1. Every month we put a U2 fan in the spotlights, the fan of the month August of 2021 is user wgjvvenrooij. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.

    "I said that it would be great to hear the Baby live. It would be my first concert ever and I was blown away. After the concert I bought Zooropa and soon the rest would follow. A fan ever since.."

    Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
    Hi everyone, my name is Werner van Venrooij and together with my wife, 2 children and our new pup we enjoy life in one of the most beautiful villages of the Netherlands, Oisterwijk (https://www.anwb.nl/eropuit/nieuws/2020/augustus/mooiste-dorpen-verkiezingsuitslag). I am 44 years young and after my study at Tilburg University in 2005 I started working as a tax lawyer with a specialisation in expats. However, after 4 years I made a radical career switch to IT. First started as a functional SAP consultant at Accenture I am now almost 8 years active as a SAP test consultant at SUPERP and currently seconded to Jumbo Supermarkets where we are migrating the old SAP ECC system to the newest S4/Hana environment which for me as a SAP consultant is very exciting to do.

    How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
    In 1991 I had obtained a discount coupon for a record store and went to listen to some records which were a big hit at that point. Achtung Baby was one of them. As a 15 year old I was really intrigued by the different sounds they used in the songs and how unusual it sounded. Of course I also knew some of their former hits, but not that many. I decided to buy the album and soon it became my favourite one. Much later my brother told me that they would be giving a concert in Nijmegen (August 3, 1993) and I said that it would be great to hear the Baby live. It would be my first concert ever and I was blown away. After the concert I bought Zooropa and soon the rest would follow. A fan ever since.

    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?
    My brother, who is 5 years older, liked some of the songs from U2 but he was not a fan. But after seeing them with me in 1993 he goes to at least one concert every tour. So he became a fan just like me, although he is more into Simple Minds.
    Furthermore, a nephew of mine is a big fan of the first hour. He even saw them perform in for example Tilburg for a few people. Since he has a hobby in photography he also has a lot of very nice pictures from the beginning period until nowadays up close. Really nice.

    A little over 28 years ago you witnessed your first U2 show in Nijmegen, Netherlands. Tell us about that first experience.
    Again, it blew me away. What a night, what a show, Zooropa it’s the best. And a real daring show also when you look at the setlist. So many new songs. They tried that once more with 360, but that didn’t really work out in my opinion.

    You saw every U2 tour since. How have you seen U2 change over those years?
    Although U2 isn’t that much of a setlist changer, they were very spontaneous to put some things in during a show. Like in Cologne 2001, Bono started singing, after being shown the lyrics, Running to Stand Still and Hawkmoon 269. And, also in 2001, they would sometimes for 1 night totally change the running order of the songs (Chicago 16-05). Moreover, there were the occasional songs which would slip in which they didn’t play much (2005 Amsterdam, Who’s gonna ride your wild horses; 1997 Rotterdam, Rain). And of course fans were pulled on stage to play along with a song. They still did that until the I&E tour. I feel that as of Joshua Tree 2017 that spontaneous vibe disappeared. Everything seems so tightly directed that there is no time for those things anymore.

    Don’t get me wrong, they still give away a kick-ass show every night, but every night it’s the same speeches, the same walks etc. But hey, as long as they play my favourite songs I can live with that 😊.

    What was your favourite tour and show, and why?
    I have been thinking a lot about my answer here. First the show….. The first thing that popped into my mind was: of course it’s ZOO TV in Nijmegen. But thinking about it a little longer I think it was the POPMART show in Rotterdam. It was my first show which I lived towards as a fan and was really excited. I remember with the first lines of MOFO I literally screamed the lyrics. What an opener! Yes, so I will stick to this show as a favourite. I expect that I have to change my profile page because of this .

    The best tour for me would be Elevation 2001. Together with a friend of mine who is also a U2 fan we travelled to 5 concerts (3 times NL, 1 time Germany, 1 time Belgium) within 1 month. Really great to do that. Also the album All That You Can’t leave Behind is one of my favourites and I think U2 really connected with the audience that tour.

    When you're forced to leave to a deserted island and you can take only one U2 album with you, which would it be?
    No doubt about that: Achtung Baby. Still my favourite album (together with 2 albums made around the same period : INXS-Welcome to Wherever You Are & Depeche Mode-Songs of Faith and Devotion). And let’s make it the 20th anniversary edition so I can also listen to ZOO TV live from Sydney .

    What is your favorite U2 bootleg, and why? Do you often listen to bootlegs?
    I don’t really listen that much to bootlegs unless they are of very high quality. I cannot listen to any audience taped shows. They sound awful in my opinion. But to soundboard or matrix recordings I like to listen to. Mostly I listen to shows from 1993 until 2011, where my favourite is Dublin 1993. And lately I listen a lot to the Achtung Baby in Concert bootleg made by someone here on the forum from several recordings over the years. I really like that one, so thanks to the maker!

    How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?
    Besides U2 I’m a big fan of a few artists of the same timeframe: Depeche Mode, INXS & Simple Minds. But I must say I like a lot of different music as well, from Oasis to the Chemical Brothers and everything in between. But keeping it to the 3 mentioned artists, I think they are not that different compared to U2: apart from INXS, they still exist, they still make some damn good music (although no hits anymore) and they can still fill a decent concert hall.

    What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
    First I must say spending time with my wife & kids. Cannot do it without them! Furthermore, I have been playing tennis since ages so that’s definitely something I like doing. And sometimes I dust off my gaming laptop or XBOX and have a gaming night with my friends. Not online anymore though. I am too slow for that nowadays. Also reading books and looking the series or movies of them I like to do. So currently I’m reading the books from Leigh Bardugo which is a show now on Netflix (Shadow & Bone).

    And last but certainly not least, drinking some wine or beers with friends at a good diner is always something you can count me in for! Especially in the sun on a holiday in preferably Italy.

    Thanks for this interview wgjvvenrooij!

    Note: Our crew members randomly pick fans of the month, you can't sign up for it.
  2. Hit the jackpot with your first gig Werner
  3. Oisterwijk is indeed a beautiful village My sister lives in Moergestel (near by Oisterwijk)
  4. nice story and enoy your live
  5. Thnx guys!
  6. good story , the greatest show on earth your first tour
  7. Nice read 😃
  8. Nice interview, Werner! I feel your passion from the Popmart concert, what an experience it must have been

    Also, here's that Köln '01 improvisation you mention - it's one of my favorite U2 videos ever.

  9. Originally posted by LikeASong:Nice interview, Werner! I feel your passion from the Popmart concert, what an experience it must have been

    Also, here's that Köln '01 improvisation you mention - it's one of my favorite U2 videos ever.

    [YouTube Video]
    Wow that's great! I have never seen the footage of this before. Many many thanks for sharing