Stuck in a U2 Moment


I had another one of those moments this week – a moment when my U2 fandom shows just a little too much. It can be very isolating when everyone around you cannot for the life of them fathom the concept of seeing the same band multiple nights in a row, much less knowing facts about a band that are fairly common knowledge among its loyal fanbase. When I have one of these moments, it’s not normally because I was putting myself out there in an attempt to reveal what an impressively devoted U2 fan I am. Quite the opposite, actually, since I’m really not very open about it for fear of these moments happening. When the moment strikes, it’s usually because someone knows I’m a fan – after all, I lug around a custom U2 album cover purse a very talented friend made me (and it’s overdue for an SOI update) – but they may not be aware of just how big a fan I am. They may say something like, “You like U2, right? You know, I almost saw them play once in San Bernardino. I didn’t end up going because (insert dumb excuse here). ” I say, “Oh, you mean the US Festival? 1983?” And then they say something wildly inaccurate on 12 different levels – something like, “No, when they did that Joshua Tree tour in 1995. You know, they took that album cover photo up in Victorville.” Naturally I correct their embarrassing plethora of mistakes, as any self-respecting U2 fan living within an hour of both these destinations would. Then it happens; after a mere 30 seconds of my schooling, their face glazes over.

“How do you know all that?”

“I just…do.”


Why do I have such a hard time shaking these encounters off? It’s because of the guilt that results. Here’s the deal: In certain religious communities, our level of fan devotion is sometimes equated with idolatry. Yes, really! Some of my fellow protestant Christians – okay I’ll say it, some of my fellow Southern Baptists – are a bit out of touch when it comes to understanding the spirituality of U2’s music and message. A lot more out of touch than, say, Episcopalians and Catholics, both of whom popularized the U2charist church service. They’re also more out of touch with U2’s Christian roots than Presbyterians, or Methodists, or laid-back Calvary Chapel types, or pretty much any other denomination out there. Furthermore, they are blown away with surprise when they see evidence of said spirituality; in my experience, this usually comes in the form of them encountering Bono’s Gay Byrne interview on Facebook or some such place. If they’re truly enamored with it, they may post it and tag me with a status update like this: “Wow, @Brook! I had no idea Bono was such a godly man! Wowie ga-jowie, I am truly shocked and amazed.” Yes, and all that time you thought I was a fan of someone who just thought he was Jesus. See what I’m up against? If I were to start explaining the biblical references in the songs, what would come next? Another moment, with another glazed over look. “How do you know so many of their lyrics?” I can’t win. Do you ever have these moments? Please say it isn’t only me.

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U2 community builder, actualist, sometimes full of anger and grieving. Contact: IG @brookwf, X @U2radiobrook.

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