It has been the craziest of weeks for the U2 fans of this world (and beyond!). Between the return of the Vox, the new song rehearsals and the frenzy as the tour that is the re-tour begins once more.
It all started with a thud as much-loved and much maligned musician, poet, statesman Bono hit the ground (oh what a delicious irony that would have been if he was humming Stay) and stopped running.
The pallor set in as the reality of show cancellations set in. No! The whole North American segment??? Nooooooo! All those people. All those tickets. All those travel arrangements, hotels, time off work, people to stay with. All those restaurants and bars with staff anticipating the boon that comes with the tour.
And so, we waited. We waited and we prayed and we begged and cajoled that bitter, spiteful God who took the flame and put it away for a time. We ranted and railed as the time dragged and we wondered if the pain would be felt in Europe.
But no! Time passed and the expectation that therapy would return our oft damaged hero to his mantle. The pulpit of light and sound that his high and mighty voice brought joy and dance from. And trust me, he can’t dance, but at least he knows!
In time we see glimpses. Like shadows of souls from the corner of my eye he appeared, like a wisp. Battered but unbroken, the Popmart Boxer fought on and fought through the pain.
And the champion he is, back in studio before we realize. Recording, making us wonder what could come next. And the news was ever silent. No Bono telling us the raft of untruths on songs and albums and release dates and tour dates and events. In the decades of U2, no one has ever been more completely wrong on dates and times. And as befits his prophet status, his predictions and predilections fall into some timeline reserved for the gifted and the mad.
On summer went with some pace and before we could ask, the trucks began to arrive. Ahh, noble sureness in knowing the stage would once again breathe. As the sharpened tines of The Claw bit into soil (artificial or otherwise), we knew, oh yes, we knew.
The tingle returned. We had been teased with possibility. New songs performed before release? Could it? Can it?
With parted lips, the mouth breathers waited. Teased by techs playing songs. Band mates appearing and disappearing. But the man. The man had not been seen in the land of empires and passion. What is this? Who would light our way?
And finally. Thankfully. Truly. A voice was heard across the fading ultraviolet sunset. As clear and pure as winter. As strong and loud as two hearts beating.
And not only were we blessed with this sort of homecoming, but suddenly some unknown strains, like some electrical storm, fired across the night. The sage returned with words that invoked both time and place, love and faith. The Flowering Rose of Glastonbury? How odd and how poignant. How strange and interesting.
And this intrepid writer, who spent long hours deciphering the distant recording on some magic device all because of you, was mesmerized by the voice and the guitar and praise sprang forth.
And after the adrenaline that comes with new discovery, we are blessed with even more! A song with questioned title. Oh, could be one or t’other or both as one! Hmm, mystery and intrigue as we listen to the lovely, loving and simple yet complex strains of I Can’t Wait Any Longer or For Your Love! More words to find, meanings to define.
And the new opening which would appear to be played live! Some new, daring song or simply a play on an already new song? Oh the many things yet to be unveiled! One, two or three albums??? Spiderman music?
The title of this piece is appropriate. We’ve gone from the low to the high and we wonder just how high we’ll go! Will there be a radio drop of a new track on Monday? Will we get a better sense of the new songs as we see them played out live? Will U2 provide a free download as thanks to the many fans whose lives got twisted with the slip of a disk. Will fall be a new album or will it be a merry christmas baby?
All I know is that anyone who has any form of passion for this band will be in a thrall in the coming weeks and the veil is pulled back as the man and the band once again show us how it’s done.