U2 announced this week their 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree Tour. And I thought…cool, I hope I can get tickets. Then I thought…”FUCK ME, 30 YEARS?”
In March of 1987 I was 14. And had JUST made Freshman Cheerleader. My Dad often took me with him to Bill’s Record Shop in Carrollton, Texas to get new albums. But for this particular release we got the tape. Fancy. I’d heard of U2 for sure. On our slightly illegal, diced into the neighbors cable, MTV cable channel. I would stay up late and watch music videos. Back when they just played music videos.
So he popped the tape in when we got home and that’s the first I heard Joshua Tree in it’s entirety. Now…when it came to albums we always had the lyrics to look at. You know- that giant folded poster contraption thing that the record company put inside the sleeve of the album covers. We’d unfold them, lay them out on the floor and read the lyrics. Pre internet days this was the exact invention that convinced me that Paul McCartney was actually saying “Band On The Run” instead of “Stand on the Rug”. Yes…my parents had to prove to me that he was not saying “stand on the rug”. I would not believe them to this day had I not had access to the lyrics.
But a cassette tape was an entirely different story. No lyrics usually. Just a little cardboard fold thing with credits in it. So we had to actually sit, listen, and agree on what the lyrics said. And man. He LOVED that tape. I did too. I stole it a few times the following year when I got a car and would play it full blast in my Chevy Cavalier Z24. Then when he’d ask if I’d seen it Id say no. Run to my car when he wasn’t looking. And sneak it back into the tape holder in the house. Pretty sure he knew. Pretty sure he was happy I’d mixed in some music he “approved” of with my N.W.A. and 2 Live Crew stuff.
So the announcement that its been THIRTY years since that album was released has had me reminiscing about the songs, the time, my old house, my friends, my Dad. And what it was like to grow up then. With a parent who loved music and taught me to as well.
If you forced me to pick a favorite song from that album Im not sure I could. Im just not. With or Without You is beautiful. Haunting. And I think I took from it more than it intended. Bullet The Blue Sky was so political and I had just begun to understand what that meant. I thought it was a beautifully sad song. Still do. I think my Dad’s favorite was Running To Stand Still. In fact as soon as I saw this 30 year anniversary thing, thats the first song I googled to listen to. I know it was written about some heroin addicts and some pretty bad shit. But I took from it that sometimes in life, when you feel stagnant or lost or like your swimming against the current and you can’t get ahead that “running to stand still” describes that pretty well. Its pretty cool we all have our own interpretations of songs.
But I suppose if Im FORCED to pick it would be the most popular song on the album. Seems like such an obvious pick but its not. “I Still Haven’t Found What Im Looking For” undoubtedly has Christian roots. Bono has always been vocal about his relationship with God and the search for that. And I can relate. And in general terms it means to me that life truly is all about the journey. Never the destination. NEVER. I wrote about climbing Pikes Peak last year and that maybe I was searching for something on a mountain. When in the end it was more about what I LEFT on the mountain.
I think if we FIND everything, then what’s the point? The fun is in the search. In the journey, in the travel, in the meeting of all of the different wonderful people that come in and out of your life. The things you lose and the things you gain and the things you’ll never forget. Funny….when I first heard it at the age of 14 I had no idea how much the lyric “I have climbed highest mountains” would mean to me someday.
They are scheduled to play in Dallas in May. No Denver date set yet. But Im gonna do what I gotta do to make it happen. All part of the journey….

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