Thirty-four years ago this month, four wee lads from the North Side of Dublin met up at their progressive high school and decided to form a band.
They rehearsed in the kitchen of Lil’ Larry Mullen’s house, where curious girls would peer over the back garden wall to gaze at Young Mullen – who promptly sprayed them with a garden hose.
For fans like us this little sojourn was basically our Mecca. The school where Larry put up the notice to form a band – and the house where they played their very first notes are the conception and birthplace of our favorite band in the world. I can’t even explain how thrilling it was – to see these sites they saw, the streets they traveled to take their first steps from baby band to Greatest Band Ever.
Even if they haven’t been there in decades (which I’m sure they haven’t), it gave a real sense of the places where they are from and for me grounded them as real human beings who once had homework, curfews and bedrooms with posters on the walls. Not just rock idols who I worship with my entire soul. I’ll never see the places they live now and have that connection, so in some funny way – getting to see these old places made that connection for me .
Two days later we would stand cheering with 80,000 others and welcome the native sons back home. And as amazing at that was, seeing these sites (and other U2-centric ones we had visited that week) was just as exciting. It was like experiencing it all from the beginning to the very present of the story, except now we were part of the story.