U2 360 and ONE – Spaceman signs up to ONE in opening show…

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Thanks to U2’s support of ONE, we’ve been given a chance to work with their current 360 tour. We’ve been working on this for months now, and finally, yesterday, we saw the first show.

I arrived last Friday to put together ONE’s booths at the concert and coordinate our volunteers. I’ve never seen a rock concert in the making, much less a stadium show for a crowd of 90,000. Within 10 minutes of arrival I was standing at the front of the stage looking out into an enormous sea of empty seats. The scale of the whole thing was overwhelming — and that was without lights, sound, or a crowd.

Between Friday and the first show yesterday, I worked on getting together the ONE booth and lining up volunteers for the shows. We have two booths at the venues where volunteers explain ONE and invite people to join up. New members get one of our special edition ONE wristbands, and can have their photos taken as part of “The Future Needs a Big Kiss” – a concept that fits perfectly with ONE’s optimistic view of shaping and embracing the future. The band are using these pictures in a segment of the show, so there is a chance that the best kissers and huggers will end up seeing themselves on the ginormous imag screen during the show.

Monday afternoon we ducked outside of the front gates where loyal fans had been queuing for days to ensure they got the best spot next to the stage when the gates opened. The fans came from all over the world, from Spain to Ireland to Chile. Lots of smooching going on. I think some new aquaintances may have occurred. One fan appeared at the photo booth dejected that she didn’t have anyone to kiss. A group of willing volunteers wasn’t far behind offering to help remedy that problem.

Tuesday was a long time coming, and my adrenaline kicked in as I watched the gates open and the fans rush in. For the next few hours we signed up as many fans as we could physically talk to, and took over 300 pictures of people giving their kiss to the future. As U2 started up, we packed up our booths as everyone was inside the stadium, and it was high time that we joined them.

The concert itself was stunning. I’d heard the rehearsals, but the show itself was an order of magnitude more powerful, punctuated by a stadium literally shaking as fans jumped up and down to the music. There were some amazing moments of the show that talked about ONE. First, they linked up to the International Space Station and Bono asked Frank de Winne, the UNICEF ambassador and astronaut, to join ONE, which he enthusiastically agreed to — a spaceman has signed up for ONE!! Later on a giant Archbishop Desmond Tutu appeared on the imag, talking about the people who’ve made great social changes throughout history and how we all are those same people, especially when we act together as ONE. And finally, Bono introduced the song “One” with the Kiss the Future photo montage, urging the audience to sign up as they watched the ONE pictures floating across the screen.

I left the show with a silly grin on my face as I packed up all our stuff and headed home for some much needed sleep. With all the excitement I hadn’t realised how much being on my feet all day in the 34 degree celsius heat had taken out of me. It was the best type of tired there is.

Ill be blogging from every show… Next time I’ll be shorter I promise, just wanted to catch you up.

-Weldon Kennedy

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