Every month we put a U2 fan in the spotlight. The fan of the month for March 2017 is user badirishcharlie. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.
"That whole day in Slane was without doubt one of the best of my life so far."
Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
My name is Cathal and I was born in Sligo town in northwest Ireland in September 1980.My family moved from Sligo to neighbouring county Leitrim in 1988 as my Dad had transferred there with work....so Leitrim is where I consider 'home' now. After I finished secondary school aged 17 I wasn't really sure what if anything I wanted to study at University so I moved up to Dublin in search of work. After a couple of years of casual jobs I started working with a bank in the IFSC on Dublin's docks...on a sidenote I used to drink regularly in the old Dockers pub right opposite my workplace which fans will know of hence my profile avatar.I was living in the Ringsend / Irishtown area beside the old Lansdowne Road stadium of the city for most of my years there. In 2004 I decided to leave Dublin behind and headed on my way to London for a new adventure which is where I am to this day. Still working in the banking industry in Canary Wharf and I live in Blackheath in the south east of the capital.
How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
Growing up at home I used to share a bedroom with my older brother who was and still is a real music aficionado. At the time he was mad into Iron Maiden / Metallica and the like and was a great collector of vinyl in particular. My first experience of U2 came via him. In the late 80's / early 90's a couple of the pubs in my hometown were converting their old jukeboxes from vinyl over to CD. My brother managed to basically get all the old records from the jukeboxes off the publicans....amongst them were a number of U2 original singles in their sleeves. I remember listening along to them as he played them on his record player but not really absorbing the music as I was still only a kid. What changed was a good friend of my brother's gave him a tape copy of Rattle And Hum after it was released....In hindsight not the band's greatest offering but I was hooked on that album as a youngster and the tape copy we had was played to death. I think I recorded the accompanying concert film off RTE a couple years later and wore that out aswell on repeat. I was firmly a fan after that.
What is your earliest U2 memory?
My earliest U2 memory is linked to the above...thanks to my brother again.
Tell us about the U2 shows you've seen, which one is your favourite and why?
The whole day in Slane [Slane Castle, 2001 ed.] was without doubt one of the best of my life so far. My housemates at the time in Dublin had all managed to get tickets so we all piled into a car and drove to Meath. There was a very important world cup qualifier match in Lansdowne Road that afternoon as Ireland were playing Holland. The organisers of the Slane gig had arranged to carry the 2nd half of the match live on the big screens in the venue. When Jason McAteer scored the entire crowd went into a frenzy with 80,000 pints of beer going up in the air...it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Ireland managed to hold out for the win so already it was set up for a great day. Moby got the crowd going as the support act, even doing a surreal duet of 'My Lovely Horse' with Ardal O'Hanlon himself...pity Youtube hadn't been invented to capture that. By the time U2 came on stage there was already an incredible vibe in the crowd. We all know what a great gig came after that.
Do you often watch the recording of U2's Slane Castle show given your attendance? Was it recorded as how you experienced it?
I dip back and watch the DVD recording now and again....and I do specifically remember moments from it as it happened in front of me (Bono with the tricolour for example) aswell as the fireworks at the end with The Unforgettable Fire blaring out over the speakers. It took 3 hours just to get out of the carpark nearby afterwards but damn I feel very lucky to have been there for that concert.
You were at the Popmart show after the death of Princess Diana, how was that?
I had managed to get some cheap tickets for the gig but they were to the side of the stage with a limited view. However after a couple of songs somehow my mates and I managed to blag our way onto the pitch so we were well amongst it and had a great view of that space age stage that was used on that tour. In the early hours of that morning Princess Diana had died in Paris and I vividly remember the band playing MLK with an Andy Warhol inspired montage of Diana on the screens...It was quite a sombre moment and a lovely tribute to her. As for the gig itself , well it was amazing from both a visual and musical perspective...hard to believe it was nearly 20 years ago.
What are your expectations and hopes for the Joshua Tree 2017 tour?
For the upcoming Joshua Tree tour I am really hoping the band strip back some of the well worn classics to sound more closely like they do on that album. Streets and ISHFWILF for example have become a bit overproduced and bloated live IMO so am hoping for ' rawer ' versions on this tour if that makes any sense ?! I am heading to London 2 so really looking forward to hearing the previously unplayed tracks from that album live like everybody else also. Am still holding out for Acrobat live aswell but that's probably about as likely as Edge taking off his beanie hat on stage.
Which U2 song do you feel the most "attached" to, or means the most for you?
The U2 song I feel most attached to is probably One...not a lot more to say on it only that it just hits you in that place inside. My favourite live track is UTEOTW...it kicks arse frankly.
How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?
I'm mainly into guitar based music. Love Led Zep , Pink Floyd , Bowie and The Clash for example. U2 are one of the last 'supergroups' going and I don't think we will see their like again especially from a live perspective. What seperates them musically today I think is the variety of themes in their music.....there is so much simplistic , disposable and forgettable dross about these days.
What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
I am big into film , particularly foreign cinema and love a flick that makes you think. Also passionate about a lot of sports having played many in my younger days....Hurling is probably my favourite spectator sport. I studied a couple of practical subjects in secondary school so I also love a bit of DIY when required....I really should have been a plumber or something rather than a corporate minion. Obviously as an Irishman I occassionaly enjoy a pint of the black stuff and enjoy a good chat down the pub on any subject that comes up aswell....seems to be politics a lot these days sadly ! But us Irish have a way with words which always allows us to give a unique take on things.
Thanks for this interview badirishcharlie!
Note: Our crew members choose the fan of the month, you can't sign up for it.
"My relationship with Ali has changed a lot. I hold on a lot tighter to her than she does to me. She's so independent and sometimes I wish she wasn't."
- Bono, 2009
A local violinist, Steve Wickham, approached The Edge one morning at a bus stop and asked if U2 had any need for a violin on their next album (the War album). In the studio for only half a day, Wickham's electric violin became the final instrumental contribution to Sunday Bloody Sunday.