1. Every month we put a U2 fan in the spotlight. The fan of the month for June 2019 is user ddarroch. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.

    "Just as they played that final song, thunder & lightning cracked across the sky. Bono had all the lights turned off, & I mean ALL the lights! Darkness, with the heavens flashing above us all. The crowd in full voice, helping out a very emotional Bono. A truly, truly remarkable moment!"

    Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
    Hi, I'm David Darroch! I’m an Aussie bloke, mid-aged, like many U2 fans I guess. Although I was born in Australia, and spend quite some time there, I also spend a lot of time living & working overseas.

    I’ve spent the last 15 years chasing snow, often in an endless winter. Think I’m now up to my 13th uninterrupted winter, in this stretch. People dream of endless summers, & think I’m crazy, but I love it!

    I work in the ski industry, as a snowmaker. This has taken me to Canada, the US, the Australian ski fields (yes, they exist) & Austria (where I’ve spent much of the last few years). “A snowmaker?”, you may ask. I get that a lot, especially passing through immigration at the airport. “What’s snowmaking, I thought god made the snow?”. Well, my main task is to check on the quality of the man-made snow we’re producing. I do this by travelling around the mountain, mostly on a snowmobile at night (or on a snowboard in the daytime). It’s a job with many, many dangers, and the weather can be absolutely brutal. Standing at the top of the mountain, alone, in a snowstorm, under a plume of freezing snow. It’s not most people’s idea of fun, but I think it’s the best job on the planet!

    How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
    My older sister was a fan, so I found the band through her. Was around the time of Rattle & Hum, or slightly before. I used to listen to her records of The Joshua Tree, Rattle and Hum, Unforgettable Fire and Under a Blood Red Sky. The first U2 album I owned must have been Achtung Baby. I remember listening to the first radio broadcast of the Fly, in the dark, totally blown away by this new sound (and not quite sure what I thought of it at the time).

    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?
    Along with my sister, some of my school friends are fans. I saw Sydney shows with them on the ZooTV, Popmart, and Vertigo tours. I missed the Aussie leg of 360 unfortunately. But my sister introduced my young nephews to U2, & the spectacle of the CLAW. They promptly fell asleep. I’ve hoping to take them into GA later this year and convert them!

    What does your U2 collection look like? What kind of stuff do you have and how is it organised?
    I’m not an uber fan, like many people on the forum. I guess I’m more obsessed now with their live shows than their commercial releases. But like many people, my life revolved around music a bit more when I was younger, so I collected a bit more stuff back then, nothing rare.

    It’s not much of a collection. I have all the studio albums on CD, best of's, plus Under a Blood Red Sky & Wide Awake in America. I guess the highlights must be singles that family brought back from the States for me. Nothing rare, but some cracking B-sides amongst them which. Night and Day, Race Against Time, Alex descends into HELL for a BOTTLE of MILK, Lady With The Spinning Head, Satellite of Love, Slow Dancing among others. I did record Bono singing Slow Dancing on Australian radio many moons ago, but who knows where that tape ended up.

    Sorry to say my collection isn’t very loved. Packed up in boxes, as my lifestyle often necessitates. Digital is so much more convenient nowadays.

    When you're forced to leave to a deserted island and you can take only one U2 album with you, which would it be?
    That’s a tough one, that’s nearly impossible to answer. As it’s very dependent on my mood. The contenders would be Achtung Baby, The Unforgettable Fire or Under A Blood Red Sky (can I cheat, it couldn’t be the 8-track version, it’d have to be the 17-track version released for DVD).

    You've seen U2 on 7 tours spread over 3 continents. Can you tell us about the Sydney shows for Zoo TV and Popmart? What were they like?
    We were young & hardcore for ZooTV. So we camped out overnight, just to get tickets! We knew we couldn’t line up early for GA (cricket season), we decided to buy seats. No choice of seats or sections back then, no looking at seat maps. You took what you were given. I presume that they sold tickets around the seated tiers, closest to the stage first, working their way to the back of the stadium. We bought our tickets very, very early, so they’d be close to the stage. Too close in fact! Turns out they screwed up (hadn’t taken into account the ginormous size of the stage), & our seats were actually behind the stage! Not a happy camper. Luckily, they let us go down to the field, and as we were still quite early, we had decent spots, reasonably close to the b-stage. Long story short, I'm short, so didn't see a lot of the band. Just the screens & almighty presentation. What can I remember from the show? Hard to know what I’ve remembered from the show, & from the DVD. But I do remember the start, Zoo Station blew my mind, & the Trabants dancing up in the air.

