As the #U2ieTour arrives home to Dublin, in the final U2 FSOTW feature for this year, the Zoo managed to grab a chat with Matt McGee, founder & editor of one of the longest running U2 fan websites - @U2. They were there at the beginning of this tour in Vancouver and many of their team are making the pilgrimage over to Ireland this week to see the 4 shows.
As he was packing his suitcase, we asked Matt to tell us about atu2.com, and what this year has meant to him. In his own words :
"I have a confession: I don't like the term "fan site."
More often than not, when you tell someone that you're involved with a fan site for a music artist, they instantly think you're Chris Farley trying to have a coherent conversation with Paul McCartney. Back in the day, in fact, when we were just beginning to develop relationships with various music industry professionals, I'd go out of my way to explain that I was a stable, married, adult male, not a 15-year-old kid with pimples all over my face...
But confessions aside, it's an honor for all of us involved with @U2 to be chosen "Fan Site Of The Week" as U2 arrives home for four shows in Dublin! It's such a privilege to be able to see the band play in its hometown. I vividly remember seeing the two PopMart concerts at Lansdowne Road Stadium and being overcome with emotion as I heard songs like "I Will Follow" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" -- songs that were written and recorded just a few miles away.
@U2 turned 20 years old last month. Twenty years is a long time to do anything, much less work on an all-volunteer fan site. But doing @U2 is as much fun as it is work, and that's thanks to three things: U2's ongoing greatness, the wonderful group of fans that have worked on @U2, and the generous readers that have said so many kind things to us and about us over the years. Thank you, all.
@U2 has a team of about three dozen fans that work on various aspects of the website, and many of us are in Dublin for this week's shows. We'll be there, of course, to enjoy this incredible Innocence + Experience tour -- but also to share it with U2 fans around the world who can't be with us this week.
That's always been our purpose: "to bridge the distance between the band and its fans." That's a quote from the 17-page "welcome guide" that we give to U2 fans when they first join our staff. (Yep, we really have such a document and it's really 17 pages. I'm Irish. Brevity has never been a strength.)
When @U2 began 20 years ago, we bridged that distance primarily by posting news sent in to us by fans around the world. The snowball effect kicked in quickly: The more news we posted, the more new readers came to the website. The more new readers came to the website, the more they sent in additional news to be posted. That attracted even more readers, and on and on it went. In the late 1990s, based on reader requests, we started writing original news stories, commentaries and personal essays about U2, the music, concerts and even about being a U2 fan. In 2001, about a week before the tragic attacks of 9/11, we started posting a weekly column called "off the record....".
More than 14 years later, that column is still going strong and is one of our most popular features. Today, @U2 has a library of more than 8,400 articles about U2, including what we believe is the first newspaper article ever written about U2 -- a March 1978 piece recapping the band's victory in the Limerick Civic Week talent contest.
Today, we still take great pride in our news reporting, but we're much more than just a U2 news site. We have a group of fans working on our Tours site, going back and listening to every known live recording of U2 concerts to confirm that our setlists are as accurate as possible. We do a weekly podcast. We have a complete U2 lyrics site, a calendar of upcoming U2-related events and -- lest anyone think we take U2 or ourselves too seriously -- we have 15 years worth of hysterical U2 cartoons in a feature we call Achtoon Baby.
We've also become pretty well known for our live events, which date back to 2003 when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum asked us to co-host an international U2 fan party during their U2 exhibit. We've hosted numerous album- and tour-related parties since then, including one this summer that made headlines around the world when The Edge and Adam crashed our 20th anniversary celebration and played two songs with our special guests that night, the tribute band Unforgettable Fire. It was an amazing and unforgettable night for all of us, and we don't consider it just a gift for @U2 -- it was a gift for the entire online U2 fan community. It was U2 doing their part to bridge the distance between band and fans, and doing it in amazing fashion.
That party, and really this entire year of Innocence + Experience, has been a real blessing for all of us involved with @U2. We were there in Vancouver to watch it begin, and we're thrilled to see it wind down this week in Dublin.
- Nov 23 2015 06:23 PM
- by U2Community
Tonight, Sunday November 22nd at 7pm in Fitzroy Church In Belfast (77 University Street BT7 1HL) there will be an unpacking of the #U2ieTour Belfast concerts that took place earlier this week - the first time the band has played in the city for 18 years.
Fitzroy players and singers (Christopher Wilson, Dave Thompson, Jonny Fitch, Chris Fry, Shannon Clements/Peter Greer and Andy Patterson) will perform songs from the current tour set and Steve Stockman (Walk On - The Spiritual Journey of U2) will unpack the songs, visuals and the emotional, political and spiritual soul of the setlist.
Steve told us :
"Fitzroy is renowned, across the world, for its evenings on Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springteen, Bob Dylan, Christy Moore etc. They recently built their entire morning service around the hymns and songs of Van Morrison, the day before his Cyprus Avenue concerts. They have done U2 before but this evening will be a very specific look at these Belfast shows. New voices and new thoughts will be added to the mix. We are thrilled to have Angela Pancella (atu2.com) with us to compare and contrast the North American and Belfast shows!"
"Local context was all over the Belfast shows. The political murals, the naming of the most bloody events and, of course, Raised By Wolves and Sunday Bloody Sunday. Even the debris pages that fall from the roof every night during Until The End Of The World was a pointed political comment right on the cutting edge of this week’s news".
