Next stop : Bourbon Street, New Orleans
‘I hear voices, ridiculous voices
Out in the slipstream
Let’s go, let’s go overground
Take your head out of the mud baby
She’s gonna dream up
The world she wants to live in
She’s gonna dream out loud’
It’s 7 in the morning and I’m listening to ‘Your song saved my life’ on repeat and yet I’ve got Zooropa stuck in my head. I’m not sure why I’m telling you this but maybe if you bear with me long enough, it will make sense. Probably. I’m not too sure about where this is going myself to be honest. But there sure is a lot of dreaming out loud in this post.
I’ve been willing to write about my little escapade to Bourbon Street for almost a week now, because a lot happened there. Like a lot lot. Way more than I would have thought, on every, possible, level. Damn. I guess I just had to come down from that high to finally be able to put it into coherent words. And you know that when I say coherent, that’s relative. I’m still me guys.
But bear with me, I swear it’s going to be a fun ride.
What’s that about then? You have no clue what I’m talking about again aren’t you? Get your head out of the mud babies. How could you miss that ?
So basically, you know the Edge is a cool dude, we all know that. But sometimes, he gets even cooler. Remember Music Rising? Of course you do.
That’s the organisation Edge co-founded with Bob Ezrin back in 2005 following the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina and Rita. Well guess what? As I said, cool dude, but he’s also quite smart, and he knows that not all storms you go through are necessarily visible and that’s pretty much what the auction on Dec 11 is all about – I’ll let the cool smart dude explain :
‘Unfortunately there are many musicians and crew members who continue to struggle since the pandemic. If this multigenerational chain is broken, we lose more than just a few concerts we lose an entire culture that stretches back centuries. Some of the world’s greatest musicians and friends of Music Rising have generously donated their personal instruments to raise money for Music Rising. We hope you have a chance to bid on one or more of the beautiful instruments in the auction. The money raised goes to musicians and crew.’
Makes more sense right ? If you want to know more about it you can just click on the quote and it will take you to dotcom from which I shamelessly quoted this. Eh. Be cool. I’m not really good with words so sometimes I need to borrow others, and it’s not like I’m anywhere close to ever talking to Edge myself.
(… This is not gonna age well. Ahem.)
If some (most) of you have been too lazy to open that 2nd tab, or if you can’t see clearly because you’re still tearing up about all the guitars you’d want from that auction list, let me tell you what was the 2nd interesting thing in that article.
“in the next few days Edge is aiming to give U2 fans special early access to the virtual world of ‘Bourbon St’, New Orleans…”
Special early access.
I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of sentence that always triggers my U2 fan spidey sense. We hadn’t heard from those guys in a long time, and we got recently flooded with news – and happiness – and it kinda awoke our senses, so we pay much more attention to pretty much everything.
So yeah I got curious about that early access. Because Edge knows – probably – that most of us wouldn’t have the money to actually bid on those guitars. Or maybe he doesn’t and just really wanted his babies (guitars) to end up in a U2 fan home because it wouldn’t hurt as much to part with them if they go to a good home.
Well Edge. Here’s something you need to know about U2 fans. Remember that thing about those 500 hundred we all gave you along the way ? Well. Try 500 times the number of years we’ve been fans – because we always find ways to give your band money even if you’re not touring – and that might give you a pretty legit estimation of the state of our finances. Oh lordy, let’s not go there. Stupid idea. Rewind, rewind.
But eh, as the old saying goes ‘Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy U2 stuff which is pretty much the same’. So yeah, all good – I just found a tenner in my pocket, if anyone is willing to have a collective bidding, I swear I’d take perfect care of that Adam’s bass during my yearly 13 minutes of ownership. Plus we all have something better than money. A voice. So pass the word guys !
What was I saying again ?
Oh yeah. Early access.
And guess who was first in line for that one? HA! – for the record, this never ever happens to me. I always joke, kinda, about the U2 spirit taking over sometimes, but I truly felt like I might have had a U2 guardian angel on my side that day because wowzer.
