1. Every month we put a U2 fan in the spotlights, the fan of the month August of 2023 is user SlightedRadio91. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.

    "My parents were already big fans. So, by the time I was born, they had all of the albums, and a few of the movies. I actually have a picture of me watching Vertigo: Live in Chicago as a toddler."

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

    Hi, I’m Ryan. I am 17 years old, I live in the northern part of the state of California, in the United States. I have a summer job, but I’m not getting a full-time job until I finish school. I’m thinking I might want to be a contractor or an electrician.

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

    My parents have been fans of U2 since maybe the late 80s or early 90s; before either of them met. So, when I was little, I consciously remember hearing Beautiful Day, City of Blinding Lights, and Ultra Violet, being played. I also listened a bit to prepare for the two shows I went to.

    It wasn’t until late 2021 that I became really invested in the band. I pulled out my Dad’s old iPod, and started listening to his old stuff— U2 being one of the names I recognized. I listened to Beautiful Day and through The Joshua Tree. I also listened through War (which was new to me, apart from the hits). Then I turned on Achtung Baby for the first time— which made me think all the praise was a big inside joke— starting with this broken-sounding first track, to a boring mid-section (I don’t know what was going through my head), ending on a depressing note. I thought Zooropa (especially Lemon) was even worse!

    Now it’s all flipped! I love all of Zooropa and Achtung Baby, and now I find Beautiful Day to be quite bland and overplayed.

    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 parents were already big fans. So, by the time I was born, they had all of the albums, and a few of the movies. I actually have a picture of me watching Vertigo: Live in Chicago as a toddler. They also brought me along for two concerts (and will again, this October)... So I’m very blessed in that regard.

    I’ve tried ‘converting’ my younger brothers, but they have gotten to the point where, when they recognize a U2 song, they start loudly commenting about Bono being a short guy with an annoying voice... Well, more shows for me!

    I hope more younger fans discover this incredible band. When peers ask what I’m listening to, I’ll answer “U2”, and they will either think I am saying “YouTube” or have no idea who I am talking about; quite sad. Then again, I would hate to be in the position of some 80s rock bands, where it seems like a massive horde of kids think they are quirky and original for liking such ‘obscure’ bands (while just sticking to the hits). I’m not saying any love is unwarranted; it’s just that sometimes parts of the youth fandom are just there because the bands seem ‘trendy’

    Your first show happened in 2015 seeing the Innocence and Experience tour. What was it like seeing U2 for the first time?

    Seeing U2 in 2015 was also my first concert, period. Leading up, my parents kept talking about how U2 is THE BEST band to see live... I was not disappointed! Up to that point, I had only heard Songs of Innocence, and some of the hits. Embarrassingly, I didn’t even remember listening to Streets before! So when they started playing that, I thought ‘that sounds really good’ and just vibed along with everyone else. It’s even a bootleg I go back to, nowadays. I’m very pleased that I was able to witness a MOFO snippet at the start of Iris (though, while watching I thought Bono was having a weird mental breakdown). Also, I thought Adam looked cool. Regrettably, I only heard a muffled Invisible, since my mom decided that the end of the intermission would be a good time to take me for a bathroom break!

    Your second and until now last show was in Vegas, as is your next. What are your expectations?

    I enjoyed Experience in Vegas (I even prepared by listening to all of the Joshua Tree... Yeah, that worked out well...).

    At the time, I thought the experience (get it) was as good as the Innocence show I went to. But if I time-traveled to both, today; I think Innocence would have won in a landslide, due to the superior setlist.

    My expectations are pretty high for the Sphere. Small planetariums can be pretty immersive, let alone a massive one with a 16k screen, in-addition to sublime sound and added vibrations! I’m thrilled to hear all the songs from my favorite album live. Many of which I haven’t even had the opportunity to see in my lifetime. Plus, if they were ever going to throw in any other surprise 90s songs, this would be the time. I have my fingers crossed for Lemon and Discothèque.

    What are your hopes and dreams when it comes to a future new album?

    I hope the band gets Eno and Lanois back in the studio, then just get weird. I don’t think they have to drop completely their sentimentality, but sometimes it’s a bit much. I still like some tracks on Songs of Experience (Love is All We Have Left, Little Things, Landlady, Love is Bigger... So the ‘L’ songs I guess). But they have been basically doing the same thing for over 20 years!

    Even though I would prefer a Zooropa-esque weird, I liked what they did with No Line on the Horizon (save for the middle three), I want to see a continuation of that. Winter is pretty good, and it wasn’t even given a proper release! Mercy and North Star are just in the perpetual cycle of ‘it will be in the next album’. Even though they would say otherwise, I think the band wants to hold on to their predictable U2™ sound, and also release some forced-sounding radio hits.

