Fists and Falsetto: the Baltimore U2 Concert

Note: pictures and video follow the story.  It’s worth it

I admit it.  We went a little crazy with 360 U2 concerts this season.  But each one’s unique, and the show is so awesome it is worth it.  In May we saw U2 a mile high with Myntha; it was a passionate, crazy show.  We were on our feet jumping and screaming the entire time, even though we were at the top of the second tier of the stadium.  The energy at that show was CRAZY, probably because Denver waited for over a year, its first date cancelled due to Bono’s back surgery.

I looked forward to this show because we were going with my sister (in-law) Noelle.  She has just beaten down lymphoma, and we were looking forward to a kind of celebration.  For months I wasn’t sure she would feel well enough to go.  This time we had GA tickets and got there when the doors opened.  We were about 5 people deep from the outer loop (we didn’t have RED tickets, the extra cost of which goes to the RED charity foundation).

The show opened with Florence and the Machine.  I have to say, I had heard a couple of songs but didn’t really know them.  Now I am a fan.

The weather was hot and sticky and the crowd was definitely Baltimore. People kept trying to push in front.  I had to go back out and get some water for Noelle ’cause I thought she was going to pass out (she was tachy, sweaty, pale, etc.).  I was chosen for my expert crowd-moving abilites.  Which was good, the crowd almost didn’t let me back and I got lost for a moment.   Meanwhile people kept pushing to the front and we had been up there standing for 3 hours…waiting.

Then the mood suddenly shifted.  These two drunk dudes were trying to weasel in and finally the upfronters just weren’t having it. They were moved and moved by crowd dynamics with yelling, swearing, and jeers.  One of them landed in front of Noelle.  Literally in-front so his heels were touching her toes and his back at her chest.   It was extremely uncomfortable for her (U2 wasn’t even up yet) and it was just going to get tighter.  She confronted him about this and he INSISTED he was there the whole time.  But he clearly wasn’t…because well….we were there the whole time.  Suddenly his mood changed and he turned around and got in her face, violent like.

It was tense.

The guy next to her (who was like 6’6″ and built) leans over and says to squirrel dude, “You need to chill out.” Then squirrel dude pulls his fist back aimed at Noelle…or the other guy.

And then POW!

I don’t know exactly who punched who but I heard the sound looked over and saw blood, punches and suddenly where there was no space was a huge hole.  I grabbed Noelle and Tompaul and I put her between us and bear hugged her.  We tried to shield her (and us) from the fight.  But we couldn’t absorb into the crowd. Squirrel dude had a brother, who was also drunk, and they tried to tackle the other guy.  It took forever for security to come.  FOREVER.

Punches, Tompaul and I bear hugging Noelle, more punches.

Then all three got taken away. Much to the dismay of the crowd the tall guy was also lead off…and then the concert started.  Noelle felt bad, because this guy was just trying to protect her … and so she LEFT to go make a statement.  She also didn’t have her phone…meaning we didn’t know what had happened.  Because the big guy came back to the concert.  But no Noelle.  We asked and it took 20 minutes for security to find where she was.  Remember she was weak looking, and recently finished chemo.  I won’t lie…neither Tompaul or I could focus on the concert.  FINALLY security came back and said they couldn’t get her back to the front where we were….but this is where she was sent:

She was at the feet of Bono, front row RED ZONE.

Our view wasn’t to shabby either…and the sound was fantastic.

The stadium was full capacity (over 80K).

Nashville you are coming up….

One of the early songs was The Fly, which is Tompaul’s favorite…to things strike me: 1. EVERYONE is singing along, which I couldn’t hear with earplugs in. 2. HOW Amazing the sound is…the camera doesn’t even capture it.

Here comes Bono (I wish they allowed better cameras in so I could have focused better). The “59” on the hand means that person showed up 59th in line before the show.

Come back…what kind of hair gel do you use???

“You were talking like it was the end of the world . . .”

These bridges move by hydralic lifts.


I love the Crazy Tonight opener

I’m on the Edge of glory.

A rare up-close performance by a man who’s otherwise tethered to his drumset: Larry Mullen.

Each of the members walked on by, including Adam Clayton.

