The U2 Dilemma pt.2
…continued from yesterday:
The only regret I’ve experienced with The Joshua Tree was missing the tour. The most viable place close to me where U2 stopped was The Hoosier Dome on November 1, 1987. It was a Sunday night. It was three hours from home. I was seventeen. The question didn’t even fully leave my mouth before my father said, “Hell no.” I have lived with that regret ever since. But that hasn’t been too horrible of a burden to bear. I saw U2 twice on my own terms when I still considered myself a fan. And besides, The Joshua Tree is now a quantified, calculated entity entombed in the morass that makes me me. I have lived within its universe comfortably and prosperously for thirty years. I always know what it has to offer, and am grateful for the coming-of-age landscape to which it transports me when I hear a single or listen to the whole album. But that’s also why I now have a U2 dilemma.
The album is thirty years old this year. Not surprisingly, U2 has seen good cause to tour, with the album as their featured piece. My understanding is that they will play the album in its entirety, and follow up with other stuff. They’ll be at Soldier Field in early June, and I know with certainty that I can get tickets. But do I want to get tickets? Dunno.
Here’s the catch: Can I go see a band that I can no longer stomach, even if they are featuring an album that has left an indelible print on my life? I don’t know if I can suppress my disdain enough, or even long enough, to find enjoyment in what they bring. Also, what if I decide to go and get hyped up about it… and the show sucks? I fear that I will have compromised something sacred to my life, only to see it screwed up. And then the next time I listen to The Joshua Tree, and probably times subsequent to that, I will replay an unfortunate concert experience in my mind. The whole thing could potentially desecrate something I hold sacred, and I’m not sure I could overcome that. And I’m damn well sure that I will be listening to The Joshua Tree, or wanting to, a whole helluva lot of times between now and the time my eardrums surrender to old age.
But what if U2 brings their game? What if this is a breakthrough for them and ends up being a transcendent and sublime experience for them and the audience? What if it ends up elevating The Joshua Tree to somewhere in my mind that I don’t even know exists? A good friend whose opinion I respect pointed out to me that chances like this are very rare, and get even rarer the deeper we get into life. The band is still together. They are the original lineup that created the album, and they’ve been intact all these years. I only stand to gain by taking advantage of what will essentially be dropped in my lap.
What if all of this angst is shallow existential bullshit and angst brought on by the corrosive effects of mass-marketing and the fiendish plot by record executives to play on nostalgia to put butts in seats?
A U2 dilemma indeed. I’ve got three months to think about it. It could come down to a game-time decision.