If you cannot be there they hope to broadcast the event live on Periscope - http://periscope.tv/fitzroypc
Steve and Janice Stockman meet Bono just before the first U2 Belfast Show in 18 years
- Nov 22 2015 12:09 PM
- by U2Community
#U2ieTour is, at its heart, about home. 'A place called home' Bono calls, as he answers his own question 'What do you want?' in the Zooropa into Streets segue in recent shows. Home can be defined in many ways, as many things, and fans this year have found a new online 'home' of sorts, a place where we gather as each show has ended, to chat, engage, hang out... The Crystal Ballroom.
Just ahead of the band returning home and the first of 6 dates in Ireland, beginning in Belfast, the Zoo caught up with host Tim, the @U2Professor who told us all about it, in his own words :
The Crystal Ballroom is hard to describe. It really doesn’t fit any of the common categories—it’s not a website, it’s not a forum, it’s not a podcast. But it’s also a little bit of all those things. I often tell people its part television, part chat room and part radio call-in show—kind of a mini Zoo TV on your phone.
If you’ve never heard of the Crystal Ballroom, that’s understandable. We’re the new kids on the block, about as old as the #U2ieTour itself, which makes it really thrilling to be named the Fan Site of the Week. Thank you, Zootopia and all the U2.com crew who have so graciously supported us!
So, what is the #U2CB (as it’s become known in the Twitterverse)? Basically, it’s me, Tim Neufeld, and a virtual community of passionate people. In this little digital sphere of fandom, I use the Periscope app to engage anyone interested in talking about U2. In the real world, I’m a professor of biblical studies at Fresno Pacific University, where I teach a course called “Theology, Culture and U2.” I’m also on staff with atu2.com, and I’m writing a book (out in fall of 2016 through Rowman and Littlefield) about the interplay of U2 and culture. Some fans have cheekily renamed me as the “@U2Professor,” which is quite humbling—I’m not worthy!
The Crystal Ballroom is an organic experience that has evolved purely by chance. After attending the second concert in San Jose, California, on May 19, I had a three-hour drive back to Fresno. I had already seen both Vancouver shows and loved them, so on a whim, I had my wife, Tracy, open up the Periscope app and start broadcasting with the simple title of “U2”. You know that feeling when you leave a U2 concert and you immediately want to talk with someone else who has also been at the concert, trying to remember all the details before they become quickly fading memories?
That was me and Tracy on the long, late-night drive home.
About 20 or 30 people hung out with us for a couple of hours online that night, though more than 100 had popped into the conversation for at least a few minutes. I was actually quite surprised by the number of viewers. So, when the Phoenix concerts rolled around a few days later, I started another broadcast from my home in Fresno as soon as the first show was over, this time with the title, “Anyone want to talk about U2?” As unsophisticated and simple as it was, people really seemed interested in chatting about this tour.
The Crystal Ballroom (though not yet known by that name) has also broadcast from #U2ieTour live shows, which has helped greatly in gathering viewers. We were a little worried in Los Angeles when we first tried that because no one had done that before—we weren’t sure if we’d get in trouble. Bono though gave a shout out to Periscopers in the house during the Meerkat feature from Boston and soon after the Crystal Ballroom even caught the attention of a German radio news station who did an NPR-style story on us!
After one of the other LA shows, I streamed another post-concert broadcast with the title, “U2 chat in the Crystal Ballroom,” a clear nod to the song of the same title. It stuck. Since then, I’ve incorporated music, visuals and other support material. I’ve even included guests like Matt McGee (the founder of atu2.com), Beth Nabi and Chris LeClere (who together make up the U2 Tattoo Project), Mirrorball man Mark Baker and Bigwave here in Zootopia. I try to stream a chat after every concert, though it doesn’t always happen on the European leg due to my work schedule. We celebrated our 50th post-concert chat a couple of weeks ago. That’s something I never could have predicted, especially since the technology for this kind of experience didn’t even exist nine months ago.
At the Madison Square Garden shows, I met many U2 fans from around the world who had regularly tuned into the broadcasts. Besides North America, we have “Crystalheadz” across the globe now in Holland, England, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, France, Italy, Greece, Ireland and many other distant places. It’s become an amazing international community, usually with hundreds of participants per broadcast.
And while we really don’t have a staff (though “Mrs. Crystal Ballroom” is a big part of it), we recently had a meetup in California which brought out some great supporters. Specifically, Suzen Avakian, Jeff Long and Tesh Ewing took the lead, planning a great celebration for 25 excited U2 fans (we were supposed to have more, but our weekend coincided with the tragic Paris attacks, causing some to change plans). It was the first real-life gathering of our virtual community. I hope there will be many more.
In the Crystal Ballroom we are trying to do four things: (1) create community by pulling down the dividing walls, (2) build a learning environment where everyone can contribute to the discussion, (3) promote active engagement on important issues such as the refugee crisis in Europe, and (4) consider U2’s own music, art, activism and spirituality. That all sounds a bit stuffy, and sometimes it’s quite solemn, but usually we have a lot of fun. It’s become another way we get to carry each other. After all, U2 makes it easy, giving us a great time alongside challenging and provocative issues. That’s what sets this band apart from all others.
