The "Why".

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I'm a little late in my weekly update, I know, fail. It's hard to find something relevant to say all the time, give a girl a break!

Anyway, last week was my dad's 62nd birthday which resulted in a family dining experience. My dad was asking questions about my upcoming U2 adventures in Chicago, Vegas and Los Angeles when my stepmom piped up, "You're going all the way to Chicago to see a band?" "Yes." "God, that's ridiculous! Why are you wasting your life on some stupid band, there's so much else to live for!!" After resisting the urge to turn into an ungrateful child, I smiled politely and said, "It's a shame you don't have passion for something in life, or perhaps you'd understand."

But then, why do I choose to follow a band like U2? Why did I travel to Honolulu for the final show of the Vertigo tour? Why am I going to the opening night in Chicago this year? Why did I drive 5 hours for 2 minutes total facetime with the band themselves? Why have I continued to be a fan for 21 years? I really loathe the word "fan" but it's what I am...

If I step back from it, it's pretty damn absurd, even to me, to spend that much time and money on a band. They are four dudes, just like the rest of us, that just happen to have a lot of money and some talent. I know lots of people with talent! I've enjoyed music by many other bands that could be considered, dare I say, better than U2. So why do I keep following?

When I am asked this question by people who aren't just being turds but are genuinely curious, I usually say there is no other band that has moved me the way U2 has. When I discovered U2, I was young and the other music I liked ranged from The Beatles to New Kids on the Block, quite vast! But U2's music set me apart from the rest of my friends. No one in my elementary school liked U2 and I was often made fun of for my love of "weird" music. In 4th grade, I did a book report on "The Unforgettable Fire" by Eamon Dunphy and had my teacher send a note home about how "concerning" my tastes in music were. I went to Catholic elementary school during the Achtung Baby years, mind you. My love of U2 has always set me apart from my peers and while being the "odd one" kind of bothered me, I wouldn't give up my music for anyone. In 1997, when my mom took me to PopMart in San Diego, the emotion really came into play. Never before had I seen a live show like that and I'd seen the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney, some pretty big acts with big stage shows. I don't remember so much about that night because there was just so much happening, but I do remember how blown away my mom and I were by U2 and the effort put into their live shows and how into it the crowd was, we'd never seen people so into a concert before and a band who really seemed to give their all on stage. My mom fell in love with U2 after that show.

Three years later, my life wasn't going so well. Without telling my life story, there was family issues, boyfriend issues and personal issues that were intermingling and making my life hell. I was too distracted by life to have the "OMG new U2 album" feelings about "All That You Can't Leave Behind" so it came out and I didn't pay attention. "Beautiful Day" didn't catch my interest (still doesn't - oops!). But there was one day, where I was at one of my lowest points in my young life, and the CD was on as background noise and I really LISTENED to the lyrics of "Walk On" and instead of doing what I set out to do, I sat down and cried. Although the song isn't about what I was feeling, it felt like a hug which is what I needed and the lyrics fit with my current state.

Since then, in other rocky points on the road of life, U2's music has been there as a motivation that says, "Life may suck, but there's more out there for you, keep going". I was able to identify with the lyrics because I had experienced loss and heartache. But I also was able to experience the joy in the music. How can you not want to throw your hands up in the air during a song like "Rejoice"? How can you not want to dance when you hear "Mysterious Ways" or "Two Hearts Beat as One"? Bands come and go, but U2 has been the one constant in my personal musical history. No one has died (knock on wood), no one got addicted to heroin, no one left the band...and that probably makes U2 pretty uncool by music industry standards and me too, for thinking that that uncool stuff is pretty cool but...meh.

And the live shows. Well, anyone who has seen U2 live knows how much they put into their live shows, whether it be the monetary or the effort, but it's amazing. I've seen literally hundreds of bands live, and U2 is still my favorite. It's because the music intertwined with Bono's passion on stage, The Edge's powerful guitar, Adam's hip grinding basslines and Larry's drums that vibrate your entire body is incredible. It's a full body experience at a U2 show. And I think that's what people miss about the spectacle of the PopMart and now the 360 Tour. It's not just stimulating to your ears, but other senses too. It's also highly amusing. Who the fuck comes out of a mirrorball lemon? It's absurd! And The Edge doing karaoke to "Sweet Caroline" or "Daydream Believer"? Hysterical! There may not be as many "LOLZ" on the 360 tour, but it's had some comical moments. And really, the neon suit Bono wears while he swings around like a monkey from a steering wheel microphone? C'mon now, people, that's funny shit! But these "spectacular" live shows can evoke emotion by the videos being shown or just the sheer passion put forth by the band. U2 doesn't have to do this anymore, but they still do, and seem to enjoy it. I've seen people who have never paid much attention to U2 who leave shows a massive fan, simply because the live show does something to you. You know that story that Bono has rehashed over and over about the band still getting chills as they walk on stage much like the audience says they do? There's truth to it. It's not just another "Tall Tale from a Short Man".

As long as the music is still relevant to me and I'm still moved when I hear the opening guitar for a new song like "Magnificent", I'll still follow. So if that makes me a "sheep", then BAAAAAH, motherfuckers.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Chelsea Andrus published on August 13, 2009 4:15 AM.

U2 - In the Name of Love was the previous entry in this blog.

EDUN TO DONATE $10.00 from all each ONE T shirt sold/all on clearance now! is the next entry in this blog.

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