Last weekend I went to the best concert of my life. I knew before I walked through the gates of the stadium that it was going to be the best show I would ever see. And I was right.
As U2 took the stage, Bono’s charisma was palpable. The entire crowd watched his every move. We hung on every syllable that escaped his lips. As he belted out lyrics that endorsed peace and love and unity and (gasp) Jesus, Bono sung about his faith for all to hear.
Between songs he promoted political reconciliation and racial equality. He referenced social injustices he’s seen firsthand and his personal mission to end poverty and AIDS.
He took every opportunity to use his platform, literally and figuratively, to promote that which Jesus promotes – love, forgiveness, and redemption.
It was more than a concert. It was an opportunity for the 41,00o-plus individuals in Vanderbilt Stadium to contemplate what they are doing with their lives. Bono and company awakened a longing in each of us to do something significant.
While most rock shows are about drinking alcohol and having a good time, that was clearly not U2’s mission. Sure, they spent a lot of money designing a state of the art stage, complete with moving bridges and an enormous LED screen that piped in an astronaut from outer space. But their purpose was to encourage all in attendance – believers and unbelievers alike – to live more like Christ.
And Bono never diverted from that purpose.
At the end of the show, Bono reached into the audience and pulled a man on stage. He had been holding a sign that said “Blind Guitarist – bring me up” the entire show. The crew strapped Bono’s personal guitar on him, and he began to play “All I Want is You” for his wife. Bono and the band backed him up, and they played the entire song. Afterward, the man took off the guitar and handed it to Bono. But Bono refused to take it. Instead, he told the man, “I want you to have it.”
When the man was interviewed later, he said something very interesting about Bono. He said, “You could just feel his kindness.”
I think that is the perfect way to describe the show. Bono wasn’t performing kind or loving or positive actions; Bono was kind and loving and positive. There was no trace of vanity in the man. For over two and a half hours, the Holy Spirit was on display in him, inviting us to follow Bono as Bono follows Christ, whether we believe in Jesus or not.