Please come join us! You just need to load the Periscope app to your device and follow me at @timneufeld, or watch my Twitter feed @timneufeld and click on the links. You can also see replays on our YouTube channel, follow us on Facebook, or read my personal blog (I also try to post links to live streams during U2 concerts on my blog). The hashtag #U2CB works on Twitter as well. In the end, I am not the Crystal Ballroom, but just one of its host of love - it belongs to the really great, thoughtful and warm spirits who haunt the place. We’re a caring and welcoming community, always looking for looking for another “soul that’s real.”
Stop by sometime!
- Nov 18 2015 05:08 PM
- by U2Community
Ahead of the #U2ieTour arrival in Belfast tomorrow the Zoo got news of a really great initiative that fans have put together for these special shows..
We spoke to two of the organisers, Connie & Gina to tell us all about it, and a bit about themselves..
First, here is the announcement from the #WhiteOutBelfast Facebook Event page
'This Wednesday, U2 are performing in Belfast for the first time in 18 years. It will also be their first show since the attacks in Paris. Belfast has its own history of terror and violence, so it seems like the right time and place to make a statement in the name of peace, love and music and pay our respect to the victims of terror and violence all around the world.
Thus we plan to #whiteoutbelfast
Wear something white if you can and most importantly wave something white, like a napkin, tissue, piece of cloth or paper, when U2:
1) Enter the stage
2 Play Raised by Wolves
3) Play Sunday Bloody Sunday
4) Play One (they don't always play One)
Remember, big flags and banners will not be permitted inside the arena, so keep it small (no bigger than A4) and simple. People behind you also needs to see.
Share this on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #whiteoutbelfast and #u2ietour'
If you need a short link for the event, you can share this: http://on.fb.me/1Ny2QSr
Connie Maria Westergaard, Creator and Chairperson of White Out Belfast
"I'm from Copenhagen, Denmark, and I'm 38. I work with communications and social media. I fell in love with Belfast and U2 when I went there as an exchange student in 2003, and a guy lent me his U2 collection. I didn't leave my dorm room for days! so it's always been a dream of mine to see U2 live in that city, because both are very dear to me, and for me it's where it started. I love Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry. Their music are such a big part of my life and as a band and individuals they are a huge inspiration to me, and I am sure they will understand why we are doing #whiteoutbelfast - they taught us that it's always impossible until it's done. We are One!"
Gina Cloe, Designer and Co-Chair of White Out Belfast
"I’m from Indiana, USA originally but presently residing in the beautiful state of North Carolina, and I’m gearing up to celebrate my 32nd birthday on the 23rd of this month. I am a freelance designer and artist and my favorite projects have been U2 designs: posters, images, you name it I’ve done it. Anytime U2 is involved it is a passion project. I have been a fan since I can remember. I stole my Dad’s Achtung Baby album the second he got it, fell in love, and never did return it. Sorry, Dad! I guess you could say that Achtung Baby was my birth into the U2 fandom but I am deeply in love with Songs of Innocence. I have connected with this album, the lyrics, and even the experiences behind them on a very personal and emotional level. That album kept me afloat during the roughest part of my life. And, if you delve into the fan community you will find that the U2 lifeboat has been rescuing fans for a long time. I was able to catch the guys at Boston 4 and it was a phenomenal and moving show! The U2ers are the best people, not even just fans, on the planet! This is a tight-knit family and an army when it needs to be. That’s why I’m so proud of White Out Belfast. We are #strongerthanfear."
Let us know if you are going along, or supporting online, and you can also join in the discussion thread in the Zoo
- Nov 17 2015 08:25 PM
- by U2Community
Paris, France in the Autumn is such a beautiful sight to behold. The #U2ieTour has arrived, and this week the Zoo spoke to Judith from French U2 fan site U2Achtung.
Bonjour les amis ! We are very happy to have the opportunity to present our French website and community to the Zootopians.
U2Achtung was created 15 years ago in 2000 by Bert, Coco and Fab. The team members have changed a lot over the years, people joined and left, but today, the U2Achtung team is made up of Judith, Nadine, Antoine, Benjamin, Florian, Loïc and Matthieu.
We are from France, Belgium and Switzerland, but our community is open worldwide, even if we focus on the French speaking fans. Many people have helped, too many to mention, and we thank them very much. Without them, we are nothing.
Like other websites in different countries, we provide daily news for our followers about U2, their music, tours and projects. Visitors are also able to find a very rich content about U2 releases, biography, videography and bibliography too. We even translate their lyrics in French.
On U2Achtung.com, there are two main areas: a chat forum (in a free section) with over 12,000 members, and the Club U2Achtung (annual subscription access).
On the Club U2Achtung site, there are exclusive sections and we regularly organize contests for our members. We give away concert tickets, books, CD, LP, and so on... and of course we are very present on social networks too, like twitter and Facebook
Almost every year, we organise a cover contest that we call “Achtung Awards”. It takes place on a dedicated web page of ours and people vote for their favourites. It is a very interesting way to discover new talents among our community, but also to hear some amazing work done on U2 songs, that sounds really professional. It could nearly be on an official U2 Remix CD! It’s open to every musician, and on our last edition, we even had foreigners taking part, who we helped going through the French website.
And as we like to work for the fans and U2, we created two mini websites for the big anniversaries of War (30) and Achtung Baby (20). You should take a look, we think our web designer did something great!
Over the years, U2Achtung has managed to create strong links with the fans and the record label, so that we organised many events and special occasions.
One of the first big fan event in France was the Zoo TV DVD screening at the famous Paris venue “L’Olympia”, in the presence of Michka Assayas, author of Bono par Bono. Our website had invitations to give away for that memorable night. The writer even tried to call Bono in front of everyone, but only got the answerphone.
