stood up to powerful figures and called for justice and a return to basic religious values.

GREG: One of the sections of my book deals with the tradition of prophetic voices and I take a look at the idea of “prophetic” as not referring to “predicting the future,” which is a definition a lot of people know from popular culture, but “prophetic voice” as a phrase really describing someone who speaks truth to power. For Bono and U2, this isn’t about religious propositions or orthodoxy — it’s about deep spiritual truths like standing in solidarity with the poor. Bono describes what he is doing now as serving as a lobbyist for the poor.

DAVID: You’ve traveled widely, Greg. You’ve heard many of the world’s great preachers — yet your book explains that you’ve been profoundly moved, over many years, by the spiritual messages preached by this rock band.

GREG: I wrote this book because I do have a profound personal connection with the band. And it’s not just that I sat down with them for an interview 27 years ago. It’s because their music and their lives have shown up in my life over and over again. 
 All the work I have done in writing and teaching about religion and culture has grown out of this kind of experience. 
U2 is one way that many people feel God moving in their lives. For so many people, they don’t feel it in organized religion but in experiences like turning on the radio and hearing a song they desperately needed to hear at that moment. I have a passion for this particular book and this group — because these musicians have set out on an authentic spiritual quest and have told the world about it honestly. 
They are reaching out to millions through their music — letting us know we are not alone in our journeys.

This article was originally published at Read The Spirit.

We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel according to U2 (Gospel According to U2)

72,000 as One

“U2 fans found what they were looking for”

“With U2, 72,000 beat as 1”

U2’s ‘Magnificent’ Tampa performance”


The venue does matter. Looking back at all the great shows one main ingredient has to be the venue, and Tampa does not disappoint the boys from Ireland. U2 arrived in Tampa with all the hoopla focused on the large stage. Friday night’s show at Raymond James Stadium which considered to be toned down from previous productions however never call it small.     

The high-definition video screen, the major element in the band’s stated effort to bring the show closer to even the cheap seats, was the main attraction tech-wise. The enormous structure looming over the stage looked impressive all lit up, as at the beginning of “Where the Streets Have No Name,” but mostly faded into the background. Which is as it should be, because all the big-budget toys in the world can’t save a show this size from a second-rate band. And Friday’s show was first-rate.

The Edge’s arsenal of guitar effects gave the sound the heft it needed for the stadium setting. Bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen locked in tight, showing the benefits of 30 years of playing together. U2 may be the only band alive whose songs make more sense being played in front of more than 72,000 people. On the record, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” communicates restlessness and dissatisfaction. With thousands of voices singing along with U2 frontman Bono, it became a song about endless possibilities.

Songs of more recent vintage, such as “City of Blinding Lights” and “Beautiful Day” have that same quality. Friday, both exploded, as if U2’s last two scaled-down, arena tours hadn’t been big enough to house the songs.

Selections from this year’s “No Line on the Horizon” took on new life live as well. The band brought out the punkish simplicity of the title track to good effect, while “Get On Your Boots” became the rave-up it just missed being on disc.

The show’s latter portion focused more on social and political concerns, with photos from this year’s Iranian protests accompanying “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” “Walk On” was dedicated to imprisoned Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

But in the end it was U2 that made the biggest impression — four musicians who wanted to be the biggest band in the world and succeeded.

Bono left the stage saying “Don’t forget about us” Which in the end seemed kind off for a band that just made the biggest impression on the bay area. You never forget your first, your last and most often the best so Bono I would said you have nothing to worry about.

A closing touch was the “One” campaign kiss photos featuring the muisc of Elton John’s Rocket Man. The night was complete, the stage hands, crew arrived with one swoop and off we go to the next city.

Sources: wide release

Epic rock 'n' roll from U2

TAMPA - Bono raced around stage belting out hits with his trademark passion, The Edge’s guitar riffs were as moving and powerful as ever and the stage was almost as big a star as the group itself.

The Irish group’s Tampa stop kicked off shortly after 8:30 p.m. with the first notes of “Breathe.” Much to the delight of the estimated crowd of 70,000, U2 took full advantage of The Claw, the 209-ton superstructure of a stage that’s reportedly the largest ever used for a rock show.

