Every month we put a U2 fan in the spotlight. The fan of the month for February 2018 is user wtonis. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.
"U2 played one hour from where I lived. I begged my parents to allow me to go, but they wouldn’t let me. At that day I made a promise to myself that I would never miss out on a U2 tour again."
Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
My name is Willy Tonis, 46 years old and I’m a teacher of English and senior study advisor at a school for secondary education.
How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
Back in 1984 when I listened to the popcharts a lot finding my way into popular music I heard U2’s Pride (in the name of love) on the radio. When I saw the video clip a bit later with footage of the band playing in the ballroom mixed with footage of the Dublin docks I knew I had found my musical destination at that time.
You have seen U2 for a period of more than 30 years, can you tell us how it all started?
In the summer of ’85 U2 played a number of summer festivals, one of them in Munster, Germany. The place was an hour’s drive from where I lived. I begged my parents to allow me to go, but they wouldn’t let me. At that day I made a promise to myself that I would never miss out on a U2 tour again. In 1987 I queued for an entire night to get a ticket for the Joshua Tree Tour at Rotterdam Stadium. I went there with one of those organised bus trips. I had a mighty good day and the moment the band got on stage with the extended intro of ‘Streets’ I experienced this adrenaline thrill for the first time.
What was your favourite tour and why was that?
That’s a difficult question. I think the ZOO TV Tour was amazing, pushing technology to the limit and the band playing 8 songs of Achtung Baby in the first part of the show.
Can you list us your 3 most special shows you've been to and tell us why they are so special to you?
Most special shows in random order. Slane Castle, August 2001. Among the support acts were 45 minutes of Coldplay and a stunning 90 minute set by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I have never experienced a better support line up. For U2 it was the first show after Bono buried his father. It was a truly emotional show. Bono kneeling on stage asking for strenght while the Irish and international crowd roared and made so much noise.
Amsterdam 3 at the Vertigo Tour was the show where I picked up a last minute ticket at a ticket drop. U2 were on fire that night playing Who’s gonna ride your wild horses, Miss Sarajevo and a full band Original of the Species where Terry Lawless was introduced on stage. The band closed the night with “40” after an impressive 2 hours and 26 minutes.
A real opening night had been on my list for a number of years when I decided to fly to Vancouver for the premiere of Innocence & Experience. The moment I entered that very small arena floor I felt the energy of a treat; the first time to see a new tour. No YouTube clips, audience recordings and pictures, but an immaculate experience where you see the thing for the first time with a lot of Canadians and people from over the globe.
What does your U2 collection look like? What kind of stuff do you have and how is it organised?
I’m not much of a collector really. I have got all albums in my cd collection, a number of cd singles and a few tour dvd’s.
How do you like Songs of Experience, what is your favourite song and why?
With Songs of Experience U2 wrap up and round off an era, I think. The themes of family and relationships appeal to me as well as the inner conversation between Innocence & Experience that every one comes across at a certain point in life. The key song for me is “The Little things that give you away”. It marks the the transition from Innocence to Experience on the album.
Should you be forced to leave to a deserted island and you can take only one U2 album with you, which would it be?
How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?
I love listening to music and I frequently visit rock, pop and singer-songwriter concerts. At U2 shows I feel that thrill that lifts me up that I hardly ever feel at other shows. Damian Rice, who I saw in 2016, elevated me to that level as well. It must be something Irish I guess.
What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
Outside the world of music I enjoy riding on my race bike, throwing dinner parties with family and friends and watching soccer games at FC Twente stadium.
Willy (right) with friends Tim, Justine and Jolene
Thanks for this interview wtonis!
Note: Our crew members choose the fan of the month, you can't sign up for it.
Hey Willy! Nice interview. So sad your parents didn't let you go to that 1985 festival, but man didn't you take your revenge over the years! Impressive concert list with great great shows like the last Lovetown Rotterdam, all three Rotterdam '93 gigs and Slane! Jealous
Cool! Nice read and great list of shows! I see you've been to Prague at Popmart show. Did you like it here and the show? It was my first U2 show and it's sad it was their only show in my country.
And btw. Slane 2001 must have been great and emotional show. Also last Lovetown Rotterdam must have been amazing
In the summer of ’85 U2 played a number of summer festivals, one of them in Munster, Germany. The place was an hour’s drive from where I lived. I begged my parents to allow me to go, but they wouldn’t let me...
I actually begged for going to see them at the Rotterdam Ahoy in 1984...but the argument that I would be 14 at the time of the concert didn't seem to convince them
Another fellow U2 fan from the eastern part of The Netherlands. Also a very recognizable story. My U2 fandom started also back in 1984. My parents did not allow me to sleep the night before the ticketoffice in 1987. Amsterdam 3 in 2005 still my favorite U2 concert.
My biggest U2 frustration, after being at the Rai concert in 1989, is missing the following Ahoy concerts in 1990. Did not managed to get tickets. So I am jealours.