There I was minding my own business, working actually, when I saw the news pop up on dotcom. Opened it. Don’t think. Click on the link. What’s this ? What’s happening? Next thing I know I’m virtually sitting in a damn trolley in NOLA – omg it’s gorgeous too – taking me onto an emotional rollercoaster straight away and… WHAT IS THIS?!
Oh yeah, I’m definitely clicking on that because I’m not doing this on my own, Edge just showed up at the corner of the street and he’s saying stuff and I have no idea what I’m doing here and I’m slightly SLIGHTLY freaking out that maybe I shouldn’t have clicked on that link in the first place.
And that’s when the fun began.
You know, the thing about freaking out is that when you’re on your own, it can be pretty scary. But when you’re with friends… It becomes the best thing ever. And all my friends already know I’m crazy anyway so I just kept yapping like an excited puppy, and we started exploring this brand new world…
I am not even going to get into details about those first 10 minutes on Bourbon Street because honestly it could be summed up pretty much like this:
An uninterrupted stream of high pitch sounds and more mentions of God’s name than I’ve ever used in my life, including during Sunday school. A lot of what. A lot of how. A lot of lot. Everything I know is that I don’t know seriously. I can’t even write about it and make any sense. Did I mention the yapping?
You know how you good people always make fun of me for getting overly excited about nothing ? – no need to feel awkward about it, I know and I don’t blame you – well. Imagine. In. That. Setting.
(me reverting back to French says it all)
So we kept exploring, and I kept losing it, and everything was just absolutely perfect already, but then more people joined in, more friends and I swear guys, I swear those were the BEST times I’ve had in a very long time.
We talked, we laughed, we kept hopping from room to room and I think pretty much all of us felt like kids again discovering it all. Stay a child somewhere in your heart right? Well I think Edge found one hell of a trigger for that really.
Insufferable kids on a sugar high running around like they own the place really. And eh, it wasn’t just me for once! You know what the man says right – ‘it’s madness, but it’s a grand madness’ – and I don’t care if this is completely unrelated to this topic Bono, I’m still stealing it because it’s one hundred percent accurate.
I could tell you how I sat in Edge’s living room.
I could tell you how many times we relaunched the video on Bob Ezrin’s room just to have a good picture of Edge pointing at the camera and miserably failed so many times – and the fits of laughter that caused.
I could tell you how I got to stand next to my friend at the rail of a tour I never managed to go to.
I could tell you how I ended up on the big screen on the Vertigo tour.
I could tell you that I might have gotten a bit (a lot) emotional at hearing One played in a room filled with people I love.
I could tell you about how I kept re entering Bono’s room just to hear his little laugh because it makes me happy.
I could tell you about the giggles of putting cowboy hats on the zootopia mods heads – you look awesome guys, stop it!
I could tell you about a lot of things. A lot of emotions. A lot of fun bits. Because when I said I was having the time of my life on that website, I truly was.
But as always, I can’t shut up. And this blog is once again turning into a small three part novel so I’ll skip to THE room.
Edge’s dressing room.
Let’s go backstage guys, you never know what might happen.
So if you’re still reading my shit instead of strolling around Bourbon Street – I’ve obviously failed with this post then – you need to go check Edge’s dressing room. I’m not sure why, but every time I’ve been on since that first day, we somehow always end up in that room. What’s the deal with it then?
Ha. There’s a nice pre-show vibe honestly. You can hear Beautiful Day playing in the distance. No videos playing either there so it’s a nice place to hang out and just chit chat really.
Oh and… You get to dress up as the Edge.
No, for real.
Cowboy hats everywhere, all the 7 shirts are there, Converse shoes all over the place, but be fast because there’s a limited amount of sparkling jeans and you might end up looking a lot more like Adam than The Edge really.
Ha. it’s fine too.
So that’s naturally where we all ended up on that first trip to Bourbon Street. All of us. And there you are just having fun and trying out all of Edge’s clothes and you know just being U2 fans left unsupervised in the band’s dressing room really. What could possibly go wrong ? Ha. I’ll leave that to your imagination, but honestly it’s probably a lot less crazy than you’d think.
