It's Rocktober all month on Radio Hauraki. Each day they're celebrating a different artist's contribution to rock and roll. And each Thursday in October, TimeOut gets the lowdown from a Hauraki host on their first big rock gig. Today, weekdays host Angelina Grey.

Tune in and listen to Radio Hauraki now HERE!

***

My first huge stadium rock concert was the U2 PopMart Tour in Sydney. I was supposed to go to their Zoo TV tour in New Zealand but my older sister wanted to get out of taking me, so she told Mum I'd get crushed to death. Funnily enough, she said the same thing when Mum asked if she'd take me to Guns N' Roses. My folks remedied the situation by shouting me a trip to Sydney with my best mate Kessa to see them after I finished high school.
 
How old were you?

Advertisement

I was 18. The drinking age was still 20 in New Zealand but not in Aussie. So the duty-free section was ours for the taking. Since that trip I've maintained that vodka with hot chocolate is never a good idea.
 
Why them?

I discovered U2 when I was 12 after they released Achtung Baby and was floored. When most people at school were inking Nirvana and Pearl Jam on their pencil cases, then sniffing the Vivid afterwards, I was decidedly uncool and would unashamedly read every U2 biography I could get my hands on.

Did it make your ears hurt?

I think what probably deafened me the most was the screaming (probably mine). U2 were going through a weird kitsch phase and were supposed to make a grand entrance via a giant lemon. The lemon appeared and everyone started screaming, waiting for them to appear. That screaming went on and on and on… Turns out the lemon had malfunctioned and the band were stuck. Not surprisingly they retired it.

Any rock cliches?

Actually there was one freakin' amazing moment when they dedicated the song One to Michael Hutchence, who had passed away in Sydney a couple of months before. We actually saw Michael's ex, Helena Christiansen, at the show. As they started singing the opening lines, the sky opened and lightning started flashing across the whole stadium. I thought it was elaborate stage lighting and part of the performance. They turned all the production lights off and just had the lightning illuminate the stage. So not so cliched, but it was a sublime moment.
 
How much did you rock out?

In an unreal twist of fate, I'd met Bono that day as we ended up staying in the same hotel. Heck of a nice guy. He told me to tell security at the concert that he'd personally said we could get into the moshpit up front when our tickets clearly said "cattle class". Strangely enough, spouting the line "But Bono said I could" didn't wash with the security guards. So instead we gave the mosh a red-hot go while standing on our D-class chairs much to the chagrin of the punters behind us. I did get a kiss on the cheek from him back at the hotel, so I reckon that was probably the most rock and roll thing of the whole trip.