I'm going to be writing some journal content for U2Start, and my goal with these entries is for them to inspire a dialogue between our users. Head over to the new article, titled "When the Miracles Occurred," and give it a read - then head back over here to discuss the content!
There should be plenty for users to sound off about within the piece.
nice article, MG! as a fellow u2 fan, I could surely relate to that excitement you described, picking up a new u2 album, waiting for the first notes to hit my ears...
I'm not quite sure which personal u2 moment of mine I should pick here. luckily, I've experienced several so far and I'm happy and grateful for each and every memory they gave me, no matter how directly or indirectly. and some of them are branded into my brain like I've taken a mental photograph of them... like the view I had sitting on my dad's shoulders during my first u2 concert in 2004, gelsenkirchen. thousands of people around us, and yet when they played wowy and that moment in the song happened (you know which one), I raised my arms up and it felt like the whole stadium with its thousands of people was one with the band. it was so bloody magical it felt hard to breathe. or when they played sbs and I cheered and looked to my right and there was this other girl who beamed at me with pure joy. I'd never seen her before, but then and there? it kinda felt like we were family. yeah, sorry for sounding cheesy
or that one rainy day, quite a few years ago now, when I met bono and the edge. I remember how bono, small as he is, filled up the whole street with his persona, no matter how tired he had been that day. or edge, beaming up at me from the window of his car when he reached out to sign the silly little music rising shirt tag I had with me. he has the most brilliant eyes, let me tell you.
but even that day - no matter how magical it was - doesn't quite compare to the one of the 360° concert in gelsenkirchen. I was there with macstripey, sitting in the scorching sun for hours, waiting in line. and when the gates finally opened and we were let in, this woman checking the bags held me up, and I told K to go run! and she did. and then I ran after her, and with me hundreds of others, who were all running down the tunnel like madmen, and we were all cheering and yelling and being the fucking happiest people on earth running into that huge stadium towards the claw, lungs burning. and then. and then I saw K grabbing the bannister of the first wave, and she turned around to look for me, and I think my cheeks were about to burst, that's how big my smile must've been... I still see it in my mind's eye, so clearly. one of the happiest days of my life, surely. and I'll never forget it. thanks to u2.
ps: well, I hope this was the kind of soppy stories you wanted to hear, MG
Wow, Matt... read your article in the FrontPage, then came right here.
All of us have a U2 story to share and like Matt said in the article, people remember the biggest events in the most personal way. Now that I think of it, this reminds me of that recent interview the band gave for TIME magazine of what events do they remember the most: Bono with the Moon Landing, The Edge with the breakup of The Beatles and Larry with Elvis' passing (I sure wish I knew what Adam's most cherished memory was ).
But here's my own personal memories (yes, more than one) on my own discovery of U2 and why they've mattered more to me than any band, past or present, throughout being a fan for 14 years.
Oh boy... *takes deep breath*
There were multiple moments leading up to my cementation of being a U2 fan -- seeing a commercial ad for the bands' then recent album "All That You Can't Leave Behind", the music video, hearing "Beautiful Day" for the very first time and falling in (musical) love with the song (at age 13), witnessing the near omnipresence of "Walk On" as a source of healing after the events of 9/11, hearing Bono's collaboration on the All-Star rendition of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" (age 14) and raiding my Peruvian uncle's CD collection to find and listen to a majority of U2's 80s albums (minus Boy and UABRS) for the first time (age 15 or 16).
But if there is one moment that will forever remain cemented in my heart and my memory, it's Bono's emotional wail at the start of "Streets". Rather, the entire Slane Castle show I count as part of that "moment" -- a moment around THE moment -- but that very performance of "Streets" is ever echoed in my mind and tugs my heartstrings like no other each time I see and hear it.