    Popmart. The only time I’ve seen seats on the field. We got seats down there but couldn’t afford the very front section. Again, we got there early, managed to blag our way past security, into the front section. So we watched the show standing by the rail of the catwalk. I certainly remember the lemon breaking, & the hold up. We got high fives from Bono, Edge & Adam as they went by, down the side of the catwalk – Larry wasn’t on board.

    As is quite often the case at U2’s Sydney shows, it was hot as hell, with a summer storm expected in the evening. Like all Popmart shows, it was a cracking setlist, with those brilliant Pop songs that I think are sorely missed at their live shows now. But what I really remember was One. A tribute to INXS’s Michael Hutchence., who had died a few months earlier. The concert had been stormy, with rain. Just as they played that final song, thunder & lightning cracked across the sky. Bono had all the lights turned off, & I mean ALL the lights! Darkness, with the heavens flashing above us all. The crowd in full voice, helping out a very emotional Bono. A truly, truly remarkable moment!

    Your first show outside of Australia was Slane Castle in 2001, what kind of experience was that? What made you travel so far for U2?
    I lived in London at the time, so Ireland wasn’t too far away. I can be an obsessive planner, and was the super-keen U2 addict among my friends. I organised tickets to the first Slane show, & even booked a B & B just a mile north of Slane (the rest of the crowd were in traffic jams heading to Dublin until 3am!). I got all my friends to sign up to u2.com (free) for the online presale, something new. This turned out to be a disaster, as I was the only one who ended up with (two) GA tickets. But I have to say sorry to the Irish fans (I played my part in most of them missing out on tickets to that first show), as we had much more luck in the general sale. Getting a further 16 tickets! Ireland & U2 road trip!

    What a trip it was! Travelling around Ireland for a few day with a large group of friends, then topping in off with a legendary concert. My friends weren’t that keen, and didn’t want to line up for GA. They dropped me there early, & I went solo for the concert. After some early rain, the skies cleared & we got some unseasonably warm Irish weather. We even got sunburnt! So worth the wait! Inside the heart, second row, between Adam & Bono. My first experience close to the band, I’ve been addicted to being close to the action ever since! Turning around, when the Chili Peppers implored the crowd to take their shirts off, & helicopter them overhead. Seeing 100,000 people do this, up the slopes of the natural amphitheatre, stretched as far as the eye could see up the slope! Psych you up!

    Coldplay & the Chili Peppers put on great sets, but this show was all about U2. The second Slane show may have been a bittersweet celebration (as Ireland beat the Netherlands in the football and qualified for the World Cup), but this first show was all about mourning the loss of Bono’s dad. Incredible moments. Like Kite, dedicated to Bono’s dad, screaming “I’m a man, I’m not a child!” Still sends shivers up my spine. The same with One, with images of Bob Hewson on the screen, so much emotion. On a happier note, I finally got to hear A Sort of Homecoming live. One of my favourite songs, off one of my favourite albums. It hadn’t been played forever, since before I was a fan actually. Bono fluffed it, but I didn’t care, added to the fun of finally hearing it live. The show finished in darkness, & fireworks! Finding my friends up on the hill, jabbering away, unable to stop talking, high on life!

    What was your favourite tour over the 7 and why?
    Tough question. ZooTV, PopMart and Elevation, were single shows, special shows with amazing moments I’ll never forget. Some of them described above. The Vertigo Sydney shows also had special moments for me. But 360 and the recent arena tours were different. As these were the first tours where I saw quite a few shows on a single leg. Following the band from city to city, & meeting new friends, many of whom I am still close with. i+e was particularly special, as it was the first time I’d seen U2 in the more intimate environment of an arena.

    But, as a whole, I guess 360 would be my favourite tour. 7 shows, over two legs in the US. Particularly the first leg in 2009. A road trip I organised on the U2 forums, with three guys I’d never met. A Northern Irish budding author, a striving American actor, a Spaniard and an Aussie. Driving through the desert from LA to Phoenix. To the Grand Canyon & Vegas, & finally back to LA for the Rosebowl show. Topping it off at the last show of the leg in Vancouver, where I was very lucky & was the first person into the inner circle.