We also managed to get two members of the team to an exclusive listening of No Line on the Horizon in 2009, and we offered tickets twice for a TV show (Le Grand Journal) in 2009 and 2014 where U2 were the musical guests. We even more recently gave away 2 tickets for the Dublin shows in November!
A lot is happening within our community, especially through our forum where people can chat, trade tickets, plan trips together to see U2 abroad and meet even when there is no tour. And when there is no U2 activity, people talk about other bands, cinema, their jobs, etc. For many of them, it’s really a part of their daily life. And it’s also a place where friendships were born, have grown and where love stories started, leading to some marriages and U2Achtung babies.
Every fan knows that U2 loves France, they always spend a few weeks or months here, in the South. And France loves U2 as well. We showed them this never-ending love and passion on several occasions, like in Stade de France in 2005 with the “White Balloons” initiative, which we repeated in 2010. It was a success and the band publicly said in 2005 that it was an amazing surprise.
Now with the 4 U2 shows in Paris this week, we couldn’t be more excited to have U2 back here, especially in arenas, 14 years after the Elevation Tour.
For this occasion, we designed an original T-shirt, available through our website. You may bump into fans wearing those t-shirts in Paris.
And also, as it’s always a celebration when U2 comes to France, we are going to throw a party on November 13th at Pub O'Connells in Paris, with the help of Universal Music France and French radio Oui FM. Fans from all over the world will be able to meet, dring, sing along watching lives and win more gifts!
See you soon in Paris!!! C'est parti !
- Nov 10 2015 12:38 PM
- by U2Community
As the U2 circus gets ready to pack up and leave London town, we chatted to the good people behind long-running fan site U2Wanderer.
Earlier this year they celebrated 20 years online, and we chatted to founder Aaron back then - check that out here.
They have been busy since then, preparing a long-planned whole new look and name for U2Wanderer - U2SONGS, and it was great to catch up with them recently, where they told us all about it..
u2songs.com? What is that site that you ask? It’s the newest version of u2wanderer.org. Literally days old. We are just re-launching the site now with a brand new backbone, and we will continue to keep the old one running until we have the new one well established. We aren’t quite finished yet, but we’re at a point where we wanted to show people what we are working on. We’ve been working on this update for the last seven years. We hoped to have it ready when the new U2 album launch happened, but they took us by surprise with the release of Songs of Innocence - and then they got us all distracted with a tour.. Fans are always looking out for information on new U2 stuff and where it can be found. So it’s time to let go of that more recent information, in hopes that it will assist other fans, even while the site is still in construction.
Why u2songs? Many will think that maybe it was inspired by the recent Songs of Innocence album title, but we’ve actually had the domain name since 2002 and always planned on this being our final home. The site deals with U2’s songs, where to find them, what they’ve released, and what they’ve been. So the site made sense to us. It just took us a little while to get to the final destination. U2 being stuck in a “songs” place as well? Just a happy coincidence!
u2wanderer.org was founded in April 1995, and celebrated its 20th birthday earlier this year. Our site started out as a discography site and still focuses on discography and lyrics as well as collecting. We have expanded at times, and like making lists...including recent lists like documenting the confetti being “exploded” at shows, and listing the books Bono is throwing from stage on the #U2ieTour.
This year we set up a separate news section for the old site to tide us over while moving and we also brought several new ideas to the site that we look forward to carrying to the new site, such as the map tracking where in the wild you could find copies of the RSD release.
U2Wanderer staff and friends at our 20th birthday gathering
The current core team at U2Wanderer.Org is made up of Aaron (AJ) Sams, Aaron Govern, Brad Hood, Carl Uebelhart, Don Morgan, George Dias, Harry Kantas and Mike Long. We aren’t located in one geographical area like some sites, but have staff from Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and United States. For a number of years it was just Aaron and Carl running things before Brad came on board in 2005, and the others over the years that followed.
We would be remiss if we weren’t to give a shout out to our frequent collaborators Chris Jenkins and Shawn Rocco, as well as thanking all the others that have helped over the years. In the 20 years we have been working on the site the biggest ‘wow’ comes from realizing how many people have contributed and helped make this little corner of the web better.
Carl and Harry handle most of the technical side of things. Carl and Mike are our lyrics staff listening for every nuance in every song and transcribing each from scratch. The rest of us approach things from the collectors side of things. AJ, Harry and Brad are always looking for and reporting on discography updates and also man the twitter account most frequently. George tracks the digital releases and digital streams. Aaron G, one of our newer staff members, is often found hunched away over a scanner producing some lovely images of some rare items. And Don has the unenviable task of going through all of the content in the discography and trying to edit and tidy it up.
Over the years, our staff have been proud to be used for reference and to contribute items to exhibits at both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Little Museum of Dublin. We also contributed to the launch of “The Complete U2” on iTunes. The site has also been used as a reference for many books on U2, and the staff here have directly contributed to some of these publications.
We also like a good giveaway. In the past we’ve given away the U2 branded iPod to a lucky fan. We’ve given away books, and albums, and collectibles. When we helped co-host the kick off party for the Elevation tour in 2001, we took armloads of posters and promotional CDs to the Hard Rock Cafe in Sunrise FL. It was one of the first big events we ever helped out with.