Raymond James Stadium was the site of the latest installment of the 360 Degree Tour.

Paramedics had a fairly steady number of calls of people suffering heat-related problems, but the calls dropped off once the sun set, said Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Bill Wade. Only three people had to be taken to local hospitals, he said.

The Tampa Sports Authority handed out water to the concertgoers already at the stadium.

“They’re wonderful,” TSA spokeswoman Barbara Casey said of the fans. “They’re a mellow group, but it’s a hot group.”

U2 tends to inspire passion, and tonight was no exception.

“If we could go to Dublin, we would,” said Rob Bennett, from Brandon, outside the stadium. “Instead, we’re here in Tampa.”

Christine Neil timed her visit here from Scotland around the group’s itinerary.

“I had the tickets booked on the 14th of February of this year for the U2 gig,” she said. “Then I booked my holidays after that. So I had the tickets to the gig before my holiday.”

Jim Hebler waxed philosophical about the group.

“I think that …. especially with what’s been happening in the economy, with the problems that we’re facing with war and you get together with U2, they remind you that it’s all about one humanity. I think the positive energy that they’re going to throw forth in this show is going to be amazing.”

We have lots of photos and videos, for tonight we are going to retreat to the house tomorrow is another chance to share what is the event of the year for Tampa Bay.


Welcome U2 Fans, Bloggers and Crew

Welcome to Tampa Bay home to U2TOURFANS. Yes your in our back yard this week. We are glad your here. Enjoy the town. Couple of points of interest.


  1. Tampa does have its own Space Ship no you can’t bring your kids.
  2. Tampa has more strip clubs in a square mile then any other city in the US
  3. The Stadium floor is covered with steel do not sit on it you will thank us, its HOT
  4. The pirate ship does not move. 
  5. No thongs allowed on any beach
  6. No beer or alcohol allowed to be open, on the beach in your car.
  7. Traffic will be a mess call our LIMO friends - 727 520 1840 and ask for the U2TOURFANS deal
  8. Suites require tickets
  9. Cameras allowed
  10. Security will feel you up

Dave Long/U2TOURFANS 2009 Those with general admission field tickets can start lining up on the north side of the stadium at 7 a.m. They will be given wrist bands and can bring chairs and coolers, but will have to bring those items back to their cars before going inside. Gates to get inside the stadium open at 5 p.m. Parking for those with floor seating is in lots 1 and 3A.

Lots 5,6, and 7 will open at noon. Other lots open at 3 p.m. The show starts at 7 p.m. with opening act, MUSE.

Officials with the Tampa Sports Authority said the traffic situation should be very similar to a Bucs game. They do expect more signs on the interstate because of all the out-of-towners coming in for the show.

Non-professional cameras are allowed inside, but not video cameras.

360 Comes to Tampa

We have been reporting the tour since the early days. Well since the start of 360. Each venue, travel days, show news and stories from you the local fan. One thing that we keep getting asked at each venue. “So how big is that stage” We found this photo that really gives the best picture. One thing we know for sure if you have been in or out of LAX you will think you have seen this stage before. Tampa your in for a show. This is the show of the year. Quoted sources have said the impact can be as large as the Super Bowl or play off game as it relates to traffic. Currently we have 10 people attending the show as well as 50 more people that “claim to be going”  One thing is for sure U2 has had an impact on Tampa Bay for three weeks total. Now thats impressive.

  • 90 feet Height of the four-pronged canopy over the stage.
  • 150 feet Height of the center pylon.
  • 54 tons Weight of the cylindrical video screen, which opens to 14,000 square feet.
  • 1 million Number of pieces in the video screen, which has 500,000 pixels, 320,000 fasteners, 30,000 cables and 150,000 machined pieces.
  • 120 Number of trucks it takes to cart the stage from show to show.
  • 3 Number of stages. They follow the “leapfrog” principle: One is used for the show, while the second is being built at the next location and the third is being dismantled at the previous location.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone, Reuters

Blackberry Loves Tampa Too

Irish rockers U2 will step on stage tomorrow in Tampa, Florida, helped by BlackBerry’s sponsorship of their world tour in a deal no record company could offer.

