Maddie and I drove up to East Lansing to see U2 on Sunday and had a blast. Sarah and I saw them at Soldier Field in September ’09, which was amazing, but it was a unique delight to take my daughter to her first show. It was equally wonderful that she’s now driving so that I could kick back and enjoy the trip!
Among other things, I was struck by U2’s blend of being serious and unserious. I first saw them in 1987 during their super-pious phase. They took themselves way too seriously as they advocated for social justice from a holier-than-thou posture.
They threw all that away in the 1990’s and mocked what they had become, sending themselves up in a variety of ways. Interestingly, they also began concluding concerts in the late 90’s by thanking audiences for giving them a good life. Their self-awareness led to a sweet humility. They began to take themselves less seriously while still taking their music seriously.
Sunday night was no exception and this blend of taking rock music seriously but themselves not-too-seriously was so endearing. It welcomes others into the joy and ecstasy of great rock without putting people off with hyper-piety.