Well, I've had a little more time to ponder my U2 experience on Saturday, not to mention some more sleep, so I think I'll be able to post a little more coherently today. I was hoping to post some pictures to give you an idea of just how close we were to the stage but for some reason the upload isn't working for me so just click here to find some good shots by someone who was in almost the exact same spot as us but on a different night. Special thanks to Andrea over at Green Tea Contingency for the use of her photos! Instead, I'll just post some shots I took when the band made an appearance at MuchMusic back in 2001. And now for the confession...
As I said in my previous post, I've been called a U2 fanatic at various times in my life but I'm really not much into the cult of celebrity at all. As a matter of fact, it quite sickens me. Even at some of the functions I attend for my job there are a lot of big-time "Christian celebrities" around, but for the most part, I just say hi or try to steer clear altogether if I can get away with it. That being said, it was still a real thrill for me to get this close to the band I've been following since I was a teenager when I heard Under A Blood Red Sky for the first time. That experience and this band have quite literally changed my life. Were it not for U2, and more specifically, Bono, I wouldn't be as socially aware as I am, I wouldn't have the same worldview I do, and I wouldn't be the same Christian I am today.
Even I think that sounds pretty heavy, and almost fanatical as I write it, but in a very real sense, these guys have been my mentors as I've tried to make my way through the last 20 years. We all have those we lean on and learn from over the course of time - some are close friends, some are older folks who have gone before us, and some are even favorite authors or leaders who have challenged us or made us look at the world from a new perspective. I have those kind of mentors too, but I learned a long time ago that U2 is more than simply four guys who make great music. They are four men on a spiritual journey that has lead us into some dark places where we might not choose to go on our own; but it has also led us into the light to see the hand of God in the world around us.
As T-Bone Burnett said, "If Jesus is the light of the world there are two kinds of songs you can write. You can write songs about the light, or you can write songs about what you can see from the light." U2's music has opened my eyes to what can be seen by the light and in so doing, has drawn me closer to the light of the world.
Grace, she takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name
Grace, it's the name for a girl
It's also a thought that changed the world...
(Grace, from All That You Can't Leave Behind)