If you had told me a week ago,
 that I would get to experience a moment of intense and profound joy,
 and that the catalyst for that moment would be one man's love for God,
 in the middle of a basketball game, for Koresh's sake,
 I would've given you a quick ha ha and then moved on to a sane person.

 The moment was halftime at last night's NBA game.
 NBC went live to Boston to catch a couple of U2 songs.

 I saved the last ounce of my Wildflowers Chinaco Anejo for a special occasion.
 I had no idea how special this occasion would be - how could anyone know?
 ...and in a starnge twist of fate, Mrs. BartCop had the oven on last night.
 (Don't ask why she'd have the oven on, ...in Oklahoma, ...in June.
  She must be made happy.)

 But the exhaust from the oven vents at the top - near the kitchen counter
 where the sacred tabernacle of Agave Sacramenta was.
 The result?
 Warm Wildflowers Chinaco Anejo!
 How does life keep getting better?

 So I'm starting the first sips of my last ounce of God's finest...

 I told Mrs. BartCop that I wished they'd do "Till the End of the World,"
 which is probably the best hard rock song they've ever done.
 But I wasn't using my head.

 This was U2,

 ...the biggest Irish Catholic band in the world,
 ...playing heavily Catholic Boston - the home office of the Irish immigrants.
 I wasn't using my head.

 The first time we saw U2 was in Tempe, Arizona in 1987.
 We were in Las Vegas, ready to drive home, when Mrs. BartCop said,
 "Maybe we should go to Tempe and see if we can get U2 tickets."
 I knew who U2 was in early 1987, but I didn't know who U2 was.
 But Mrs. BartCop is psychic, and she gets what she wants, so we drove to Tempe,
 bought tickets at a Dillards Departments store, and got ready for a show
 that we didn't know would change our lives.

 Joshua Tree had only been out a few days.
 Tempe was one of their first gigs in 1987, which was the year U2 exploded.
 They were on the cover of TIME magazine, and this was before TIME turned whore.

 Why do I bring this up?
 Bono's voice was completely gone.
 He could almost speak, but he couldn't sing - not a lick.
 This was the start of the tour that put them on the map, too.
 The crowd was full of media weasels, and here's the star with no voice.
 (The review of this concert was in the TIME Magazine with U2 on the cover.)

 For any other band in the world this would've been a total disaster.
 But there was so much, ...dare I use the word (dare! dare!)  ...love  in the room.
 The crowd, thru means I can't describe, sent a message to Bono that "It was OK,"
 and the goddamn crowd sang the vocal parts to every song the entire show,
 even the songs that were being played live for the first time that night.

 Bono tried to sing, but he'd falter, time and again, and the crowd would take over.
 By his facial expressions, we could tell he was in pain and also embarrassed
 that he couldn't deliver what the crowd had paid to see.

 U2 turned a disaster into some meaningful ...shared ...bonding thing.
 It was more than just good music - it was religious, it was spiritual.
 That evening pretty much made me a hueueueuge U2 fan for life,
 and they were even better when their front man had a voice!

 Back to the basketball halftime...

 So even if you didn't see the show last night,
 you might be able to guess which song they did for Boston

 Where the Streets Have No Name
 The Edge played those great, echoing-chime riffs to start the song.

  Historical Sidebar:
 In 1845, the most severe potato blight in Irish history struck Ireland's potato crops.  This monumental crop failure triggered
 a massive decline in the population of Ireland,  and caused hundreds of thousands of people to emigrate to America.
 If not for the potato famine, many of the Irish families who came to America would have never come over in the first place,
 and there would be far fewer Irish Americans.  The social, economical and historical effects of the Famine were devastating,
 but helped The Irish strengthen and grow as a people.

 I'm sure there's some great parallel about the Irish people and U2 both having
 to come to America to start a new life and find work and build their fortune.
 ...and many of them were represented by the heavily Irish Catholic Boston crowd.

 The room was dark, except for the exploding lights behind Bono.

Probably the biggest U2 audience since 1985's Live Aid,  ...and Bono came out praying.

"What can I give back to God
  For the blessings he's poured out on me?
  I'll lift high the cup of salvation ...a toast to our Father

  I'll pray in the name of God, to follow Him.
  I'll complete what I promised God I'll do,
  and I'll do it together ...with his people."

