Monday, August 15, 2011

U2 360 Tour Heinz Field Pittsburgh

On my brother's birthday, July 26th, Jamie and I went to our first concert together as a married couple (I know, it was such a thoughtful and selfless gift for Chuck). We were able to get two tickets to see U2 at their last show in the United States on their current tour, and I would have to say that it was the best concert I have ever seen. It was absolutely incredible!

There are so many aspects I'd like to write about, but I'm going to limit myself to just a few. First, I loved the way they interacted with the crowd all night. The band could remember their first show in Pittsburgh. It was in a small club in 1981. They have been returning to Pittsburgh for years (I had seen them with three of my friends during their last tour in 2005). They referenced cultural icons and built a rapport with folks in the Burgh quickly. Beyond this, they built a sense of community and togetherness with the fans in attendance. It was really something to experience.

For instance, as Bono started singing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," a song that was written as a modern hymn by the band, he stepped away from the microphone and the entire crowd in Heinz Field sang the first verse and chorus together. Bono picked it back up for the second verse, but it became one of many powerful moments for the concert attendees.

Beyond the feeling of camaraderie among the attendees, there was something special about the band themselves. They weren't just a group of musicians, they were a team of lifelong friends. They have been playing music together since 1976, and they have been able to bridge the gap of multiple generations. There were young and old alike in the crowd singing along to songs that spanned many years of their career. These guys have fun playing music together, and have been creating unique moments for concert goers for decades.

Beyond all of this, I think I appreciated most of all the sense of a long, persistent faithfulness to social causes and social justice. Sometimes, I think Bono is looked at as some rock star who just recently became an advocate for social causes, but the band has been serving as advocates for others for most of their career. In fact, two years ago, I saw U2 perform in Washington DC, and during the concert they made a focused push for freeing Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kii. They encouraged fans to write letters and use their voices as advocates for freeing Aung San Suu Kii. In November 2010 she was freed, and during the concert in Pittsburgh, she addressed the crowd by video and encouraged them to use their voices to fight for justice and to serve those who are in need.

As Jamie and I took in the sights and sounds of an incredible evening in Pittsburgh, I was reminded of the importance of perseverance and faithfulness, and I felt a renewed energy for approaching the causes I am passionate about with an even greater zeal. I hope that twenty years from now, I will be able to look back and see the impact that comes from longstanding faithfulness and tenacity.

May we each emulate these rockers from Ireland in the way that they work toward creating community, beauty, and seeking the good of others all the days of our lives. And, if you have an opportunity to see U2 on a future tour, take advantage of the opportunity. You won't regret it.

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