    I think younger fans would gravitate more to them if they weren’t trying so hard to be relevant, and would just put out great music. Heck, I even think Songs of Innocence would have netted a a lot of fans, had Apple just made the album a simple free download, rather than an auto-download.

    Also, do we really need Vertigo part 5 in the next album? Every U2 album from the year 2000 and beyond has a loud (and sometimes nonsensical) song that seems to serve as ‘the next big hit single!’— Elevation and Vertigo are alright in isolation, but Boots, Miracle, and The Blackout, are a bit too much of the same for me.

    But with the amount of great non-album tracks that exist, I think U2 still has it in them; they just need to stop overproducing, and stop trying to hard to get those radio hits.

    And it’s not even an age thing.

    Depeche Mode, a fellow European-based band, founded the year of U2’s first album release, was able to put out a great album about death! What more of an old-age-related topic can one pick!

    They have had a six year gap to develop something new, I’m sure whatever it is, it will be good.

    Sorry, that kind of devolved into a rant.... I feel rather strongly about this subject, seeing as the band only has so many albums left in them.

    Who is your favorite band member and why?

    Talent-wise, I think The Edge takes the cake— both for his intricate guitar work, and great voice.

    But if it were to choose someone to hang out with— it would be Adam. He just seems like a chill dude, with plenty of experience behind him. He also doesn’t try to look younger, like the others, which lends to a more natural ‘cool great-uncle’ feel about him.

    If you could only hear one more U2 song for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

    That is a really tough question! My current favorites are Streets, All I Want Is You, Stay, Zooropa, and Ultra Violet.... But if I had to choose one, I think it would be Stay. I really like the album version. I don’t know what’s making the plucking noise at the beginning; but it always makes me feel almost drowsy, but comfortable... The start of the video illustrates it perfectly, with everyone in the bus, looking tired, late at night.

    But after that, everything just builds, and Bono belts out the lyrics during his (arguable) vocal peak.

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

    I mostly listen to other 80s/90s artists. Meaning Depeche Mode (mostly), Culture Club, Wham!, and a bit of Erasure and New Order.

    Most of what I listen to is more pop-y than lots of U2. Except Depeche Mode, that is. I appreciate their darker tone, and lyrical exploration of pain. Switching off vocals to Martin for some songs really keeps things fresh. I hope there is another song or two with Edge on vocals, in the next U2 album.

    I love all of the Alan Wilder albums, from Some Great Reward to Songs Of Faith And Devotion. I also thought their new album was pretty great. The songs: But Not Tonight, Enjoy The Silence, and Behind The Wheel might be my favorites.

    I was lucky enough to see them in Sacramento, back in March. Very impressed by the performance. It was a bit weird though, since the album wasn’t set to release until the next day; and it had only been leaked online about a day earlier.

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

    I started more actively listening to music due to the technology behind their digital containers. Specifically, I watched DankPods’ iPod mod videos, which made me dig out my Dad’s iPod. Then, I saw a video where he mentioned FLAC files, which interested me, since I only knew mp3 as a mainstream music file format. Then I got in to ripping CDs, and decided I wanted to collect U2’s entire discography.

    So I’m a technology guy. I enjoy messing around with GNU/Linux, trying to improve my privacy/security, in-addition to data-hoarding. Too many times have I wanted to find an article, or a video online; only for it’s existence to have been wiped away, without so much as an archive.org crawl. I wish I was around when the internet was more free. I’m always on the look-out for independent forums. I actually found this fine website from a bookmark on an old computer, testing if the address was even still valid.

    Downloading and storing everything offline also somewhat negates reliance on streaming services. I also have the concern in the back of my mind that precious data stored on analog, magnetic-based mediums will deteriorate significantly when I want to look back in 20-30 years.

    Another hobby which I have taken up in recent months is thrift store shopping. I like pouring through the physical media section, buying CDs, DVDs, and the occasional Blu-Ray, to take home and rip. My favorite find might be a lightly-used copy of George Michael’s Faith, on vinyl.

  2. Nice read Ryan. Interesting hobby too!
  3. Thanks for the nice read!
  4. I feel your concerns about old media. So many of my digital files put aside 20 years ago are no longer functional, and I hate losing access. Nice to read this!
  5. Great read & good to have you on this forum!
  6. You were 9 years old for your first gig and it was U2 - that’s quite impressive.
  7. Yeah, it was exciting finally seeing what the 'U2 Concert' experience was all about, since they were always mentioned in the house when live music came up.
  8. Great read!
  9. Ryan,

    It is November 2023. Can you PM me please?