Climbing the highest mountain


Very few things in life make me feel 18 years old anymore but seeing or hearing this is one of them. This elicits memories of many long nights of burning a hole through this CD in its entirety from the minute it arrived in the spring of 1987 at my house on Kane Street. The MTV video for “With Or Without You” quickly captivated an audience that was waiting for the biggest band in the world to hatch its masterpiece.

I traversed the planet over the past few years watching the four lads from Ireland give this a 21st century live reading. And much like every album during this May of #MusicalNes and #AlmostFamous memories, it’s more about the songs that weren’t the hits that move me three decades later.

I love “Red Hill Mining Town” and “One Tree Hill.” I think “Exit” is such a sublime live song that I feel the bass of Adam Clayton thumping in my heart just thinking about it.

But this is the one piece of musical art that elicits memories of my youth, my departed friend Doug Bennett, the nights of driving to Hampton Roads with Richard Abrahams and the Meadowlands with Michele Jackman Anthonyn to see this band hold an arena captured with passion, energy and the possibility of youth and the power of music to heal your soul.

And maybe even change the world – one at a time.

I have seen U2 perform on four continents. The Sao Paolo show in 2006 was incredibly memorable for Jennifer Ford Aparicio and I with 150,000 people singing every word. Paris in the rain, Dublin in the warmth of a home field advantage and several pints of Guinness in 2017 with Mike Collins and Victoria Collins. And last winter in Tokyo and Seoul with Julio Bermejo, singing these songs, in order, under the backdrop of beautiful imagery that brought these incredible songs to life again.

She is liberty and she comes to rescue me.

I turned down a chance to interview Bono in December 1984 at the beginning of “The Unforgettable Fire” tour when they played D.A.R. Constitution Hall in D.C. Instead, I interviewed Cy Curnin and went to see The Fixx at the Towson Center on that same snowy night.

And 36 years later, the closest I’ve ever come to Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullin Jr. and Clayton has been with them on a stage and me in a seat. And sometimes I have had some very good seats with Barry Aparicio in Philadelphia. And sometimes I’ve skipped entire tours because I think some of their music over the years chased me away for stretches. I still have that lousy free album on my Apple that I’ve never listen to five years later!

Memories of beers and tears and cheers and people and food and concerts with U2 would be its own list. I am grateful for every night under the blood red sky with these guys over the years. Dallas with John Keller and Jackie Keller. Madison Square Garden with Suzette Pretty. I did a solo mission to Vancouver and Seattle three years ago to start The Joshua Tree tour that was epic as well.

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for but every time I hear the opening drums and the fighter planes of “Bullet The Blue Sky,” I wanna reach out and touch the flame and run like a river. Just like that angel or devil and the burning desire in my 18-year old self –bleeding into one.

We’re all still looking for those healing hands of love.