For those of you with U2 concerts to come who want to avoid spoilers, don't worry: I won't give away any concert details. Spoilers are only in the links. Alternatively, if you want spoilers, the links are quite thoroughly spoilertastic. Anyway, time for a rundown of what's been happening in my life over the last two weeks.
On the 6th of November, Luke and I decided we felt like listening to a free concert, so we headed down to ANZ Stadium in the very well-placed hopes that U2 would perform a dress rehearsal before their first show in nine months the next day. The band came out to play, and the rain also came out to join the party! A Queensland storm rolled in just in time to greet the band as they took the stage. I had my university bag with me, and despite the fact I hadn't used it since June, I had been too lazy to remove my umbrella from the bag, so Luke and I sheltered under that. Whoever said laziness was a bad thing! It was a great evening, with good company from the other fans assembled on the hill that overlooked the stadium. The sound was remarkably crisp and clear.
The next day, of course, Luke and I, as well as my mother and one of Luke's friends, attended the concert. Here's the setlist and here's my comprehensive review. The band were remarkably "on" for a first show, and they have only improved since then. Luckily enough, that night was a fine night - the next night had probably the worst storms of the year thus far.
I then spent a couple of days frantically writing an essay that needed to be done before I headed down to Sydney on the 11th. Matt, my partner in setlist crime over on U2-Vertigo-Tour.com, had invited me down, so I took him up on the offer and saw the latter two of Sydney's three U2 shows. I haven't properly been to Sydney since 1990, when I was three, though I have passed through it by car and had transfers at its airport since then. The city struck me as thoroughly daunting and all too big, but the Central train station is certainly the place to be for a railway dork such as myself. I was also impressed by the efficiency of the Sydney trains in clearing the concert venue - I know Sydney's overburdened railway network is often the target of jokes, but they certainly didn't let me down with their efficient clearance of passengers from Telstra Stadium.
The first show I saw in Sydney was U2's second of the tour in the city, and I feel it was the best of the three I've seen so far. The band were on fire and played a very powerful set. Here's the set, and you really should check out the video on that article if you're a U2 fan looking for a laugh, and here's my detailed review.
The next day was a rest day, so I just bummed around the vicinity of my hotel and spent a good bit of time studying for upcoming exams. On Monday, the band played their third Sydney show, and it was an absolute blast. It had a kind of "party" atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. If the set had had the first two encore songs from the previous show, it probably would have been the best concert of the three, but alas, it was not to be. Check out the video at the link for more ramshackle but fun U2 live footage. Aaaand here's my review of the show!
On the 14th, I had just a few short hours between my arrival in Brisbane and an exam. It was quite a hectic day! I feel I did alright on the exam though. It didn't strike me as either disastrous or spectacular; I think I did as well as I could have possibly hoped after frequently tuning out during dull lectures. Back on the 6th, I'd done my first exam of the exam period and it was laughable - now, I know lecturers often re-use exams from previous years without radically changing them, but this case was extreme. The exam we received was in almost every way precisely the same as the one from last year on the library's website. I feel that I breezed through it.
Yesterday, I had my final exam, and by extension, my final set task at UQ. It went well, though I had a politician I really wanted to quote and then forgot until I was writing the last bloody sentence of my conclusion, by which point it was too late to change it - even if I had been prepared to scribble out everything I'd done and rework part of the essay to fit it in, I probably would not have had the time. But I still think what I wrote was decent, and with that, I have now departed from UQ. Bring on the University of Melbourne next year! However, I'm not totally done with UQ - I still have a submission to prepare for the Political Science department's academic journal. I'm aiming to have it done by early or mid-December to make the January issue.
Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to have to juggle writing that article with a couple of trips! Tomorrow, I'm off to Melbourne to find somewhere to live next year. I'm seeking a cheap one bedroom apartment on a direct tram route to the university, so if any Melbournians reading this have some tips, I'd very much appreciate them! While in Melbourne, I will of course be catching the two U2 shows. Should be great fun, and the Adelaide set from yesterday has surprised me and raised my hopes that the band will not be playing the same set I heard in Brisbane, which I took to be the standard first night set after it was re-used at the first Sydney show.
The day after I get back from Melbourne, I'll be hopping on another plane and heading to meet my father in New Zealand for a few days. It's been a long time since I've been back in New Zealand twice in one year. In fact, before I went to NZ in April this year, I hadn't been back since April 2003! However, although I normally go to Wellington, I'm going to Auckland this time around. I haven't properly been to Auckland since I was a very young child. I was going to say since I was six, but I may have been back up there once more between then and when I came to Australia when I was ten. I'll be catching the two U2 shows there and desperately hoping the band plays One Tree Hill live, and if any of you out there are queuing up in GA, I could really use some company, especially for the second show! My father and I will also go to some of his favourite Auckland places like we intended to do for his birthday back when the concerts were going to be held in March. It should be fun, though I would truly love to go to Wellington. I want to spend some quality time on the Kapiti Coast and in the Wairarapa. They are truly beautiful parts of the world and I miss them very much. Ah well, maybe next year.
And that's about it for now. Have a good one, folks!