    How excited are you that U2 is finally coming back to Australia after 9 years? What are you looking forward to the most?
    It’s been a long wait! For me it’s 13 years since I last saw U2 perform in Australia. As I was overseas when 360 visited these shores. I have seen them elsewhere though, seeing 360 in the US, & the arena tours in Europe. I didn’t have a chance to see the Joshua Tree tour in 2017 however, so I am looking forward to seeing this tour, particularly as it would’ve been the first tour I’d missed since I saw my very first show at ZooTV.

    What am I looking forward to most? It’s probably actually showing my overseas U2 friends around my hometown of Sydney. Getting them across the harbour on a ferry to Manly, and taking them up Sydney’s northern beaches. November, the weather should be lovely. Also seeing the shows with my Australian friends & family, for the first time in a very long time! Hopefully with some very special moments we haven’t seen elsewhere.

    How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?
    I guess U2 is richer I would say the main similarity that U2 has with other artists I like is that they all have a social conscience. I’m not a huge music fan, & don’t follow other bands like I follow U2. But previously it was also Simple Minds and Peter Gabriel. Then it was Ani DiFranco, who I was quite obsessed with at one stage. Like Edge she’s a very talented (acoustic) guitarist, with her own unique style. A poet, with cutting lyrics. I like her older stuff, when she was young, energetic, & angry. Commenting on US politics, gay rights, women’s rights. She was very prolific at the time, releasing an album a year (very different from U2). But she’s slowed down & suffers from tendonitis in her hands, due to all that strumming! She puts on an amazing live show though. The show she performed at a tiny music festival in Port Macquarie, Australia, was up there with any U2 show I’ve seen. Now it’s Tash Sultana. If you enjoyed Edge’s live solo loops on Running to Stand Still, check out Tash Sultana’s bedroom mixes. Particularly Jungle and Notion. Now that is talent!

    What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
    My number one hobby is snowboarding. It’s more of an addiction than a hobby. It caused me to leave a well-paid professional job, only one year out of university. Gave it all up and moved to Canada on a holiday working visa. I’ve been chasing the snow ever since. Hopefully my next trip will be Hokkaido, Japan, the best snow on the planet! Oh, while I’m there, I’m hoping to see a little Irish band that you may know.

    Travelling’s a great hobby, though costly. I have travelled pretty extensively, visiting every continent except Antarctica. My favourite trip was to South America. My favourite countries were probably Columbia and Bolivia.

    A grew up surfing a lot, most days of the week when I was young. But I’ve aged, mellowed and don’t really surf much anymore. Though I still love to spend a lot of time in the ocean when I’m home in Sydney.

    Thanks for this interview ddarroch!

    Note: Our crew members choose the fan of the month, you can't sign up for it.
  2. Loved the stories of those nineties and Slane Castle shows. Awesome!
  3. Fascinating to learn more about David - an Aussie who chases snow not surf; who knew such people existed.
  4. Great interview Dave!

    Nice meeting you in Belfast and see you in Japan, hopefully!
  5. I really enjoyed that interview! Great stories of previous tours & I hope you enjoy the upcoming shows to the fullest. Also, your job sounds fascinating & kinda scary (at the top of the mountain at night)
  6. I thought this was a snowmaker...

    Just kidding. Great interview, man! Hope to meet you someday. I hope you enjoy the JT Tour after missing its 2017 iteration
  7. Thanks for the interview Remy, that was good fun

    See you in November in Oz.
  8. Haha, there's actually a few of us about.

    Though I'm sitting pretty close to the beach now. Certainly not going in the water today, with that howling gale outside.

    Hope you had some luck today, & got all the tickets you were after.
  9. Cheers Paul.

    Well we all did wonderfully today. Very much looking forward to seeing you in Japan
  10. And i am being genuine , congrats man
  11. Originally posted by LikeASong:I thought this was a snowmaker...


    Just kidding. Great interview, man! Hope to meet you someday. I hope you enjoy the JT Tour after missing its 2017 iteration
    Haha The type of snowmaking I do certainly doesn't pay nearly as well!! Those Japan GA's are going to hurt!