Tomorrow is May Day (May 1st), and for most, the beginning of spring, where the heart is a bloom, and shoots up through the stony ground beneath her feet. Mayday is also an international distress signal used by maritimers for troubles at sea, like a Drowning Man or in this case, 4 drowning men. The SS Titanic, another Irish export that began its journey at roughly the same time that U2 began, has had less distress signals sent on its behalf than U2. Dodging icebergs, a lack of life boats & Leonardo Dicaprio’s top of the world speech were nothing compared to the obstacles U2 has had to avoid the last month or so. Like the Titanic, U2 departed Ireland with high hopes & has successfully stayed afloat all these years and now they seem to be looking for a life preserver while taking on water. Physically, U2 is no longer in ship-shape. Larry looks like he may keel over in Seconds due to back pain. Their captain, Paul McGuiness, has abandoned ship with no regard for the “women, children & U2 fans first” sign, and his replacement seems to be like a man overboard, drifting aimlessly towards no line on the horizon. The tsunami of excitement that swelled when producer Flood surfed in has subsided to nothing more than a wave of sorrow. It was just over a decade ago that U2 were sailing along on top of the music world, seeing the tuna fleets clearing the sea out. Now, they appear to be nothing more than chum-bait for the sharks posing as music critics and fair weathered fans.
Sitting at the bottom of The Ocean is the wreckage of the Titanic, memorialized forever, but no longer useful. Has U2’s ship sunk to these same depths of despair? Will the current of change provide U2’s fan base more waves of regret than waves of joy in the future? Is the blind leading the Blondie, “The tide is high, but I’m holding on,” while we await any news with our ears out the port hole & our thumbs up our poop deck? The S.O.S. (Save our souls) signal that U2 fans have been sending out for decades seems to be nothing more than a fading flare amidst the passing of a great musical journey. I, however, refuse to be waiting in dry dock for this ship to sail home and get scrapped for parts. The U2 I know and grew up with would have all hands on deck, fighting all the way to their watery graves. The distress signal is still beeping, faint though it may be, and U2 is still afloat. Ready “oar” nautical, I’m sending out the search party & calling in the coast guard. Get your binoculars ready, mates. I see something on the horizon and it’s not Moby. (Remember him?)