I went to U2’s last ever Irish concert, in Slane in 2001. It was the best concert I was ever at, made all the more special knowing it was their last one ever. Oh, except for the one I saw in Croke Park some time in the middle of the noughties, before we had kids. That was their last concert. Oh wait, then there was the next one in Croke Park in 2009 – my middle child was just a few weeks old but we had to go because it was probably the last time they’d ever play here. I remember it was a beautiful day – I remember the sunny post-partum pints and belting out all the songs, then racing back to get a taxi home in this new world of relieving babysitters. We also went to see them in the Point (or whatever the Point is called now) on a cold winter’s night in 2015. I couldn’t see anything (that’s what being 5 foot 2 will get you) but the songs sounded just as good as they had at that first-last concert in Slane over a decade earlier.
And for tonight in Croke Park, I had a ticket. I mean, it might be the last concert – I had to get a ticket. My husband and his friends had scrambled to get whatever tickets they could when they first came out, and he and I ended up with two – one for the pitch and one for the stand. So we tried to swap the stand ticket, because much as I like U2, I had no desire to sit with strangers to watch them – not the sweetest thing imaginable.
But there were no bites. My husband wanted to keep trying until the last minute, but then we’d have no babysitter. So a couple of days ago, when he rang me to say he still hadn’t found what we’re looking for, I bit the bullet (the blue sky…) and told him to sell the stand ticket and go with his friends with the one pitch ticket. I’d stay home. I’d be brave. It wouldn’t be too bad. (Because sometimes you can make it on your own.)
So off he went in a taxi, and I waved him off, taking pride in my stoicism. The kids suggested we bake to cheer me up. Because baking with kids is totally as good as going to a concert, and not at all stressful. Then my eldest found U2 on Spotify and played it for me, to cheer me up even more. It’ll be even better than the real thing, she said. (It turns out that listening to the music while missing the concert does the exact opposite of cheering up.)
Then they squabbled over who does what in the baking, to a the tune of Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of and I had to call time. The TV went on, the music went off, and I decided to mope on social media instead. Which is full of photos of people getting ready to go to U2.
So I decided to write a pity-post and eat the chocolate cake instead. This better not be their last concert.