That little bubble pops up. And you hear ‘Hi guys’. And that’s a familiar voice too. But Edge is pretty much in every room you’ve been so far so your brain doesn’t really pick up on that at first. And for the first 10 seconds your mind pretty much goes like :
‘What have we done?”
“Did we trigger some kind of easter egg?”
“Omg, is there an easter Edge ?!”
“Why am I wearing converses as a hat”
‘Is that a picture?’
‘Why is the picture moving’
‘why is the picture TALKING’
‘Is that actually Edge?’
‘I think it is’
‘Is that actually Edge?’
‘Is that actually Edge?’
‘ but is it?’
And your brain is broken forever.
So, yeah. Spoiler alert. It was actually Edge after all.
Edge. The (kindest) Edge. Mister The (sweetest) Edge to you. Yeap. That one.
He talked about Music Rising and the Bourbon Street experience, and a lot of things I didn’t even understand because again, brain broken.
Truth is, I don’t remember the details much because I was kinda distracted by trying very hard to NOT DIE right there and pretty much fighting like hell against my own nature.
‘Dont say anything stupid Jo’
‘Dont say anything stupid Jo’
‘Dont say anything stupid Jo’
*says something stupid*
… So much for not dying.
Ha! Oh well. Worth it.
All I know is that we were all very well behaved, smiling like 3yo on Christmas morning, and nodding along to every word. Did I mention he was so kind and sweet ?
I do also remember that he said to pass the word about it, so here I am at 7 in the morning – or 9 now – writing these words and not making any sense about it – I’m probably not completely down from that high after all, but eh, would you?
Talking about not making sense, you know how apparently people reveal their strength when put under extreme pressure ? Like stressful situations and all? Like THIS kind of situation – I’m not overdoing it, i’ve got scientific (fitbit) proof for it.
Well let me tell you something. If the Zombie apocalypse ever comes, U2 fans are the first one to go down because our very first instinct, and I mean, every person in that room really, was to give Edge all the hats. Like what the hell was that about. What the actual hell were we thinking? It doesn’t make any sense. But then again, it was freaking sunday evening and there we were chit chatting with Edge so at this point life itself didn’t make any sense anyway.
Ha. It’s fine.
We’ll be okay.
But that’s okay too.
U2 fan life right? – Right.
What a day.
What a week.
What a life.
Let me tell you something guys. And that’s when maybe, that dreaming out loud thing intensifies a bit more. That app. Gosh.
Dear Mr The Edge, can we keep it forever please? or at least a version of it ?
Pretty please with pop sugar on it?
And I’ll even explain why.
I hung out on Bourbon St quite a lot all week. I had been very U2 fan-esque on my first trip and only checked the U2 related rooms (and Macca’s. Because Macca.) before getting interrupted by that impromptu visitor.
So I went from room to room, taking my time, clicking everywhere because I’m a bit of an obsessive geek, rewatching vids because me no English and I really wanted to get it. I’ll pass the minutes (hours) spent looking at those guitars and daydreaming about winning the lottery or something. And yeah, just passing time really. It’s such a vibe. It’s such a great place to chill – and hanging out in Chris Martin’s room with a grumpy Bono avatar just for shit and giggles is priceless really … anyways. you know. Usual me. Because yes, there’s a lot more to explore than just the U2 rooms really !
It’s a true music wonderland, honestly. The video rooms are just INSANE. There is so so much to explore, so much little details that will make any sensible music fan lose their mind really. You can’t miss it guys. I swear, you just can’t.
And yet, one of the best part of it – at least for me – was that I also got the opportunity to catch up with some friends. Some I keep in touch regularly, and others I sometimes stumble upon on an online thread. You don’t care, I know, but I’m getting there.
So there I was chatting with one of those friends face to face, and it suddenly hit me that I hadn’t heard his voice, his laugh, in such a long time. In 6 years actually.
