1. Every month we put an U2 fan in the spotlights, the fan of the month March of 2020 is user ZOOTVTOURist. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.

    "I bought The Unforgettable Fire because of the album cover. Yes, I loved the colour, the castles, the black and white atmosphere. And then I dived into the music - an experience, that has alway been my very own "A Sort Of Homecoming" since 36 years now. ’"

    Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
    I’m Sascha, me and my lady have one daughter and we are settled in the south of Germany. In my professional life I'm a nice bunch of guys: with a range from media consultant and journalist to working as a historian and teaching in university.

    How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened
    Being twelve years old I bought "The Unforgettable Fire" in 1984 from my savings. But, hey, not because of the music - U2 were not known then with my circles in school - but because of the album cover. Yes, I loved the colour, the castles, the black and white atmosphere. And then I dived into the music - an experience, that has alway been my very own "A Sort Of Homecoming" since 36 years now.

    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?
    The one or the other girlfriend was converted into a true U2-believer, whatever this means. Others obviously have faked to care, just to impress:-) Regarding my family, I think the overall U2 rejection ("U2, oh no - again?") is based on a kind of simple jeaoulsy and ego-thing. When you spend so much energy, interest, money, love with a hobby - it is strange for people, who are close and have to share you in a way. Anyone of my friends and buddies? Well: @Florian, Faisti, Irene, Alex, Rich', Gerhard, Jana, Stefan, Tom, Reinhard, Michael, and so on - we could fill a club gig alone, I think. No, they did not have to be converted. Some of them are as crazy as me ...

    Your first U2 show happened in 1992 for the Zoo TV tour and it kickstarted a series of 17 shows on that tour. How did you go from 1 to 17 on your very first U2 tour?
    Tour madness. A desire to live your life full of joy, meeting other folks who feel the same, exloring new cities, not thinking so much about money or future or whatever. Just the present. Being yourself. Feeling good. Creating and defining another reality. And just essential questions, like "Which spot tonight in the GA?", "Which entrance will open first?" and for me most important "What will be the setlist like?" ... you see, madness:-) After having missed the real The Joshuy Tree in Munich '87 - though a schoolmate had a ticket for me, but I was on family holiday abroad - and having skipped Dortmund night #3 in 1989 - though my mates attended - because of a soooo important math exam, I attended my first U2 live gig in Munich indoor in 1992. When ZOO TV went outdoor; I wanted to travel. ZOOTVTOURist was born, standing 1993 at the B-stage in Munich, Stuttgart, Köln and Berlin with my German mates. After being a bit disappointed from the last show - having hoped for ACHTUNG BABY in
    full and other fan-nonsense - I had a break until Basel. After this show Italy followed with some Italian friends and beautiful five nights in Roma, Napoli and Bologna. Then my mate Rich' and me travelled to the Glasgow shows and the first two in Wembley. Still being so fascinated a last minute option was made for the final Dublin dates.Money savings,support from my parents and friends, jobs during my studies in university, ticket drops on the days of the shows and cheaper ticket and travel costs back then made all this possible.

    What was that tour like? What are some of your memories from back then?
    The very best rock shows ever witnessed: The band being so on top of their music electric and acoustic, and so sure of it. Every night. every show. Bono still moving on stage like Jim Morrison's son. What a physical frontman he was back then. Still playing the acoustic guitar, still fighting for three cords and his truth. In the disguise of a rock god from outer space. Of the devil himself. A voice so great in shape with Bono dreaming out loud and adressing political and social issues without any hypocrisy or holding back. The spokesman of my generation. All this on a unique stage designed by artists and very creative persons. So many memories: The intro every night, the tension, the overload, the outstanding acoustic sets in Glasgow 2 or Bologna 2, the new album ZOOROPA being released on tour and as fast as possible being incorporated in the setlist, singing "Stay" in Dublin '93. The Swastikas (burning again) in the Berlin Olympiastadion. The Italian crowds, the so disturbing and at
    the same time so important Sarajewo links; Bono's attacks on the UN, politicians, media. Salman Rushdie being on stage, Shankar playing the violin or MacPhisto singing a cappella "Help!" with all of us. ZOO TV was ground breaking; it defined rock shows in general - and also the role of the spectator.

