U2 3D

U2 3D is playing at the Berlin IMAX theater and it is totally rubbing in one of the sad truths of my life, that I've never seen U2 live.

I saw the Rattle and Hum film in eighth grade and left the theater changed. I bought the movie on VHS the next day and proceeded to torture my family for the next several years. "Dad," I'd yell from the basement, "You have to come down and watch the funniest part!"

The funniest part would be Larry Mullen, Jr. mumbling and then shrugging and looking off into the distance. I'd swoon and grab the couch pillow and my dad would drop hints, "If that was the FUNNIEST part..."

I taught my disabled brother to recognize Bono's voice and to this day, when he hears it on the radio he yells, "Bono! Bono! Two! Two!"


I don't even want to admit the number of weekend nights I spent at Andrea Harrison's house suffering through a 2-hour video tape of songs she'd recorded from MTV of her bands - Tesla, Warrant, Skid Row. My payoff, the one teeny tiny little bone she threw me was U2's Pride (In the Name of Love) video AT THE VERY END OF THE TAPE.

My heart would start pounding and I'd leap around the room, copying Bono's moves. The splayed legs, one knee rocking furiously. The dramatic crouch at the end of stage. Now picture me doing that wearing rolled up cutoffs, a deeply v-necked sweater and big blue glasses.

The day I read in the Cincinnati Enquirer that Adam Clayton had been busted for marajuana possession, I was shocked. Crushed, even. My mom comforted me, "Sometimes the people we look up to do things we don't like." I stared at his photo in the paper, "How could he DO that?"

I now know a better question. How much do I love that little eighth grade version of me?

Yesterday I stumbled through the German IMAX website and reserved a ticket to U2 3D. I wasn't going to chance showing up at the theater with it sold out. That would destroy me as much as finding out that sometimes bass players like to get high and I couldn't go through that again.

For a minute, in my seat, I felt silly in the 3D glasses. I looked around a couple of times to make sure everyone else had theirs on, too, and weren't pointing and laughing at me. As soon as the show started, though, I forgot about the glasses.

Holy f**k, was it good.

After getting used to 3D and the initial surprise that there were screaming fans jumping up in the row in front of me - oh, wait, that's how 3D works, it only looks like they're doing that, I GET IT - and after Bono turned to me and reached his hand out five centimeters in front of my face - a dream come true - I got nostalgic.

I haven't been foaming at the mouth over U2 for a long time but they are the band that's had the biggest effect on me. A lot of people think that Bono is an annoying egomaniac and that may actually be true but watching him on stage last night, I decided that I just don't care. He's my favorite egomaniac.

Even when he's rolling around blindfolded and stalking around like a caged tiger, I still just want him to hold me and whisper the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in my ear. This is the only pop star who inspired me to draw hearts around his head in photos.

It was a long time ago. Don't judge.

He also inspired me to join Amnesty International in high school, whereby I'd go to my French classroom after school, most likely wearing my beret, to write letters beseeching governments to free their political prisoners.

I remembered a few years ago when Jimmy knew someone on the U2 tour and went to their show in New York. Jimmy hung out on the side of stage and sent me text messages. I happened to be sitting on a bench in Newport, KY watching a U2 cover band, literally on the verge of tears.

That same year, our merchandiser on Idol knew people with U2. I confessed my historic devotion and sadness at never having seen them live. He said he might be able to get me good tickets. I must have reacted strongly because he looked at me with an evil smirk and said, "What would you do for them?"

I looked him squarely in the eye and said, "Anything. I'd do anything." We stared each other down and I said, "I'm not kidding." Which is definitely the closest I've ever come to being a hooker. Luckily it didn't happen because I just don't think Bono would have approved of that.


Anonymous said...

Neill doesn't even have to hear his voice, Jess, to know it's Bono. About 2 weeks ago, before three notes of a U2 song came on the radio, Neill was yelling "Bono"! That guy amazes me sometimes. (Neill, that is!)

Anonymous said...

You know that Bono was at the Freedom Center when we were at 312 Elm. He came with Chris Tucker.


Anonymous said...


i think i can remember even when you talked about U2 & Bono in front of Lauren and I and proclaimed your admiration, hearts may have circle around your head...

Unknown said...

gorgeous story! your brother knows a good thing when he hears it...i spent many hours watching red rocks at my friend helen's house because her big sister had a copy on BETA not VHS....so i couldnt borrow it. i'm thrilled it's finlly gonna be released on dvd.