Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lights That Flash in the Evening: U2, with Muse @ FedEx Field, Upper Marlboro, MD (9-29-09)

U2 is not now nor were they ever my favorite band; in fact, I think the last record of theirs I own might be Zooropa. However, U2 is the reason I am a music dork today.

Up until the 8th grade, I was pretty much listening to "whatever was on the radio.” It wasn’t like fading mill towns in upstate NY were lush with record stores or indie radio stations then (or now for that matter). Up there, you got classic rock (Dylan, Hendrix) and Top 40 (Poison, Tiffany). One day, I was trying to tune in the big Top 40 station in the area and I unknowingly turned the knob a tad too far to the left.

Instead of the Top 40 station, I tuned in a college radio station (91.5, WRPI) and heard a heavy and intense guitar riff, and one hell of an impassioned 'YAHHHHHHHH’...and I felt every single neuron in my body fire all at once.

What I had heard were the opening chords to U2’s "New Year’s Day." It was so raw...so bare...so strong...so...real. I always liked to listen to music but never had a song hit my entire nervous system quite so completely before. It was through that banshee yell that I discovered a whole new world.

The Joshua Tree and U2's explosion into the mainstream was still three years away, so U2 was only being played on college-radio at this point. "New Year's Day" started my music nerd conversion, but it was discovering The Unforgettable Fire shortly thereafter that sealed the deal-what an amazing record. I realized that there was great music being made out there that was an alternative from the mainstream of hair metal, overproduced and plastic sounds, and formulaic lyrics. Music could be smart as well as catchy, and it wasn't all from 1967, it was happening right then. And I wanted to hear it all.

That's why I was so excited at the chance to combine my latest new world, photography, with, ostensibly, the reason that this site even exists today. So I give you photos from Tuesday's U2 show here in Washington, DC at FedEx Field.

(Bono is shorter than a drum cymbal, who knew?)

(Go here for the rest of the photos from this show, and for those of the opening band Muse.)

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