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  1. If I set off now (with an extra 20 minutes to pack a bag, make some sarnies and a flask of tea), google maps tells me I could be in Auckland. NZ in around 18 hours or thereabouts, given a fair wind…That would give me time to walk up to One Tree Hill, have a couple of #U2Pints with fellow fans in Doolan Brothers or O’Hagan’s in Auckland City, have a wash and a big plate of Hangi… and rock up to Mount Smart Stadium, get in line for a bit and plant myself in front of that magnificent Joshua Tree-shaped stage ready in time for the support band ahead of the main event this Friday. I am tempted. Even with this bad foot I am carrying. The weather looks so inviting. New Zealand has always had an appeal, those Lord Of The Rings landscapes do look so magical. Bring me my magic wand and a broom and maybe… (it is the season of spells and wizardry after all!). #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2019 is the hashtag I will be keenly looking out for instead (or is it just #TheJoshuaTreeTour2019 or #TJTT2019 … or something like that one…?) Online. Like many other fans I am already online watching things develop. Kerfuffle in the GA line via Facebook… Guitar chimes ringing out on Instagram… Pretty pictures and pauses from exotic locations en-route where the wise ones on Twitter stop a while to breath… We are on the 5…4…3…2…1 countdown phase… the U2 digital team teasing us, band stop and chats getting relayed back by the techie fan broadcast brigade (of which all of us who are unable to be there are eternally grateful)… we have come a long long way since that Christmas Day announcement back in 2016, hinting at this whole thing that turned into The Joshua Tree Tour 30+ years on. I got to see some of it in the not-too-distant past… had some of the greatest U2 days following it about for a bit,,, not all of it just stood watching the band play the greatest album of all time in its’ entirety in a new and timeless fashion. Some of those great days were spent just hanging out on cool places with hot fans, savouring the time we were having while we could. There is nothing like it. It’s an odd community the U2 fan folk. It exists online, and it really does exist offline too. It is made up of individuals, smaller and bigger tribes that collide every now and again when the band is in town (and even sometimes when they are on the other side of the World!) I do know this : we are happy & grateful that our band is on Tour again (even though this 16 stop version is too short for many of us), AND the latest fan club gift - U2 Live Songs Of Innocence + Experience is dropping on our doormats this very week. Special times! So, if you are lucky enough to be going to Auckland, or Australia, or any of the other cities in Asia or India these next six weeks, then I am sure yo don’t need me to tell you to suck it all up… take some moments to savour, taste it, don’t spend too much time fretting about getting in, quelling up, all that stuff that other folk are paid to take care of, see the local sights instead, go to one of the fan events that happen pre and post main gig, call your mother… Wonder if the moon will actually turn red this Friday, over One Tree hill…. we shall know soon Safe travels ya’ll.
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