Subject: a thank you for everything
From: Otto Kitsinger email@example.com
Date: 12/14/2001 4:17 AM Mountain Standard Time
A letter from 3am...
With planning time and other logistics, the tour was a
year of my life:
50,000 miles traveled
7,000 photos taken
111 days away from home
50 U2 concerts
50 nights I will never forget
an uncountable number of great new friends
Did I get ambitious out of boredom, or depression, or
simply to see if I could do it? Was it just because it
Why do people climb mountains?
I didn't think about any of that before I left. I
thought about the magic that breathes between the notes
of their music; I thought about the drug of twenty
thousand people in one place in tune to one dream. It
seemed easy: they bring the magic and the crowd; I
simply bring myself and a camera. Perhaps I could
capture fleeting instances of it to keep, to share.
I'm not all that good at anything else; perhaps I can
be good at this.
in dreams begin responsibilities
If the show I saw in December in Miami was the same
show I'd seen in March up the road in Fort Lauderdale,
perhaps I'd not feel compelled to say anything else
other than: here are the pictures, enjoy. But in four
balls of fire and three clouds of dust, the perception
of the world by the world's people changed. The rock
show changed for me, became a ritual. The pattern
brought comfort; the pattern made sense when little
The singer's father died, and some of the singer's
songs found new life. This felt familiar: my father
died suddenly three years ago, and I still pretend it
was yesterday, and if I don't let go, maybe I can
change things back.
i want to turn a song
into a prayer
i want to turn a song
into you had to be there
Fifty nights I heard songs become prayer. The ritual
changed for me, became a church; not somewhere I'm used
to going. With repetition I eventually let go and let
that church carry me. As the songs found new life, I
found new life. I found I don't have to let go of
yesterday, and yet I can understand -- maybe even
accept -- that I can't change it back. It took me a
year to get it through my thick skull, but I think I
finally understand the image of a heart in a suitcase.
show your soul
show your heart and your soul
There were others on the physical trip as well;
sometimes with me, mostly just on a parallel journey.
Perhaps I was the only one so screwed up and to
everyone else it was about music and fun, and not some
desperate need for catharsis. I don't know. Whatever
we were thinking, after the final show, a large group
of us -- fans? travelers? pilgrims? -- were by four in
the morning sitting down by the water at South Beach,
trying to process where we'd been, what we'd done, and
that it was over.
Warm breezes said it's not December; winter is not
coming. Pure bright moonlight whispered, you are not
on earth; this is the light of another sun. Warmth in
the sand spoke through my skin: this is what should
always be but never is. The rock show became a
ritual; the ritual became a church; the church became a
shared dream. The dream is of the mind, of the spirit;
a laser off a CD, a signal caught by a radio, simply a
remembered lyric -- it can all take me back to that
moonlit beach, back to the dream. It can take us all
back, I hope. Maybe if enough of us live there, it
will become real.
I've never had much use for organized religions but I
read once that under the word religion is the Latin
religio, meaning to rebind. I'm sure to some I sound
like a nutcase, trying to justify running off to an
excessive number of shows when perhaps there's really
no excuse. But lives are changed all the time by far
smaller moments than the whirlwind of energy at a show
like this. The split second it took the car to shatter
my leg. The ring of the telephone telling me my
father's heart decided it had enough of all that
beating. The first moment you lock eyes with someone
you will love forever.
i'm wide awake
i'm not sleeping
So I thought I'd just ramble a bit in the middle of the
night and say thank you. Yes, to the band, to the
crew, to everyone on the road. But mostly, to all of
you. To all of us. We took that dream to the rock
show; it was ours to begin with. While we can never go
back, it will never go away. I needed to be shown
that. I step back into the dream now, and remember
that my father took me and my broken leg to the Detroit
Popmart, and saw a moment of the dream with me.
Perhaps he's got his own beach somewhere now.
I have no memory of it but I imagine the breeze, the
moonlight, the warm sand feels like the first kiss from
your parents after you're born. Rebind, re-connect.
Be alive. This is what should always be...
| Otto Kitsinger | | Los Angeles
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