Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks U2

I have been a U2 fan for many years. In fact if they were to put a sound track of my life out U2 would feature prominently. On a holiday round the east coast two years ago, the family decided as we were going on a four to five hour car trip that we should play the U2 collection in order. Needless to say we sang most of our way round the beautiful East Cape landscape and on into Tauranga. When they had come to New Zealand before I had either been at the wrong end of the country, the wrong end of the balance of my bank account or... I was already booked for other things. So It was great this time round to be in the right city... have money to make going with my wife and oldest two kids a fathers day present.

Getting into Mt Smart stadium was an adventure in its self. Having decided (with half of everyone else) to take the free trains offered by the city council. Thanks by the way for the free transport... it did however show how limited Auckland public transport system was getting there. I was amazed however how well they managed getting everyone out again.

But the concert was great... Loved every minute of it. I couldn’t help but feel in a very surreal situation though. Here we were at a live show and I found myself drawn into the amazing 360 screen and watching a live show on screen! Go figure.

Tim Keel, whose course on Missional Church Leadership I audited this year, and who I count as a friend, and saw at the concert, had remarked that U2 had an amazing ability to connect with a vaste crowd and make you feel included. WE had been reading an executive summary of C. Otto Scharmer’s ‘Theory U; Leading from the future as it Emerges’, and it had mentioned violinist Miha Pogacnik talking about learning to play the macro violin. He had played a concert in the cathedral at Chartres and had to relearn how he played to suit the amazing acoustic environment he found himself in... He had to elarn to play the cathedral. U2 have learned to play the stadium. They have designed and engineered to do it (yeah the claw) they have worked at their stage craft and are able to create a sense of intimacy with 60,000 people.

So thanks U2 it was great to see you and hear you. My ears are still ringing this morning with a rather pleasant after buzz (if such a thing exists) but also thank you very much for the way in which you were wiling to catch and respond to the mood of the nation (New Zealand) in theb wake of this weeks Pike River Mining disaster, where 29 people lost their lives. It was appreciated. I had been working all that day on putting a memorial together for the Maclaurin Chapel on Friday, which included a PowerPoint of all the names of the miners. U2 didn’t try (like Jay-Z the opening act) to invite the audience for a moments silence Bono said that, “Each culture has a different way to mourn, for the Irish they sing” Then they sang ‘One tree Hill’. New Zealand is the only country where that song is obligatory for U2 to perform (we are the only country where it was released as a single and went to number 1). It is a song written in response to the death of Greg Carroll, Bono’s personal assistant and close friend and a Maori (the indigenous people of New Zealand). So it was great to have a song connected with grief and loss and this land in which to express the collective sense of loss we have all felt. AS the names of the 29 miners came up on the screen I thought... thanks U2 get it...It was healing.

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