It was like Deion scoring a touchdown after an interception,
When you have that BIG moment, and you share it with God.
Bono was praising and thanking God, basking in that warm and safe religious cocoon.
By this time I was all goosebumbs and chills, but things were just starting.

Then, as the opening of the song continued to build with intensity,
 ...higher, ...harder, ...faster, ...Bono let's out an emotional, sexually-charged,
four-part howl, a rallying cry for the audience to join him in his thanks to God.

  Bono howling his personal prayer to God.

It was as if Bono was using a Star Trek deflector dish to take the love and adoration
the room was offering them and forwarding it to God as a sign of respect and thanks.

Just to rile the crowd up more, just to ratchet the energy up to a still-higher plane,
Bono starts running on the ramp of the giant heart that connects the stage and the crowd.

The crowd went ape-shit.

Bono is the Master of Drama.
I can't even tell you who his runner-up might be.
I've never seen anyone take a single moment and do so much with it.

And crowds at U2 shows aren't like other crowds. They come with such high
spiritual expectations, and the band does not disappoint, not even in Tempe..

They did a spectacular version of Streets, the crowd came several times,
then NBC went to a commercial.

Whoa! a chance to catch a breath.

They came back and did a great version of Elevation, which was described in
great detail when they did it on Saturday Night Live a few months ago.

When they finished Elevation, Ahmad Rashad came on to say they'd be back
after the came for "more," which probably meant an interview, but the game
went to overtime and they just didn't have the time, I suppose.

So, if you missed it, you missed it.
I know everyone doesn't share my excitement for U2, and that's sad.
Watching a great band hit a home run makes me feel younger.
There are so few bands these days that can deliver the goods.

There was no Britney or Justin there last night.
There was no Shaggy and no teased and spiked hair soiled with Dippity-Do.
There were no brainless, three-men-on-a-stick backup dancers doing idiotic, military march-moves
while the airhead, half-dressed slut rolled around and showed off her breasts.
They had no pointless light show (lasers, upside-down drum kits, bass players vomiting blood etc.)
only the light-and dark contrasts for the sake of the dramatic presentation that totally rocked.

It was four men a with a message, and the message was all good.

Later in the performance, as if to remind us that rock doesn't have to be so serious all the time,
Bono thanked the NBA, and kicked a basketball into the crowd.

Sorry about all the sidebars - when I get excited there are so many stories to tell.
The second time we saw U2 was in St Louis on October 25, 1987. at the Arena.
where the St Louis Blues played, and where we saw Zeppelin for the first time.
There's a fun story there, too, that's half-written.

But the second time we saw U2, they were no longer challengers.
They were, no doubt, the hottest band in the world by late 1987.
They had also re-worked the order of songs, putting the incredible
Bullet the Blue Sky at the end of the show instead of playing it third.
Hell, I could've told them that back in April in Tempe.
That classic anti-Reagan song was the hottest song on The Joshua Tree.

To add to the excitement, the St Louis Cardinals were in the World Series.
Before the band came onstage, we could see the rich, Republican weasels
in their private luxury boxes, watching the Cardinals on TV while waiting
for Bono and the boys to hit the stage.

The lights went down, the band came onstage and started playing but there was no Bono.
Everyone was on their toes, trying to find Bono.
Suddenly, he ran onstage wearing a Cardinals jacket!

If you know anything about St Louis, you know they live & breathe Cardinal baseball.
Bono knew, too, and the crowd loved it.

<BartCop takes big breath...>

By the way, if you have that cable or DSL hook-up,
Click  Here to see a very rare BartCop MPG movie of the exciting howl Bono offered up to His God
in one of the most genuine, sincere expression of religious faith I've ever seen.
(This 13 meg minute is a lot more exciting than the audio or the stills)

Last night didn't do anything to change the reality there's not an invisible spirit in the clouds
who wants us to worship Him or damn us to an eternity of pain and fire, but I'll say I have
a newfound respect for the people who sincerely believe in a higher power.

Oddly enough, Bono and the vulgar Pigboy have something in common:
They each have $100,00,000 in the bank, and could never, ever spend it all.
But one is using his money and power to divide and destroy with untrue obscenities,
and the other offers a message of hope, love, togetherness and spirituality.

So, join me in a shot of Wildflowers Chinaco Anejo to Bono and His God.

 back to where you were before


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