1. Every month we put a U2 fan in the spotlight. The fan of the month for February 2017 is user AMLBONO. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.

    "We decided to name our son Joshua in honour of The Joshua Tree. I am very excited to be taking him to his first U2 concert this summer and how ironic is that it is named The Joshua Tree Tour."

    Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
    My name is Mike and I am Canadian! I was born in Niagara Falls in 1977 so like U2 I will soon be in my 40th year. I am married to my wife of almost 15 years (this September). When we were introduced at our wedding reception we walked out to Elevation and I was dressed in a leather jacket and wraparound shades. We have two children, daughter named Lily (aged 8) and my son named Joshua (aged 6). I have 20 years of retail experience and currently work for Best Buy as a manager. We live in Brampton which is about 20 minutes away from Toronto. I first registered for U2start.com seven years ago. Since then I have downloaded every U2 concert bootleg available. I am currently editing this collection with full song titles and snippets.

    How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
    I became a U2 fan back in early 1992. My taste in music was terrible prior to U2. It consisted of Young MC, MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice to name a few. My cousin Erin and I are the same age and we spent a lot of time together as children and teenagers. Needless to say her musical tastes changed for the better much sooner than my own. She got into U2 and R.E.M. in 1991. I was forced to watch the video of Even Better Than The Real Thing repeatedly as my cousin had developed a teenage crush for Bono. I didn’t mind U2 but it wasn’t until the video of Who’s Gonna Ride Your Horses that I became a big fan. For whatever reason I just fell in love with that song! So this was back in the day of the Columbia House CD offer of 12 CDs for a penny. Without my cousin’s knowledge I had ordered Achtung Baby as one of my 12! The album quickly became a staple in 5 disc CD Player.

    For me I had found U2 in 1992 so while everyone was getting accustomed to the “new” look of U2 this for me was the norm. Going back and watching old videos from the ‘80s I couldn’t believe that this was the same band. Blue jeans, suspenders and cowboy hats preceded the leather pants and wraparound shades? In a short time I had all of their albums and I just fell in the love with this band. My cousin ordered the PPV for the Zoo TV concert later in 1993 and watching that solidified by love of this band.

    You have attended every U2 show in Toronto since Popmart. This years performance will be your 13th. Can you tell us a bit on how you saw U2 evolve during all these years?
    1997. Skydome. Toronto. Somewhere there still exists a poorly recorded bootleg of the concert with me telling my friends “To stand the f@$& up” when Pop Muzik began to play. My first time seeing U2 live! We were level 500 at what is now the Rogers Centre. Was able to take in the giant screen, golden arch and that lemon. I went to many concerts before but the spectacle of what PopMart offered left all other performances in the dust. I remember the hairs on my neck rising as Bono finished singing ‘Please’ and hearing for the first time in a concert setting ‘Where The Streets Have No Name”. Unbelievable!

    2001. HSBC Arena. Buffalo. Front row in the heart! First time seeing U2 in America. I remember as the intro music to Elevation began seeing the band off to the side of the stage ready to come on. I teared up like a schoolgirl. Here was the band I had loved since 1992 and The Edge was no more than 5 feet away from me. I loved the intimacy of the Elevation Tour. Having been to PopMart and watching Zoo TV live on TV I realized now that they didn’t need that size of a stage. The songs were strong enough to capture the audience.

    2005. ACC. Toronto. I loved and hated the Vertigo Tour. I loved it because they began playing past the 2-hour mark. Also, it was my first time hearing many songs off the Boy album. However, with seeing 3 shows in 5 nights the political side of Bono got a little monotonous and tiring. I have always respected his political voice and have donated to many of the causes that he associates himself with but at this tour he seemed to be preaching from the soapbox. I did find the story of The Edge coming from the future very amusing before the beginning of ‘Miracle Drug’.

