Unforgettable Fire

Mar 1 1985
Phoenix, AZ, US / Compton Terrace
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Elke Patton
What a joy to find a recording of this c
What a joy to find a recording of this concert on the internet. Listening to the show brings back so many memories. I had traveled to Long Beach in December to see the band, unaware that they would come to me. But when the news came, maybe in January, that they would be in Phoenix in March, I was beside myself with excitement. My friend Lisa and I camped out at a mall far from the city to be the first in line to buy tickets. It was cold and we kept turning the car on for the heat. But as the time approached for the store to be open, we were surprised that there wasn't a line forming. Our strategy worked. The week before the show, we drove out to Compton Terrace to see how long of a drive it was from our school, we wanted to ensure we got there in plenty of time. The day of the show, we left school at the start of lunch, changed out of our uniforms in our car and drove to Compton Terrace. We arrived, and again, there didn't seem to be much going on. We parked right near the gates in the dirt parking lot. (I may have been driving a little fast, my car fishtailed a little in the dirt.) We got into the park and sat near the stage, on the right. We would be between Bono and Adam. It was a nice day and the vibe was very festival like. That changed quickly when the opening band came on. People pushed from the get go. The barrier at the front was a little tall. I don't know how tall I was at 16, maybe 5.5, but I felt like the solid plywood barrier came to right under my arm pits. I could rest against it, but it was awkward. That barrier would also be the source of the bruises all over the front of my body from the constant pushing. My memories of the show are spotty, I remember that the band was very high up. In Long Beach, we were all standing on the arena chairs, so we were almost on the same level as the band, but here at Compton Terrace, the band was 6 feet higher than us. I remember the barrier. I remember that a mosh pit would form from time to time in front of Bono. I remember the clothes I wore. I remember Bono stopping and talking to the crowd asking everyone to back up. For a brief few moments, the weight of the crowd bearing down on us was lifted. But it came back and we just couldn't take the weight of the crowd anymore. We flagged security and they pulled us out. We watched the rest of the show from the back. As I listened to the show that someone posted online, I realized I didn't remember Bono's anger when he spoke to the crowd. Wow. I also didn't remember that he commented on the medical helicopter that came to the concert. It was years later that I learned what had happened and who was in the helicopter. I was so present and in the moment of the concert experience, I remember that. But if it wasn't for this recording or the websites tracking set lists, I couldn't tell you much about the actual music. In 3 short months, I had 2 amazing experiences. I was a fan for life!
Unforgettable Fire
I was there!
So long ago
When I think that this concert was 25 years ago it seems impossible so much time has passed. This was the first concert at the new and supposedly improved Compton Terrace. This outdoor amphitheatre was originally located inside a long gone Phoenix amusement park called Legend City. A few months before this concert, the park was demolished and Compton Terrace was moved to the Firebird Lake area just outside of town. It was clear that very little had been thought out or set up when we arrived. The parking lot was a dirt field with no one directing traffic and once inside we were tightly pressed against the other fifteen thousand or so audience members for the duration of the show. On to the good part... There were several highlights in this show. The first one was that it was the first and only time I ever got to see them perform my favorite U2 song of all time, "A Celebration." Halfway through the show Bono noticed two guys fighting near the stage. He had them pulled out of the audience and brought them on stage. He then asked security to throw them out saying that there was no place for violence at a U2 concert. They then played "Pride" for a second time that night to drive the message home. They were on fire that night and as I watched them it was so obvious that they were bound for legendary status. I have always felt honored that I got to see them early on.
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