My wife and I wanted to do something special to mark our older daughter’s sixteenth birthday. Sunday afternoon, it became glaringly obvious that taking her to the U2 concert at Soldier Field would definitely qualify as something special, and after a quick trip to Stub Hub, we scored four tickets to the show.
Reasonable people may ask what we hoped to accomplish taking not just one but both our young daughters (we do things as a family so Zoe’s nine year old sister came too) to a rock concert, on a school night no less. Aside from some lessons we weren’t looking to teach either of them (“Smell that? That’s marijuana smoke and we better never smell that on you.” “See them? They’re tripping on ecstasy–notice how stupid they look.”), the lesson that was declared with rib-thumping, giga-watt intensity was the transcendant power of imagination and possibility…
How could four guys from Dublin evolve from a high school cover band to an international cultural phenomenon that transformed both music and activism on the global stage? How could their pure love of music lead them to create an 80 ton ‘spaceship’ for a stage, an eye-popping behemoth Bono jokingly referred to as “…the latest in a long line of U2 collectibles.” How can music unite 65,000 strangers into one arm pumping, head bobbing, grin wearing mass?
All of this happens from ideas, from imaginations running loose to explore new possibilities. And more than anything else, I hope Zoe takes that as her gift. She’s a sweet, thoughtful kid whose remarkable imagination first impressed me back in the first grade. She crayoned a drawing of clouds, each in a different pattern of stripes or polka dots and the rain she sketched falling from those clouds fell in stripes and polka dots as well. It was a marvelous bit of whimsical fancy she tossed off without thinking, without consideration, something bubbling up pure and sparkling from an unfiltered muse. Knowing all of the obstacles that rise up and conspire to stifle that free-thinking spirit, particularly during the often casual brutality of the high school years, I hope and pray she takes last night’s lessons to her latent artist’s heart. And never stops dreaming.
Maybe that’s a Disney movie sentiment, but hey–it came with an awesome sound track.