I have been to every U2 tour since high school with the exception of the Popmart tour. Some of the most spiritual moments of my life have happened at a U2 concert – a combination of their passion, showmanship, shared Christian faith, and my lifelong fandom. But I’m looking forward to this upcoming concert more than any other in my life because I finally get what it is to have my belief in God so aligned with my personal convictions about how I wish the world to be, and yet be so discouraged by the steps back we’ve taken in the past few months.
From the sad but useful insights I’ve had this past year, more so than ever I get Bono’s love hate relationship with America. The Joshua Tree album is 30 years old but feels just as relevant and powerful as ever. Bullet the Blue Sky is going to kick me in the gut this time around. Running to Stand Still rings true, both in the sadness that we’ve made no progress in the opioid epidemic, and that it seems that much effort still leads to minimal progress forward. Red Hill Mining Town and Mothers of the Disappeared remind us that the marginalized are so easily ignored and forgotten. More so than ever, I get how U2’s faith has always been inseparable from their passions, convictions, morality, and compassion for the unseen. I get what it’s like to have been a Christian my whole life, and yet still haven’t found what I’m looking for either – I literally can’t find a church right now where I feel I belong.
But I also know that I am at my core still an optimist and hopeful. So I’ll sing along with the thousands of other fans next week at the Rose Bowl, in the name of Love, and as One.
How long, how long must we sing this song? The call and answer for hardcore U2 fans is “I will sing, sing a new song” until we meet again.