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U2 Comes to Town

October 5, 2009
It’s weird to go to a rock show and have a spiritual experience. But that’s what the U2 show in Raleigh was like last weekend.
Photo by Roger Winstead

Photo by Roger Winstead

I’ve loved them since college in the early ’80s. During a semester in London, I sat in wine bars and fed coins into music video machines to see “Pride,” “Bloody Sunday,” “Unforgettable Fire.” The city’s double-decker buses all had U2 ads. I was an eye witness to their ascent and a participant, plunking down my hard-earned cash for their albums. I wore my pant legs tucked into boots. I even copied Bono’s mullet.

I never knew most of the band’s members were Christians. If someone had told me, I’m not sure I would have believed it, though messages of forgiveness, justice and peace were common in their music.

In more recent years, as my own faith has grown, I’ve become more attuned to those themes in their work. There’s such a sense of yearning in their songs for life as it’s meant to be. Free of suffering and temptation. Or, as their biography describes it, the struggle of living “between the now and the not yet.”

At Raleigh’s Carter-Finley Stadium, under a glorious waxing moon, I got to hear Bono sing “Amazing Grace.” He has said it used to bother him that the Bible is full of adulterers, murderers, thieves, and cowards. Now it brings him great comfort.

Photo by Roger Winstead

Photo by Roger Winstead

 Saturday night, he was all showman. “We’ve got old songs, we’ve got new songs, we’ve got songs we can barely play,” he intoned. 

Referring to their massive stage, he added:   “And we’ve got a spaceship.”

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