Friday, December 10, 2010

Have I Found What I'm Looking For?

The sounds of Larry Mullen Jr's pounding drums, Adam Clayton's thumping bass guitar, Edge's soaring keyboard and Bono's empassioned vocals are still ringing in my ears. Twice this past week, I had the privilege - and pleasure - of seeing U2 perform at Suncorp Stadium. My head is full of snatches of lyrics and my heart is bursting with the power evident in these two shows.

The first night, I was accompanied by Celena. The train trip home was marked by Celena sharing her insights and responses to the concert. Once home, she was suitably inspired to write an editorial piece, about her reaction to the experience, and showed it to me as we were getting ready for bed. I was struck by her eloquence and her perspective on many aspects of the concert that either I missed or had failed to consider. For instance, Celena came away with a renewed appreciation of the Biblical imagery used by Bonon in the song Until the End of the World.

On the second night, I played hooky from my squash team and purchased a cheap ticket to revisit the glory of the first concert. Watching U2, and the mesmerising light and stage show that marked the 360 Degree Tour, on my own, was a reminder of my childhood days, and the independence I enjoyed as the eldest of six children. I was flying solo but I never felt alone.

Like a good wine, U2 is a band that can be savoured, tasted and devoured on one's own or you can share the experience with others who appreciate the different vintages. You're a fan of the early stuff they produced? No problem, there's a hit in the show for you - perhaps a good drop of "New Year's Day". Or maybe you prefer the labels that represent U2's commercial success? Something off the Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby? Maybe the buzz and energy of the song written for one of the Batman movies, Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kill Me, Kiss Me? Maybe something of more recent production, a song that, given time to breathe, can capture your senses with its beauty and simplicity?

For me, two songs that captured the magic of these two shows were Magnificent (Wednesday night) and Bad (Thursday night). With these two songs, Bono reached into my broken heart and poured a salve over the gaping wounds. The lyrics, the arrangements, the production...all combined to remind me that, even in the midst of grief, it is important to find occasions, and reasons, to celebrate. Otherwise, why go on?

Somewhat poignantly, the latter of these two songs was dedicated to the memory of John Lennon, whose life and death cast both inspiration and sadness over the two concerts. If Bono could lead the way, to show that there is indeed life after death, who was I to argue? Ok Bono, you've convinced me - I Will Follow!

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