"Listening to [Achtung Baby] was nothing compared to witnessing it, and nothing prepared her for arriving at [ZOOTV] on November 3rd, where everything graduated as if by live incantation into the real. The sense upon arriving was palpable. Randall pulled one of his practical jokes on the three youngest children, pretending they didn’t have any concert tickets and would have to buy some from a scalper to get in. They nearly lost Zariah and Shay because of this prank; they ran after the first scalper they heard yelling that he had tickets. Randall stuck to the pretence until after he’d pulled Shay into the arena by the scruff of his coat, acting as if he’d snuck him in. When Randall finally pulled out the tickets inside Shay could have cried.
In another first, and without genuine approval although he let them do it, some of the children dropped acid for this concert, a first for all of them. Randall was against dropping in a setting anyone else controlled, concerts included. His policy was “only try this at home”. Rahab was one of the family/church members who dropped. It was not just the family who came, Marlene’s family was there as well and so was Michael. She was paired with Zane for the concert in one of the pairs of seats, high up on stage right. Each of the older siblings on their own were put with a younger sibling (all seven plus Marlene's four; that's where Michael came in, a group of fifteen in all).
From the triumvirate opening, despite the poor clashing acoustics in the space (which seemed to improve as the show went on), something about hearing the songs performed live in the Now made for something completely different, somehow personal. “Zoo Station”, “The Fly” and “Even Better Than the Real Thing” all hit at once, meaning exactly what they said in the moment. To introduce “Even Better Than the Real Thing”, Bono began switching channels with his giant hand held remote, and broke off by saying, “let’s watch some real TV shall we”, to switch on a clip that was a retouch of Gaelan’s video feedback [he'd handed it to Bono personally during the much more intimate pre-tour]. Zane leapt out of his seat crying, “That’s my hand!” and Rahab was sure it was too. -Astonishment. In that sense they were in the show itself. There was also a sense of auspiciousness in that Bono was able to announce in the opening that Clinton had won the US democratic election that night. It carried hope for change.
By “Mysterious Ways” the dancer was on stage, the encounter she already felt in the opening became performance art between Bono and the dancer, which made it what the concert was about. She was astonished to recognize that while they weren’t the same, her father had been right. There were specific moves she recognized, that she performed the same as the dancer. It is not remembered exactly where but in the beginning she thought to herself, This is It. This is the beginning of the Revival. She felt that strongly about what was happening in the stadium, integration with the audience on a universal scale. And while she was part of it, she tried her utmost in the moment to make that a reality, send it out, and send it back to him. Embrace the universe. To her it went beyond the stadium, to anyone who could potentially feel it. -A feeling, an embrace, not a thought. She was astonished by how well he orchestrated it, became a conduit to that stadium, and in her mind she responded, I love you for what you are trying to do, which was express love to everyone present all at once. It was exactly what she had hoped to do, exactly what she felt she’d been destined to do, exactly what she’d been purposed by God to do.
In Vancouver that night Bono took the step, and was able to step out into the audience from the podium stage B. The audience let him, left him standing free several rows in, and stadium went wild. With that the integration took the next step, almost as expected, if the expected was exceptional. But the exceptional was expected. She had hoped that would happen next. Thought it should, hoped the audience understood, that they’d have the ability to let him in. They did. With “Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World” the circle was made complete when he brought up a woman from the audience, with both the words, which expressed what he was trying to do in performance art, and the action itself.
All the songs she felt over familiar with and felt slightly strident she saw in a new way performed live. It was like hearing them for the first time. Even ones that had been deadening-ly overplayed felt whole and new. A full sort of integration with the band took place by them all coming out to perform acoustically in the centre of the stadium on the little podium stage B. In this interval while he was transiting alone between the main stage and the podium stage Bono brought a second woman up, and while at the distance it was difficult to know he appeared to kiss her, lingering, repeatedly.
The Show resumed with Marley and “Sunday Bloody Sunday “, -not the verses but ending them through victory in Jesus claimed millennia ago, then identifying the root of opposition with perhaps the most epochal live performance ever rendered with “Bullet the Blue Sky”. By the time of “Running to Stand Still”, which he typically sang on stage B alone with the two smoking “tabernacles” lit at the climax (3:51), he brought up a third woman and when he sang, “Hallelujah” he had laid her on the stage and mounted her while he sang. This wasn’t a simple climax either to do with the song or Hallelujah spiritually; it was merged with sexual consummation in the Now, celebrated in a holy way.
Then they left the stage and the stadium was dark, and dead silent, not unexpected, appropriate for what happened, but inexplicable for a rock show. For Rahab it was a curious amalgam of what she anticipated if something different was happening that night and he really was serious. Unexpected but expected at the same time, exactly what he’d expressed in the Now. Exactly what he would express if this really was a meeting, or would be expressed in meeting her, the one for whom all these things were merged; making exception to meet an exception.
The show sprung back to life when they broadcast the confessions on their video screen that had taken place that night on their confession booth. -Voluntary confessions. -Very silent indeed. The stadium exploded with “Where the Streets Have No Name” and it was the first time she thought she felt it as it had been written. “Pride” as well.
The encore was a summation of the evening entire made all the more direct with “Desire” (which she had never liked), “Ultra Violet”; even the segue into Sinatra’s “My Way” reinforced how he was in charge of what he was doing. “With or Without You” flickered with a new paradox. “Love Is Blindness (2:36)” hit her for the first time as if it acknowledged her, so hard her eyes filled with tears for the death of her child (1:57), for everything the song seemed to know. For the first time she felt it as if it was meant for her. The closing was “I Can’t Help Falling In Love”. She felt the concert had struck her exactly as it was designed to. It was about union in the moment between a man and a woman, if that was an arch-type, something that accessed universally. To her, it had happened, and maybe on his part the words were true. The only way she found it acceptable, “OK” in her mind, was that it had been designed to reach her in the space she was in (that mindspace in her, -or potentially anyone else), to access and send it past the mind.
In exiting the stadium she heard a woman mutter it was almost rape. Her parents were so shocked they had to ask, “What did you think?” –A true sign they had no idea what to think of it themselves. She responded it was one of the most amazing things she had ever witnessed, if not quite in those words.
That night they set up the camper trailer in a mild drizzle. They could not take the ferry home until morning. Because of the acid she could not sleep and found herself adrift in the dark. In her mind there appeared various sets of rings; there was an evolving image involving two intertwined rings. Later there appeared one gold ring, stark in the void. It hovered there long enough to seem endless. She had no idea why she had these images in her mind."