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Et tu, Vancouver

Emily and I just got home late last night from a three-day weekend getaway to beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The main purpose of the trip was to attend the opening night of U2ʻs latest concert tour, which is celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of their Joshua Tree album.

The tour is playing all over North America, the glaring exception being Hawaii, but Mumford & Sons were only opening for U2 on the first three shows, so it was imperative we took advantage of one of those concerts. Emily is almost done with her school year, which means this is the busiest time at school, but the Vancouver show on Friday night allowed us to be back on Sunday night, and Emily could be back to teaching first thing Monday morning.

We took advantage of a heck of a deal on Air Canada, which offers a direct flight from Maui to Vancouver and back again. That, plus my discount at Hilton hotels and the fact that we had not visited the city together really made Vancouver the perfect weekend getaway destination.

The concert was fantastic and awful, all at the same time. The awful part was entering the venue. The BC Place Arena was where the concert took place, but to get inside you had to wait in line at several different locations (depending on who you asked). We asked three different staff members, and each one of them gave us a different answer. We walked around the outside of the arena looking for our gate entrance, but of course the gate on our upper deck tickets was also the one used for general admission arena floor tickets. There was no designation between cheap seats and floor seats, so the line was wrapped completely around the arena. We gave up trying to find the end of it and ended up in the back of line that was a tenth of the size. We waited in that line for an hour, and eventually, we had to push and maneuver ourselves into position to get close to security so they could let us in. It really was one of the most poorly managed concerts I have ever seen.

After jostling for position and getting past security, we made it into the arena. Rather than letting us walk ten sections to our left to get to our seats, security had a quarter of the arena blocked off, so we had to walk forty plus sections the other direction to find our seats. We sat down just as Mumford & Sons began to play. I would say that one-quarter of the arena was filled at the time, while the other three-quarters were still waiting to get inside.

Mumford & Sons playing to a bright, empty arena.

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture. A very famous quote made infamous by several different comedians and musicians. All I will say about the performances is that I had wished Mumford & Sons played while it was darker outside, and for a bit longer. I also wished that our seats were more center based for U2ʻs performance. The films that they displayed on their backdrop were beautiful, but from the angle, we were sitting we only saw three of the four screens.

The show was great, worth every penny paid and mile travelled to see and hear U2 play in Vancouver. I apologize that my pictures from my phone are a sad representation of the real thing.

The following is a follow-up to my original blog.

June 5th, 2017. After I posted the original blog, I sent an email to BC Place Stadium, letting them know of our experience with their facility during the U2 concert. They immediately responded to my email with a form email letting me know that they were trying to reach out to everyone who contacted them and that it might be a long process. They weren’t kidding, it took almost three weeks, but I finally spoke with a representative today, who was kind, understanding, apologetic, but most importantly, he listened. In the end they offered to try for some sort of compensation, but Emily and I got to see Mumford & Sons, as well as U2, so I declined his offer to try to do more for us.

I also found out that this particular BC Place representative is going to run in the Honolulu marathon in December, so I told him if Emily and I are over there, he could buy us a pint and we would call it even. You never know how things will work out, so stay tuned for a possible follow-up to this follow-up.