There are only two artists that have lifted me higher than the sun to put a pair of albums into my 32 days of May #MusicalNes influences – and they have come at the end of the #Nestalgia tour. Music that was there in the spring, and now still here in the fall of my life to touch me and take me to that higher place and elevate me.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” arrived like a beautiful day when Bono proclaimed that U2 was reapplying for the job of best band in the world. We’ve all been stuck in a moment that we can’t get out of and this U2 masterpiece is a timely reminder that we’ve all got a chance to get ourselves together for one more shot of grace that takes us to that other place.
Don’t let it get away. You know you’re not a hopeless case. This time will pass.
Like every other bereft U2 fan who had walked on with them since “I Will Follow,” I was wondering if they had one more “Bad” or “Wire” or “Pride” in them, one more space of awesomeness to rent – like a golfer or an athlete at the their end of their prime, once they’re already going to the Hall of Fame and had $100 million in the bank.
This eternal album speaks to the love of music, and great songs, and hope and the energy of pre-911 life on the planet from the greatest rock and roll band of our generation.
And this incredible tour wasn’t a comeback as much as it was a maybe-we-never-left. Every night was pure magic. I couldn’t stop going to see the show.
Turns out this was the prime of U2 – not the aftermath.
The songs on this album at two decades old now make this U2’s defining album – and yes, even more so than “The Joshua Tree” and/or “The Unforgettable Fire” because it made them relevant and great again. No offense to anyone who truly loved The Fly era and Lemon Discotheque music, which was an acquired taste for me in small snippets, I was one of the guys who watched Bono and The Edge stand on a barge in Ireland and a wet stage at Red Rocks when I was 13 years old yelling about freedom and rights and oppression and “no more” bloody Sundays.
As a fan of U2 and a believer in the power of music, I needed this nuanced, passion perspective of guidance and hope at this point in my life.
I turned 32 years old two weeks before this album was released. Over the last two decades, these songs have aged with grace any time you need a decent melody…
I wrote a “Top 30” U2 songs list back when the Dublin lads came to Baltimore and built a spaceship in the purple end zone downtown.
“Walk On” and “Kite” stand near the top of the finest songs ever written by any band at any time.
This album set the stage for their second life and my journey around the world. U2 led me on some amazing adventures with my wife, which I documented on my reading and lifetime of love for “The Joshua Tree.” Every ticket stub tells a #JennStrong story.
I still hope to have a few more nights inside the heart with the Irish lads in an open space with other people who love U2 as much as we do.
But, for now, it’s just a moment. In a little while, this time will pass.
I know that this is not goodbye…