So, my wife and I were given a pair of tickets to see U2 at Cardiff Millennium Stadium last Saturday. Phrases like awesome and breathtaking are used all the time, especially by me (!), but this was breathtaking and on a scale that was hard to take in at times.
The stadium itself was fantastic. You can’t really see it until you are at it’s gates and if you look up it seems to have been wedged in between office buildings. Our seats were dead centre at the top of the stands and I couldn’t have been more pleased with them. The view of the packed stadium as well as the stage was just great. I say we were central, the band did face our direction generally but they played in the round and the stage allowed for a 360° view.
I was going to add pics of the stage but none of mine came out well, dumb phone. I highly recommend a quick google image search to check it out if you can. It was so impressive that whenever it did something, like drop down or expand, you could hear the entire crowd say ‘Wow’ over the music. The screens meant wherever in the stadium you were, you were fully part of it and clearly a massive amount of thought and design had gone into it.
The thing that has stayed with me the most was how spiritual the gig was. Any fan of U2 would know they started as a worship band and their faith, and struggles with faith, aren’t hidden in their lyrics. However, they are written in a way that people connect with them, whether they believe in God or not. They aren’t cheesy, corny lyrics, neither are they some thinly veiled attempt to evangelise and preach.
My wife said to me at one point, ‘It’s like Bono is doing it for us, for all of us’. And I think I know what she meant.
It was like Bono was singing words that made it ok for people to feel what it is like to worship, praise, have that ‘feeling’ that believers talk of, connect with each other and something more – but it was safe, non-threatening and fun. The lyrics speak to something inside and people get it. I know this all sounds a bit over the top – but that is how it felt.
I was in a band when I was younger and looking back, I wish we’d just played for the heck of it. I say we, it was me who pushed the most for us to be a band that ‘reached the lost’, (and I’d never say that now by the way). The pressure to not only write and play well, but also to have a spiritual impact took all the fun out of writing and performing for me.
Two of the lads in the band went on to another, better, band and they did it right; the band wrote great songs and had fun. The lyrics had religious themes running through them, the band are all Christians, but they weren’t overt and people loved them.
This is kind of where I’m at today. There was a time when I wanted to ”be on fire for God” and everything was about saving souls and evangelising. Now, I just want to be me and enjoy life, enjoy my family and friends and enjoy my work. Running through all of that is God and my faith but it’s not so overt any more and funnily enough, the only people who don’t find that acceptable are the overt Christians! 🙂
And just to wrap this up just like a terrible preacher would, (as though I’d planned what to write), it just hit me that my life is viewed in 360 degrees. Stay with me here, stay with me..!
I have a wife, a daughter, a ‘church’of sorts, friends and colleagues… different people have different views of me depending on how they are related to me – I’m a husband, dad, colleague, mate etc. I’m much happier being me and not having to project that I’m alright all the time because I’m trying to use my life as a demonstration of a best case scenario of Christianity. Life’s not always great for anybody, Christian or not, so what’s the point in pretending it is?And I’m not always a nice person, and I don’t always believe in God. If I try to show my colleagues that I have everything together, my wife will see that I’m lying! It’s easier to know everyone in the stadium is going to see me and just enjoy myself.
Anyway, I’ll stop there! I was only going to say how great U2 were and what a lovely time I had with Lisa.
A huge, huge thank you to our friends who gave us the tickets – you know who you are.