Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A Day in the Life of a U2 Fan

Following is the account of a long time U-2 fan and what I did to celebrate today’s release of U-2’s new C.D., No Line on the Horizon. My colleagues at work say I have a screw loose. I say to them I have many screws loose but, so what. If you don’t have a screw or two loose in this political and economic climate you ain’t human, so just deal with it…What you are about to read is the truth and nothing but the truth. Life is too short to be talking politics, religion, and economics all the time. Today is a day to revel in the passion, joy, and fun that music can provide for those who have ears to hear and hearts that are open. Enjoy…

4:30-5:30 A.M.
I was wide awake at 4:30 this morning. I didn’t plan on getting up so early but since I was up I figured I would go on line and check out what my other U-2 comrades are saying and doing on Facebook. Julie is waiting for Target to open so she can pick up her copy of No Line on the Horizon and Dave is already in the process of downloading the music off Itunes. Oh, the benefit of living in the Midwest.

5:50-6:20 A.M.
I am headed out the door and off to Wal-mart to pick up my copy of No Line On the Horizon. I briskly walk to the entertainment section. No C.D. in sight. Start to worry that I won’t be able to pick up C.D. until after work because they obviously haven’t stocked the shelves yet but before I go I flag down nearest salesperson. I tell her I am here for the C.D. She obviously doesn’t know who U-2 is but she says she will go check on the situation for me. I am grateful. It’s always easier to get service at the crack of dawn. I wait five minutes before my mild anxiety turns to joy as she approaches me with a armful of C.D.’s. I am a very happy camper as I head to the cashier, plop down my ten bucks, and scurry out the door to my car.

6:20-6:30 A.M.
I rip open the C.D. put the disc in my C.D. player and head off to the carpool lot. As I am heading down the freeway I am hooked right away with the opening guitar riffs and words of No Line on the Horizon. Now listening to Magnificent. My mind wonders and reflects on my past loves as I hear the words, “Only love, only love can leave such a mark”…That is so true. Then the next line reads “But only love, only love, can heal such a scar”…Reminds me of something I said on my relationship blog yesterday. “Loving relationships are the “potential” best environment for the healing of some of our deepest wounds. It’s good to hear that apparently someone else feels the same way and I am not alone.

6:30-6:40 A.M.
Am now sitting in carpool parking lot waiting for my colleagues. I am now watching the sunrise peak it’s face through the clouds as I hear the words Sunshine, Sunshine, the opening line of a song called Unknown Caller. I skip next to the song Get Off Your Boots and just absorb the energy that is expressed through the magical fingers of “The Edge.”

6:35-7:15 A.M.
…Car pool mates aren’t U-2 fans and seem a bit put off by my obvious enthusiasm so I sit in the back and just flip through the lyrics in the dusk jacket while colleagues talk politics. I am curious about pic associated with the song Cedars of Lebanon. Is that the Wailing Wall in the background? As we get out of the car one of my colleagues pokes fun at me for my fanaticism. I take it tongue and cheek. Nothing they say is going to deter me today.

7:15-8:00 A.M.
I am in my classroom now. Put U-2 on my boom box and turn it up as loud as I can…Open classroom door to let the sound of U-2 spread as far across the campus as I can. Cold air rushes in but I don’t care because the sound of a new U-2 C.D. is enough to keep me warm. I now open the door to one of my colleagues room and let the music do it’s magic. My colleague covers his ears. I tell him to embrace the music…embrace the love…and… remind him there will be no escape today…and…bark out one last passing comment, “If I have to listen to 45 minutes of political propaganda in the morning you can listen to some of my U-2 propaganda. It’s Karma. Time to get to work.

8:00 A.M. My students are filing through the door before the tardy bell rings. No Line On the Horizon is playing in the background. I take roll and then tell them the story of getting the C.D. this morning. I take the liberty to exaggerate the details. I tell them that I had to threaten the salesperson with a baseball bat from the sporting good department in order to get my C.D. They laugh. We move on to lesson. Today’s lesson is supply and demand. I find a way to fit a video clip from U-2’s Vertigo concert into the lesson. I choose City of Blinding Lights to launch into questions about why entertainers get paid so much. I then introduce the concept of supply and demand. Damn, I’m good. A “freaken” genius. Is it me, or the music that has inspired me today. I’ll share the credit with U-2.

Lunch time:
I am writing this blog entry while picking up where I left off with “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Crazy Tonight. Not particularly crazy over Bono’s shrieks on this song…hey…you can’t like them all. So far, I like the first three tracks better than tracks 4, 5, and 7. Things pick up a bit with the slow moving White as Snow and Breathe. I like the line Every day I die again, and again I’m reborn/Every day I have to find courage/To walk into the street from the song Breathe. Reminds me to live in the moment each day. I like the little Chinese sounding bit at the end of the song. I conclude my lunch by listening to Cedars of Lebanon. This song sounds familiar. Now I know…It’s reminiscent of one of Bruce Cockburn’s ballads. I really like the rhythm of this song and the lyrics, especially the line, “Choose your enemies carefully ‘cos they will define you”…How true…but, I no longer allow others to define me. If they don’t like me that’s their issue not mine. This is my favorite track of the second half of the C.D.

