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Old 12-02-2002, 04:57 AM   #1
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a year ago today (thoughts after a tour) / updates at U2photos.com

Hi Everybody -

Three things and then I go lurk again for a while:

1. I've finally updated U2photos.com so that all of the Elevation tour photos are thumbnailed. This makes searching for a particular moment by browsing the show archives much easier and faster. If you still want all photos full size on one page, every thumbnails page has an option for that. I've not done it for the Popmart photos yet but will this week, and the 50 or so photos that had captions are for the moment captionless. But the bulk of the work is done. So if you've never had a fast connection for browsing the photos, now it's a little easier. Enjoy, and let me know if you find any problems.

(For those who don't know, http://www.U2photos.com has 2,000 original live U2 photos, about half from Elevation and half from Popmart, as well as wallpapers, photos of fans and related things. It's a free site.)

2. For those who have been wanting prints of my stuff, I'm doing art prints this week only, so here's your chance. I may extend the time limit, but after Wednesday, won't be able to promise delivery by Christmas. This is very likely the last time I'll offer the choice of any photo (it's a lot of work to track) and this is also likely the last time I'll offer 8x10's (my photo lab has made some changes and there aren't a lot of options where I live). I apologize for the moment of relative commercialism, but if I don't do this once or twice a year, I can't afford to keep the site online. (I refuse to have ads, or have a subscription. I think it works for news and community sites, but wouldn't fit on a photo site.) As a member of interference.com (online U2 fan communities are the very reason I built the site in the first place) if you enter the word "lemon" under the shopping cart and hit the button, you'll get substantial discounts. If you're a premium member, Elvis has a discount word for you that gets you REALLY heavy discounts, as much as $16 per (very large) photo.

3. Looking through the photos again while building the thumbnails, and with the end of tour anniversary upon us, I've been thinking a lot about how last year went and how I wish somehow, I was still there. I sent a version of this around last year; I reread it, decided I couldn't write something new that better said what I wanted to say, so here it is with just some minor updates, edits and additions. Thanks again everybody...



With planning time and other logistics, the tour was a
year of my life:

50,000 miles traveled
7,000 photos taken
111 days away from home
50 U2 concerts
50 nights I will never forget
an uncountable number of great new friends

Did I get ambitious out of boredom, or depression, or
simply to see if I could do it? Was it just because it
was there? Why do people climb mountains?

I didn't think about any of that before I hit the road. I
thought about the magic that breathes between the notes
of their music; I thought about the drug of twenty
thousand people in one place in tune to one dream. It
seemed easy: they bring the magic and the crowd; I
simply bring myself and a camera. Perhaps I could
capture fleeting instances of it to keep, to share.
I'm not all that good at anything else; perhaps I can
be good at this.

in dreams begin responsibilities

If the show I saw last December in Miami was the same
show I'd seen up the road in Fort Lauderdale back in March,
perhaps I'd not feel compelled to say anything else
other than: here are the pictures, enjoy. But in four
balls of fire and three clouds of dust, the perception
of the world by the world's people changed. The rock
show changed for me, became a ritual. The pattern
brought comfort; the pattern made sense when little
else did.

The singer's father died, and some of the singer's
songs found new life. This felt familiar: my father
died suddenly three years ago, and I still pretend it
was yesterday, and if I don't let go, maybe I can
change things back.

i want to turn a song
into a prayer
i want to turn a song
into you had to be there

Fifty nights I heard songs become prayer. The ritual
changed for me, became a church; not somewhere I'm used
to going. With repetition I eventually let go and let
that church carry me. As the songs found new life, I
found new life. I found I don't have to let go of
yesterday, and yet I can understand -- maybe even
accept -- that I can't change it back. It took me a
year to get it through my thick skull, but I think I
finally understand the image of a heart in a suitcase.

show your soul
show your heart and your soul

There were others on the physical trip as well;
sometimes with me, mostly just on a parallel journey.
Perhaps I was the only one so screwed up and to
everyone else it was about music and fun, and not some
desperate need for catharsis. I don't know. Whatever
we were thinking, after the final show, a large group
of us -- fans? travelers? pilgrims? -- were by four in
the morning sitting down by the water at South Beach,
trying to process where we'd been, what we'd done, and
that it was over.

Warm breezes said it's not December; winter is not
coming. Pure bright moonlight whispered, you are not
on earth; this is the light of another sun. Warmth in
the sand spoke through my skin: this is what should
always be but never is. The rock show became a
ritual; the ritual became a church; the church became a
shared dream. The dream is of the mind, of the spirit;
a laser off a CD, a signal caught by a radio, simply a
remembered lyric -- it can all take me back to that
moonlit beach, back to the dream. It can take us all
back, I hope. Maybe if enough of us live there, it
will become real.

I've never had much use for organized religions but I
read once that under the word religion is the Latin
religio, meaning to rebind. I'm sure to some I sound
like a nutcase, trying to justify running off to an
excessive number of shows when perhaps there's really
no excuse. But lives are changed all the time by far
smaller moments than the whirlwind of energy at a show
like this. The split second it took the car to shatter
my leg. The ring of the telephone telling me my
father's heart decided it had enough of all that
beating. The first moment you lock eyes with someone
you will love forever.

i'm wide awake
i'm not sleeping

We -- you, me, us -- took that dream to the rock
show; it was ours to begin with. While we can never go
back, it will never go away. I needed to be shown
that. I step back into the dream now, and remember
that my father took me and my broken leg to the Detroit
Popmart, and saw a moment of the dream with me.
Perhaps he's got his own beach somewhere now.
I have no memory of it but I imagine the breeze, the
moonlight, the warm sand feels like the first kiss from
your parents after you're born. Rebind, re-connect.
Be alive. This is what should always be...

A year later, it's still the place in my head that feels
like home. Thank you everybody, just for being there.

otto
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Old 12-02-2002, 08:30 AM   #2
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Otto, thank you again for all you do... and your thoughts are some of the most beautiful I've ever read
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Old 12-02-2002, 08:48 AM   #3
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Hi!

Thanks for those thoughts....amazing....just like your pictures!

Have a great holiday!
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Old 12-02-2002, 01:02 PM   #4
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wish I was a finamcial supporter- just wanted to say g'day and good luck and well don

e
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Old 12-02-2002, 04:18 PM   #5
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Excellent Site - Awesome Photos

Nice one Otto
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Old 12-02-2002, 07:23 PM   #6
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thanks otto!!
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