My love for U2 is pretty much known. Heck, I’ve even written a book about it – On the Road with U2: my musical journey. But for the few of you who don’t know, I have seen U2 in concert 90 times since the ZooTv Tour in 1992. I first fell in love with U2 back in 1987 with the release of The Joshua Tree. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t see U2 on the Joshua Tree Tour because my mom would not let me because I was only 14, so I had to wait five years to see them on the ZooTv Tour. My favorite album is The Joshua Tree, my favorite song is “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” my favorite band member is the drummer Larry Mullen Jr, and my favorite tour is Elevation.
The Joshua Tree, including its B-sides, is my favorite album. 28 years ago U2′s The Joshua Tree was released on March 9, 1987. I was a freshman in high school. I heard “With or Without You” and liked it. I realized that it was by that same group who sang that song “Pride” I had heard before. That summer I remember walking along the beach in Ocean City, Maryland with my big boom box blaring what would become my favorite song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” from The Joshua Tree. Even though I had all of U2′s albums within a year’s time of ‘discovering’ them, The Joshua Tree was what I listened to constantly from 1987 to 1991 – along with Rattle and Hum. Besides “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” my favorites off The Joshua Tree are “Red Hill Mining Town” (I was obsessed with this song!), “Running to Stand Still,” “Trip Through Your Wires,” “In God’s Country,” and B-sides “Luminous Times” (one of my all-time top 5 favorite songs), “Walk to the Water,” “Deep in the Heart” and “Spanish Eyes.” I love the B-sides of The Joshua Tree as much as, if not more than, the songs that actually made it onto the album. The Joshua Tree was also all I watched for five years. I taped everything off MTV – the documentaries, the videos, the concerts, the award show appearances, and the interviews. My favorite is the the first U2 I ever taped off tv, the documentary Outside It’s America– I know it by heart because I used to watch it everyday. Even though it has been 28 years, The Joshua Tree is still my favorite album. It is truly a part of me. I think because it was my first U2 album and all I listened to and watched for five years. It’s just so ingrained in me. Its songs are second nature to me. Like being home, they are comforting. The Joshua Tree changed my life.
I truly love “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” It is more than just my favorite song. It gives me a feeling of sheer joy and comfort and touches my soul like no other song. I love a lot of U2 songs, most U2 songs, but “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is on a completely different level. It was my first favorite U2 song and what solidified me as a U2 fan, along with Larry Mullen Jr. “With or Without You” introduced me to U2, but “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” made me a U2 fan. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” has literally been my theme song. It says that life is about the journey, not the destination. And 28 years later, I still have not found what I am looking for. But I am loving the journey, the quest for what truly makes me happy.
U2 has completely changed my life, but U2 would not even exist if it were not for Larry Mullen Jr. Larry started U2 with a note on the school bulletin board and for a few minutes the band was known as The Larry Mullen Band, a shirt I wear to every concert. And it was because of Larry Mullen that I discovered U2. Back in March of 1987 when I was that Freshman in high school, a classmate of mine was flipping through one of those teen music magazines and stopped at a picture of U2. I noticed one of the four guys in the picture was very good looking. To an almost 15 year-old, it is very important for band you like to have a cute boy to crush on. It is because of that picture of Larry that I became a U2 fan and my musical journey began changing my life in ways I could have never imagined.
I had seen eight U2 concerts on the ZooTv tour travelling to just shows on the East Coast and eight concerts on the PopMart tour venturing out a little further to Pittsburgh and Columbus, but the Elevation Tour was the first time I extensively traveled on a U2 Tour. It was also the first and only time I went to the very first show of a tour and the very last. I saw 27 concerts on the Elevation Tour from March to December 2001. The Elevation Tour was the first time I experienced the GA (general admission) line and camped out all day and sometimes overnight to get right up front – and I was almost every time front row against the stage. The Elevation Tour was the tour I made most of my U2 friends, who I still see every four or five years on the U2 tour. The Elevation Tour was the first time I met Larry Mullen and he hugged me – I’d have to wait another 14 years to meet him again. Elevation was the first time Larry leaned down during the show to give me his drumsticks – I would have to wait another 14 years to get his sticks again. It was on the Elevation Tour when Larry turned 40 and I was front row center for him to give me the not empty champagne bottle they all had been drinking from. It is for all these reasons the Elevation Tour is my favorite U2 tour.
Because of Larry Mullen, there is U2 and because of U2 my life is magnificent. For the past 28 years, U2’s music has inspired me. Their words elevate me when I am down, are a celebration when I am happy and teach me to dream out loud. U2 has truly shaped my life. Because of U2, I have made lifelong friends from the GA lines of their shows. Because of U2, I have traveled across the United States seeing all the sights on the way to their 90 concerts I have been to and spent a summer in their hometown of Dublin studying at Trinity College. Because of U2, I discovered my passion for writing. I started my On the Road with U2 blog as a way to document my three-month road trip on the last leg of the 360 Tour driving to every U2 concert in the U.S. That blog led to me writing my U2 memoir On the Road with U2: my musical journey, which I published in April. As my Twitter followers tripled during the 360 tour, I used that experience in Social Media to start my career as a Social Media Manager.