Why did I hop the Greyhound bus and move to Chicago after college?

If I told you it was for anything other than U2, I would be lying. Actually, that is a half-truth. Chicago is the Midwest Mecca of advertising and I wanted to break into the biz. The city is closer to Iowa than New York plus I had family here who I could bunk in with if I needed to. More importantly, everything that was art related stopped in Chicago on the way to the either coast, which was very vital to me. I knew the city well as I grew up just down the road in Champaign, Illinois and had visited Chicago numerous times as a kid. When it was time for me to make a decision of where to live after college, the Windy City choice was a no brainer.

Think about it. Chicago, in 1990, was at the beginning of a rebirth. People were starting to take notice of this town and I wonder why. Can we say Michael Jordan and the Bulls amazing championship run? Let’s add another piece to that magical Bulls team, B. J. Armstrong, who graduated a year ahead of me at Iowa and playing along sir Michael. I’m sure that is really why I moved here and not seeing U2. Maybe but that three NBA championship run alone made living in the city a blast. Everywhere I went on vacation, people would ask if I had been to a Bulls game or to an Oprah taping. The city was getting its dues after being dormant for so long. I remember walking near the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy after the third NBA title and seeing a huge poster of MJ in the window. It was a reminder of home. More importantly, Chicago was on the map.

In hindsight, I have never felt one ounce of remorse for hopping that Greyhound bus in August of 1990 and chasing a dream of working in the creative field. I was joking about moving here because of U2. If I had stayed home and lived in Des Moines Iowa where my father lives, I’m a Fan wouldn’t exist. I’m sure I would be a U2 fan but not to the level I am today. It would have tapered off. For the twenty years I have lived in the city by Lake Michigan, U2 has only played one show in the state of Iowa while playing at least twenty shows during that same span of time here in the Second City. I have seen almost every single one.

Chicago is a U2 town. From the band visiting the Chicago Peace Museum’s exhibition aptly tiled The Unforgettable Fire to stopping here on the Amnesty International tour plus taping of a concert for a DVD, this is their home away from home. I’m not sure if it is our Midwest values or the Irish emigration but there is something special here for them. A friend of mine calls our city “Sugar Town” in reference to the live taping during the Vertigo stop here a few years back. My wife and I call it home. We live here every day. U2 just likes to visit.

Leave a Reply