Upcoming plans include some of our staff taking in the shows in London, Glasgow, Paris and Dublin. After that we have a few other plans for the site to improve and hopefully surprise. And definitely looking forward to a third leg and beyond. Looking for more opportunities to hang out together, to work together, and to bounce new ideas off of each other. With a staff that is spread out around the world we try to make the most of opportunities where we all end up in one place.
- Nov 03 2015 05:41 PM
- by U2Community
As the #U2ieTour moves to London, we continue our weekly focus on the fab U2 fan sites that help to make up the wider U2 Community : this week the Zoo spoke to Remy, founder of U2Start.
"U2start was founded in The Netherlands, 9 years ago at age 19 (Ni-ni-ni 19!), about two years after I became a U2 fan. It started out as a personal website where I linked to various U2 material from other fansites, it became something like a startpage for U2 fans (now you know the origin of the name!). I pulled in and linked to news & setlists from other fansites (and still do!) and put U2 materials on there which I personally had an interest in such as U2 audio and video. After a while I also added a user section, which is when other fans started to come in and the site really started to grow. One of my other hobbies was & is programming and I always have used U2start as a playground for new technologies and to develop new features. U2start has now become bigger than lots of the commercial ventures I was involved in. A hobby out of control?"
Changes over the years
"Nine years later U2start has grown into much more than a website. We are a community of over 60,000 fans. Our main aim is to make U2 content available to as many U2 fans is possible, which is also why U2start is available in 10 different languages. Me & Chris (who also joined our crew as a developer) spend lots of our free time developing new features or improving stuff. The most important aspects of our community are our show catalogue, our photo section with 25GB worth of high resolution U2 photos, our very own originals and our community itself ranging from our forums to our social media presence".
Remy on 8 Sept 2015 in Amsterdam, Remy & Chris a day later in Amsterdam and Marta in 2010 in Coimbra
So what about the #U2ieTour? Tell us a little about what you are doing this time around, and who else is involved with the site.
"We love hearing or reading about stories from other fans, which is why we engage a lot with fans online. We have interviewed 97 fans for our fan of the month section and have interviewed a dozen or so for our special #U2ieTour fan interviews. Since the shows in Amsterdam we started doing real interviews with fans immediately after the show using Periscope. We love doing it! It lets us capture the reactions and emotions of the fans and shares these with live viewers who can join with real time questions. Our last chat in Cologne even turned into a mini U2 show with a fan on guitar who had just played with the band!
Keep an eye for us outside the venues".
"The Innocence & Experience tour has shown how U2 have a real desire to connect with their audience and we try to mirror this with our own site. Our forums are still the center of our show coverage. We have nightly setlist parties for each show where fans gather to follow the hows in real time. We have live audio, video and real time setlist updates to bring us closer to the band. All without refreshing the screen. We are adding new features to our site almost weekly and regularly update on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat for some (personal) stories in each city. Keep an eye on us in London as we will also try some new things there".
fans & crew wearing U2start tour shirts at the U2start meet-up in Amsterdam on 11 September 2015, from left to right: Yasmine, Remy, Joyce, Sergio & Chris
"Finally, you may have noticed I switch from “I” to “we” in my story: U2start is more than just one fan. The community is very privileged with a very talented crew with presence in North & South America, all across Europe and Australia. Our crew is relatively new-U2-generation, most of our crew was not even born yet when U2 released The Unforgettable Fire. Let me therefore close with listing our crew members, my great U2 friends Chris (Netherlands), Marta (Portugal), Nataly (Brazil), Matt (Illinois), Gerard (Ireland), Sergio (Spain), Tim (England), Drew (Australia), Nicole (Massachusetts), César (Mexico) & Davide (Italy). Special mention to all our past crew members, our translation team and our members and fans over the years! Thank you. I hand it off to some of the crew members so they can tell something about themselves" :
Chris: "I joined after the Vertigo tour. And fell in love with the band since. At U2start I worked my way into the crew as web developer. The live chat forum feature is the feature I'm the most proud of!"
César: "U2 fan all my life, but I only got into web forums 2 years ago. The U2start community immediately welcomed me and I'm proud to be part of it with fans all over the world. At U2start I contribute with original content, translation, tour coverage and social media"
Gerard: "I am the Irish contingent of the crew (essential on a U2 site right?) 8 years ago I was looking for live U2 and google suggested U2start. What I found was a gold mine of audio material but a diamond of a community that has grown massively over the years with each tour. It is such an easy way to spend your time and this is before crew duties come in to play! My role is to help out with general housekeeping and to make sure all of the forums are ticking over nicely. Bring on the future."
Nicole: "A simple Google search for "U2 fan sites" brought me to U2start in the summer of 2007. I was looking for a place not just to read about the band or follow the tours, but to actually talk with other fans and share our passion. The bootlegs drew me in, but the forums are what made me stay. As I became more involved on the site, I wanted to give something back. During the 360 Tour, I asked Remy if he needed help with anything on the site, and he generously invited me to join the crew. I'm proud to be a part of this community and to share my U2 passion with so many other fans."
Sergio: "My parents are U2 fans since the mid eighties and I was born a year before Achtung Baby came out so I was bound to become a huge fan too. I did, but two essential landmarks took it to a higher level: attending my first show (Vertigo Tour in Madrid, on the day before my 15th birthday) and discovering U2start in November '06. I soon became a crew member and then U2start became an essential part of my life!
