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

    "So I presented my ticket, the lady scanned it and the device malfunctioned [...] She retried and there it was, a green check mark! It was an unbelievable experience, the band was on fire and we sang along for the complete concert."

    Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
    My name is Jochem, I am 22 years old and I live in Enschede, Netherlands. I’ve been living over there for over two and a half years by now due to my study of Forensic Science. Originally I’m from a small village near the city of Nijmegen. Like I just said, I study Forensic Science. Although it might sound very CSI, it’s not that much of a crime-focused program. Basically I study physics, chemistry, biology and statistics combined. These subjects altogether should make for a strong combination of skills needed to be a capable investigator in any field of work. I’m currently mostly interested in digital research and air crash investigations. I’m also the chairman of our study association for this year, which is a great experience and a lot of fun to do.

    How did you become a fan of U2? Tell us how it happened.
    I was browsing this Dutch website dumpert.nl, Dutch and Belgians may know it. Like the URL suggests, it’s basically people dumping all kinds of images and/or videos. One day I stumbled upon a video of a certain guy called Mike Massé covering Toto’s Africa. If you don’t know the guy, check him out. There’s a bunch of videos on YouTube, including a lot of U2 covers. So after being blown away by this performance of Africa, I went to his YouTube channel to check out the rest. I pressed autoplay and sat back to enjoy the show. The first song was ‘Red Hill Mining Town (U2 cover)’, after listening to this I didn’t bother playing the rest. I decided to check out the people responsible for this awesome tune.

    After a few hours on YouTube, listening to the great warhorses of the band it was my friend Harm (known as Kerstkaas over here) who took me on a trip through the discography of our beloved band. It was an absolute lovely experience to dig through so much material (it was the beginning of 2014 at the time) to choose from. After going through the studio albums, my search for B-sides and such started. It was Lady With The Spinning Head that skyrocketed my fandom. For a few days I was hooked to this tune and still to this day, I refer to being addicted to a song as ‘the Lady With The Spinning Head-syndrome’.

    Here I am with Mike Massé (the little guy) and his friend Sterling Cottam and my buddy Harm

    Tell us more about your U2 live experience at the I+E tour, how did you live the concert?
    The I+E tour was quite a ride for Harm and me. It was before I was a paid subscriber to U2.com so we had to go through the entire struggle to get tickets. When Ticketmaster opened their virtual gates at 9am I got through immediately. Amsterdam tickets would be available at 10am, so I tried to get tickets for Cologne before trying for Amsterdam. I selected two GA tickets, continued to payment and bang… the site was down. After this bummer I couldn’t get back in for Cologne tickets so the waiting game continued for Amsterdam. Sadly, I never saw the ticket selection page again. The line was massive and Ticketmaster couldn’t keep up. A week later, the 3rd and 4th show had been announced, it was basically the same story all over again. So there we were, no tickets to see our band for the first time.

    After a lot of doubting, listing pro’s and cons and considering the risks, we decided to browse Ticketswap for the Amsterdam gigs. We found two tickets for a reasonable price, decided to take the risk and bought them. To be sure we minimized the risk of ending up with a barcode that had already been scanned, we wanted to make sure we were in front of the line. That went surprisingly well and we were the first to enter the Ziggo Dome as the doors opened. I gave my ticket to the guy with the scanner and his screen showed a big fat red cross. He scanned again, called his superior to check out but I knew already this wasn’t going to work. I asked the guy: so this is it? ‘Yep, this is it’. So that was Harm and me heading home by train before U2 had even started to play. Long story cut short: the tickets we bought got deleted from the system after a resend had been requested by the initial buyer. After a long period of discussions with the seller and Ticketswap we got our money back, but we still felt gutted we didn’t get to see our band.

    It’s mostly due to Harm’s mom we finally did see U2 live. She had been searching Marktplaats (small Dutch equivalent of eBay) for hardcopy tickets. Originally I was skeptic, after our Amsterdam experience there wasn’t a single hair on my head that wanted to buy tickets this way. Harm decided to take the gamble and bought the tickets before I was 100% comfortable with it, thanks for that! We traveled to Cologne, had a beer and a burger and got in line. Sweaty palms and afraid of red crosses. So I presented my ticket, the lady scanned it and the device malfunctioned. I’m not even sure what I was thinking at this point, but I guess it involved a lot of swearing and such. She retried and there it was, a green check mark! It was an unbelievable experience, the band was on fire and we sang along for the complete concert. I can’t remember that much to be honest, if I think back I see Dallas sound checking the Explorer on the e-stage, Adam’s iconic moves during The Electric Co. and Bono looking our way for like half the song during One, great memories!

    You are attending a JT show in Amsterdam later on. Are you going spoiler-free, following every show remotely or something in-between?
    I wanted to go spoiler free, but that lasted for about one and a half gig. I was just too curious and when I realized it would be over two months between the tour starting in Vancouver and me going to the Amsterdam show, I gave up. So I check the setlist after each night, occasionally spot a clip on YouTube and sample the audio recordings over here every now and then. I’m not tuning in to listen to entire shows during setlist parties nor am I downloading the audio recordings like I did during I+E. I’ll do that after I’ve been to the Amsterdam show. So I know the setlist, I’ve seen and heard some samples of tunes but I don’t know the flow of the show. I’m pretty happy with this way of following the tour for now, so that’s fine.

    Now that the band is celebrating the Joshua Tree album, what does this album represent to you? What are your favourite tracks?
    To me the album represents an everlasting journey to find ultimate freedom and peace of mind. Every time I hear the opening seconds of Streets it gives me a euphoric feeling of freedom. To me the song builds a tower that helps me reach higher than I’ve ever been before. After Streets, the realization comes that although you might have found a certain amount of freedom and a ‘natural high’, you still haven’t quite figured it all out yet. And still you are looking for more meaning to everything to support this euphoric feeling of freedom. Followed by great tunes all focusing on the extremes of love and life.

