I need, I need to sleep. It’s one o’clock in the morning and twenty four hours after I had bustled back into my cosy little dorm room, my mind is still on U2.

I hinted at my excitement in my last post, but perhaps I should explain more fully. At the tender age of 12, I fell in love with a band. Sure, I’d been singing to the Beatles since I could articulate sound (thanks to my parents) – but nothing has touched me the way U2’s music has. I sang their songs all through the trial and travail of middle school and high school, through my spiritual and political awakenings – there was “Like a Song” (War, 1983) for my nascent rebellion, “Acrobat” (Achtung Baby, 1991) for dancing on the line between questioning and heresy, and “Electrical Storm” (Electrical Storm, 2002) to make me believe in love.

I should mention that I probably drove Dr. Cusack half-insane with my constant U2 references (I mean, they were sorta kinda maybe part or most of the reason I took Irish Triumphs and Troubles…), and I did begin my research paper over Bloody Sunday with the words to the classic “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (War).

My first U2 concert is more than a pen-stroke across a line of my bucket list, it was a moment where I stood in a crowd of 50,000 people and heard everyone singing the songs that have so shaped my life along with me. There was such a strong connection Sunday night – a reaching out, to the International Space Station that tuned into the concert, to fight for self-determination in Iran, to the power and perseverance of Aung San Suu Kyi, and (as the recorded speech by Nelson Mandela reminded us) to the victories of those who have fought injustice.

I grew up in church, so I’m used to seeing people with their hands raised – as if they’re holding onto something we think is intangible. U2 infects people with spirit, they build a rapport with their fans and audiences to pull people together. Fifty thousand people can be sisters and brothers for a few hours.

In all likelihood, U2 will not be back to Norman until after I graduate (albums have been coming out about four years apart since Pop in 1997), but the memory will last a lifetime. I’ll leave you with this, a stanza of “The First Time” from my favourite album, Zooropa (1993).

I have a lover, a lover like no other.
She got soul, soul, soul; sweet soul
And she teach me how to sing,
Shows me colours when there’s none to see,
Gives me hope when I can’t believe
But for the first time I feel love.

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