Davide: "I was already a U2 fan for 10 years, but in December 2006 I was looking for a "different" fan site. Lucky, U2start was online a few weeks and after another 10 years i'm still here. At U2start I work with translation activity, give help with originals and I really enjoy our football & U2 setlist prediction games!"
Marta: "U2 runs in the family, from my father to my brother and then to me! As a U2 fan and a photography lover, I was looking for U2 photos when I stumbled on U2start around 6 years ago. That's my passion: looking for, organising and sharing amazing photos with others and there's no better place than U2start for that!"
Tim: "I stumbled upon U2start in 2007 while looking for information about past U2 tours. The community warmly welcomed me and was very knowledgable. It's safe to say that I found what I was looking for. In 2012 Remy invited me to join the crew and I've been more than happy to give back to the U2 community in that time. I will attend all six shows in London this week and I'm looking forward to meeting many U2 fans."
- Oct 25 2015 05:19 PM
- by U2Community
What a great way to spend a Friday night. An intimate TV studio in London with U2 opening & closing the live show (and playing a couple of extra songs after it ended... just for us
Huge thanks to the u2comteam and TFI team for sorting the Zoo out with some tickets (right up the front too!), and for looking after us so well while we were there...
Heres what the zootops made of the night (adding our review highlights here as they come in, and you can check out more in the TFI thread too..)
I was one of the very lucky ones who won tickets to see the TFI Friday show. I've been a fan for over 20 years and was over the moon at getting this very exclusive chance to see them up close and personal.
I got there early in the hope of meeting them all as they entered the building and was fortunate enough to meet Adam.
The atmosphere was electric, I've been to U2 stadium tours and they have a presence of their own, but to be literally a foot away from Bono as he sang Raised By Wolves was totally awesome, I was dumbstruck and had to keep pinching myself that I was there and it wasn't a dream. (read full review)
It's still all sinking in... Feels a bit like a dream but I've seen video evidence that this actually happened!!!! Anyway here we go:
Friday night I got to participate in something really special... Being part of the TFI Friday audience was a fantastic experience on so many levels. I've been at the front for a lot of gigs (U2 ones included) but this was something different. It was like you were on the stage with them. I thought the atmosphere was electric and the band were on top form. We were treated to four fantastic songs. Loved hearing Raised By Wolves and Out Of Control, which was out of control! (read full review)
Just want to say a massive thankyou U2.Com for last night's Tix to TFI. Had an amazing night in frount of the stage, never been so close to the band before and we'll worth the 35 year wait to touch Bono's hand!!!! Lovely meeting the other Zootopians as well... (read full review)
Seeing U2 anywhere is kind of rare – especially when they tour Europe only twice a decade. Tonight, they perform a 4 song set at Cochrane Studios in central London ; their longest UK appearance in over six years...
There's 200 people here, and I'm near enough to the band to both touch them (which I get excited, and do, at one point), and count the buttons on their shirts if I really want. U2 are so huge, and so used to headlining stadiums, that playing a small room is probably a bit alien. Stripped of the presentation, the video screens, moving walkways, huge claws, lemons, cars, disco balls, and so on, U2 are at heart, a damn good band.... (read full review)
So it was with great excitement late on Thursday night they I discovered that I had won a place in the U2 TFI Friday Ballot for myself and a friend and I was going to have to change a few plans for the next day and get to London.
My friend and I arrived at the studios quite early and after checking off names and ID, we were given purple wristbands and told to come back by 7pm, off to the pub it was then although only for one as I didn’t want to have to find a toilet during a live TV Broadcast.
These purple bands gave us priority.. After a bit of confusion from the stewards we were called up early and we went in to the studio and managed to grab spots all around the stage, wow that was a tiny stage. (read full review)
(photo by Alan Ivory)
- Oct 18 2015 04:27 PM
- by U2Community
As the band moves this week to Antwerp, Belgium and Koln in Germany, the Zoo spoke to Matt & Ax, the guys behind @U2gigs...
"U2gigs.com is a global effort. At its core it is two people: Matthias in Berlin and André (better known as Axver or Ax) in Melbourne".
Matt handles the technical side and photos/videos, while Ax describes himself as a "setlistorian" who handles setlists, live trivia, and other information.
"We are lucky to enjoy the written contributions of Matkin (aka Matthew) of Toronto and Chris of New York, the videos of Stefan of Bielefeld and Frank of Hannover, the recordings archive run by Marc of Cologne, and assistance with coverage of live shows by Ashley and Travis of Los Angeles".
The site began in 2000 as U2Setlists.com, with elevation-tour.com a spinoff in 2001; Matthias was assisted by Martin from Vienna in creating the database in those early days. Both sites still exist, using data from the U2gigs database. In 2005, Matt created a new website, U2-Vertigo-Tour.com, and Ax came on board. This site changed to a new, permanent name of U2gigs in early 2008. The recordings archive was added in 2009.
"Since my early days building U2 websites in 2000 I wanted to create something unique and outstanding. I have loved U2 since the eighties, as well as computers and photography, so it was only a matter of time before I made something like U2gigs.com. My goal was clear from the beginning: collect accurate setlist data and attract readers by offering something more than just plain setlists. Today we have a comprehensive tour archive with lots of details, photos, videos, and connections between data, and we still add features when ideas come up or are suggested by visitors. Our setlists are also used by other fan sites too.