I remember becoming SUPER curious of U2 (after seeing their BD and Walk On videos) and wanting to hear their music more and learn about them. Then my Direct TV package started presenting a marathon of U2 videos, documentaries and live concerts on a daily basis, so naturally I decided I'd check it all out. Sadly I don't remember the date specifically but I do remember watching the TV that very night, knowing only the hits from ATYCLB -- BD, Elevation, SIAMYCGOO, etc. -- and being introduced to songs like UTEOTW, AOH, Desire, SATS, etc. Already seduced by their music, I was having the time of my life actually seeing these guys (ironically not in person), just absorbing the celebratory atmosphere of the Irish crowd, the bands' fiery but graceful performance and just the spiritual presence of their live prowess. To say I was in awe was an understatement.
But after the call-response of "All I Want Is You" with the Irish crowd, the synths coming and Bono wailing...
"All I Want Is... YOOOOOOOU!!!!"
...my heart stopped, my face widened and my soul was instantly transported to another place. Seeing Bono's position as that front stage fixture with the squares omit a light, just as he started that sent goosebumps down my spine. Then Edge's guitar echo comes in as Bono doesn't stop there and continues to yell...
If I was in awe up until that moment, this left me ecstatic and speechless. Watching that close up of Bono's silhouette, sweating and crying, the scene of Edge shedding tears at Bono's cry and hearing his wail was like watching a scene from a film or an opera. Except it really happened. Then after one last push of his already emotional voice, "Streets" kicked in and watching the whole Irish crowd jump up and down in sheer euphoria was something I never saw before. Right until the very end of the song. The whole moment connected with me very deeply, as if it crept into my inner most fears, brought them out and took me into the stratosphere or even the heavens and U2 were my guides.
The rest of the concert I equally loved -- Bullet right to Walk On continued my awe-struck of the band, but the performance of "Streets" remained prominent in my mind and heart.
Putting the aforementioned moments, plus discovering their social awareness and commitment to social causes AND this concert with Streets finally cemented me as a fan. I realized that these men were more than just a "PC Band", more than just "entertainers" (to which I have no problem with other bands who are that). These men are on a mission -- NOT to conquer the world, but to help change the world. Not just though ANY way, but through a medium such as music, which has in many ways, changed and shaped modern culture we live in. It's to use music not just only for self-discovery and self-healing, but communication (ironically, also said in "Kite" during Slane). Music was always about communication -- communication into the deepest part of the human heart, communication into the depths of soul and spirit, communication into the vast space of our imagination, communication into another human being, communication into a community of human beings, connected by a common love, devotion and ever grateful loyalty to 4 Irish men whose lyrics, music, shows and drive to change the world affected us in some eternal way.
Ironically I remember "This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now" from Songs of Innocence. Bono and the band vividly remembers their big revelation when they snuck in (thanks to Guggi ) to see The Clash. With my Slane Castle experience, I can only imagine that the life- changing feeling I experienced then was the same life- changing feeling that Bono felt when he saw Joe Strummer. He left him, Edge, Larry and Adam a feeling of "you can change the world" as those same men left me when they played "Streets".
I'm aiming to see the band IN PERSON when they tour next year. I never put New Year's resolutions but this one will be a MUST for me. Just to get into the very venue with my extended U2 family will be a dream come true, I'll be OVER the moon if I get on stage with them (actually, I'd be more frozen stiff in nervousness ).
I just get so teary eyed thinking about it, but that one moment for me means more than anything life can throw at me. Touching the soul of a confused 14, 15 year old was like being comforted by an older brother and that has never left me since. I've experienced similar moments to this over the years, non-U2 related, but this ranks among my most cherished memory. The Slane Concert, Streets, their music and the very men themselves have completely changed my life, my worldview and my imagination. It's because of these 4 Irish men that I now search with purpose in my life. It's because of U2 that I yearn and strive to use my God-given gifts and talents to inspire and touch people's lives, the same way they did with me. It's because of them that I hold onto life and it's because of Bono, The Edge, Larry and Adam that I'm a U2 fan.
Thank you U2 for letting me be your fan and thank you U2Start for welcoming me into the U2 family. Here's to more great memories and moments from the Greatest Band (and People) In The World.