Bono says, “Hands OFF!”

I said, Hands Off!

“Ultraviolet” for the stunning encore. The show dazzled from start to finish–just like Bono’s jacket here.


Check me out!

Just because I am not blogging here does not mean I am not blogging.  I am blogging on circle 90 days until March 30 almost exclusively!


Winding up Life in Baltimore

“The Trip” is less than two weeks away.  It seems a bit daunting.  I have one week of work and a few days of non work before we are off!  There is some freaking out on my part.  I have two projects to finish, and Steph is coming tonight to visit so I will not be inclined to put in long hours.  Not to mention all the stuff we are trying to get done before our trip.

Another thing I am trying to wrap up is some books I have started.  I just finished another Lloyd Alexander book The Gawgon and the Boy.

In this book Lloyd Alexander departs from his usual formula, sort of.  There is a boy, but no young heroine.  In a way there is a heroine…the Gawgon.   It is a story about a boy peri-depression era who get sick, and his dream comes true he gets out of school.  But then gets stuck with his great aunt as a tutor.  She is old, stuffy and someone learns to love learning.  Anyway I loved it.  It was imaginative, clever and I would read it again.  It follows “The Boy” through the crash of the stock market.

I always follow my own rules…

At least that is what C.S. Lewis’ Aslan says.  I just saw Voyage of the Dawn Treader and I am disapointed, but not dispondant.  I understand they felt like the plot had to be changed to make the movie epic.  I can deal with the seven swords.  What I don’t get is the invention of the stupid (insert expletive of choice) green mist.  Seriously?  LOST’s smoke monster was cast as the villian of Narnia?  I guess a quest is not enough these days for a movie.  Maybe I am just getting old, or at least old fashioned. 

So first good things.  I loved Eustace.  Eustace is one of my favorite characters of Narnia.  He is so unloveable.  Annoying.  You wish someone would eat him.  Then he has his moment, where he realizes what is what.  I also loved how they portrayed the relationship of Eustace and Reepicheep, it was real, meaningful and key to Eustace’s growth as a human being.  I also loved the imagery, the characters were perfect.  The End of the World was just how I saw it in my head.  The feelings were real.  The ship was exactly how I imagined.

What I could have done without: the green mist; the little random girl that lost her mom to the green mist (no green mist, no little girl) and finally the obvious overtones and preechyness (“You will all be tempted”).  Really?  REALLY?

I wish they had spent more effort on the magician’s house (who was a star but that isn’t dealt with), the wonders of the book  and with the daughter of Ramandu.  She isn’t a star but the daughter of a star.  It seems that there was more “cheap” magic but I can get over it.

These books can stand on their own.  There does not need to be some Goofus and Gallant overtone of morality.  There are so many layers of the story it can “age” with you.  I worry that my favorite book “The Magician’s Nephew” will either not be made, or it will just hurt my soul.

The Story of the Lisabear.

Blogging has been scarce in apartment 513.  Mostly because it a flurry of activity, no not for holidays, but for one big FAT holiday around the world.  But  in the spirit of moving I am finishing projects.

In January 2009 Tompaul left to go to England/Sudan.  It was extremely traumatic for me.  Not because he left (he does that occasionally) but because he went to Sudan (freaky) and because I had just burned my hand (third degree with cellulitis).  I couldn’t see patients.  I was a MESS.  I think only a very few people (my family) know exactly how bad it was.

Tompaul felt bad too.  One night he wrote me a story, which I read every day.  So for Valentine’s day that year I decided to illustrate it.   Now you may be saying, “Lisa, you can’t draw.”  Nope.  But I can create things out of paper. I just finished the very last page yesterday.  Everything (except for the handwriting of the story and the pupils of the bears) below is made out of paper.

Without further ado I bring you the Story of the Lisa Bear.   Written by Tompaul Wheeler and illustrated by Lisa Hermann.

We have this treasure…

After an amazing Thanksgiving, crazy midnight madness shopping in Hagerstown Tompaul Stephanie and I are using our respective laptops welcoming the Sabbath with some retro tunes.  By retro I mean circa 1995.  With our latest Jars of Clay album we received the vinyl self titled album.

