[PHOTOS]: U2 in Nashville – July 2, 2011

I had the honor of seeing U2 perform last night (7/2/11) in Nashville. Vanderbilt Stadium. 40,000 capacity for football. Some 48,000 on-hand for the show. This was, somehow, U2’s first concert in Nashville since the year I was born, 1981. What in the world is the deal with that? Even Bono seemed a bit bewildered by this tidbit as he made reference to it from stage.

This was also Vanderbilt Stadium’s third-ever concert, the first two being Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones.

U2 is one of those bands that comes really close to being (way) overhyped, and in a lot of ways they probably are by the extremists among us. Either way, last night’s show delivered in just about every way possible.

It is going to be a good long while before anyone can top what U2 has pulled off on its 360 Tour. The stage, the production, the everything – it is simply a spectacle of gargantuan proportions. Each show takes around $750,000 to pull off. I’m surprised it is not more.

As I stood last night and saw the spaceship light up, fog fill the sky and heard the music of U2 rock West End, I considered how impossible it is to convey such an experience via any medium. Someone like me can sit and conjure up superlatives to describe it, but nothing can replace being there.

If it is remotely within your capabilities to attend a U2 360 show, I assure you you will walk away in awe. You will walk away with a new level of appreciation, and expectation, for what a performance should be.

I also hope you walk away with a renewed sense of love and compassion for not only those around you, but for everyone. I like to think I did.

Bono really does have a special way of helping you see the world through a bigger lens, and making you stop to consider how you might make a difference. I highly recommend checking out the work of a wonderful, world-changing advocacy group called ONE.

Although it is impossible for me to fully relay the experience to you, at least here are some images I took from my seat, with my phone. Enjoy.

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[PHOTOS]: U2, Nashville, Playing It Cool

I would prefer a lot of people I know not hear me say the following: I am pumped for tomorrow night’s U2 show in Nashville.

Look, I am fanatical about a few things, yes. But I have been around some crazy people that treat U2 and Bono as if they are the answer to all problems of all humankind. To those (wonderful) people, I suggest playing it cool, and above all else – don’t look down upon those that either don’t like U2, or do not share your (worshipful) level of fandom.

That said, I truly am elated for tomorrow night’s show. I downloaded the U2 360 Tour app to my phone this morning. I got as close as I could a couple of hours ago to take the below images, and marvel at the spectacle. I am super excited to see U2 in Nashvegas tomorrow night.

We all want and need something bigger. That’s really what this show is all about. That is why we go nutso for an event like this. Our day-to-day lives get ultra-boring, mundane and mostly lack the unending joyous and passionate celebration we all desire.

U2’s 360 Tour: the claw, the songs, the atmosphere, the anticipation, the sing-alongs, the tears, the emotional impact – it truly is a landmark moment in most attendee’s lives. I get it.

To my friends that love U2 at stalker levels, this is a moment where I can almost understand you.

U2 and Bono don’t have all of the answers, but one thing I can say with absolute certainty – the boys from Dublin are doing their damndest to help us all get closer.

 

The Wanderer

“It was, like, all of a sudden, Generation X had fallen in love with Johnny Cash.”

Shares Joe Nick Patoski, a senior editor of Texas Monthly, in Michael Streissguth’s book, Ring of Fire. Patoski is talking about Cash’s South by Southwest performance in 1994, at Emo’s. A few months prior, in December of 1993, Cash had performed solo at the Sunset Strip’s Viper Room, in LA. The latter was Rick Rubin’s idea. Johnny was in town to record the first American Recordings album, with Rubin, and Rick thought it would be cool for the Man in Black to play out.

So began Cash’s resurgence. Years prior, he had been on his way to the usually imminent rockstar-black hole.

Suddenly he got cool. Real cool. And his reach kept getting wider. I’d argue that one of the strongest symbols of this is the wide variety of figures in the music video for “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” from the album American V: A Hundred Highways. Graham Nash, Keith Richards, Brian Wilson, Justin Timberlake, Billy Gibbons, Kate Moss, The Dixie Chicks, Kanye West, Johnny Depp, Travis Barker, Kid Rock, Tommy Lee, Chris Martin, and many others. Check it out if you’ve never seen it.

But I love that U2 found it a good idea to have Johnny sing on the 1993 album, Zooropa. Cash sang the last song on the project, a song called “The Wanderer.” Here are a couple of lines from the song:

I went out there / in search of experience

To taste and to touch / and to feel as much

As a man can / before he repents

In Steve Turner’s book The Man Called Cash, the story goes,

“That same year (1988) Cash met Bono, who came to Hendersonville during a driving trip across America with U2 bass player Adam Clayton. When they sat down for a meal, Cash intoned a long and elaborate grace, thanking God for his wonderful provisions and asking him to bless the food to their bodies. Then he opened his eyes, winked at Bono, and said, ‘Sure do miss the drugs though’.”

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