I’ve seen that video many times over the years. Two things struck me as I watched it again today.
- My first thought was…U2 here is really not that great. Why would they pick “Bad” as their “hello, world!” song? Doesn’t make too much sense. Until you evaluate the song. Until you see what happens.
- The video begins with Bono singing “Satellite of Love”, a lament written by Lou Reed about a girlfriend. The song “Bad” is about the horrors heroin addiction. So, we have the transcendent rock star and the lost “other” represented by the crowd. The Transcendent Being is lamenting over his loss of the other to pain.
He is singing to them, calling out to them, and, at 2:00, he sings,
“If I could through myself
Set your spirit free
I’d lead your heart away
See you break, break away
Into the light…
And to the day”
At 4:20 he says, “If I could, you know I would, if I could…” before listing the fruit of their sin: “This desparation…Dislocation…Separation…Condemnation…Revelation…In temptation…Isolation…Desolation…”
He’s telling them to simply “Let it go.”
He goes to a lower stage, calling one of them out, into community and intimacy with him.
But, she simply cannot do it.
So, at 6:00, he does an amazing thing.
He does the only left to do.
He jumps in. And pulls her out. And dances with her. And then two more.
And Bono, fully aware of his surroundings, sings, “Let it go!” “I’m wide awake!”
He cleverly says goodbye to Ruby Tuesday, and co-opts another Stones song, “Sympathy for the Devil” by saying “Pleased to meet you! Hope you guess my name!”
Bono just taught the thousands in that stadium and the million watching around the world the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And he did it without a single Christian phrase or Bible verse.
God came down as man into the muck and mire of a sinful world and snatched us away from death.