In 1995 at a Fellowship of Christian Atheletes retreat I heard Jars of Clay for the first time and it blew my mind.  I owned maybe 2 Christian albums and rarely listened to them.  Mostly because the quality was not as good as my regular music.  The lyrics were sappy and the music was a farce.  It was like eating the cheap store brand vanilla ice cream instead of Bryer’s Vanilla Bean.  You know what it is supposed to resemble, and you keeping eating hoping you will be satisfied, but you know you never will.

Jars of Clay was a group I listened to because they were good, not because they were Christian.  As time JoC has changed.  I remember in college everyone owned their first album, but as their music grew I continued to enjoy them.  I will say though that many of the subsequent albums did not grab me like their debut, that is until Who We are Instead.  When I first heard Who We are Instead it revolutionized my listening.

In honor of Jars of Clay I present my favorite songs in no particular order:

  • World Apart (Joc)
  • Drummer Boy (Drummer Boy)
  • Closer (Closer EP)
  • Revolution (11th Hour)
  • Dig (Furthermore: from the studio)
  • Redemption (Furthermore: from the studio)
  • Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows (Front Yard Luge)
  • Work (Good Monsters)
  • Dead Man (Good Monsters)
  • Grace (If I Left the Zoo)
  • Liquid (JoC)
  • Oh My God (Good Monsters)
  • The ENTIRE Who We are Instead Album but especially Jealousy

I would have to say my top JoC albums are

  1. Who We are Instead                                                                                            
  2. Jars of Clay                                                                                                                           
  3. Good Monsters                                                     

I think what always gets me is how they seem to have worshipful music in the vein of the Psalms.  It can be praise it can be despondant.  They were the first group, in my mind, to create music that described the Christian walk as it was.  Sometimes it is fabulous and sometimes it sucks.  Sometimes you look at the world and think how can God be there when the whole world is just so jacked up.  But he is, and the Christian doesn’t have to be fake, the Christian just has to be real.

Friday Night Aquarium: Children and Camera Whores

Last Friday night Tompaul and I headed to the National Aquarium, Baltimore with our friend Christy.  They have these discounts on Friday nights, and you can order your tickets online.  It had been YEARS since I had been to Baltimore Aquarium.  I know the Georgia Aquarium has outpaced it but I was kinda excited.  Plus I got to try out my new camera (purchased for our upcoming trip).  I am still getting used to it so here are some highlights.

Above is the water fall to the terrarium/Austrailia area.  So there we are walking to the aquarium…and I hear a father berating his daughter.  “WHY CAN’T YOU BE QUIET?  YOU ARE STILL MAKING NOISE!!!”  I wanted to turn around and say.  “GARR.  Why are you making noise of life?”

Above is one of the bubble machines.  Tompaul is on the other side.  Can you see him?  Me neither.

There was this HUGE room with shallow (5 feet) water.  It was like an atrium, because you could see it from each floor.  Mostly there were rays, which were ginormous.  Some huge fish.  They could swim under the floor etc.  The best part was …

This turtle!  Yes it only has 3 flippers.  She was found in NJ in shock and had a gangrenous flipper which had to be amputated!  So the aquarium took her.  The picture above does not do her justice to her size.  I thought I had seen large turtles, but I guess not alive.  When she swam out I caught my breath cause she was so majestic.  Tompaul fell in love.  We call her Hottle turtle because of the Wheelers’ three legged cat Hottle…but that is another story for another day.

What aquarium would be complete w/o a clown fish?  Looks a whole lot like Nigel, our clown fish puppet.

See the horses sleeping?

So this is my favorite part…this is a cowfish.  In an aquarium with multiple flame fish.  I really wanted a picture of the flame fish, but this fish was in front.

So I move to a different angle, but my camera didn’t do what I wanted.

So I try again…but the cowfish was onto me.  He totally got in the way.


And again.

And again.  This picture reminds me of a picture I have of my medschool graduation….

didn’t get it just right…

Get out of the way Matthew!!!

Camera WHORE!




Well all in all it was fab.  Because it was discount night there were tons of kids but worse than that is they had the audacity to bring their rude and crabby parents.