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  1. #U240 Dublin - A Sort Of Pilgrimage - Part 2

    Part 2. Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own

     

    Over the last weekend in September 2016 fans had gotten ourselves together and organised stuff to celebrate 40 years of this band.

    In Dublin, In Cleveland, in other places too. With the instant, always-on advantage of social media it can almost feel like we are in more than one place at a time. Sometimes that’s a good thing, the sense of connectivity and online community is very real. Sometimes it means you forget to be in the now and can lose out on fully appreciating the one-to-one things right next to you.. its a balancing act.

     

     

     
    Dublin, to U2 fans will always be the Mecca, the (un)holy centre.. visits to shrines, walking in past footsteps, a magical place. Some of that is of course just fantasy, imagined stuff that listening to the band’s music over 40 years has evoked - but made real... real people and places that were introduced to us through the songs, each having a unique meaning to the listener should we so desire..
     
    Walking through the city streets I find myself as if in a U2 video… the single-take version to Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own to be more precise.. turning those corners around Sherif Street (also the scene of this short set from the Community Centre rooftop back in 1982)
    It’s far from glamorous. It’s nearly midnight and I can hear loud Bingo calling drifting out of the Youth Club, while just around the corner the financial centre & posher, newer bits of the city slumber..
     
    I spend the night parked up in Dorty Oileen (her name has took on a Gaelic lilt since arrival) in a city centre car park.. the first of those postponed meetings from yesterday has been rearranged for early today. It would not be a good idea to miss it again..
     
    A package is to be collected… and delivered. 
     
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    A visit to the hub within the hub… If Dubs is the hub, U2 main office has got to be hub central.. Its not a place to take photos, I liken it to the Sisteen Chapel of U2 land. Covered in amazing artwork and desks and telephones. One of the team makes me a cuppa & who listens to me rave on for a good half hour about how special all this is, especially to be here. 
    I try to be cool, and not fangirl it. I think I succeed to a degree. Impossible to stop smiling and imagine Paul McGuiness on that telephone over there finalising some big tour or other. Or booking lunch.. The heaven is in the ordinary I am told. 
    This is not ordinary. If heaven has an office…
     
    I tear myself away.. package carefully tucked under one arm. Hmmm.. lunch you say…
     
    It’s true.. sometimes you can’t make it on your own & I arrange to meet Aaron Govern, @atu2 staffer who is heading up all the arrangements for their Dublin fan stuff, and let him know I have a little package for him.. We know each other from our online bits & bobs of course, but its always great to put a real face and body to our online entities. We meet up in (in Bono’s cousins cafe I think) and a long chinwag ensues. If you get the chance to talk U2 with this man, do. Your knowledge and intimacy will deepen. He has some tales that’s for sure… he would make a great choice for a U2 Playlist. I get to meet Aaron's family too, Amanda, Thomas & James who have only gone and designed some badges to also give away to all the fans this weekend..
     
    He show’s me his. I show him mine. Badges. Call it serendipity, call it something else (little U2-related miracles to ;)
    The idea for badges has been invoked completely independently.. the badges Aaron & his son have made are an exact replica of one of the earliest U2 logo designs (by Larry we think - more on these badges in final part of this tale -  which is coming soon!) and the package I have to give to him to give out to U2 fans this weekend contains badges sent over from U2.com - designed by Shaughn McGrath over at Amp Visual - who have been at the heart of much U2 related artwork over the years. 

     

     

     

     

    A meeting of minds. Of spirit. Pilgrims on our way… 

     

    (Part 3 finale very soon! Have also started to upload some images from the weekend over in the zoo galleries, check em out!)

    • Oct 04 2016 02:23 PM
    • by bigwave
  2. Fan Site Of The Week - @U2

    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