    2011. Rogers Centre. Toronto. I loved the 360 Tour! Having U2 back in a stadium setting. Very nice nod to Achtung Baby! with opening the show with a number of songs from that album. Was disappointed to have many of the songs from NLOTH dropped for this final leg of the tour that was delayed with Bono’s back surgery. Loved the stage, screen and setup for 360! This was also the first U2 concert that my wife Angela attended with my in General Admission.

    2015. ACC. Toronto. Many of my friends ask me how can I continue to see this band in concert? Do they not now just put on a Greatest Hits show? The i + e Tour was and is the reason why I still love this band. At the time they were reaching their 40th year together and yet they were playing 7 songs from a new album that were very well received from their fans.

    As far as the evolution of U2 goes they continue to “dream it all up again”. The albums are good to have but there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that comes close than to seeing this band live in concert.

    What was your favourite U2 show, and why?
    Favourite U2 concert, hands down, was Hamilton 2001-10-13. This was the 3rd Leg of the Elevation Tour, which took place after the events of 9/11. I was working overnights at the time for Wal-Mart on that September 11th and was sleeping at the time of the attacks. I was awaken by a phone call from a representative from Sunrise Records letting me know that ticket sales have been cancelled for U2 this upcoming Friday (I had a wrist band handed out to secure a spot in line and that was how they had my phone number). When I asked why he told me turn on the television. When I did that is when I seen the second World Trade Tower crumble to the ground. I was in shock and disbelief. Needless to say, U2 did eventually put tickets on sale and my wife Angela and I went to the show in Hamilton.

    Having seen two shows on this tour earlier in the year the band were playing with more ferocity and passion then I have ever seen before. The songs from ATYCLB seemed to also take on another life but there was a stretch when they played Bad, WTSHNN, ISHFWILF and Pride that took me to another level. It was like going to church! This was also the first show where they scrolled the names of persons who died on 9/11 so that was very emotional.

    You have heard 9 songs from the Pop album live, more than from any other U2 album. A statistic that will change this year. Which one was your favourite live and why?
    Favourite song performed live from Pop would have to Last Night On Earth. It boggles my mind at how this song, and many others from Pop, has never seen the light of day again. I loved the intro where Bono says “I went looking for spirit and I found alcohol. Went looking for soul, and I bought some style!” The guitar solo at the song’s end with The Edge shows that he is one of the greatest guitarists in the history of rock! Also, with Larry and Adam holding down that rhythm section. U2 do not have many ‘heavy’ songs but this one needs to be dusted off and played again.

    What are your expectations for the Joshua Tree show this year?
    I want to hear some new songs! I like the idea of looking back at The Joshua Tree because I do believe that what a lot of these songs were about are issues that are relevant to today. With that being said what I have always loved about the U2 live experience is that even though you got the warhorses they always played 6-8 new songs off their current album release. They are not a band to just go out and play their ‘Greatest Hits’.

    With that being said it is also the 20th Anniversary of Pop so I would love for them to work some of those songs into the set list. ‘Last Night On Earth’ or ‘Please’ would be great to hear live again. Even to have ‘Discothèque’ open an encore would be very cool.

    I’m intrigued at how they will perform the album, if they do it sequentially or random selected tracks throughout the concert. If it is the sequential and many people want to have them open with WTSHNN can you imagine that first album side of The Joshua Tree being played to open a concert. Five of the bands most loved songs opening a show!

    Does anyone in your family or one of your friends like U2? If so, did they introduce you to U2, or did you "convert" them?
    Early on while we were dating my wife knew of my love and passion for U2. With the number of concerts we have attended I don’t think she really had a choice not to become a fan. The cool part is I think she gets enjoyment from seeing how excited I get during a U2 concert. We both went and seen Pearl Jam last year for the first time and there was a woman in the row in front of us that was singing every song and just losing her mind. I had made a comment to my wife and she replied “That is you to a T when you see U2 live!”

