Today, U2 fans around the world — including many of my dear friends and @U2 staffers — went to great lengths to track down U2’s latest Record Store Day release. It’s a vinyl version of “Lights Of Home,” one of the new tracks on last year’s album, Songs Of Experience. From what I can tell, most everyone spent a good amount of time and/or money looking for this vinyl and was successful — yay!!!
I wasn’t one of them. Also yay!!!
I’m in a different place with U2 right now. For sure they’re still my favorite band, still the soundtrack of my life, etc. But my fandom isn’t anywhere near the same as it’s been in the past.
Last year, for the first time ever, I didn’t buy a U2 album when it was released. That actually happened twice last year. First, when U2 re-issued The Joshua Tree for its 30th anniversary, I didn’t buy it. (I bought every other U2 re-issue as soon as it came out.) It happened again when I didn’t buy Songs Of Experience right away, but instead waited to get the free copy that came with my concert ticket purchase.
On previous Record Store Days, I’d always get in the car — often with my son — and drive 150 miles roundtrip to Yakima and/or 120 miles roundtrip to Walla Walla to hunt down the newest U2 vinyl release. (I’d often buy out the entire supply so that we’d have prizes to give away in various @U2 contests.) When U2’s RSD contribution was announced this year and I saw fans reacting online with things like “take my money!” and the like, I thought to myself … I’m glad I don’t feel obligated to buy everything they release anymore.
Things have changed. Today, I was able to sleep in, have a nice, little breakfast, get some errands done, hang out with my wife, workout, get my hair cut … and not worry in the slightest about whether I’d have another U2 vinyl to put on my shelf and never look at again.
I originally titled this blog post “My U2 Divorce,” but that’s too strong. I still listen to them. I’m seeing them later this year. The album covers are still on my wall. It’s not that we’re divorcing or even separating; it’s just that I don’t feel so locked in and obligated to do every little thing a fan is expected to do.
I’m liberated, and I’m super happy about it.
PS: my bank account is, too.