"Every few years I take the opportunity to travel the world to see U2 and document the concerts through photography and video. It's something I really love and it has taken me to many places I would not have seen otherwise. Highlights so far were the Australia/New Zealand trip for the fifth leg of the Vertigo Tour in 2006 and the 360° South American leg in 2011. This year I'm on the road again to see the Innocence + Experience Tour in Europe and I'm feeding our Twitter page with live coverage, taking photo sets for each concert I see, and adding videos to our YouTube channel."
"I discovered U2gigs back in the elevation-tour.com days in 2003, when I was 16. I thought it was the best U2 setlist database and I spent hours sneaking onto it during boring lessons at school. By early 2005 I had practically committed it to memory and I could not believe it when Matt invited me to join him. Today I take real pride in what we have created.
"I started running live setlists on the main page during Vertigo Tour concerts, something we still do to this day. Since the 360 Tour these have been more prominent on our Twitter account. Matt originally linked to press articles about shows, but during Vertigo's first leg I started writing summaries with trivia and these gradually became larger and more significant.
"We have tried really hard to make the site as comprehensive a resource as possible. Our photo database is massive: it has over 30,000 images. We created the first personal show charts feature in 2006 - it was based on a suggestion by somebody on the Interference fan forums and I'm sorry to say I can't remember who! I created a setlist FAQ that has now become quite detailed. I'm a historian by training so I'm drawn to any hint of new information. In 2005-06 I spent weeks listening to recordings to make our snippet listings more extensive and precise.
"I think I've now heard practically every U2 show that's ever been recorded - the last two tours usually from listening live thanks to the dedication and mobile data of other fans sharing the shows. But that's got nothing on Matt, who has travelled the world to see and film the band. His videos from Australia and New Zealand in 2006 attracted great attention on a nascent YouTube and laid a foundation for the HD videos that began with Barcelona 2009. Matt's videos - and those of Frank and Stefan - are probably our most popular feature now. European legs are a particular thrill, when Matt is able to attend most shows of a leg."
- Oct 13 2015 04:10 PM
- by U2Community
Hola amigos! U2V began 15 years ago (2000) as the result of a meeting between Rafa Gallant and Javi Vara, two U2 fans in Valencia. We organized the first parties and tributes in the area of Valencia as a celebration of the releases of the U2 Go Home DVD (Live from Slane Castle) and The Best Of collection. The passion and friendship inspired by U2 lead a group of friends (Valvi, Mata and Vara) to create our website U2Valencia.com. That was in April 2004, a few months before the release of the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. and so began one of the first Spanish U2 fan clubs, with followers from all over Spain and abroad. U2V also reports and publishes daily news about U2.
The U2V Staff is: Maria José, Fernando, Pere, Javi, José Manuel, Raul, Oscar, Leo, Carlos, Cheli, Angel, Esther, Sergi and Juanjo. On our website, (in Spanish), you can find many different sections about U2 (updated daily, 365 days a year): History, Discography, U2 Staff and Collaborators, A U2 Guide of Dublin: "The Dublin of U2", Bono's different Sunglasses, Vertigo Radio, U2 Tribute bands, U2 Experiences, Forum, Agenda and connection with all our social networks... We also have our own smartphone App for both Android and iOS operating systems. It has just been updated with a new #U2ieTour section and compatibility with the most recent iOS devices.
U2V activities are carried out not only on the internet. We collaborate in events and U2 parties, supporting all U2 tribute bands in Spain. We have organized fan meetings, even our own U2 tribute bands tour called "A Celebration Tour 2010", our 10th anniversary. We have also collaborated with “ONE” Pobreza Campaign in Spain and in other charity events for the fight against Cancer or the Fibromyalgia desease.
In April 2005, Javier Vara had the idea to create a radio program dedicated to U2 called "Vertigo Radio" on Radio 105.7FM Manises. It is one of a few radio programs devoted to U2 in the world, and the only one with more than 10 years broadcasting without interruption. Currently the team of "Vertigo Radio" is formed by Carlos, Oscar, Raul, Leo, Javi, Francisco, Rodrigo and Pilar (from U2Chile). At this time, Vertigo Radio staff has attended all recent U2 tours, and numerous events such as Glastonbury Festival (Uk), Electric Burma and Tosca in Dublin, and other promotional U2 events. They also have been lucky to interview Bono a few times, Bono always makes jokes in the interviews: "vértigo radio, the only radio station that doesn't know how to count!" And "I worked there as a DJ but they fired me!". In Seville while attending the U2360º show (or recently in #U2ieTour Vancouver, New York and Amsterdam), Bono dedicated the song "Vertigo" to the "Spanish mafia": "Spanish Lessons for Vertigo Radio!”.
To celebrate the different U2 concerts in Spain we have organized numerous initiatives: In Vertigo Tour 44,000 red balloons were prepared to celebrate the “The Edge” 44th birthday, in the 360 tour, At the start of the tour in Barcelona we also organized a warm welcome for the band with thousands of orange balloons floating in the Camp Nou Stadium.
For this new tour U2 Innocence + Experience Tour we will give a big welcome to the band with numerous proposals and events in Valencia and Barcelona: we will celebrate different tribute band shows like Spyplane in Valencia Oct the 2th, (Achtung Babies) oct 4th and (Red Rocks) oct 8th in Barcelona.
We also created the website www.u23d.es when the movie was launched in Spain. We opened it again to commemorate the re-screening of the U2 3D movie in theaters all over Spain this month. The schedule of all events is available in our website and in our "Vertigo Radio and U2Valencia" App for iOS and Android.
