So, I've discovered that one of my esteemed colleagues at the Language School loves Bono and U2 with the same eternal and white hot passion of 10,000 burning suns that I do.
We bonded over an episode of "Pride in the Name of Love" at Lucerna Music Bar (a totally brilliant place that could only exist in all of it's cheesy, unironic splendor here in Prague), and though we started by trying to one-up each other in increasingly ludicrous expressions of undying, bone-deep true-blue love, we ended by agreeing to get together for the purpose of indulging in hours and hours of U2 concert videos. Videos so good that when they are over, it's tempting to start 'em up again, from the beginning, even if it is 3AM.
In the past week, we've watched Rattle & Hum, the documentaries about recording The Unforgettable Fire and How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, as well as the newly released DVD of the best arena rock show in the history of the world, which was recorded for posterity on the final night of the Zooropa tour in Sydney, Australia, and in which Bono wears that magnificent Mr. Macphisto costume, and sings "Fools Rush In" with a combination of resigned sadness, pure generosity of spirit, and heady joy that only he could stir together with a gold lamé devil costume and make everything feel like it's just where it should be. God bless him.
Last night, I saw a video that I'd only seen once, under distracting circumstances: U2 at Slane Castle. Recorded a week after Bono's father had died following a long struggle with cancer, and 9 days before the World Trade Centers were destroyed, it featured 80,000 people singing songs about love in unison with dear, dear Bono, whose heart, like always, was right there on his sleeve. Needless to say, it totally slew me.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- Bono's dedication of "All I Want Is You" to his "beautiful wife." We agreed that in order to get so freaking lucky as to have that man be the man who loves her, Bono's wife had to have been freaking Joan of Arc in a past life, or some shit. I think it's important to make clear that when I say that, I'm not saying I want to break off a piece of Bono; what I'm saying is, the woman who holds that heart has got to be someone who is more than merely lucky.
- I'm not sure I'm ever going to get over that one part in that one song ("Kite") when Bono belts out: "I'm a man, I'm not a child." He brought it with especial force in this performance; force that made me feel the love for him so much that I nearly barfed because I simply couldn't keep the love down a moment longer. Goddamn, he's fantastic.
- This video featured so many incredibly awesome moments when Bono and The Edge were singing together, head to head, little smiles lighting their sweet faces, their eyes closed softly amidst all that shouting and cheering, the better to feel their music and each other. I wanted to throw down and make out with the both of them, and not in a sexual way, but just because I wanted to partake of their incredible loveliness. It's amazing how the intentions and qualities of those specific people make every U2 concert more like church than church could ever be, and it's amazing that after all these years, I still feel like I did when I was 13 when I see it. Love is the holiest thing. Oh, Bono! Oh, The Edge! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
- While I'm mentioning The Edge, I just want to say how incredible a presence he is in U2. He is so humble and gentle, and at the same time, his guitar is so soaring, lyrical and flawless. As a musician, he is remarkable, creative, and unique, and plays absolutely beautifully without even a HINT of showboating. Plus, and I know I'm harping on this, but... he plays with his eyes closed ALL THE TIME. I think it's pretty obvious that if it weren't for The Edge, there would be no U2, because I think we can all tell that Bono would have run that good ship into the ground decades ago if his crazy ass were in charge.
- While we're on the topic of how there would be no U2 without this or that, I also loved, like always, the way those three guys have always stood behind Bono while he carries on in that way that he does. Those guys rule every bit as hard as Bono does, even if it is hard to see past that beautiful 800 lb gorilla at center stage. Goddamn, I love that band.
People, of course there were more highlights, and I could write a dissertation right now, marking everyone of them, but nevermind. I love U2. I just wanted to say it one more time.