Father’s Day

August 2001…first time I visited London.

Phenomenal city, vibrant, infused with an infectious passion. Whole time I was there, Sunshine. Got to hang out with some pretty Spanish exchange students who thought I was also Spanish…an assumption I failed to correct.

During my time in London I had two profound concert experiences. The first experience is why I’m writing on Father’s Day.

U2 was on tour…2001 was the All That You Can’t Leave Behind era. Having never seen U2 outside North America I was all yo, let’s do this. In an internet cafe found a seller, one ticket, scrambled to find my way across the dense city, eventually finding him.

My concert was tomorrow. Perfect. I jumped onto the tube to head to the Modern Tate for a spot of tea and a cigar.

Then sad news: Bono’s dad died. And as awful as that was, I just paid British pounds for a concert ticket. If they reschedule I’m screwed!

I showed up to the venue, Earl’s Court…apparently like everybody else. Happily and courageously the show was a go. More than a go.

From that first brave moment Bono stepped onto the stage the 17, 000…20, 000 crowd roared their support. Converting that support into energy U2 proceeded to lead a public wake for Bono’s dad.

A spiritual punch to the gut. Show barely started when the pretty girl next to me started sobbing and shaking. Bono said little, occasionally reading from Psalms between songs. But his visible anguish transformed songs like One, Where The Streets Have No Name…oh God…Kite into transcend dark waves that washed over us. As a crowd we were emotionally caught unaware and unprepared.

With the last note still ringing in the air the house lights turning on were as symbolic as any other obvious movie moment. At the back wall of the arena was a bank of payphones and fans ran to the phones.

“Pops I’m sorry for the mean things I said…”
“Dad: I just…I just haven’t heard your voice in a while…”
“Hey Pa. I’m sorry, so sorry I ran out of the house.”
“Da, thank you so much for helping me with my business.”

The line ups for the payphones grew long, not many had mobile phones. (2001!) Outside on the street, on the curb…tears flowed like rain. One girl was sitting on a street curb, sobbing and chanting: “He’s gone, he’s gone, he’s gone, he’s gone.”
Because of the time difference I couldn’t call my Dad. I was alone in a city where nobody knew my name…not even the Spanish exchange students. I set off for the tube.

This is a huge and long way to say: hug your dad. It’s Father’s Day.


Also published on Medium.

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