Every month we put a U2 fan in the spotlights, the fan of the month February of 2024 is user thefly07. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.
"Seeing U2 live gives you a buzz and I felt that buzz for weeks after the show."
Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
I first want to say it's an honor to be selected for this. My name is Jake Robinson and I'm 37 years old. I'm originally from Baltimore, MD but I have lived in North Carolina for the past 31 years. I currently reside in Greensboro, NC. I live with my fiancé and our 3 cats. After college, I found myself in the restaurant industry and I am currently a Line Chef at a locally owned Farm to Table casual fine dining restaurant.
How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
My U2 story has a few origin points. I first became aware of them when I heard, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" during the closing credits of Batman Forever when I was 8 or 9 years old. The song blew my mind. It was like nothing else I had ever heard. It blew my mind, and I was obsessed with it. I begged my dad for the soundtrack, but he was put off by the title of the song and thought it was inappropriate for my age. I obsessively listened to the song on my VHS copy to satisfy my need to hear it. Several years passed...
Your first show was the Elevation show in Charlotte, tell us all about that first experience.
My memories of this show are super hazy as it was over 20 years ago now and I think I was in shock during the whole show. What I remember most is the anticipation. I remember getting up early and going to the local shopping mall with my dad to buy tickets. We had decent seats in the middle section looking straight down on the heart. I wish a video of the show existed but luckily I have a boot of it and still listen to it fairly frequently. By this time I was obviously familiar with the material so hearing all these songs live for the first time was a real treat, especially Until The End of the World and Streets. I do remember now hearing the Elevation version of The Fly for the first time and smiling when I realized what song it was. It was of course great hearing Bullet live. Afterwards I couldn't believe I had been there and the whole event felt surreal for years, even listening back to the bootleg.
Your most special show was probably the one on the Vertigo tour in Atlanta, what made that show so special?
In the years leading up to the Vertigo tour my love for U2 continued to grow. I had built a pretty extensive bootleg collection and spent these few years digging through their live shows. HTDAAB blew me away and once again my dad and I got tickets. This would be our first show on the floor. My dad and I drove from Charlotte to Atlanta the day before the show, arriving in Atlanta around 3 am. After we navigated parking we walked to the Phillips arena. We saw people on the sidewalk outside the venue in sleeping bags and knew we had found the GA line. We were assigned numbers 24 and 25. We set our sleeping bags up and began the 19-hour long wait. It was a cold November day but we had a great time talking with other crazy U2 fans. Our tickets weren't scanned to be inside the ellipse but we got a great spot on the rail right where Bono would come out. This time around I brought a camera and took tons of pictures. During certain parts of the show I was mere feet from all 4 of them and it was such a high. The band put on a great show and the absolute highlight was getting one of the drumsticks that Bono dropped after Love and Peace Or Else. Seeing U2 live gives you a buzz and I felt that buzz for weeks after the show.
Tell us about your last experience on the Experience tour, how did U2 evolve over time?
My latest show on the Experience tour, also in Atlanta, was a great time. This time around I was a little more chill about the whole thing. My dad and I had GA tickets again but as we've aged we don't really feel like waiting in line for 19 hours again, so we showed up just a few hours before showtime. We had a decent spot on Edge's side. This time around I wasn't geeking out but just taking it all in. I had been following the tour on U2start and YouTube so I was in for no surprises but there is no substitute for hearing those songs in the same room as the band. The true highlight was hearing "The Ocean" and "Acrobat" live for the first time as well as the Innocence songs since I missed the IE tour. The quality of the sound and seeing the screens in person is an experience you don't get on YouTube. In terms of their evolution, I think that as a band they have only gotten tighter live. The energy is insane.
In your opinion, what has been U2's defining moment and why?
This is a fun question because I think U2 has had several defining moments, for better or worse. After being a fan for almost 25 years and feeling like a bit of a historian I think their true defining moment was the transition from the 80s to the 90s. I believe the band when they say Achtung Baby is the reason they are still around. I mean what an about face they made in terms of their music and image. Most bands wouldn't have survived that let alone thrived. It gave them the momentum to keep moving forward and cemented them as a band in a league of their own.
What does your U2 collection look like? What kind of stuff do you have and how is it organized?
My collection has grown over the years and has seen many different iterations in the different places I've lived. Currently it is on a 3x3 bookshelf and it consists of every album on CD and vinyl. I have quite a few singles on CD and vinyl too. I've got all the box sets, tour programs, the U2.com fan club gifts, the iPods, all the official DVDs/VHS. There are a lot of books including every update of Into The Heart. The records are all organized chronologically as are the DVDs. I'd say 90% of my collection is on display but I have so many magazines and posters not on display. A special memento I have is some of the confetti that came down during the Vertigo shows I saw.
What are your expectations of a future U2 album?
My expectations of a future U2 album are honestly very high. Since it was first mentioned in 2009, Songs of Ascent has captured my imagination and I can't wait to hear it. I feel like it's almost mythological at this point. Since it seems like we are getting another "guitar" record before it I am of course excited by that but I'm really looking forward to SOA. I really think they can still make their best record. I have no doubt that I will love what they do next.
How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?
U2 is kind of an anomaly in terms of the other music I listen to. I'm not a fan of "classic rock" per se and I've always hesitated putting them in that category (though I realize in 2024 they are at this point.) My other favorite artists are Leonard Cohen, The National, Rufus Wainwright, Zao, Anohni and The Johnsons, Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground, and The Killers to name a few. Those bands honestly line up pretty well with U2, but I listen to a lot of hardcore/metal/punk that is quite different to them. I think I have a pretty eclectic taste and I'm happy that U2 is at the top of my list.
What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
These days my hobbies are record collecting and simply enjoying my time when I'm not working. Most of that time is spent with Corrie, my fiancé, listening to music, and going out to our local bar and hanging out with our friends. I play the drums but haven't had a drumset for some time, but it is one of my passions and I definitely love playing U2 songs.
"It was my idea to relocate to New York for the year off and start a new life as non-drinker, which is commonly known as 'doing the geographic'. It was surprisingly easy to stop but it was difficult to stay stopped."
- Adam on quitting alcohol
did you know
The song Stranger In A Strange Land is about U2 being a rock band but not living like a rock band.