The Ramblings Inside My Creative Mind: I Only Like You For the Nostalgia... Probably

        Last week I got a chance to see U2 for the third time. I know they get a lot of flack and I get a lot also for still being a fan. I don’t know why, outside of fans, they are so hated, but I have a few ideas and a lot of them hit me in the days before the show.
        There is no denying (at least there shouldn’t be) that Bono, Larry, The Edge, and Adam are excellent showmen. And you have to admit they are talented. Say what you want about Bono, but to blow off the skill of The Edge’s guitar playing, Adam’s rhythm with a bass, and Larry’s preciseness with the drums is a little crazy to me. I know for people who aren’t fans, it’s hard to see past Bono’s need to do the absolute most, but trust me these dude’s are talented.
       It’s weird that, even though, I said this was my third time seeing them, this was the first time I felt like I belonged in the crowd. The sad part of that was the excitement for the show had started to die weeks before the trip to Chicago, and had almost completely died hours before the show (I’ll get to that totally embarrassing and probably bratty reason later). The first time I saw them was a little rushed. I’m the type of girl who likes to get to concerts super early, with hopes of meeting the band. Lame, but whatever. This time I had fractured my foot a few weeks before so I was in the dreaded boot. Long story short, a doctor’s appointment, traffic, a few errands, and more traffic later I was later than I hoped to be. The part that bummed me out is that, other than the couple that sat next to me, everyone was kind of asshole-ish. I know the band has a reputation for being sort of pompous, but I thought “Even the fans too?!?” Just the rudest group of people ever. The second time was more of the same. It was the Joshua Tree tour of 2017. I was able to get to Soldier Field early enough for their first show (I had tickets for the show the next day) to get a great video of Bono greeting fans, still no autograph, because in a world of tall people us short folks don’t stand a chance. At the show I had tickets for GA. I’d gotten close enough to the extended part of the stage out in the crowd, with the exception of the 6ft plus women (IN HEELS!) who decided to stand in the way and causally nudge me out of the way any chance they could. To make that even worse is that once the show got started Larry’s drum set was positioned to face the other side of the crowd, and for some reason the rest of the band decided to play that direction as well instead of working the whole crowd. So whether the gargantuan women were in my way or not all I got to see was U2 ass for two hours. Immediately after the show was over staff were complete dicks telling people to get out and even resorted to pushing people, which was unnecessary. Third times a charm I guess. My boyfriend was with me and we were around a group of people who came to enjoy the show, talked and laughed with us and it was great.
        My boyfriend and I had a discussion while waiting for the show to start and it was about something that disturbed me about my favorite band. On their unique stage there were images that popped up saying things like “Equal Rights”, “HERstory”, etc. All things that have to do with equality, ending hate, caring for one another, you know? All the shit we’ve become accustomed to when you think of them and the charities they support. And I looked at my boyfriend and said “Yet our sweatshirts are $75 and buttons that literally say nothing about the band are $15.” Now mind you, I don’t know where the funds from their merch go to. Most of it could very well go to the ONE campaign. All I know is that I’ve gone to many concerts and at none of them have shirts being sold for more than $25-$30, nor are the knick knack accessories over $10. Almost all merch has something dealing with the band on it, whether it be just the name, their image, a lyric, etc. They are also the only band I know of that has a fan club fee. Someone like me can’t afford to give $50+ bucks just so I’m notified early when tickets go on sale and therefore give you MORE money. I wish they were a little more like what they stand for. Realize that not all of your fans are loaded, but also want to be included because they love you.
        My bratty reason for my excitement dying is that they kinda crushed me beforehand. When they’re in Chicago they stay at the same hotel and roughly leave for a show around the same time. That first day Bono stopped, shook a few hands from the car window, and focused his attention on the little girl that he’d let up on stage at a show in the past. That girl wasn’t born to know about the greatness that was Joshua Tree, but I digress. The next day I showed up and was relieved there wasn’t as many people there as the day before. Surely they’d stop and I’d FINALLY get my autograph on this book that I’d been carrying around for years whenever they were near. Nope. They didn’t even stop, roll down the window, wave, honk the horn. Nothing. I was heartbroken. Yeah, I cried. Whatever. My boyfriend hugged when I told him not to cause it would get worse. Cause you know if someone hugs you when you’re already sad it’s guaranteed to make you cry like a baby. That was me. I hate that it effected me so much because at the end of the day they’re just people. It’s a catch 22 because they are just people and don’t owe us anything, but at the same time without fans to buy albums, tickets, etc, then where would they be? People judge me for being a fangirl, but for some celebrities it’s because they mean a lot to me for very specific reasons and U2 fits in that category for me. They are the band that made me comfortable with myself. For me being a young black girl who liked rock music, it was tough. I was bullied, told I was trying to be white, called weird, and just overall made to feel like I was trying to be something I wasn’t and that I didn’t belong anywhere. Hell, oftentimes my own family made me feel that way. It was hard going out in the world and dealing with that type of ridicule and then have to come home to it. I didn’t have a break. My break was Mtv and the radio. The moment I saw the video for “Mysterious Ways”, I was hooked. I started not to care what people thought. I loved U2 and I didn’t care who knew. What made that acceptance much easier was from the video I thought Bono was Latino, so I felt that a nice rebuttal if people teased me for liking “white music” I could say that “Well the lead singer for U2 is Latino! So there!” I later found out I was wrong, but I didn’t care. I was a U2 lover. In some ways I was still ashamed of the music I liked so the only ones I didn’t care about people knowing I liked were U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Aerosmith, (with black people Aerosmith got a pass because of Run DMC). It wasn’t until I was 13 and discovered The Beatles that I threw all fucks to the wind and started being the nerdy rock and roll black girl that I was destined to be. So did I feel hurt when I didn’t meet my idols? You damn right I did.
       Before that concert I had an inner talk with myself, and that talk was along the lines of “Do I still love U2 or do I love the acceptance they made me feel for myself when I was a child? Am I just caught up in the nostalgia?” I honestly don’t have an answer to that. Do I love their music still? Yes. Does it touch me the same way Achtung Baby did? Not really. There will always be a place in my heart for them, but do I really want to keep spending my hard earned dollars to see them? Maybe. Maybe not. Their music will always be a part of the soundtrack to my life. Their music will stick with me.

