I remember the first time I heard about a new Irish band. It was 1985, I was at college in the U.S. and my friend Ann told me I had to check out this band called U2 (previously known as Feedback and The Hype, they formally became U2 during a show in a Presbyterian Church near Dublin – not a bad reason to become Presbyterian!). I only had to listen once to the album “War” and I was caught – Sunday Bloody Sunday, New Year’s Day, Two Hearts Beat as One, and 40. I loved the banging drums, the Edge’s guitar riffs, and the fabulous lyrics that sang truth poetically and beautifully, opening up a bigger world that included God.
I’ve been listening to and loving their music ever since, providing the soundtrack for my past few decades of living. I’m drawn in by their lyrics so deeply immersed in biblical language, theme and allusion (I am so thankful they had a good pastor in their life who helped them through the spiritual struggle about how this calling might actually fit with their Christian faith), by the music that rouses me to anger, hope and joy, and then quiets me to repentance or prayer. And I admire how they’ve gone beyond cliché celebrity concern, taking their big stage in life as a gift to be stewarded, sometimes controversially, for the good of others.
But to really experience U2 you have to see them live – as the band often says, “live is where we live.” And tonight I get to join up with Paul Hewson, David Evans, Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton again, now at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, MI. I can’t wait to hear the first notes of “Where the streets have no name” or “Mysterious Ways” and get caught up in a moment of sweet transcendence that feels pretty close to heaven.
And for those not able to join the choir who will be belting out so many of their great anthems, check out the live performances of “Where the streets have no name” and then their very psalmic “40.”