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I’ve always said that U2 was my first favourite band of all time, and that held true for a very very long time. Everything they created was gold, and it’s because of them, rock ‘n roll became a part of me. I had a carefully curated 22-track mixtape of my favourite U2 songs, which I listened to on repeat for all of high school. I once ran into Bono on the street, and nearly fainted. I quoted them in my high school yearbook. The first song I ever learned on guitar was “One.” That’s how huge they were in my life.

 

However, as of late, I’ve also said, with the exception of a couple of tracks, everything they did after 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind was forgettable; painful even. They’d lost their musical focus, and tried to impress with showmanship instead of musicianship (360 stage, anyone?) I wanted to keep loving them, but they’d evolved into something I couldn’t admire anymore – they’d lost their way and I longed for who they were, not who they’d become. I felt cheated, and foolish.

 

When I saw them live back in 2015 for the Innocence + Experience Tour, I announced with certainty (as I had a few times before,) that I refused to witness another subpar performance. I was done with them for good. How much can a person take? When they announced their Joshua Tree Anniversary Tour, I stood strong. I didn’t sign up for the presale. I didn’t even want to check availability on Ticketmaster or StubHub. I had given them enough chances over the years, and they continued to fall short. I stood by my decision for months and months, never wavering.

 

But as fate would have it, the day of the show, a ticket came my way. So there we sat in our over-priced seats at the SkyDome, on a ridiculously humid summer evening, with full knowledge that the acoustics weren’t going to be great in such a large venue. Our seats, like most, were far from the action. After way too much waiting/sweating, Larry Mullen Jr. strut across the stage, straight towards his drums. In one simple flick of the wrist, I recognized “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Suffice it to say, they had me at “hello.”

 

They continued to sweep me off my feet with the nostalgia, before segueing into performing the entire Joshua Tree album, start to finish, in the same order as they appeared on the album. I know this, because that’s how I used to listen to the album (clearly before becoming aware of the “Shuffle” feature.) I’d always play tracks 1-3, skip 4, then play 5-7, skip 8-11, then start back at 1.

 

As much as I resisted, I fell for them all over again. They weren’t being theatricalor overdramatic – more their old selves. The screen behind them mostly featured nature scenes as backdrops to their tracks. Was it their best show? No. Some of the performances lacked some umph, and there were definitely too many prolonged lulls. But they reminded me why I – and everyone else – loved them so much all those years ago; they reminded us what U2 was all about, something I thought they’d forgotten.

 

No matter how much your first love changes over time, no matter what directions you go in life, what keeps drawing you back isn’t the person themselves, but the memories that went with them. This show brought back a lot of memories, and I’m glad I got see them live. But I swear: this time was really the last time.

 

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Fresh Start

Posted: April 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Spring always signifies the dawn of new beginnings, an attempt to move forward, the season of blooming. Here are a few shiny new(ish) tunes to brighten your minds, as you venture out of the old, and into the new.

“White Flag” by Joseph

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, this trio of sisters hit the charts with this single back in late 2016. Off their sophmore album I’m Alone, No You’re Not, this track is guaranteed to make you fearless and never willing to surrender.

 

“Human” – Rag’n’Bone Man

UK’s Rag’n’Bone Man – aka Rory Graham – will prove to you you should never judge a book by its cover. The debut track off his 2017 debut album, Human, shows he’s got the kind of vocal chops that are, real, raw, and slathered in emotion. Also: it’s a great “I’m over you” track.

 

“All the Pretty Girls” by Kaleo

These Icelandic rock musicians channel their inner Bon Iver, with this soft, sweet song. It shows off their incredible versatility as artists, as it’s in a completely different direction than other tracks on 2016’s A/B. Here’s to trying new things, and completely pulling them off.

 

“Love” by Lana Del Rey

Indie songstress is back with the first single off her 5th studio album, Lust for Life, slated for release later this year. It’s a classic Del Rey track: a little moody, a little heavy, a little nostalgic, and whole lot of love, hope and beauty.

 

“Knocking at the Door” by Arkells

This track from this Hamilton-based group serves only one purpose: get you all riled up and ready to face anything and everything life throws your way. So bring it.

(Also: note all the Toronto footage.)