- Asia Aneka Anderson, 2018©
"Abandoned Places", 2018(c)
Photo: Asia Aneka Anderson

"Joy in Chaos", 2017(c)
Photo: Asia Aneka Anderson

The Ramblings Inside My Creative Mind: If The Crystal Ball Says So

This past week my boyfriend and I went on our first, semi-big, vacation together to Chicago. It was for a concert and he was amazing enough to go adventuring with me even though his thoughts are kinda “meh” on the band. He knows my love for them therefore he humors me.
        Since I used to live in Chicago I’ll admit I was probably more excited to show him some of my old hangouts and doing things there that I always wanted to do, but never got a chance to. While walking downtown on our last day I came across a sign about tarot reading. Sometimes I can’t resist a tarot or palm reading so we decided to head up. Now I will say there’s always a level of skepticism when it comes to psychics, but a huge part of me wants to believe that there’s people who have the gift.
        This woman gave me a palm reading. She gave me the same story I’ve heard a few times before. I’m not where I’m supposed to be in life, I’m unhappy, etc., etc. She told me something that I haven’t heard before, which was that my life was supposed to be on a completely different path than what I’m on. I should’ve been married with 2-3 kids, I was to inherit some money that never happened, but for some reason there’s a wall. Whether this is a wall I, myself, have built or a wall that just keeps knocking me on my ass out of nowhere, I don’t know. One thing for sure is my personality she had down to a T. She mentioned me being two different people. On once side I am a wide eyed girl, ready for adventure, plans made on how carefree and creative my life should be. That part of me has so much innocence and hope. Then there’s the side of me who feels so trapped, angry, bitter, and so close to giving up. Neither of these parts of myself outshines the other. I am simultaneous both of these people. She mentioned that the work I do is not for me nor will it ever be. She noted that I try too hard with no results. She’s right. She’s absolutely right. Fake or not I took it upon myself to embrace this advice. I do entirely too much for my job. I get no bonuses, I clean up a shitload of other’s slack, I close several nights a week while my manager does none even though it’s mandatory managers close at least twice a week, I’m being bullied into training for a position I’ve never wanted which also makes me have to work in direct contact with a coworker that causes nothing but drama for everyone. Any concern I bring up ultimately gets swept under the rug. I make endless amounts of decisions and what for? I’m not getting any raises, I’m not getting any back up. So why am I working so hard for a company that can’t work for me? I’m not a manager so why am I taking on that responsibility when my paycheck doesn’t reflect it? That woman nailed it on the head. I need to become that wide eyed innocent girl. Being that girl would be beneficial to my mental health and my inner peace.
       My boyfriend also had his done. She spoke about him being a hard worker and that it would pay off, and how he’s been unlucky in love in the past, but will settle with his soul mate soon. Whether or not that person is me, I’m not sure. I hope that it is and we can continue to build what we’ve started, but by some strange happening if it’s not me I just want him to be happy. Even though we didn’t have a big discussion afterwards I’ve never felt closer to him than that day. That innocent girl in me wants nothing more than to be happy and share my life and adventures with this man and bring excitement into his life while he brings clarity to mine. I think we have what it takes to make it there. I support him and he supports me. It’s the waiting and the guessing of how life will turn out that gives me anxiety, but sooner or later I’m going to have to learn how to truly say “Fuck it,” and follow my heart. As long as I have my partner in crime I’ll be okay. I don’t need someone who can see the future to tell me that.

-Asia Aneka Anderson, 2018©