- Oct 05 2015 11:01 AM
- by U2Community
Continuing our link ups with fan sites across the globe, this week, as the band moves to Berlin, we are delighted to feature U2Tour.
The Zoo spoke to Hans from the core team :
U2tour.de was founded on 22 September 2000, and this year celebrates its 15th birthday. The site started out as a common portal and chat forum for several German U2 fan sites, at the start of the Elevation Tour in 2001 & its message board is now the biggest German language U2 online forum.
After the site’s success during the Elevation Tour, we decided to turn the then purely concert and tour focused site into a general U2 fan site, and since 2002 the site hosts news about the band and its releases. Over the subsequent years, more and more content was added.
Today u2tour.de contains a comprehensive U2 gig archive, an overview of U2 side projects, regular specials featuring interviews with e.g. Anton Corbijn, a U2 travel guide for fans travelling to Dublin, Berlin or the US, a list of all awards won by U2, a book corner, and much more.
The current u2tour.de core team of Björn, Daniel, Didi and Hans, have been with the site from the beginning, and previously were also involved in several U2 fanzines. Flo joined the team as database expert in 2002.This sumer Sabine, Christoph and Oliver joined the adminteam and will take greater responsibility for the site in the future.Over time, and with the site’s growing content, we needed ever more members for our team - these now include Conny, Sarah, Hanna, Dirk, Torsten, Caro, Navid, Sebastian, Andreas and Anne, and also supporters, who have got "special tasks" in our team: Malte, Phaser
For the 2015 Innocence and Experience Tour u2tour.de is a fantastic online resource for information about the tour, and has members of its team at EVERY show of the European leg of the tour, reporting live via Twitter and other channels. In 2009, u2tour.de was the first fan site to use CoverItLive to report from U2 concerts, but this has has now been replaced by a new live blog during the European shows. And they are planning other flash mob during shows...
Apart from the general site, u2tour.de has also been known to throw a good party or two! Our highlight so far was a large party at the Hansa Studios in Berlin in 2005, where U2 did early recordings for Achtung Baby, most famously One. The next day Bono mentioned the party on stage at the Olympiastadium, and we were proud to host not only hundreds of fans from around the world, but also members of U2’s crew (such as Dennis Sheehan) and The Killers.
This year we are planning for another party at the Hansa Studios on the night of 26 September - (it’s already sold out!)
Finally, and in line with U2 fan site tradition, u2tour.de also supports a number of charities, and has been able to donate significant sums from our work.
- Sep 23 2015 09:03 PM
- by U2Community
Launched on September 1st 2003 as (oh, oh, oh!) “The Swedish Thing” - u2.se has just celebrated their 12th birthday.
The founding members have since moved on but left duties to four dedicated fans (Simon 26, Malin 38, Fredrik 24, and Matilda, 20).
Simon told zootopia :
“For the iNNOCENCE+eXPERIENCE Tour, we want to (literally!) highlight Sweden’s leading role in development and aid. Inspired by the #U2ieTour bare lightbulb imagery, we decided to extend that idea to the U2 audience and their cell phones.
Everyone should have a guiding light in their lives, and we can all be one.
Over the years, we have organised fan gatherings, a release party for “No Line on The Horizon” and the Vifta Vitt (which translates as “Wave White”) - a ‘Swedish flash mob’ (initiated by former u2.se-contributor Olov Hjärtström Baudin for the Vertigo Tour).
”Vifta Vitt” this time round aims to welcome U2 to Sweden right at the moment the band takes the stage and support the fight against extreme poverty shared by the band and the ONE Campaign.
We really do support the ONE Campaign and encourage U2 fans to register as volunteers with #ONEonTour to help recruit more members in Stockholm.
Let me take this opportunity to thank colleagues, collaborators and visitors alike for their support.”
To find out more about U2.SE & organised fan meet-ups before and after each show this week] - check out their website, on twitter, @u2_se (#ViftaVitt) - or watch the video below to learn how to join the flash mob.
- Sep 23 2015 08:43 PM
- by U2Community
During the next few months, as the #U2ieTour moves through Europe we will try to connect up with U2 fan sites from each country the band is visiting..
This week, we are in Turin, Italy, and (big!) thanks to zootop Monica Martino, we hooked up with Rudy, founder of U2Place.com and asked him to let us know a bit about the site and who is involved.
They are organising something very special at the Turin shows, check out their twitter feed for more details, and the hashtag #AmplyRed
U2place.com started in 1999 as a simple blog in Italian... quickly became a real website with news , photos , concerts of U2 and a community . Community that has grown over the years to have about 18,000 members.
Over the years we have organized several flashmob such as in Milan in 2005 , Milan in 2009 and the big " One" in Rome in 2010.
To manage the community and the site we are 20 people . I am the founder and owner , Rudy 35, then there are the news updater ( Massimo 44 , Marco 28, Andrea 30, Stefano 45, Mikaela 40 ) and event & meeting organisers : Adele 38 , Eleonora 38 , Lucia 38, Alessandro 42. Also Marco, 38, forum moderator, Luca, 34, audio specialist, Alessandro, 39, forum moderator and Dennis, 42, special coordinator.
I wrote a book about U2 : " Sogni ad Alta Voce " (Dreams Out Loud)
I attach some photos showing the years about our U2 life experience
- Sep 23 2015 08:43 PM
- by U2Community