    My favourite tracks on the album are Streets, Red Hill Mining Town and Exit. Streets for being the 3th best combination of sounds to ever hit this planet (only Ultraviolet and Bad beat Streets to this). I think after listening to this song for over 50.000 times I would still get the shivers down my spine during the intro. Red Hill Mining town since it initiated my fandom of U2 and Exit because it makes me remember how important it is to always try and keep thinking rationally and not misinterpret the things people may say to you.

    What are your expectations for SOE? What do you think of the track The Little Things That Give You Away?
    Remember the ‘Lady With The Spinning Head-syndrome’ I talked about earlier? The Little Things is an example of it! I’ve been repeating it for hours from the moment I first heard it. It sums up all the best of U2 in my opinion. The lyrics are great, all the band members are on fire during this song and I especially love Edge going crazy at the end. Adam also stands out I think, great bass playing like on HTDAAB.

    For the album: my expectations are quite high. What we’ve heard so far sounds promising. I like the Little Things very much, The Best Thing was a nice tune. Let’s hope the album can be somewhat like these songs. It would make sense to me that SOE is big and loud where SOI was more intimate. In that case, bring it on. I’m looking forward to it!

    Which member of the band would you most like to share a pint with? What would you ask him?
    I’ve been thinking for quite a long time about this question, but I’ll have to say Bono. Basically due to two reasons. First of all, I once heard another great musician (Noel Gallagher) say in an interview that he’d been drinking with Bono till 6am. Noel was absolutely smashed and Bono was still dancing and singing on the table. So I’d love to experience a night like this with the B-man!

    Second, and more seriously, I would ask Bono how he really sees the world and the issues he also addresses in their shows. I myself am (sometime too much) a mostly rational thinking person and find it hard to always feel love for everyone and everything. It seems that Bono is preaching this message though, love always wins. For sure I understand it’s his duty to send this message as a big rock star and activist. But I would love to speak to him in private and have a good chat about politics, poverty, and terrorism. I think it could be a superbly inspiring conversation.

    Can you tell us one song (U2 or not) that you wish you had written?
    I’m going with a non U2 song for this one. It has to be Don’t Look Back In Anger. It think it’s safe to say 80% of the world’s population can sing along to at least the chorus of this tune. I’m also a big Oasis fan and I admire Noel for the seemingly small amount of effort it costs him to write all these big hits.

    How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?
    I feel like sometimes it’s hard to be a fan of U2. They’ll do things every now and then that make me think: ahw come on, please don’t do this. For example ignoring Pop, dropping great tunes from the setlist and so on. But I’ll always keep coming back to this great band and they’ll be my number one band forever. And I can’t explain exactly why that is, so I guess compared to other artists I like U2 has a magical power of keeping me in their fanbase. My friend Harm once explained this very good by saying: ‘’U2 is like your crazy uncle, sometimes you can’t stand his actions but you’ll always love him for the good things and you’re always looking forward to meeting him again’’

    What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
    Every Monday evening I go pubquizing with my friends in Enschede, I like to watch sports on the television and occasionally pick up my running shoes (not anywhere near enough though!). I’m a big fan of motorsports, especially Formula 1. But any type of car racing will do the trick for me. Every year Harm and I travel to the beautiful circuit of Spa Francorchamps for the World Endurance Championship and in 2015 we attended the F1 race over there. I used to watch a lot of soccer but nowadays it’s mostly the Euro’s, World Championships and the Champions/Europa League. I also started playing the guitar about three months ago. I’ve never played any instrument before so it was quite a steep learning curve but I’m getting there little by little. Harm is a great guitar player and he’ll help me out every now and then so that’s nice.

    I would like to thank the U2start crew for selecting me for being fan of the month, I’ll be around a bit more after I’ve attended the Amsterdam show. I think I’ll tune in for some setlist parties after July!

    Greetings, Jochem

    This is me during an Angels and Demons party in our town I attended in style

    Thanks for this interview jochem!

    Note: Our crew members choose the fan of the month, you can't sign up for it.
  2. MacPhisto

    Great interview, Jochem! Glad you got to see them in Cologne after what happened in Amsterdam.
  3. Nice read Jochem!
  4. Hey Jo, fascinating read. Wow, Amsterdam sounded like a rough experience for you, what a nightmare that must have been for you. Really glad you managed to get see them in Cologne and put the bad experience behind you.

    My 2nd U2 gig was in Cologne at the Mungersdorfer in 1993, a great city to see the band so I hope it made up for the disappointment of not being able to see them at the Ziggo.
  5. Great interview! We feel the same way about the little things ...::)
  6. Nice interview, Jochem
  7. Cool interview, that must have been rough for you in Amsterdam.
  8. Originally posted by Caledonia:Hey Jo, fascinating read. Wow, Amsterdam sounded like a rough experience for you, what a nightmare that must have been for you. Really glad you managed to get see them in Cologne and put the bad experience behind you.

    My 2nd U2 gig was in Cologne at the Mungersdorfer in 1993, a great city to see the band so I hope it made up for the disappointment of not being able to see them at the Ziggo.
    was there in Cologne as well, good memorys
  9. For sure it was quite the experience in Amsterdam! Still to this day I have this anxious feeling when presenting my ticket for any concert. Thanks for the positive feedback people, see you around
  10. Woooow @ Your Amsterdam experience... Maaan that sucks so hard. We got scammed twice by our hotel and airbnb in Dublin during the U240 festivities there.
    Never saw our money back either. But when your not able to see the band.. Thats extra kut met peren...

    My favourite thing is about your interview for some reason is the "mad uncle" analogy ..
    Its SPOT ON.