It's 40 years next month since the band's formation back in September 1976 in Larry kitchen.
Fans worldwide are marking the occasion with events to celebrate #U240 (we are trying to list as many as we find out about, and if you are doing something special with other fans & friends, do let us know about it over in the Zoo)
Back in May, Spanish U2 fan site U2Valencia were one of the first fan clubs to meet up to party the big 4-0. They had lots of special guests attending, and Zootopian & U2Songs staffer Harry Kantas was there too, so we asked him to tell us about the event and take a few snapshots.
It sure looked like a great night was had by all... over to you Harry :
If you are a U2 fan, chances are you have come across the fan site U2Valencia, online or even in person at a U2 show, at least once.
U2V are one of the most active U2 fan communities in Europe, covering U2 shows and events, bringing news to Spanish fans, as well as on an international level, and celebrating U2's music.
To mark the band's 40th anniversary this year, U2V threw a big party in Valencia, inviting people from all over Spain, as well as fellow fan sites: U2chile, U2place, U2songs, U2start were among the ones that made it to this Tribal Gathering of the Faithful!
"The idea of this party was born thinking how we could pay tribute to U2's 40th anniversary (1976-2016), 40 years after the day they first met at Larry Mullen's kitchen on the North side of Dublin", says Javi Vara, founder of U2V. "We wanted the party to take place when U2 would not be on tour, so May seemed like the best option. We were very happy that friends from all over the world were able to join us, as well as fans coming from all regions of Spain."
"You know, U2 have never played here in Valencia. We are lucky enough however, to have one of the best U2 tribute bands from Spain, called 'Spyplane', who also happened to be celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band this year, so all the more reason to throw a big party!"
And what a party that was! In a sold out night club in Valencia, 500 people got together to celebrate the music of their favourite band and heroes until early in the sun came out, and then some more!
There were beautiful posters, t-shirts and banners everywhere, courtesy of U2V's very own Maria Jose Garcia Villarrubia. The logo used for the event, (U2V40), is a beautiful adaptation from U2's iconic early days' logo, made famous by Colm Henry's photo of U2's performance at the Dandelion Market in Dublin, back in 1979.
Sara O'Mallie, Campaign Manager at ONE.org was there, too. A ONE stand was built in the club, for people to learn more about the ONE Campaign, and lend their voice on the fight against extreme poverty.
Incidentally, U2V's Miriam Bermejo holds the record for most ONE.org sign ups during the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour campaigns in one show: 269 (any Hawkmoon fans out there?)
Saira and Miriam took the stage during one of Spyplane's intermissions, to talk about ONE. By the end of the night, almost half of the crowd had signed up to ONE, and the other half, well they were members already!
"It was such a privilege to join so many familiar and friendly faces in Valencia", Saira says. "No group on earth knows how to have fun like U2 fans! And the overwhelming support for The ONE Campaign was truly amazing. There was so much positive energy in the room. I can't wait for the next event!"
Time for the main event. Take 500 U2ers, thirsty for some live U2, in the middle of a U2 Tour drought season, and put a great live U2 tribute act in front of them: Mayhem!
Being in a U2 Tribute Band is not an easy job. I should know, I've tried starting a couple over the years.
Spyplane is one of the most hard working U2 Tribute Bands out there.
Their attention to detail is extremely impressive, their focus is on the music, not just looking the part!
If Spyplane ever toured outside of Spain, they would sell out venues.
The show lasted a little over 3 hours. The setlist ranged from U2 hits, to fan favourites, to songs that prove that Spyplane themselves are just 4 U2 fans like everyone in the venue, that were there to show their fellow fans a good time.
There were songs like Heartland, Street Mission, Tomorrow, that really put Spyplane up there with the best for me.
There was a rendition of Mysterious Ways with some familiar faces dancing on stage (Amra, Brigitte, Lucia, Veronica).
There was a performance of Iris, a song so personal, that you would not want to hear from anyone else other than U2, but Spyplane had the huevos to do, and they did it justice!
During one of the intermissions, a recreation of the Window In The Skies video was shown on the screen, featuring live shots of Spyplane throughout their 10 year career. Javi takes the stage, to present the band with Silver Plectrums as a thank you from U2V.
Time for a #Spyplane10 cake, and the show goes on, with a bit more fun: A remake of U2's Numb video, featuring Spyplane's guitar player, Nacho!
Youtube link - Numb
Almost 3 hours after Spyplane took the stage, the set ends with 40. Except people decided it was not over yet. And people have the power. Spyplane out on stage again, for a few more tunes!
Video - Intro
Out Of Control
The Electric Co. / Send In The Clowns
I Will Follow / Raised by wolves
Sunday Bloody Sunday / Get Up Stand Up
New Year's Day
Exit / Riders On The Storm / Gloria
Bullet The Blue Sky / Love & Peace Or Else
Running To Stand Still
Video - ZooTV
Lady With The Spinning Head / The Fly
Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses / Mysterious Ways
One / Unchained Melody (with Karen)
In A Little While
Angel Of Harlem / Man In The Mirror (with Kafra's Blues Band)
When Love Comes To Town (with Kafra's Blues Band & Kike Portolés)
Tomorrow (with Lluis Preus on trumpet)
The First Time / Bad / Ruby Tuesday / Walk On The Wild Side
ONE Campaign Speech (Saira & Miriam)
Video - Window In The Skies
Video - Numb
Discotheque / If You Wear That Velvet Dress
With Or Without You
The Miracle Of Joey Ramone
Vertigo / Stories For Boys
Drowning Man / Iris
All I Want Is You
Purple Rain / Where The Streets Have No Name
People Have The Power (with Kafra's Blues Band, Kike Portolés, Karen & Monty Peiró)
Until The End Of The World
Stand By Me
But the night was not over yet. Far from it.
All members of Spyplane joined the crowd for the post-show party. Everywhere you looked, you would see people sharing their U2 experiences, from gigs to meeting the band, to visiting Dublin as pilgrimage.
You would see people talking about the upcoming U2 DVD Live from Paris, some doing complex science and applying algorithms to reveal the release date for 'Songs Of Experience', others channeling ancient deities like oracles, to find out when the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour resumes. A true U2 Tribe, enjoying each other's company until the early morning.
Thank you U2Valencia, thanks Spyplane, and more importantly, thanks U2, for helping us discover each other!