(05-29-2005) Can't Recover From Jersey 'Vertigo' -- Culpeper Star Exponent*

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ONE love, blood, life
Apr 17, 2002
Just keep me where the light is
Culpeper Life: Can't Recover From Jersey "Vertigo"

Allison Brophy Champion
Culpeper Star Exponent

It was destiny that I see U2 May 17 at the Continental Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. I tell everyone that Bono and I have a connection. Most people look at me like I’m nuts. “Does he know about this connection?” - I’ve been asked more than once.

Well, we do. When Bono sings, he’s speaking directly to me. I feel him dude - it’s the Irish, I think. Besides being a brilliant lyricist and vocalist, he’s very socially involved, like a modern day crusader for peace or a prophet with essential messages.

Okay, I know I have a problem. The first step to recovery, however, is admitting it. One thing, I don’t think I can soon recover from this “Vertigo” I’m feeling. Especially since my man sang the explosive song not once, but twice at the Tuesday night concert.

U2 and me (the awakening) all started back in college. I remember a friend telling me at an Ocean Blue concert in Richmond that Bono and U2 were her favorite rock musicians of all time. That got my attention. Around the same time, “Achtung Baby” blasted onto the scene and really it was my first taste of freedom. I’ve had this problem ever since. My three sisters and four brothers also have it pretty bad for U2, but some worse than others.

So when the fates decided to release (for me) one of the eight golden tickets purchased via computer by my littlest sister to the “Irish in Jersey” Vertigo ’05 extravaganza - Bono’s words, not mine - the music called. Not by coincidence, I just happened to be in Philadelphia the weekend before and was able to hop the train home to Rahway. Found out later that U2 was also there in the City of Brotherly Love for a charity concert that same weekend.
See what I mean about connections?

The full excitement of my third U2 concert didn’t hit me fully until I had settled in with my girls. Creative Jess created t-shirts and/or tank tops with ironed-on magazine photos of U2 for all of us. Littlest brother Ben didn’t care for his too much - the U2 image, first of all, was on the back of his shirt, unlike the rest and second, the picture depicted the four-man band shirtless, splashing around in the ocean, real Teen People like.

Just before we left for the concert, Ben reappeared out of nowhere with his modified U2-themed shirt - apparently a glued-on magazine photo of the band fashioned on the front in seconds, but more fitting to his masculine taste.

We six Brophy siblings (missing two brothers) and two brother’s girlfriends arrived early, around 4 p.m., in the parking lot at Continental - home to the Jersey Devils and Nets. The 20,000-seat Arena is part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, which includes Giants Stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack. New York City was visible just to the right where we set up for tailgating.

Directly adjoining our little pre-concert party was a pleasant 30-something guy with a grill and cooler; his car radio providing a sometimes too repetitive selection of U2 tunes. Concert venue not open until 7 p.m., some of us settled into champagne in plastic champagne glasses. We all dined on an elaborate spread of hummus, cheese, veggies, chips and salsa and other goodies. Little brothers swiftly consumed all the chocolate chip cookies.
U2 went on just before 9, launching into a 90-minute night I will not soon forget of political rock ’n’ roll - an earnest call to wake up America! Bono, dressed in black leather at first, seemed to have a heavy heart, heavy burdens on his mind.

“Sad about something,” said sister Mary later.

U2 went on to impeccably perform 24 songs, old and new - introspective sad songs, songs about love. My favorite Tuesday night selections included “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” from their 2004 album, “Running To Stand Still” from The Joshua Tree - dedicated to the troops - and all the many songs from “Achtung Baby” like “Mysterious Ways” and “Zoo Station.” It was a return to the 90s, but even the old songs sounded new - the message more urgent, considering the times.

The multimedia show above, around and behind them was bright and awakening with non-subliminal messages about human rights for all people, starvation and AIDS in Africa, death and peace in the Middle East. At one point, Bono plucked a young girl from the audience for a stroll around the neon-edged oval stage.

At another point, Bono donned a white headband marked with the names of the three major religions - Jews, Christians, Muslims. All sons of Abraham, he pointed out, yet so far from unity. Then he placed the headband over his eyes, blinded by today’s religious tensions, begging for an end to it.

“A busload of faith,” he said - that’s what it takes to get by in life. The concert experience left me feeling energized about trying to make some kind of difference with my little life. Without mobilization, I thought to myself, life is futile. Okay, so now I’ve even more obsessed with Bono. From this awareness, I don’t ever want to recover.
What a grand story!

When I attened two Chicago shows, I felt both were great, but neither quite touched my soul. This isn't too unusual - just like U2's albums, sometimes it takes a few listenings to enjoy the words, the music, the message. And indeed, that's what happened for me on Boston 2 (May 26th). My friend and I had GA's, but were unable to arrive early. So we didn't have some magical spot on the floor, we weren't even close to the stage. But the music,the set-list, the crowd, the performances, Bono's voice - all perfect! Of the boots I've heard and of the set-lists I've seen, I think Boston 2 was arguably the best. And as a result, days later I'm still thinking about this concert. It has left me inspired. These tickets were from eBay at a very high price - but worth every cent (IMO).

Funny how a concert can be so motivating... :)
twas a great story. Yeah U2's last album hasnt really touched my soul (with the exception of sometimes you can't make it on your own- it's beautiful). It's too contrived. But 'All that you can't leave behind' and 'Achtung Baby' really did, to the core, great musicians!
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