I’ve been trying to write about Saturday night off and on for about 36 hours. It’s not coming easily. Words can be a bitch somedays. How do you put words to something that encompasses so much more than what they offer? That void where words fail…this is the place for art, for music. So to write about that thing that fills in the wordless void?
I don’t know. I’m struggling.
I want to breathtakingly describe those precious hours. I want to remind myself, I want to share with you that feeling of absolute excitement that left me jumping in an erratic and giddy manner. I want you to understand fully that sense of awe and wonder and beauty that lead to being able to do nothing but stand completely still and allow whatever the hell it is that moves through music move into you. God, I think. There are differing opinions.
But to recreate those moments, and moments similar, I think not even the best writer can put into words. Those moments are not what words are for. But still….still I try to write.
I keep trying to write about my experience, about the details of what happened. About how when “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” started, I leaned over to my friend and said “Sorry if I start crying. I’m an emotional sap and music has a strong effect on me.” And how I was reminded the next day by another friend that “That’s what music is for.”
I want people to know the simple joy of been standing outside, content with the excitement of being so near, the sound and the monitors making it seem we were there. The brick walls of the stadium seemed like nothing but a thick paper separating us from such an event. Because, when tickets sell out in 20 minutes for a fairly substantial price, being this close is what you know will be the closet you will ever come to seeing them live.
Until it’s not.
I want you to read these words and your eyes grow wide as you see the unattended gates, know that fraction of a moment when it’s now or never, feel the air rush past your face as you run through rain and crwod, ignoring that secrurity guard who is yelling powerlessly at this homeless mob who have suddenly been let in on Thanksgiving dinner. I want your mouth to drop agape at that moment you realize…We’re in.
I want people who read this to feel the rain pouring down on their heads, feel their clothes soaking wet, hanging heavily from limb and torso. I want them to feel the anxiousness of lightning bolts striking around the stadium, to tremble at the immensity of thunder that came from above… and from the kits of Larry Mullen, Jr. I want you to see the look of pure happiness on Adam Clayton’s face, despite 30 years of limelight and lots of the same songs. I want you to do a little dance for joy when you realize, “Oh my God, The Edge is right there.” I want you to feel the movement of 60,000 people fall into a silent stillness while the first notes of “With Or Without You,” began. To know the power of 60,000 people singing “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” To see the power of lanterns held aloft, circling the stage, in a beacon of hope while Bono urges us to “Be Strong. Walk on.” I want you to be totally absorbed in a chorus of Cohen’s “Hallelujah” only to be swept into a place “Where The Streets Have No Name.”
I want my words to have the power that Bono’s words have…when millions of people worldwide, and tens of thousands around me, sing them, word for word. When his influence is such that people are moved into action to seek justice, fight AIDS, poverty, hunger. His words effect me, they bring me to a place beauty, hope, strength. But he has more than words, he has that undeniable power of music, which bring me to those same places.
So as I try feebly to use my own words to describe they seem so insignificant. Words are just not enough. And so, despite the poor quality, I leave you with the best thing that I can to share the evening with you: Two videos I took from some outstanding, unexpected, much appreciated seats at the U2 concert I wasn’t supposed to see. It’s the best I can do. It's not much. Because it was too much.