Research In Motion Ltd.’s “BlackBerry Loves U2” advertising campaign is part of a trend where brands are stepping into the breach as plummeting sales shrink music labels’ marketing budgets. Once reluctant to be seen as selling out to corporate sponsors, artists are keen to sign up.

“BlackBerry made the TV commercial with our music and then spent many millions of dollars on media and TV worldwide,” U2 manager Paul McGuinness said by phone from the Toronto leg of the group’s multi-city tour. “They provided a budget that no record company could have possibly matched.”

Many question the fact that at most venues it does not even look like Blackberry is the sponsor. No creative thought into taging U2 and my blackberry at all. So I thought we would come up with my own 360 Blackberry marketing program if we was in charge of promotional work for either U2 or Blackberry. Yes we own a blackberry bold. So here goes

  1. Take a photo at one of the venues and you can upload it to a blackberry photo booth where you can view, share and send your photo to anyone you like. The site would be branded with both U2 and Blackberry and the frames around the photos can be something like Blackberry loves U2 and U.
  2. Change your tag line from “Sent from my XX Carrier Blackberry to Sent from U2 Venue Blackberry”
  3. Create a photo booth at the venue where I can send a image to a friend again cross branding.
  4. Blackberry Users and new owners get special access to media rich content that can be downloaded and saved on your blackberry.
  5. Blackberry wrappers around the venue - ( industry term, large plastic wrapper)
  6. For the early arrivals call home or send a message using a special Blackberry from the backberry tester. 
  7. Enter win something anything
  8. Tie promotion in with US wireless company - hum now that’s an idea
  9. Create a limited edition U2 blackberry ( ah sounds like hum my U2 Ipod)
  10. Do nothing. which seems to be the norm according to most venue fans.

 P.S. We had more but hey we don’t get paid for marketing Blackberry - But this last one is really good screen savers that can feature the venue or a member of the band

Promotional Consideration: NONE - We own Blackberry’s  long before it was cool to own one.



U2 Tampa Event Info

U2 360º World Tour
Opening act: Muse

October 9, 2009
7 p.m.
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Raymond James Stadium is located at 4201 Dale Mabry Highway North, Tampa, Florida 33607 (see directions)

Field Ticket Early Parking/Entrance ONLY:
For those with Field Tickets (General Admission/Red Zone), early parking opens at 7 a.m. in Lots 1/3 (off of Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd).
Field ticket holders should line up to enter the stadium at Dock A (near Gate A).

Parking Lots Open:
Remaining parking lots open at 3 p.m.  – Lots 2, 4, 6D, 8, 9, HCC, 11, 12 and 13.
No advanced parking pass sales, pay as you enter (see map)
No camping or overnight parking

Parking Prices:
Cars - $25 in Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and HCC
Buses - $50 in Lot 8, 13 and 14
Limos - $50 in Lot 4 (as space is available)/campers-$50 in Lot 8, 13 and 14
Disabled - $25 parking is first come, first serve, Lots A and C

All Stadium Gates Open at 5 p.m.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Are cameras allowed?
A: Yes, lens no bigger than 1 inch, no PROFESSIONAL CAMERAS

Q. Are chairs permitted?
A. No.

Q: Are video cameras allowed?
A: No

Q: Can I bring in food or drinks?
A: No

Q: What can and can’t I bring in the stadium?
A: Please review the Security Policies provided.
Banners/flags larger than 8.5x11
Inflatable items including beach balls

Q: Can I tailgate in the parking lots?
A: Yes.

Q: Where are the disabled elevators?
A: Enter disabled gates at A and C. Review additional information about Disabilities Services.

Q:  Will there be concessions and restrooms on the field?
A: Yes, or near the field

Q: Is re-entry to the stadium allowed?
A: No

Q: Where do I park?
A: See the parking map. Additional information is available on the Parking and Directions site

Q: Where are my seats?
A: View the seating map

Q: Where is the stage?
A: The 360-degree stage will be near the south end zone

Q: Will concessions and restrooms be available for early arrivals?
Yes, and in the tunnels at the rear of the field.

Q: Are paper tickets permitted?
A: Yes, if purchased from Live Nation or Ticketmaster

Q. What are the policies in your parking lots?
A. Please review the Security Policies