When the Miracles Occurred
Monumental moments in history are often remembered in the most personal ways. From an American perspective, for example, I can remember approximately nothing about being 10 years old in 2001 - but I can tell you intricate and mostly irrelevant details about one particular day of that year. What I wore to school, who I rode the bus with, the fact that a neighbor of mine passed out in the middle of math class and had to be taken home from school early...itâ€™s all easy to remember, because it happened on September 11th.
Older generations can tell you similar things about where they were when more triumphant things happened - watching footage of the Berlin Wall falling, putting the first man on the moon...these moments, no matter how tragic or accomplished, stick with us because they make us feel in a greater way than we are used to feeling. We use greater portions of emotion in these times, and those moments are largely unrivaled. Whether it is love or hate, the expression is too bold to ignore, and it is generally contagious.
As U2 fans, our moments are slightly more caged and contained. It doesnâ€™t spread like wildfire when â€œMercyâ€ is debuted in the live set, unannounced. The new U2.com subscription gift doesnâ€™t exactly make the news. However, weâ€™re lucky and blessed enough to be given the opportunity to share those moments together in one place - U2start. For the past several years, those moments had been few and far between. But now, we hardly need to look toward the future (and I say with an abundance of relief that the future does NOT need a big kiss) for those times - they are right now, but more importantly they are right here.
I have several triggers that bring me back to the last point in my own life when U2 released new material. Firstly, it was absolutely freezing on March 3, 2009, the day I drove my small blue car from high school to the closest music store to buy No Line on the Horizon. There is always at least one moment during every winter season since that I exhale, and upon seeing my breath, I hear the opening feedback of the title track. Sitting in that parking lot, the plastic wrap still on the passenger seat, liner notes shaking in my hands, waiting for that CD to load...I breathed heavier than usual, in pure excitement. And seeing that fog in front of me as the song exploded into its first verse is forever burned into my memory. I also recall thinking about how much the first line of "No Line on the Horizon" reminded me of a White Stripes-style vocal from Bono, and how I hoped the album had some real bangers in store (though an article on NLOTH disappointments is maybe best saved for another day). Occasionally, Iâ€™ll hear Jack White sing a line that takes me back to that memory. All of these different things, from the weather to the howl of Mr. Jack White III, bring me back to that moment, in that parking lot, on that day.
And that was planned! I knew that on that day, I would wake up and before I laid back down, know a new U2. What an exciting time we thought that was - a decent (but in sadly few ways great) release from our communityâ€™s favorite band. It pales in comparison to the current time weâ€™re all graced with. Do you remember waking up the day of Songs of Innocenceâ€™s release? Thinking about the Apple conference to be held that day, suspicious of the mystery surrounding U2â€™s involvement, excited to potentially hear a single? What sticks out about that day? The office-wide lunch you skipped, holding onto hope that the conference would erupt into a U2 concert? The near-heart-attack you had when you saw "Every Breaking Wave" on the track list? Or perhaps it's the smile you wore on the train that evening, knowing that a small part of you was different than when you woke up.
I might be guilty of all of the above.
My biggest struggle with writing this piece was to make sure I didnâ€™t sound like I was comparing U2 to some of the greatest moments in our worldâ€™s history. But it is certainly worth noting what I previously mentioned about how much we are capable to feel. We are all lucky enough to have found a source of music that helps us express those feelings - albeit some to a higher degree than others - and we are even luckier that we have this platform on which to do it together.
What moments in U2 history will you never forget? What moments in your life will you never forget because of U2?
Take to the forums and share your story! In the hustle and bustle of all of this new material, it is important to remember why this band means so much to you. Your story is unique, and I can only tell my own...and if you let me keep going, weâ€™ll all be here all day.
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The article When the Miracles Occurred was first published on U2start.com by MattG.
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