So I’m back! And on the other side of the U2 Joshua Tree concert last night in Tampa at that huge pirate stadium, the Raymond James Stadium which seats up to 75,000 people. Almost of us were there last night, gathered for the celebration.

I’ve been waiting for this concert since the last time U2 came to Central Florida. Tickets purchased in January, I’ve been in a countdown to U2 since practically Christmas. But I’d wait until the end of the world if I had to.

It’s raining. Please don’t rain tonight. Or don’t rain in Tampa tonight. Or rain in Tampa right now so the rain will be exhausted by the time Bono and I and a few others meet in a musical landscape of yearning and pleasure.

In my closet, nothing looks right. I’d planned to wear my Janis Joplin top but it now feels too complicated a top for the freedom of an outdoor arena. What if rains? I know I’ve got to be dressed for the weather. Rummaging through, jeans—too hot; kicky black dress—too dressy, plus it would require heels and I can’t see walking through probably mud with my heels sinking into the sticky slick upon every step. What about my little summer dress? Strappy, with a cutline that flows at the midthigh. Oh, it’s perfect. And I can wear my flat sandals with it.

It’s still raining. We’re in the car, windshield wipers slapping back and forth over the glass. The only clear vision is immediately after the wipers pass, after which it’s a splash of rain washing over. Every breaking wave

On the highway, we crest a one tree hill, then all I can see forever down the road is red brake lights. “Oh, my gosh,” I say.

My driver consults his phone. “It goes all the way to Lakeland. It’s red all the way to Lakeland.”

That’s over halfway there.

It doesn’t bother me because I don’t believe it.

An hour later, I’m a believer. We’re only halfway to Lakeland when we should be driving through by now. My driver is stressed. I convince him to drop off the toll road and slide through McDonald’s. I’m famished, but I don’t want to be thinking about that when I’m singing. I haven’t eaten since eight this morning, and even then all I had was a little praline pecan muffin. All the cars in front of us and all the cars beside us and the cars behind us pull off with us and turn into McDonald’s. Everyone’s in front of us in line. Cashier runs out of tape. Manager’s yelling about French Fries. Orders stack up without being delivered. Is my driver mad at me? I glance at him. No, I’m in the clear.

I swear everything is working together to make us late. But I don’t feel stressed. “It doesn’t matter if we miss the warm-up band.” OneRepublic, but I’m willing to sacrifice them for U2. “That gives us at least till 8:00. Or 8:30”

I add that last part after insta-calculating Okay, even if they start on time, the first band will play till 8, then give a half hour to turn the stage around, so U2 at 8:30.

Five star lighting splits the sky and thunders down, God striking a gavel through the clouds. The whapWhap of wipers back and forth. Electrical storm. The sky is a different kind of blue, that swirling, smokey blue, drawn up in the clouds as a churning windmill of heaven and hell. Typical summer rain in sun city. We’ve been in the car for three hours to complete only half of what is usually a two hour trip. I haven’t seen an accident and yeah, with the rain, there’s no line on the horizon, but we’ve all driven in this before. Looking around I see only Florida plates. Then it hits me: they’re all going to U2. Everyone on this road is going to see U2. As soon as I think it, I know it’s true.

Okay, breathe, Danette, breathe.

Can you breathe too?

Part Two of X Coming up later.