In the final moments of 1989, U2 played a handful of shows at the Point Depot in their hometown, Dublin. The concerts brought their Love Comes to Town tour to a close and marked the end of what had been a phenomenal and meteoric rise to becoming the World’s Biggest Rock Band.
Two years earlier, the band released The Joshua Tree. This seminal album contains the hits Where the Streets Have No Name, With or Without You, and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. These four boyhood friends from Ireland had officially made it. The album went on to win Album of the Year and the band became a household name. Next they made a movie and released the follow-up/extension album Rattle and Hum. They had rode a fast and high wave to superstardom and in the final days of the decade many, including the members of U2 themselves, wondered what was next.
As the clock counted down the last remaining seconds of the decade, the band started playing the opening chords to Streets and then as the clock struck midnight, Auld Lang Syne kicked off a pretty boisterous and incredible live show that was broadcast on the radio all over the world.
Sometime during the night Bono, the lead singer of the band, address the crowd saying, “This is just the end of something for U2. And that’s what we’re playing these concerts — and we’re throwing a party for ourselves and you. It’s no big deal, it’s just — we have to go away and … and dream it all up again.”
Of course, everyone wondered if the band was breaking up. They weren’t.
Bono has a flair for the dramatic but he and his bandmates were at a crossroad. They had experienced tremendous success as a result of their very hard work and effort for many years. Here they were at the top of the game and faced with a new year and a new decade they had to wrestle with what to do.
Today, is January 1, 2013.
What I love about the beginning of the New Year is that we all get the opportunity to “dream it all up again.”
You may have experienced your greatest success last year. However, what got you here may not be enough to duplicate that success in 2013.
Conversely, 2012 may have been devastating for you. It might have been so bad that you were actually looking forward to the Mayan apocalypse. The great news is that today is a new day. Today is a new year.
U2 did go away for a while. In fact, the start of the new decade actually was an extremely difficult time for the band personally and professionally. The process that they endured as they dreamed it all over again was rough but it was not a wasted effort.
In 1991, U2 released the album Achtung Baby complete with a brand new sound and look. They had dreamed big and it paid off. Achtung Baby also won the Album of the Year and for some, it is an even greater album than The Joshua Tree.
So, what are you going to do today?
I would suggest that you do reminisce about the year that has just past. Give Thanks where Thanks is due. Address mistakes and work to strengthen relationships with those closest to you.
And after that… dream it all up again.
All is quiet on this New Year’s Day. Don’t let the sun set on January 1st without making some concrete decisions to do things differently this year. Don’t rely on your past successes and never allow past mistakes to crush you completely.
My prayer for you is that God will pour out every grace and mercy he has on you so that 2013 might be your greatest year ever. As you dream about what may happen this year and what you may do, allow God to give you His agenda for your life. He is the one who wired us to dream and He is the one who gives us the strength to move.
I’ll leave you with some more of Bono’s words from that first day in January, 23 years ago.
“Forget about the past. We’re gonna celebrate the future. Seeing as it’s New Year’s Day you probably expect me to get all sentimental, yeah? Well, you’re exactly right. The only limitation are the limits of our imagination. Dream up the kind of world you want to live in. Dream out loud at high volume. That’s what we do for a living.”
Happy New Year everyone! Dream out loud today. And tomorrow. And the day after that.