    When my son was born I knew I had no chance in hell at naming him Bono. I had considered Paul but I didn’t know if many people would get the connection. So we decided to name him Joshua in honour of The Joshua Tree. I am very excited to be taking him to his first U2 concert this summer (first outside the womb, my wife was pregnant with him during the 360 Tour) and how ironic is that it is named The Joshua Tree Tour. For my daughter Lily, she plays that she doesn’t like U2 but I think she is a fan deep inside (her first concert was Taylor Swift in 2015).

    Which U2 song do you feel the most "attached" to, or means the most for you?
    This is such a difficult question to answer. Like trying to name my favourite child. I love ‘Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses’ because that was the song that for whatever reason made me a fan of this band but I have to answer ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’. The album version does absolutely nothing for me but hearing any live version of the song those hairs on the back of my neck tingle and stand up!

    How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?
    Not too much different. I do not get wrapped up with Top 40 or One Hit Wonder artists. I love looking back and delving deep into the discographies of many older artists (David Bowie, Pink Floyd & The Beatles). I am such a huge fan of Uncut Magazine Ultimate Music Guides. For whatever reason when I start to like an artist I have to obtain their entire discography.

    After U2 my next favourite artist would be Bruce Springsteen. Also, for the same reason that he puts a lot of new songs into his set lists as well. Very easy for an artist with his catalogue of songs to got out and play the hits only but he like U2 works that new material so that is stands beside his greatest hits.

    Growing up I got into a fair amount of British bands (Oasis, Blur and Radiohead) to name only but a few. Was never a big fan of the whole grunge movement of the early nineties but did become a Pearl Jam fan. My wife Angela loves country music so I have some favourites in that genre as well.

    I love artists whose music has a purpose or story to tell. One that has a huge list of supporters and followers because their music connects to them on a personal and spiritual level. One who uses their voice to speak about injustices throughout the world. I also love artists that are not afraid to change and evolve.

    For me though music has always been more about the ‘live experience’ than it has been about the album experience. I have been to well over a hundred concerts in the my life ranging from U2, Springsteen, Pearl Jam & Radiohead to Billy Joel, Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks.

    What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
    Being a father of two (2) that is my hobby! They definitely keep me busy day and night. I do love my sports though. Always been a huge fan of the NHL, NFL, MLB and the EPL. I started watching soccer or ‘football’ depending on where you live late in life and have since become a huge Manchester United and England supporter.

    Checking up on U2start.com is how I start and end each day. To see what the boys from the north side of Dublin are up to!

    Thanks for this interview AMLBONO!



    Note: Our crew members choose the fan of the month, you can't sign up for it.
  2. What a very nice read! I totally agree on the Pop part of your story. All the best! Like the fact that your son is called Joshua!
  3. Wow, that was an awesome read! Nice one Mike!

  4. Great read! Pretty cool that your son is called Joshua too!
  5. Great great read I don't know what's more impressive: getting married dressed as The Fly (kind of) or downloading AND RENAMING 1500 bootlegs!! hahaha. Fantastic interview sir, great to know you a lil better.


    PS.
    1997. Skydome. Toronto. (...)
    2001. HSBC Arena. Buffalo. First time seeing U2 in America.

    Yeah I didn't know Toronto was in Asia
  6. Originally posted by LikeASong:Great great read I don't know what's more impressive: getting married dressed as The Fly (kind of) or downloading AND RENAMING 1500 bootlegs!! hahaha. Fantastic interview sir, great to know you a lil better.


    PS.
    1997. Skydome. Toronto. (...)
    2001. HSBC Arena. Buffalo. First time seeing U2 in America.

    Yeah I didn't know Toronto was in Asia
    Lol! Just a different vibe seeing U2 in America. My first 3 times were in Toronto!
  7. My point was that Toronto is actually in America too But I was half joking, not meant to hijack your thread.
  8. Nice read AMLBONO. Have fun with the family @ the concerts !!
  9. A very nice read. I feel like I have been reading your posts for quite some time now and am surprised you haven't been FotM yet!

    Congrats, my fellow Niagara-Region-born U2 fan!
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