Right after lunch
… I Am hamming it up now. Running in slow motion around the room with my arms in the air as the song No Line on the Horizon plays in the background. Students don’t react much, just figure I didn’t get my meds at lunch.

Initial, “first impressions”
….I don’t think this C.D. is as strong as their last two. No huge fall off but doubt this one will be as popular as their recent works…but…I do appreciate U-2 efforts to explore and experiment and not simply settle for rehashing same old styles. For that, they get my respect and thumbs up for their new album. My favorite songs on first run were No Line On the Horizon, Magnificent, and Cedars of Lebanon but that could change with second and third listen….thanks for following along. It was a Beautiful Day….

Monday, March 02, 2009

Why I am a big fan of U-2

Tomorrow U-2 releases it’s fifteenth album which is called No Line on the Horizon. Tomorrow morning I intend to stop by Wal-mart at 6:00 A.M. to pick up the C.D. just so I can bug my colleagues at work who are either too old school to care or too young to realize how big U-2 has been for so long. Up to this point I have avoided reading any early reports nor have I downloaded any early releases available on line. Personally, I don’t need to work myself up to buy the latest U-2 C.D. because it has been my experience that U-2 always delivers the goods. So, tomorrow morning at about the crack of dawn I’ll gladly plop down the 10 to 13 bucks and take a leap of faith before fans and critics alike give us their musings on how great, good, or mediocre this latest version of U-2 is. From my end of things it’s hard to imagine that this album could be as good as the last two or three but quite frankly I don’t care because no one can stay on top forever, not even U-2. By tomorrow at this time I hope to be listening to the greatest band since the Beatles but before I crawl into my hobbit hole with my new C.D. I would like to share for public record some of the reasons why I like U-2. So, without any more fanfare here goes.

Reasons I like U-2

1.They are Irish…I admit I am a sucker for almost anything Irish, except for Irish green beer and some of the ridiculous looking popular Saint Patrick Day paraphernalia. I am not sure where or when I developed my fetish for everything Irish but over the years I have developed a real fondness for Irish graphic knot and mythical beast designs, The Book of Kells, almost all forms of Celtic music, and Irish or Scottish films like Millions, Ned Devine, Once, and Braveheart just to mention a few. I am not sure exactly what it is that draws me into the Irish orbit but I suspect it might have something to do with the “eccentric” nature of the Irish or the passion and unique creativity that has become a part of the Irish landscape for centuries. On the other hand, maybe it has something to do with the memorable episode from the t.v. show Bonanza where Hoss Cartwright was chasing Leprechauns around the Ponderosa Ranch. Whatever, the reason, I love the Irish culture.

2.U-2 is a great rock and roll band. Since their appearance on Time magazine back in the 1980’s U-2 has crafted themselves and their live performances like no other band I can think of during my generation. In the early years U-2 relied primarily on youthful energy and the passion of the Irish but since they decided to conquer America in the early 1980’s they have worked very hard as musicians and “performers” to create a “live act” which is second to none. I remember seeing U-2’s Rattle and Hum at the theatre and was throughly impressed by the music, choreography and artistic quality of the production. At the time, some of U-2’s critics suggested Rattle and Hum and subsequent productions of U-2 were the by product of Bono’s narcissistic messianic complex. Be that is it may, messianic or narcissistic, it doesn’t matter to me. The whole act on and off stage is highly entertaining and they are in the entertainment business after all. For me, U-2’s genius climaxed with their ZOO T.V. tour. I have never seen live and in person but I have watched the DVD version many, many, times and I believe it is one the most entertaining and creative acts ever in rock history.

3.Team chemistry. U-2 has been together as a band since high school. I don’t pretend to know what goes on behind the scenes but on stage and in their public appearances the various band members seem to get along and genuinely like working together which is no small feat for any band that has been together for 25 years now. While Bono is the ultimate alpha dog on stage and off, Larry, Adam, and the Edge appear to relish their own roles and each has established a particular niche which suits their personality and specific talent. Can anyone imagine U-2 not being together or Bono going solo? I can’t. So, together they stand or together they fall. They have been standing together pretty strong for two plus decades now and I predict they will ride off into the Irish sunset someday but hopefully not before I get a chance to see them live and hopefully it won’t be at the local fair where many bands go before they die.

4.Can you say, serious, fun, inspirational and exhilarating all at the same time? U-2 has produced some very serious, thought provoking, and inspiring songs like Sunday, Bloody, Sunday, Pride, When I look at the World, and I Still Havent’ Found What I am looking For. Four years ago I purchased a large screen HD T.V. so I could watch movies but since I caught U-2 concert acts live on DVD I now prefer to watch concerts over movies, thanks to the influence of U-2. There is nothing more exhilarating than watching Bono move along the “run way” belting out a line from It’s a Beautiful Day or Vertigo. I have never attended a U-2 concert live but if it is as great as some of my acquaintances say it is, then it is probably best I never go because I can barely hold myself together watching U-2 on my television in my humble hobbit home. Some of my favorites include An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart and City of Blinding Lights from the Vertigo Tour, New Years Day from Go Home: Live from Slane Castle and Bad from the movie Rattle and Hum. While Bono may not be able to match the energy or passion of “The Boss” U-2 live performances will go down in Rock and Roll lore as perhaps the most entertaining, exhilarating and favorite concert performances of our time.

Sunday, March 01, 2009