1. Every month we put a U2 fan in the spotlights, the fan of the month November of 2022 is user Hansav. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.

    "The 2005 Vertigo Tour live show in Chorzów fully cemented my fandom and ensured that I never really stopped caring about the band since."

    Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?

    My name is Filip. I'm 28 years old and I live in Warsaw, Poland, where I work as a research project manager at a public research institution.

    How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?

    I've been a U2 fan from a very young age thanks to my dad, who introduced me to the band's music when I was about 10 years old. And it's actually live U2 that I fell in love with in the first place. Around that time he bought a Rattle and Hum DVD and the Boston Elevation tour DVD - I watched that latter show almost obsessively and these versions of the songs were usually my first introduction to most of them. I later successively bought all of the band's discography on CD (as well as the Slane DVD which I loved even more) with my pocket money and even made my dad print out song lyrics from u2.com at work, as our home computer had no internet connection and I really needed to read through them and try to translate what Bono was singing about. Then came the 2005 Vertigo Tour live show in Chorzów, which fully cemented my fandom and ensured that I never really stopped caring about the band 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?

    As I've already mentioned, it was my dad who introduced me to the band. At the time he came back to listening to U2 himself after a period of not really following them during most of the 90s experimental phase (he and my mom really loved Achtung Baby when it came out and listened to it a lot though). Ironically, the 90s experimental phase is now probably my favorite period in the band's history and in terms of their creative output. Later on, I was fairly instrumental in getting my younger sister to listen to the band. She really connected with Songs of Innocence (and, to a lesser extent, Songs of Experience) and got to see them live with me a couple of times. There's also one more person my age that I know who began to like U2 after listening to Songs of Innocence when it was forcefully downloaded on to her iPhone. Take that, SoI haters!

    Your first U2 live experience was in Chorzow in 2005, with that famous fan action showing the Polish flag across the stadium. Tell us about that day and experience.

    That was the first live music show that I've ever been to, which makes the whole experience even more formative. I was 11, so it was my dad who took me to see it. I remember being incredibly excited in the weeks and days leading up to it, especially due to the fact that it was live U2 that I've connected to the most. The memories of being in Chorzów and the show itself are a sort of an ecstatic blur, but I remember certain things very well - the excitement of the hours spent at the stadium grounds waiting for the show to begin, the animated crowd in our seated section where nobody was sitting down during the show, Bono bringing a fan from the crowd on to the stage to translate a story about Pope John Paul II who died a few months earlier...

    Of course the action with the flag sticks out in my memory the most. We heard about the initiative before the show, so we had some random white items on hand to wave during "New Year's Day". The idea was for the people in the stands to wave white items while the people on the ground were waving red items, thus creating an image of a huge Polish flag. It was very moving when it happened both because of the crowd's participation and the band's completely surprised reaction. Bono had red lining on the other side of his jacket and he turned it inside out to fit in with all the red that was surrounding him. A very special evening and even the fact that we came back home on an extremely crowded night train with no more seated places available couldn't possibly diminish my memory of the whole experience.

    You have seen U2 indoors and outdoors, what has your preference and why?

    In spite of how much I loved the outdoors shows that I've seen in Chorzów in 2005 and 2009, I'll always take an arena show over a stadium show. The intimacy of having the band almost at the reach of your hand is much harder to pull off outside, unless you're lucky to be very close to the stage. The I+E and E+I tours were especially great in that particular regard, because the shape of the stage ensured that you could be very close to the action no matter how early or how late you showed up to the venue. Wherever you were standing, there was always a section of the show that highlighted a piece of the stage you were the closest to. And there is something about making eye contact with band members that is especially great and much easier to achieve in an arena setting - I remember locking eyes with Adam particularly frequently and he was always smiling, the charmer that he is! That said, enjoying "Streets" at a fully packed stadium show, that's not a half bad experience.

    What is your favorite U2 memory?

