"[M]usic has lost the personality of human beings and musicians. It's got so shiny that it's as if there's a surface of Formica over it. And it's something that doesn't let you in."
-- Edge, 2003
Like A Video: Beautiful Day (Under the Brooklyn Bridge)
March 27, 2014
[Ed. note: This is the 24th in a series of essays by the @U2 staff about U2-related visuals and videos. Some essays may be informational and educational, while others may be more personal.]
I can tell you exactly where I was the night U2 filmed a surprise concert under the Brooklyn Bridge in 2004. It was Monday, Nov. 22, and I was a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College, most likely in a media studies class required for my major in communication arts. My school should be thankful Twitter didn’t exist at the time. One leaked tweet about the show and I would have made up an epic excuse to skip class. My favorite band playing a mini show in my favorite city? I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! But unfortunately, I did.
U2 were promoting their new album at the time, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. That happens to be my favorite U2 record and the one that turned me into a fan. But the song in this video is for my favorite U2 song on the planet, “Beautiful Day,” from All That You Can’t Leave Behind. I chose this video from the concert because it is so relevant to the place my life is in right now.
It’s fitting that this piece is being published this week, as I am about to embark on one of the biggest events of my life. I’m finally, after a very long walk on a long and winding road, moving to New York City in a few days. It’s something I’ve wanted since I was 15 and went to my first Broadway show. It’s something I never thought would happen. It’s something that I’ve constantly strived for and never lost sight of.
I’ve written before about U2’s connection to my love of New York. While I don’t know them personally, U2 have been with me on my NYC journey and for that I am forever grateful. My immense fandom for them didn’t fully bloom until I was in college, even though I started listening to them in high school. I listened to them on the long train rides to and from my classes in NYC. When I doubted that my goal to be a fancy magazine writer would ever come to life, I turned to their music to give me guidance. They even got me through my first NYC heartbreak. This video, filmed under the majestic Brooklyn Bridge with the city skyline as the background, fills me with such pride. Bono singing “I know I’m not a hopeless case” makes me feel so happy that I actually have so much hope and joy in my life right now.
It’s hard for me to even pick an actual favorite lyric in “Beautiful Day” because I love everything about the whole song. “The heart is a bloom,” as the opening line? It’s perfect. The chorus of “It’s a beautiful day / Don’t let it get away”? I have it tattooed on me. But the lyrics that I connect to most when it comes to this video are:
You love this town
Even if that doesn’t ring true
You’ve been all over
And it’s been all over you
I’ve had people ask me if once I move to NYC, would I completely ditch “my roots”? I was born and raised in New Jersey, and while I’ve always wanted to break out of my small town, I don’t see myself distancing from it. My family is still there! And come on, I’m from the state that gave the music world Bruce Springsteen (I was even born in the same hospital as him). But while I didn’t ever see myself living there forever, I’ve done everything I could and now I’m ready to move on to start a new life. I literally have been all over and Jersey has definitely been all over me. So seeing this lyric being sung in my future hometown hits me hard. And those who know me really well know I would have cried my eyes out during this entire show as it is.
I have a confession to make while writing this. Having been to NYC about what seems like a million times and doing everything the city has to offer, I have actually never been to the Brooklyn Bridge! I’ve driven past it while in the back of a taxicab, but that’s the closest I’ve ever been. But that is what’s so great about being in this city. There’s so much to do that when you think you’ve done it all, you really haven’t. That’s why I’m so excited to move. So I can see new things and experience so much that I haven’t been exposed to yet. It’s kind of perfect that this is the year I’m moving and I plan to see the bridge. U2’s concert there will be 10 years old this November. I’m looking forward to walking along the bridge with U2 in my earbuds and honoring this significant show, as well as the new chapter in my life.
I guess what I’m trying to say with this essay is that U2 taught me to never give up when I felt like it was the easiest thing to do. Just don’t ever do it, even if you’re tempted to. Everything works itself out if you just believe and hold on and weather the storm. Because after all, like this song says, after the flood all the colors do come out.
(c) @U2/Marino, 2014