Bono wasn’t there and she was crying. A lemon pullover had made me conspicuous, our front row seats even more so. She had seen me, she’d have been blind not to. In fairness they had told us about audience participation and the clapping, lots of clapping. But I hadn’t anticipated the vocal Jesus freaks at the back and in these audience participative situations, I hide by pushing people in front of me or diving behind a row of seats. But she had singled me out even after I discarded the luminous sweater, she had marked me from the off. I was to be saved, and it was to happen this evening in Limerick’s Millennium theatre. My tenuous connection with U2 also to be enhanced, I was to be saved by his Harlem Gospel choir and she, the beautiful smiling she, was coming to save the lemon who wore the vulgar pullover.
We stood up, we had to, the Charismatic pressure was compelling. They clapped and I clapped as I always do, on the off-beat, in a singular and unique spastic rhythm which I do well. Of course this didn’t help either, did I mention that she’d seen me and was now hunting me down, with her smiling hallelujahs and her slave swaying. It’s not that I don’t try to stay in time, I always try too hard and found I was more in synch with the Tourettes victim sitting to my left, then with the surrounding Jesus obsessives. Why didn’t she pick on the afflicted man, surely the son of God could sense the opportunity, the possibilities in the laying of hands and the casting out of the Tourettes demons?
The sisters descended, floating, beaming, beseeching Him to save us, save me, the one who came in the lemon jumper and who will never wear that colour again. The smiling sister surfed in on a heavenly tractor beam, crying and singing triumphantly having landed her lamb and prepared to sacrifice him on a Millennium alter. I caved, I cried, I raised my arms high, we touched palms and everything was still cept my still twitching neighbour, and a major holiness of tears flooded the theatre and my personal thoughts of extended Saturday night closing time vanished, I was hers, I was his.
My tenuous U2 connections? My best pal moved the Hedge’s missus in 1979 when the Hedge and she were still just tacing. My brother was one of the fortunate forty in attendance at their £20 gig at the Crescent hall in 1978. (Receipt signed by manager McGuiness still in existence). And I’ve supped from the same glass from which his Bononess imbibed a girly half-pint in a Terenure pub in the early eighties.