    You saw U2 on every tour since until 2018, how did they evolve over time? Any favourite show or tour
    From my point of view U2 were always far from being the "best" band on the planet. Musicaly they are no E-Street Band nor The Rolling Stones nor Bob Dylan regarding their craft and ability as song writers or musicians on stage. In this interview there is not space enough to distinguish between their albums and recorded songs - and their live appearances, that have been backed a lot by many, many effects, visually and musically. Especially in the last decades. In 1997 I enjoyed so much travelling the POPmart Tour in the US - I loved the first concerts (especially Las Vegas, San Diego or Tempe) - and our European ones, e.g. Cologne, Mannheim, Hannover or Reggio Emilia. Different from ZOO TV, but new and nothing short of than spectacular. Overwhelming. Then 2001 was a great step for me to hear older tunes; I've never would have dreamed of. But for me this is also the beginning of the "retro-thinking" with U2 becoming more and more a kind of nostalgia act and Greatest Hits jukebox. Back
    then it was not a problem at all: All four of them were strong in shape, ruling their stage and their audience - with great concerts every night. Cologne 1, Wien 2, Atlanta, Miami - wow! 2005/06 followed this pattern with another tour album, I really love. And how I loved travelling again all over the world. So we got more back catalogue, more setlist surprises. And Bono still very present physically and vocally, take the shows in East Rutherford or New York City during the 1st leg. But the challenge of the 90ies, experimenting, fighting to reach new horizons - these days were gone. Sorry to say, but 2009 was my first real U2 let down: The opening show in Barcelona, the performance of "One", the row - this was not 1997 in Las Vegas with all of them having a laugh. This was different. Farer away from me. The claw, the ridiculous "Crazy Tonight". On the other hand "The Unforgettable Fire", the (missed) chance of "Drowning Man", "Unknown Caller" in Wembley, the comeback in 2010 with un
    released songs. Rain or shine? 360 had them for me both: being impressed, blown away - and also being bored and disappointed, with my head shaking, e.g. the nights in Dublin that had so less for me to offer than in 2005. Then 2015. Just one word: awesome. The right concept in the right space. U2 at their best, I could have followed them the whole tour. Four great, great night in Berlin with my best friend Florian, then an extraordinary concert in Cologne 2. Well 2017 - and my question: Really? U2 do this? Ok, how I've loved to hear songs like "Exit" live for nearly all of my life - but, please, could we have made TJT Tour a bit more interesting? With B-Sides? With a narrative? With surprises? A celebration worth the name? In the end U2 played some long forgotten tunes finally again, but also repeated themselves and remained under their level with Bono being visibly handicapped. 2018 had the search for a concept, that at the end of the European leg finally came to light with outstand
    ing nights in Dublin 4 or Berlin 3. A tour, that also has frightened me until today: When will all this come to an end?

    What does your U2 collection look like? What kind of stuff do you have and how is it organised?
    Records, vinyl and CDs, books, posters, memorabilia like tickets, photos etc. And, yes, until my daugher was born and new priorities came, it was very well organized:-)

    When you're forced to leave to a deserted island and you can take only one U2 album with you, which would it be?
    The Dublin sessions for ACHTUNG BABY, the lost Rick Rublin album, the original and not published session for NO LINE ON THE HORIZON in Marocco. Or the original SONGS OF ASCENT, before some tunes like "Every Breaking Wave" were re-recorded and published. So: One of these.

    How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?
    To keep it simple: They are my band. And, apart from everything I don't like or criticize about them especially since the 2000s, I guess, they will always be my band. Meeting them, talking with them, attending their tours or concerts like in Modena '95 or '03 - they gave me so much and so many unique memories already, everything is full circle for me. But as I like to challlenge myself in my life, I want to see them facing their challenges: When they really will sign a new contract and continue in the studio or on stage, I wish, that they leave their comfort zone (again). That they really want it. All four of them. That they really set their priority there to be creative again. In the music. In the songwriting. That they work with other creative people for this effort. I do not want to see other One Repubblic leftovers used for U2 to fill unfinished albums. And I do not want to see just another Anniversary Tour to make just money. If you do really want to play ACHTUNG BABY 30 years l
    ater - do it, but with new ideas and sounds. You can't make yourself younger and please do not try to do so. But: Why not ask Daniel Lanois to play the other guitar on stage? Why not design with Eno and younger Enos a stage 4.0, that blows us away and gives the band the space to breathe? Fan of the month's' fantasies ... yes. But otherwise I really would prefer the final curtain for U2. They always wanted to be a racing car, not a cruiser. So: Get up! Stand Up! - Action!

    What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
    My family, my friends, my work, arts, there is so much beauty but also duties out there, when I look at the world.

    Thanks for this interview ZOOTVTOURist!

    Note: Our crew members randomly pick fans of the month, you can't sign up for it.
  2. Nice interview Sascha. I like your idea of having Daniel Lanois play second guitar on tour; that would fill a huge gap in their sound but have personal meaning.
  3. 2020 Remy

    Great interview Sascha!
  4. I can only imagine zootv tour experience
  5. I will say it once and I will say it again, it might be the biggest case of FOMO (fear of missing out or in this case fear of having missed out). It will haunt me to til I die that I was born in 97. So jealous of everyone who got to attend, thank god for bootlegs.
  6. Thank for sharing Sacha. I would love to see a gig master list.
  7. Thank you. Hm. What kind of gig master list? The concerts, I've attended as a personal favourite Top 10 kind of thing? That would be a tricky task ...
  8. Hey Sascha! Great interview. So jealous of your original Zoo TV & Zooropa run of gigs, what an era to be a fan! It's extraordinary that you started attending many shows in the 90s, way before it became usual for many fans in the 00s and 10s with the low cost flights and everything.

    Also it's really good that you're sincere when it comes to critizicing the band's career in the last 2 decades - I heartfully agree with everything, even if they're still and always be "my band" too. I think the greatest thing about being a crazy fan like us is being able to criticize them harshly and still love them to bits
  9. Hi miryclay, thank you for your posting. Hm, if you are interested in my concert biography, please feel free and take a look at my profile here in the forum - there you get the schedule since '92. Of course a detailed list of my shows at u2gigs does exist, too - the setlists there do have a lot of my input, cheers@Macphisto & Axver - but it should remain something personal.