We were feeling exhilarated but tired having raced around from Miami to Long Beach, Las Vegas to San Francisco on a whirlwind business trip. I was looking forward to a good long rest after our final event of the day, raising money for good causes at a Salesforce event in Vegas, onstage with my friend Marc Benioff.
Then Marc said to me that he had a spare ticket to see U2 that night on one of their first shows of their new tour. How could I refuse?! We travelled over to Santa Clara swapping entrepreneurial adventures and discussing our shared love of the ocean. I mentioned I was heading to Morocco to see my mum at the weekend, and Marc instantly put on the Crosby, Stills and Nash hit ‘Marrakech Express’ at full volume. It was going to be a fun night.
Before the gig we caught up with the band and wished them luck - not that they needed it! I’ve been fortunate to get to know Bono well over the years (alongside yours truly, he is a founding member of Rise, a major fund to invest in social companies that could make a radical difference to the world). So I hope he and Marc will forgive me for photobombing their picture with the band and all the Salesforce team in Santa Clara. What can I say? I couldn’t resist!
Showtime. This is no ordinary tour – U2 are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their classic album The Joshua Tree (where does the time go?) I remember when The Joshua Tree came out. It was clear from the start that this record that would stand the test of time. ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’, ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ and ‘With Or Without You’ – surely the greatest opening trio of songs on any album ever? Seeing these timeless songs performed live is as big a thrill as ever, as the 50,000 fans inside Levi’s Stadium agreed.
U2 have a power and a passion few bands before or since can match. In Bono they have an iconic, endlessly energetic frontman and together with The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr, they have forged a unique sound. But their genius is in making a huge stadium feel as intimate as a club night, every singalong moving and every solo euphoric.
Some people criticise U2 for wearing their hearts on their sleeve when it comes to their social and political views. Personally, I applaud them for using their massive platform to stimulate positive change. The gig was no exception, with the band projecting images of wonderful women from across different walks of life, celebrating equal rights. Bono also called for more support for his brilliant Red foundation to tackle HIV/AIDS, before playing the peerless ‘One’.
What a treat to see one of the greatest bands on the planet, trying to make the world a better place, while having a blast at the same time. Thanks for the show U2, thanks for the tickets Marc – and sorry for the photobomb!