Every month we put an U2 fan in the spotlights, the fan of the month January of 2020 is user edlomax. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.
"The Saitama shows took me places emotionally. Certain songs were, as Bono recently mentioned, about transcendence, like a spiritual experience."
Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
Originally from Dallas, but adopted the SF Bay Area when I reached 30 years. However, I have been living overseas for most of the past decade working as a Spanish and/or English teacher at international schools in Norway, Turkey and China. In addition to my work in education, I have always had a creative hobby, such as playing in a symphonic orchestra, being a radio/club DJ… and now freelancing as a photographer. I’ve had exhibitions in Beijing and Belgrade, as well as print and online publications.
How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
I’m from the early MTV generation, and I used to spend hours after school watching music videos. I clearly remember the video for New Year’s Day and the Red Rocks performance of Sunday Bloody Sunday that hooked me on this band. When The Unforgettable Fire came out, I purchased that album for my new turntable on the strength of Pride being played on the radio (and that cover art!); 35 years later I still have that exact same album on vinyl in my collection.
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?
Not really. Perhaps a song or two. I was a bit obsessive with U2, to be honest, and they never really got into them as much as I have… and that is perfectly OK
You saw U2 first on the Zoo TV tour in Dallas, Texas. How was that experience?
It was amazing as you would imagine the tour that in many ways reinvented how bands toured. My girlfriend in my freshman year of college bought me the ticket as a birthday gift, as I was too poor to afford it. We were on the floor in GA, and I just remembered that a few tall guys in front of us kept me from fully seeing the stage. Nevertheless, I remembered singing along and jumping around throughout the show. I have no keepsake from that night other than an orange Achtung Baby bandana I purchased, yet I still can recall the excitement I had seeing them live.
Your next U2 show only happened in 2019, 27 years later in Saitama, Japan. What changed in seeing U2 live and what remained the same over those years?
The songs (leading up to AB) are still beautiful compositions after all these years. However, the songs are definitely more personal to me now. Being in my mid-40s, I have had life experiences, both good and bad, that have connected with U2’s music.
What was the overall experience like, what did you enjoy the most?
The Saitama shows took me places emotionally. Certain songs were, as Bono recently mentioned, about transcendence, like a spiritual experience. Without a doubt, Bad and WTSHNN were the peaks of that euphoria. RTSS, Desire, EBTTRT, OTH, BTBS were standouts, as well. The setlists, the few individuals I met, the visuals, the overall energy of the crowd… they all added to what ultimately mattered most: hearing the songs live. Hands down, the best concerts I’ve ever experienced.
What are your expectations of the future with regards to U2 and their musical direction?
Personally, I want them to continue making music as long as they love being a band together. Although I can’t say that I love the latter part of their career as much as everything leading up to Zooropa, I still believe they pen gorgeous music (Little Things, Please, Kite, The Troubles… to name a few) and should continue to let their creativity flow.
What does your U2 collection look like? What kind of stuff do you have and how is it organised?
As a teenager, I used to frequent record fairs in Dallas, Texas. I would spend an entire Saturday digging through the vendors’ collections and used to own some lovely live and demo recordings from 80s era U2. Due to my nomadic lifestyle, though, I don’t have as much with me anymore… besides a small collection of vinyl: my ’84 pressing of TUF, an Argentinian pressing of TJT I picked up while studying in Buenos Aires, a colored bootleg pressing of Zooropa I found in Athens, the remastered AB, a promo pressing of The Passengers.
How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?
U2’s music, as I mentioned before, is personal. I have grown up with their songs, and they have grown up with me. No other band has connected with me on such a deeper level than U2. I never bore of their music, nor need to take a “hiatus” from listening to them; I might just focus on different eras of their musical output at times. I have to thank U2start for always providing me a place to rediscover them via live recordings or through the fans sharing their own opinions. Even though, I’m not an active member in chats, I’ve been following this site for 12 years and often read posts on an almost daily basis.
What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
Right now, most of my energy is finding a new teaching position in Europe, but I have a wide range of interests: photography (these days, only analog film); travel (63 countries and counting); cycling; ultimate frisbee; learning the guitar and actually how to cook better; craft beer (drinking, not brewing); hiking; social anthropology; Serbia; cat/dog fostering and adoption.
Thanks for this interview @edlomax!
Note: Our crew members randomly pick fans of the month, you can't sign up for it.