    Since U2 has basically been the soundtrack of my whole life, it's hard to choose a favorite one, there's so many great moments that come to mind. If I stick to purely U2-related memories and choose not to focus on the personal stuff that's been scored by U2 music, my mind instantly goes to those perfect live U2 moments, usually related to setlist surprises. I went to the second Milan show in 2018 with my sister. Before the show we were talking about how Landlady is her favorite song from Songs of Experience and I said that they're not really playing it live on this tour. And then the soundcheck leaks revealed that they were rehearsing the song! And then they played it almost at the end of the show, when I had already lost hope that we would hear it that night! It's pretty special to hear songs that mean a lot to you, but it's even more special to see people close to you go through those pure moments of U2 magic. It's a small moment, but I think it encapsulates well what I love the most about following the band for so many years.

    When you're forced to leave to a deserted island and you can take only one U2 album with you, which would it be?

    I'm a big fan of the Zoo TV era, so it would have to be either Achtung Baby or Zooropa. And let's face it, it would probably have to be Achtung Baby. It's a perfect album and a reason U2 are one of THE great bands of all time. Many bands have a masterpiece such as The Joshua Tree in them. But to put out such a masterpiece and then completely transform your sound to record another masterpiece is a marker of true musical greatness.

    What are your hopes and expectations for U2's next album(s)?

    I actually don't share Bono's optimism that the band still have their greatest album in them and I think that's ok. Artists rarely produce truly groundbreaking stuff at this stage of their career (with some notable exceptions such as Bowie's "Blackstar" or, in a different medium, George Miller's "Mad Max: Fury Road"). So I set my expectations pretty low. I just want them to put out an album so that they can tour again. I find that tours promoting new music have much better energy than legacy/nostalgia tours.

    I've gotten around to actually looking forward to the release of "Songs of Surrender". I was extremely uninterested in this project at first, but then I realized it could give us some experimental versions of certain songs. I also like the scope of it - putting out 40 rerecorded songs is impressive.

    How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?

    My musical tastes are pretty broad, but I guess the core of what I like and where I usually seek new music falls under the label of "alternative rock". I've had a few other artists/bands whose music has been particularly important to me over the years - David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Arcade Fire. Looking at that list I guess I like my music to have a little bit of artistic pretentiousness, but more than anything I am into musicians who like to reinvent themselves at various stages of their careers. I've actually gotten into a lot of music by following other artists' links with U2 (either through further exploring songs that have been covered by the band or snippeted by Bono). Recently I've been obsessed with Confidence Man - I first checked out the single that features Bono's vocals and I got hooked! The energy of their performances is incredible and they've instantly reached the top of my live wishlist.

    What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?

    My curiosity keeps me constantly looking for new interests and new obsessions, but the one thing that stuck with me over the years apart from U2 is my love of cinema. I am a cinematic omnivore, although I gravitate primarily towards American movies from various eras and of varying artistic quality. I also really like comedy (in a broader sense than strictly cinematic), especially "alternative comedy" in the vein of Tim Heidecker, Neil Hamburger, Eric Andre, etc. I'm a big fan of good food, craft beer, and small pleasures in general.

    Thanks for this interview Hansav!

    Note: Our crew members randomly pick fans of the month, you can't sign up for it.
  2. Nice interview Filip! Did you read the interview with @Zbych from a few months ago? He orchestrated the 2005 Polish flag flashmob

    I've gone exactly the same route as you regarding Songs Of Surrender

    Your sister is a lucky girl - randomly getting to see the premiere of a song that's been performed just 3 times is something else
  3. Originally posted by LikeASong:Nice interview Filip! Did you read the interview with @Zbych from a few months ago? He orchestrated the 2005 Polish flag flashmob

    I've gone exactly the same route as you regarding Songs Of Surrender

    Your sister is a lucky girl - randomly getting to see the premiere of a song that's been performed just 3 times is something else
    Thanks, I have read that interview! Lots of respect to Zbych for the flag initiative!