It feels like my birthday today. I'm about to drive over the border to pick up the new U2 album. I remember their previous album releases clearly... the nervous anticipation, the expectancy, the following weeks in which the lyrics and melodies impact your soul.
Anyone that knows me will know I have had something of an obsession with this band since I was a boy. Since Lurgan Junior High when my mate Scott gave me a bootleg of their concert in Sarajevo and Bono said: 'To be united is a great thing, but to respect difference is the greatest thing' before launching into 'One'. After that I began collecting devouring every album, single and U2 book I could find.
I remember being with Procs in Lurgan College lecture theatre trying to learn U2 songs on the guitar. Also being with him for a U2 weekend culminating in the Croke Park gig. Slane Castle in 2001 was the best night of my life (So good they even released a dvd of it!) The saddest thing was building a music room at my parents house and completely plastering all four walls with U2 posters and lyrics. It still remains though nowadays serves as more of a shrine than a practice room!
Through those teenage years as I struggled with faith, love and finding truth I had a U2 song to identify with. I tried to fit in with church and with my mates who just partied and lived for the weekend, but didn't feel like I fitted into either camp. U2 didn't provide answers but they mirrored the struggle and opened my eyes to see that God wasn't necessarily how the religious folk had painted him. Sometimes finding people that are asking the same questions is of greater comfort than answers.
I'd join the movement,
If there was one I could believe in,
I'd break bread and wine,
If there was a church I could receive in,
Cos I need it now,
To take the cup,
To fill it up,
To drink it slow,
I can't let you go.Through a mixture of coincidence and inspiration my passions of recent years have seemed to echo those of Bono's. Firstly with African poverty and the AIDS pandemic and most recently with the Middle East and a prayer for co-existence.
Unlike many reviewers I don't compare to the Joshua Tree or expect another Achtung Baby on every release. Those albums will never be equalled. I'm content and amazed by the fact that after 30 years they are still producing music that is relevant, important and good. No other band has such a back catalogue and no other celebrity has used his fame for so much good. I still think they have a lot to say and I can't wait to hear it!
Grace finds beauty in everything