Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bono-fide obsession

That's what the Arizona Republic titled this chronicle of staff-writer Megan Finnerty's obsession to dance with Bono. It's essentially an extended journal entry detailing her efforts to secure tickets on the floor for U2's shows at the Glendale Arena last week. It is whimsical, humorous and illuminating all at once.

Bono has never struck me as a typical rock-icon. While he exhibits all the tell-tale traits of a rock-star, he is in other ways very much enigmatic. A rock-icon, yes, but also a deeply impassioned Christian activist and even considered as a possible candidate for head of the World Bank. He's no empty-headed front man, rather a deep man with many elements to his persona. Seeing Finnerty treat him like just-another-famous-singer-to-obsess-over is a guilty pleasure.

Her "diary" is whimsical in the way she describes the sense of nostalgia that drives her obsession; humorous in the way she details each and every step along the way as if recording all the details of a first-date to share with herself over-and-over again; finally, illuminating in the way it describes the Bono-junkies that follow the band everywhere.

Finnerty's love affair with the band starts about the time they fell off my radar. Achtung Baby and Zooropa moved the band in a direction that no longer interested me, so while I purchased and listened to Achtung for a while, I've not bought a U2 album since. And have lost no sleep over it. To see her describe the way those albums grabbed her attention and have never let go, whisked me back to high-school myself. Except in my version, it's the video for New Year's Day in "Hot" rotation on MTV...Edge's blistering guitar work still rings in my ears over 20 years later.

Her detailed time-line takes us from joining the fan club to standing outside Glendale arena, not once but twice for both Phoenix shows. A taste:

Burned in the presale, my last chance for the pit is now the general sale, when everybody mobs ticket sites on the Internet and at malls all over the Valley. Surprisingly, I don't have a computer at home.

So on Saturday, I'm in the office for my last chance at Bono. Desperate times, desperate measures. Even before the sale begins, I click frantically on the "find tickets" link on indifferent Ticketmaster's site. After 30 minutes, I still have a 15-minute wait. I'm nauseous thinking about some tacky girl getting my pit tickets.

Suddenly, a new screen pops up, a second show added. I click desperately. In seconds, the newly benevolent Ticketmaster offers me two pit tickets and three minutes to fill out the purchase forms.

Three minutes becomes three seconds. My fingers tremble. I can't swallow. Name. Address. Head pounding. Credit card number. Click, click, click, Enter.I make it. Two tickets. I shriek, grab my cell and call Emily.

It's only after hanging up that I face the math.Fan club registration: $40; first-night seat: $112; second-night pit ticket: $63. Half a week's pay for a chance to touch Bono. I think about selling the first night's seats on eBay. I hear they're going for more than $300 each.


With U2 tickets tucked safely in my desk, there is much to do. Dressing each morning, I play all my U2 CDs so I can scream along at the shows.

I plan outfits. A fashion writer; it's what I do. But dressing for Bono is paralyzing. I change my mind. Plan again. When Bono reaches out, I need to look delicious.

"When Bono reaches out, I need to look delicious." This is the same guy who moves politicians to act when he speaks about AIDS in Africa, so I struggle to see him as an object of pop-mania. But then again this is Finnerty's obsession and not mine. And as the story of it is told to completion, it is full of even more mirth, especially in it's description of the Bono-groupies.

Ultimately we find ourselves in the pit wondering along with Megan and her obsessive-twin Emily who Bono will dance with before the show ends. In all honesty, by the time I'd wound through this little journey from where it started with signing up for the fan club in January to the pit on Friday night, April 18th 2005, I was truly hoping she gets her wish! But far be it from me to spoil the end, if you want to know who dances with who you can read it for yourself. It's a ride worth taking.


Simian Logician said...

Glendale has an arena? Damn. Things have changed out there. When I was in school in Glendale, there was nothing to do but take the long, depressing drive down 17, across 10 and down to Tempe. Or maybe the hour-long drive across Bell Road to Scottsdale.


Paul Hogue said...

Keep up. It's the 21st century!

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