Sunday, June 1, 2008


I took Steve out for his 41st birthday last night. Our first date night in months!

We wandered along Lygon Street, Carlton, accosted by every spruiker outside every restaurant (BTW if your church is training their welcome team, take them for a walk along Lygon Street on a Saturday evening, and encourage them to copy the spruikers!). We had dinner in an unpretentious curry house, to suit Steve's unpretentious personality.

Then on to Imax to see U23D, the 3D cinematic version of the U2 Vertigo tour. What a buzz! Exuberant, energetic, and exhilerating, it made me nostalgic for my uni years, whose soundtrack was The Joshua Tree.

Slightly bizarre, too, watching simultaneously from an arena full of screaming, dancing Argentinians, and an uptight, button-lipped cinema full of Elton John lookalikes in over-sized plastic 3D glasses.

U23D puts you right in the heart of the action, unavoidably aware of the sweat on Bono's neck and the furrows on Larry Mullen Jr's brow (which definitely weren't there when I was at uni). At one point I could have reached up and touched Bono's virtual hand (I didn't, of course, being one of an audience of middle-aged Melbournians).

I loved it. But I also found it slightly disturbing. And not just for the apparent universalism of the coexist headband and mantra "Jesus, Jew, Mohammed is true." (Or was it simply a call for peace: "Jesus, Jew, Mohammed - it's true, all sons of Abraham?" Search me! Certainly I think most people would assume Bono was saying all religions are the same.)

What really bothered me, oddly enough, was that the concert was strangely reminiscent of heaven: thousands upon thousands of people filled with ecstatic joy, raising their arms, and (literally) prostrating themselves before their rock gods. It reminded me that people are naturally fitted for worship. It made me wonder how a man receives such overwhelming adulation yet remains aware that he is only a man.

And it left me with an important question: will there be moshing in heaven?


Jen said...

This is some stuff Bono said in an interview in 2004:

Bono: At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth...But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge...I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiousity....The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.

At this point the Interviewer says: “Great idea...Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that farfetched?

Bono: No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammed, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off the hook. Christ says: “No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I am God incarnate.” And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet we can take...But don’t mention the ‘M’ word! And he goes: No...I am the Messiah...So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was - the Messiah - or a complete nutcase.. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson....When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s*** and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question...Who is this man? And there it is , and that’s the question.

Yes I think Bono makes some foolish decisions in the way he projects his image, but I think he might be a brother.

Jean said...

Hi Jen! Good to know, thanks. And I hope you're right about him being a brother! Then I can mosh right alongside him in heaven.

Miranda Starkey said...

We watched a video interview of Bono at our church camp this weekend. He did say some good things but I was struck by how bizarre it was that people seemed to be pretty much worshipping him at the concert snippets they showed. It looked like an almost spiritual experience, and he's just an ordinary bloke who happens to be able to sing OK!


Alexandra P said...

We went to see U23D tonight, too - it was awesome - yes, Larry is looking a bit old! I hadn't relaised the bandana read 'coexist' until I saw it tonight, despite having seen it in other concerts (on DVD). A pretty amazing experience all up... and the religion thing - don't know what to think - I have a feeling he means we're all Abraham's sons and so should stop shooting each other, but if he thinks it's deeper than that I can't tell.

At any rate, such awesome music!

Emma P said...

I'm just wondering when they're going to bring out "Wham3D". Now that would be something!!

Emma P said...

I hope you know I was joking!!

Rachael said...

and how would you describe how a sydney-sider looks?

Jean said...

I'll let a Sydney-sider answer that!!