Blinded by the light

Alongside 80,000 fans on 19th June 2005 we waited for hours for U2 to present their amazing light and sound show at Twickenham Stadium, UK. Why so many hours? There are three main reasons: Parking (!), a desire to get into the mood and being a bit unclear on what time U2 would come on stage.

The atmosphere was electric with countless people of all colours and creeds united under one roof. Temperatures began soaring to 30 degC and the queues at each extortionate food, drink and merchandise stall were long and sticky. For many hours people scurried backwards and forwards onto the main pitch area. Our seats were on the west wing and we too had people edging between each other talking turns to buy food and drink.

One of the highlights of the 2.5-hour show was when the main giant video screen scrolled-up the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Each article appeared and was read out. Then U2 sang ‘One’ with its closing chorus extending to ‘One love, One blood, One life, You got to do what you should, One life, With each other, Sisters, Brothers, One life, But we’re not the same, We get to, Carry each other. Carry each other, One…life…

The sentiments were strong and many held-up their lighters. N.B.I assume that these lighters were not all owned exclusively by smokers, especially in a non-smoking auditorium – but available near the stalls before the show started for a special price. The effect created by the swaying lights of hope created an awesome fore-drop against the clear darkening skies and dimmed stage lighting,
As June 19 marked the 60th birthday of Nobel Prize winner and Myanmar’s incarcerated democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, at one point Bono sang Happy Birthday to her. Suu Kyi’s latest incarceration began in May 2003. Incidently, in October 2000 U2 released their 10th album All That You Can’t Leave Behind, which contained a song titled “Walk On” dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi. It was banned by the military junta.

Songs and music fests have the power to unite us all but are we truly connected, especially as it appeared to me that many present did not acknowledge their fellow human being standing within inches of each other? Many may have swayed their arms in unison or sung songs demanding change, but what have we physically changed. Torture and inhumane treatment still exists and with power remaining in the hands of those that fear the loss of their stranglehold.

I’d like to end on a positive. Sure, the morning after a gig we feel tired and mentally exhausted but together we have learnt more about the plight of others. I suggest that we do not fall into the trap of staying blinded. Instead, we should take a greater interest in understanding organisations that are helping to put pressure on those perpetrators of human abuse. Some great suggestions can be found at Amensty International’s website,

We’re on this Earth for a short while, the least we can do is offer equality and freedom to each other.

Categories: 2005

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