Reflecting on the U2 Concert at Giants Stadium

This past Thursday I had the good fortune of going to see U2 at  Giants Stadium with some good friends. First, even if you think U2 is  overrated and are convinced that Bono is  the antichrist, you should  really go see a U2 show.  Second, even if    you don’t have the  money, go find a treasure in someone’s property,  sell everything you  own, buy the field, and resell it so you can buy a  ticket to see U2.  If  that’s too impractical, then remember the good  Lord created you  with two kidneys.  The one is essential for life and  the other is your  U2 concert fund.

I’ve seen U2 in concert a few times (yes, I was born with a surplus of  extra kidneys) and each show has been an incredible experience.  It is not an exaggeration that I’ve been to over 100 concerts – Bob Dylan a few times, White Stripes, Sufjan, Death Cab, Arcade Fire, Wilco, to name a few.  I’ve even seen Geoff Moore and the Distance and can tell you that U2 is a life altering experience – truly amazing.  I am not sure I’ve ever felt that kind of electricity before (I mean except for our church on Sunday morning).

I love the sound. From the Edge’s guitar to Larry’s drumming to Adam’s baselines, they sound great. And of course, I love Bono’s words –

I can stand up for hope, faith, love

But while I’m getting over certainty

Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady” (from Stand Up Comedy)


Dressed up like a car crash

The wheels are turning byt youre upside down

You say when he hits you, you dont mind

Because when he hurts you, you feel alive” (from Stay)

I love that each show tries to be bigger than the last one.   Now a couple of things regarding the show.  I understand the criticism that it’s similar to the Dismantle … Bomb tour, the circle stage from All You Can’t Leave… but this was a stadium tour.  The feat is that they have 70,000 people seeing and hearing the music in amazing quality.  While I won’t go so far and call it a miraculous feeding of 5000, you are hard-pressed to find a concert experience of this quality for so many thousands of people. My only disappointment was that the stage was not directly in the middle of the field.  We have our theories why but it’s not worth mentioning.

Speaking of the stage, it is incredible.  Ths year featured “The Claw” and it’s a sight to see.  It takes 4 days to set up, two to tear down.  They have 3 sets because of it’s setup time and they use a crew of 500 people and 189 semi-trucks.  While it may not be the most environmentally friendly tour (as if there actually was such a thing), it’s certainly helping the economy (for those who keep track of that sort of thing).  Frankly I am not bothered by these things.  Some concerts are like wedding celebrations to me and practicality goes out the window.  I mean do the guests of the bridegroom while he is with them?  (Yes, that is used in its proper context ;-)

I also love that Bono uses his celebrity status for good causes – Third World Debt in Africa, apartheid, freedom in Iran and creating awareness of  Aung San Suu Kyi’s unjust home confinement in Burma.

I love how spiritual these experiences are.  Some may think that Bono is drawing people to himself but I and millions of people will tell you that Bono and friends are used as vessel to draw people into community, solidarity, promote love and justice and force us all to realize there’s someone greater that is behind and in front of all this. – I really believe that.

Please know that this is not an apologetic of my huge claims but a witness.

I went to a rock n ‘roll show and communed with God.

For those interested, this was the set list:


Get on your boots

Mysterious ways

Beautiful day – She’s a Rainbow – Blackbird

No Line on the Horizon



Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For/Stand By Me

Unknown Caller

Until the End of the World


The Unforgettable Fire


City of Blinding Lights


I’ll go crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonite

Sunday Bloody Sunday/Rock the Cazba


Walk On

One/Amazing grace

Where the Streets Have No Name – All You Need Is Love


Ultra Violet Rays

With or Without You

Moment of Surrender

A Brief Thought on the new U2 Album

Like almost everyone who breathes oxygen, I love the music of U2.  And like so many who pledged their allegiance to the epic works during the days of Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby and who lived through the American reactions of Zooropa & Pop (which were brilliantly misunderstood albums not only ahead of their time but in a different dimension.  Some call it Europe but I’m not sure it’s that easily identifiable), you always have a bit of anxiety whenever a new U2 album drops.

I understand why many people despise Bono and his band.  They’re so big that they are “The Man” and we all know it’s cool to hate the man.  I will still never forget the argument I had with someone who told me that if I wanted to listen to real rock’n roll, I needed to listen to Aerosmith.  We all know that Steven Tyler has a life-size poster of Bono above his bed and we all know the best thing about Aerosmith is Liv Tyler. It’s ok, there will always be people who hate God too.   Anyway, while it is not the Achtung Baby reinvention we were promised, No Line on the Horizon is still fantastic.  

Of course so much has been written already, but here are some of the posts I’ve appreciated.

Don Miller’s post was really insightful.  (What else would you expect from Don?).  I don’t know how to summarize it without creating a  long post so you can just read it.

From a NY Times article:

“How do you puncture pop consciousness with a tune anymore?” Bono said later over a pint of Guinness in the restaurant of the venerable hotel Claridge’s. “That’s actually your first job as a songwriter.”

