An Open Letter to U2
2 July 2017
Dear, Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry,
I started to write this three months ago, and was distracted away from it to attend to something else. Procrastination took over from there. Anyway, I was inspired to write this letter in spite of the fact that I have no idea how to get it to you all or whether you’ll actually see it. And yet I trust that this intuition is strong enough to act upon.
While we’ve listened to U2 since the early years and had always enjoyed your music, we’d not see your band in concert until 2001 in St. Louis. The experience still brings emotion to my body. Thanks to your policy to open up additional seats days before the show, we scored tickets to what would be a life-changing event. Just months after the 9/11 event, we were still recovering from the shock of the terrorist attack. And the Elevation tour seemed to be written and staged to honor and soothe us.
As it turned out, we’d not yet even bought the ATYCLB CD, so the music from that album hit us fresh. It was incredibly powerful, and felt like more of a spiritual experience than a concert. The energy and the passion were palpable, and we emerged from the concert practically speechless.
Needless to say, we bought the CD and became (my wife Maria in particular) true U2 fans. We filled in the gaps in our music collection to complete your portfolio. My wife bought books and followed you all in the media, and we’ve been back to see you on both the Vertigo and 360° tours in St. Louis. (Maria even flew to Miami to see the Vertigo concert with my sister as a prelude to the STL date!) And she was inspired to transition in her successful career to become a writer.
To inflame her passion, I arranged a surprise birthday 40th birthday party for Maria in 2002 with a U2 theme. The cake was imprinted with an image of a live U2 performance, and I arranged to have “Dano” from the U2 tribute band Elevation to sing a few songs at the party. My gift was a painting that I commissioned by a local artist of Bono singing, with lyrics from Psalm 40. It was perfect.
My mother had planned to take all of her adult children and our families to Ireland in 2008 to honor our father’s heritage, and sadly contracted cancer in late 2007 and passed away in early 2009. My wife, who is a full-blooded fourth-generation Irish-American, was the only one of us who’d ever been there, and several years later suggested that we plan to go to Ireland to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in 2017 instead of Maui, where we honeymooned. As the years passed, we continued to dream about this trip of a lifetime, and it is now upon us. Earlier this year we booked a Vagabond tour for 23-29 July, which we planned to sandwich between some time before and after to truly immerse ourselves in the experience.
Since St. Louis was not on your original tour list this year, Maria thought we might catch you all in Chicago. When she looked up your concert dates, she nearly went spastic with delight that U2 is performing in Dublin on 22 July while we’re there! Of course the concert is sold out, and ticket resellers are taking advantage of that in their pricing. So we will put our faith in the Forces of Goodness to serendipitously provide the means by which to see your performance of the Joshua Tree – whether that be another opening of newly-released seats days before the show, or some other magnanimous offering of the Universe.
Of course, there is always the possibility that you all get this letter and make it a point to meet one of your biggest and most passionate fans. I couldn’t see a way to get you here for her 40th, but am getting her there for our 25th. I look forward to seeing and celebrating with you all!
With immense regard and gratitude for your gift to the world,
Steve O’Rourke, St. Louis, MO