Every month we put a U2 fan in the spotlights, the fan of the month February of 2021 is user wideawake69. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.
"I did not know the bands in the line-up, just Eurythmics. I enjoyed the whole Festival and I freaked out with Simple Minds. 'If you liked Simple Minds wait till you see U2. They are brilliant'. Honestly that concert changed my life and I fell in love with U2 from the moment they went onto the stage and started playing Out Of Control."
Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
I am a 51 married man from Valencia Spain. I have two teenagers (as they are not children anymore) my daughter Carla, 19 and my son Alex, 16. I work for a Fertility Clinic at the Sales & Marketing department.
How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
Long story but I will try and cut it short. Summer 1983. My parents decided I had to go to Dublin to learn English. I was mad at them cause I wanted to spend the summer with my friends but I had no choice. Luckily the father of the family I stayed with (PJ) loved music. He had two tickets for the Phoenix Park Festival for his wife and himself but their baby got sick so I ended up going to the Festival with PJ. My English was really poor at the time and I did not know the bands in the line-up, just Eurythmics. I enjoyed the whole Festival and I freaked out with Simple Minds. PJ told me: “ if you liked Simple Minds wait till you see U2. They are brilliant”.
Honestly that concert changed my life and I fell in love with U2 from the moment they went onto the stage and started playing “Out of control”.
You've seen them live the first time in 1983, for the War tour, what can you still remember from this show?
From this show I remember it was a very hot day. There was a bunch of violent punks fighting and slagging everyone. They even stoned a helicopter ambulance which left without landing. Annie Lennox stopped her show cause someone threw a bottle at her. I was a bit scared being this my first ever gig at the tender age of fourteen, not to mention the language barriers but U2 made my day. I felt true ecstasy, it was something I had never experienced before. It was definitely love at first sight (or at first chord!). We were packed in like sardines so when you jumped you were shoulder to shoulder with the guys beside you and it took a couple of seconds to touch the ground again, it was sheer levitation! The show was absolutely brilliant, we sang "Happy Birthday" to Edge, Bono climbing the scaffold... And “40” was unboubtedly the cherry on top of the cake, all of us leaving the park singing “how long to sing this song” for at least an hour. I still get goose bumps when I remember that! The next day I went straight into town to Grafton Street to a record shop called Freebird Records (no longer there) and bought my first copy of a U2 album: “War”.
The next show was in 1987 in Madrid, a huge stadium full of fans watching the most popular band of the world play. What was that like?
Madrid 1987 was a real adventure. I was 18 then and I went to Madrid by bus with the lads, spending the three long hours singing U2 songs and drinking beer. Once in Madrid we went straight to the stadium and queued up for a few more hours till gates were opened. We couldn’t get close to the stage but we managed to get reasonably near. The concert was excellent, over 100.000 souls shouting and singing. Some highlights were “Spanish eyes” and the songs from the Joshua tree album. The band played an amazing gig encouraged by us fans. I remember Bono saying: “I wonder why we have not played here before”. Fantastic atmosphere and great memories.
What has been your favourite U2 tour and why?
My favorite U2 tour is War for obvious reasons: the energy, the power, the electricity and the fact that I was lucky enough to live a gig of a young band becoming what they would be years later: the best band in the world.
What does your U2 collection look like? What kind of stuff do you have and how is it organised?
I am a bit of a mess myself so nothing is organised. I do have some collectors items mainly promos, cds, rare vinyls, dvds, video tapes and bootlegs but also guitar picks, autographed stuff, photos, mags, stamps, posters, flyers... the list is endless!!!
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?
When I came back from Dublin in 1983 I told my friends about this incredible band and many of them became fans, too. My wife is a big fan as well (I asked her to marry me in a pub the exact moment the dj played “With or without you”, that was back in 1997) and even my children enjoy listening to certain U2 songs.
What are your expectations or hopes from U2's next album?
I wish they released an album, as simple as that. In these Coronavirus era you can’t ask for too much, can you? They have been surprising me for the last 2 decades so I leave it in their hands.
How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?
U2 are really the Kings of the Castle for me. I also like bands that make me feel something such as The Cure, The Smiths, Waterboys, The Cult, The Beatles... but I usually listen to all kinds of music, from country to Irish folk... I am a music lover in its broadest sense.
What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
I like sports, specially basketball and soccer. I play the guitar (been in a couple of bands and we always played some U2 favorites. I like watching movies too and spending time with my gorgeous family.
Thanks for this interview wideawake69!
Note: Our crew members randomly pick fans of the month, you can't sign up for it.
I had a great time recalling all those moments. From the very first moment I was asked if I wanted to be fan of the month I felt both honoured and grateful. Thanks for the experience and just a message for Remy and all the staff at U2Start: keep up the good work!! And to all U2 fans thank you for sharing your passion!
You are so lucky to have been able to go to a such a U2 raw gig... what a blessing!
Unfortunately, i never witnessed that era, the first time they came to Portugal, in 82, i was too young to go or to understand them...
Liked the interview.
Hey Jose Thanks for your interview and for making us all jealous The Phoenix Park was a turning point for the band, and I can only imagine how it must have been to be there! Amazing. Thanks for sharing it! Un abrazo
To be honest my memories are now a bit blurred as I was so so young but I remember perfectly what I felt. Luckily I am still in touch with my Irish family and we always talk about that day. The bootleg cd was of great help as well. Un abrazo Sergio
"I was allowed to wail and keen, as the Irish call it, on a nightly basis. Most of the problem of grief is that people bottle it up. But I could use these songs to keep myself sane. I was having conversations in these songs that maybe I couldn't have with people."
- Bono on the period when his father was dying while they were on the Elevation tour
did you know
Bono made his first live solo appearance on April 30, 1989, at a fundraising event in the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, singing his own musical adaptations of two poems by William Butler Yeats.