A conversation with Bono is a free-associative adventure. Between thoughts about the album he dispensed fascinating digressions, casual but carefully placed on and off the record. He gave a full-voiced demonstration of Italian opera vowels and Frank Sinatra style — heads swiveled nearby — and mused on cathedral architecture; he described encounters with presidential candidates and plans for his future columns on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. He spoke fondly about his band mates as characters he’s still trying to figure out, about songs as bursts of serendipity and about what he wants in a performance: “spastic elastic energy.” more.”

Monday Morning Brief 2.23.09 (on this fine Tuesday)

I know it’s Tuesday, but it still has the spirit of a leftover Monday.

Highlights of the week –  All is well, I suppose.  The family is healthy and happy, Wed. night youth group went well, Lost was great, learning a lot in the Pete Enns class (I really do love my seminary).  I even enjoyed the Academy Awards this year.  Good call giving it to Heath (I was one of the 30 million people to call that).  I’m thankful things are ok.

Disappointed by 1. still stupid Aroid.  I knew when he started talking about his cousin and getting the substances from the Dominican that this would not be good.  Did you not listen to Andy Pettite?  Come clean, be done with it. 2. The Office reruns.  Are the writers on strike again?  Because even the new ones aren’t that great.  By chance, are these the same writers who were on Heroes last season?

Reading: Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament by Christopher Wright.  Like Evan said on his post, it’s pretty good.  I may blog about it but I always say that and never do.  There’s a bunch of books, magazines, and blogs that I have either a bookmark in or a link for.  

Listening to: the new U2 cd No Line on the Horizon.  March 3 cannot come soon enough.  You can listen to it on myspace.  It’s one of the few reasons to go on that site. So far one of my favorite lines is: 

“Can stand up for hope, faith, love

But while I’m getting over certainty

Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady” in “Stand up Comedy”.  That Bono!

Also listening to Homebrewed Christianity podcast with Walter Bruggeman from back in October.  Oh, and the new Paul Coleman cd is growing on me.  The first track “If I was Jesus” is pretty good.

Laughed a lot About:  1. I was sitting at Border’s doing some work and a dad was helping his son with his homework.  The son was a little frustrated and said, “Dad I can’t read too good.”  I thought to myself, “Of all the days to leave my business cards of Derrick Zoolander’s School For Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Wanna Do Other Stuff Good Too”.  I’m an idiot for forgetting them.  I forgot my 4 Spiritual Laws tracts too so I hope they don’t say, “What must we do to be saved?” .  Oh wait, I have those Testamints.  I hope we’re lucky enough to get the Romans Road out of them.

2.  Jaquin Phoenix on the Letterman show. Is it in act?  He’s a good actor but just because Mickey Rourke recovered from drugs and oblivion doesn’t mean he may recover from looking like a weirdo.


You Saw it Here … Second Last

U2 to take over Letterman Show for a week starting March 2.  I tell you, if they took over Fox News or The View or even Hannah Montana, I’d tune in.

The other week Chrisitanity Today interviewed Derek Cooper who wrote  So You’re Thinking about Going to Seminary: An Insider’s Guide.  Derek is one of our adjunct profs at Biblical Seminary and ridiculously brilliant.  Here’s an exert: 

What is the biggest misconception about seminaries?

There are generally two. First, those who attend seminary assume that one of seminary’s main purposes is to provide the answer to this or that great biblical or theological question. Instead of understanding seminary or theological education in terms of a mathematical formula to be solved, however, it is more like a tension-filled narrative that is to be lived out. Seminaries, in other words, are better at asking questions than answering them.

Second, those who do not attend seminary assume that only people called to the pastorate or some other full-time Christian ministry are encouraged or even eligible to attend seminary. The truth is, however, that seminaries are filled with students who will pursue a variety of professions after graduation. (more)

The other week Jen from our cohort emailed this youtube clip.  Meant to post it sooner but I forgot it in the draft folder.  I know you are inundated with a “million must see this youtube clip”.  This is only “must-see” if you are interested in the future … of the world.  If you live in the past, or you if you are an incredible optimist, don’t worry about it, you can click here for a rerun of the Saved By the Bell.  Otherwise, click below.


Shane Claiborne posted “When Jesus and Justice Kiss” at the end of January on the Sojourners site.  

“I just got back from a trip to Australia where I was saw folks fall in love with Jesus, the real Jesus, for the first time… and with the innocence of a kid at the altar in a big tent revival, fell on their knees with tears going down there cheeks for they found had found their Lover. It was a revival.”    

“(We) …set up a shanty-town, cardboard slum on the steps of Parliament to bring attention to the folks being displaced around the world …”

“Can you imagine if our North American Christian conferences had a witness on the streets like that? In the middle of it all, I had one person come up to me and say – “if this is what Christianity is, then sign me up.” In this notoriously non-Christian country, I was proud to be part of a witness that showed folks a Christianity worth believing in, good news they could see and touch and feel.”

I think I’m find some more service project weekend ideas here.