A Brief Thing About U2

U2 announced their current tour this week, appropriately a 30th Anniversary celebration of The Joshua Tree, prompting a conversation between my sister and myself over whether we should detonate our household budgets to go to what is more or less a rock show. She has never seen the band. I caught the Vertigo tour, a nosebleed in the San Jose Shark Tank, and it was as memorable a live experience as I’ve ever had in such a massive venue.

The selling point is The Joshua Tree. Front to back. The cassette that was part of the rotation. The venue was my dad’s massive green Ford F150. I was taught how not to drive like a complete asshole in that truck. It died the most ignominious death you can imagine, a subject for another short. The cab of that truck, the faux Indian blanket seat cover patterns I would recognize in my sleep, and the five or six tapes in the aftermarket drink/cassette hump rider formed a portion of me.

Besides The Joshua Tree we had Sports. We had Graceland. We had a couple of Shell Station giveaways with the usual suspects like “Woolly Bully” and a few brain-breakers like “96 Tears”. Creedence and Zeppelin were radio jackpots, too rich for compilations, and the Beatles were held even loftier. I had to work to discover the Beatles as a 13 year-old in 1992, which is insane. I was aware of their primacy even then.

U2 then. The Joshua Tree came out when I was 8 years old, and there is no escape from complete cultural transference at that age. I own that record on a cellular level, and every molecule will get nuts at the show, knowing Achtung Baby is their collective “real jam”.

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