And that’s the thing about being a U2 fan, you make friends along the way. Friends from pretty much all over the world. And when you’re lucky you catch them when there’s a tour, but sometimes you don’t. And time passes. They’re your U2 friends. That’s probably people you would never have talked to if it wasn’t for that common passion. And more often than not, you don’t interact that much when you’re not given a U2 reason to.
So time passes. Life happens. And there we are talking to each other 6 year older, reminiscing about those specific pints we had in that specific pub, in that specific city after that specific show. Because that’s the thing too. It all feels like yesterday.
No matter how many shows, how many tours, how many friends or how many years. Those details stay engraved in your mind because,well… U2 shows are usually quite emotional times for the nutters we are, it’s precious moments, and we all know that when you look back to say goodbye, you’re never too sure when you’ll get to see those people again. Your gang. Your tribe. The ones that turn what could be just utter madness into beautiful memories.
And I know there’s plenty of other platforms we can and do use to keep in touch with the community, and they all have their perks really. But first of all, I won’t lie, it’s pretty cool to hang out on Edge’s couch with your friends, fight for the last pair of pants in the dressing room, have a virtual race to the Vertigo stage rail – NO RUNNING – or simply go hide in Bono’s room with your friend when you’re both having a little meltdown after talking to your favorite guitar hero.
But more than that, I truly believe that this platform gave us something we might be lacking elsewhere. Some kind of purpose. Just like when the band goes on tour and you take into account which shows you wanna go to depending on who will be around. Because it’s them, of course it’s them, it’s ALWAYS them – but it’s us too. So yay Oh YAY, I def felt that little extra something that pushes us to reconnect with our community of friends on a larger scale on that site.
And when you think about it. That’s something we’re really craving for. An excuse to be together. Like we did during the Virtual Road. Like we did during the U2gethers. Like we did pretty much with every possible thing since that damn pandemic hit us. Look for an excuse to be together.
And I know, I know, you’re just thinking ‘Meh It’s Jo, she’s just saying a lot of shit again. It will pass. Hide the coffee now..” – And i’m more than willing to admit to that always but…
But I don’t think I am today.
Because I have been talking with long ‘lost’ U2 friends all week because of this. I’ve heard people I love, and yet never met, snorting at my face because yeah, I’m just as stupid in real life. I’m making plans and trying to figure out the timezones maths with people on the other side of the world just so we can go explore this thing together. We’re planning around our real life timetable to find a moment to hang out together on the site. So yay, oh yay – fck, I’ll never stop doing that now – it all sounds very real to me, so give me back my coffee now.
There’s this urge to go crazy and lose it about our band as a community.
There’s this urge to reconnect with the world.
There’s this urge to share.
There’s this urge to have fun together.
There’s this urge to be together.
And all we need, to do this, is an excuse. And eh, look at that, Edge just gave us one.
Am I doing this wrong?
I mean probably. I haven’t bid on anything yet and probably won’t – but we can all help. Go buy a beanie guys, it’s pretty meant to be. You don’t always need an instrument to be a rockstar.
Am I really doing this wrong?
I don’t know. It feels pretty right too. And some of the moments I spent on Bourbon st this week were even more valuable to me than any of these guitars. You should try it. You never know who you might bump into. I got to hang out with new and old friends. I had quite a few giggles fit and even more laughing out loud episodes. I lost my shit at the excitement of it all, with that bunch of nutters I call family sometimes. And Edge… Ha. Edge. That was a pretty good week indeed..
Wait a minute. I’ve just been… a U2 fan?
Yeap. A U2 fan and it’s been a while since I felt at home like that.
I’ll go get more coffee now, no feet on the table please.
You just lost a few minutes of your life reading my nonsense so please make better use of your time and take the trolley to Bourbon Street right here.
Share the word. Tell your friends. And have fun!
And I don’t blame you if you don’t want to listen to me but I didn’t say those words – I strongly agree though – he did. Edge did. So listen to the man guys. He’s pretty much always right.
PS : In case that whole thing doesn’t translate the main feeling – Thank you Edge. So much. You rock.