Why The Paris Attacks Matter to U2 Fans

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Normally, I’d be sitting down about now to write my weekly U2101 article. Actually, scratch that – I would have already written it several hours ago, but somehow today I just can’t seem to find the motivation. It doesn’t seem right for me to act like nothing out of the ordinary happened this past week and churn something out like I would on any other Sunday, focusing on a particular song that U2 played during the last seven days. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the big news in U2 this past week, the big news in music, heck, the big news period, is that Paris, France was attacked by terrorists. At least one hundred twenty people were killed, and more than three hundred others were wounded. This relates to U2 because the band was in the city at the time of the attacks, planning a concert that was to be broadcast live on television. Now that show (and its broadcast) have been postponed until a time and date to be determined. Disappointing, sure, but with everything that’s happened it seems like a very small, petty concern.

 

This crisis is also relevant to U2 fans because it’s the exact kind of thing that the band has been writing songs, and touring, and singing, and campaigning about, and against, for the past thirty-five years or more. Songs from the early days, like “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, and “40”, and even modern pieces like “Raised By Wolves” are as needed today as they ever have been, if not more so. It would be easy to say “I don’t believe anymore”, but hopefully none of us find ourselves at that point today. Hopefully, we still have enough hope left in us to sing songs like “Peace on Earth”, as bitter as those songs might be. It’s interesting because the band members all grew up in a part of the planet that’s been victimized by terrorists more than a lot of the western world. Several of them have since made homes, at least part of the time, in France. I wonder if they thought they were leaving this ugly side of humanity behind when they arrived in France, and how much more songs like those I mentioned above will come alive for members of the band and audience alike when they are played at upcoming concerts. I expect that much like what happened in the aftermath of 9/11, many of us will find solace in the music of this Irish quartet. U2’s concerts will be places of catharsis and healing in the coming weeks and months.

 

Finally, this terrible tragedy is germane to U2 fans because all of us, every single one, is a member of the human race, and events like this affect us all. None of us, regardless of where we call home, is immune to terrorism. My only hope is that we can learn and grow from this and move beyond the need to sing songs that ask questions like “how long to sing this song”

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broadsword

Ever since I realized as a kid, while poring over the liner notes of the Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom boxed set, that writing about music was a viable career choice, one of my greatest desires has been to write about U2. The band has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute a little something to the fantastic online community that's been built around the band.