Here's the thing: I've been listening to this band for most of my life, that is, for the past 18 years. I remember hearing them on the radio when I was 9 or 10, but secular radio was strictly forbidden during my childhood. It was the forbidden fruit, but to my young ears, it was the only fruit that was out in the "real" (aka non-Christian) world that was worth listening to. I had no idea what the lyrics were about; my naive mind tried to interpret every song as a Christian faith song, to justify listening to the heathen radio. So here was this amazing sounding "With or Without You" and I couldn't imagine how anybody could even make these sounds, or "I still haven't found what I'm looking for", and wondering how the drummer could play tambourine and all those drums at the same time. Achtung Baby came out when I was in 8th grade, getting ready for high school and preparing for manhood. I latched on to these things. Like it or not, U2 played a role in my own search for identity and meaning - not just the lyrics, but the photos on albums, the concert videos, the tv specials, the 1993 Grammy awards promise to "continue to f*** with the mainstream". When I finally tried to sort out the lyrics and figure out what Bono was so passionately howling about; after hearing these songs dozens if not hundreds of times, I started to figure it out. Relationships are with women are tough and mysterious and good and fulfilling. Friendships are hard. God is out there somewhere, but where? The world is a strange, scary place, full of tragedies but comprised of wonderful people.
The show last night was f-ing brilliant. We had pretty good seats overlooking the stage on the left. Full house, decent sound mix, although the bass was boomy and indistinguishable when everyone else was rocking. Bono's voice has never sounded better. The song selection was a little on the safe side, although they did do "Miss Sarajevo", wherein Bono did the full-on kick-ass operatic Luciano Pavarotti verse. They did a full band cover of "Instant Karma". They also did I will follow, Until the End of the World, and Mysterious Ways, but nothing from October, Rattle & Hum, Zooropa, or Pop. They opened with "City of Blinding Lights" with Adam on a bit of synth piano on the intro and closed with an acoustic version of "Yahweh" with Larry on synth, then 40.
And so I was on the verge of tears for most of the show; I think it was because almost each song triggered a memory. This band has been the soundtrack of my life for as long as I've listened to music, and it was exhilarating and surreal to see them again. I've seen U2 four times before, twice on each of their last tours, and this was probably my most enjoyable show of all.
After the show was done, we saw Adam Clayton exit the room while wearing a bathrobe.