Robyn H (neverletmedown) wrote in u2,
Robyn H

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How I became the obsessed U2 fan that I am now...

We all have our "How I got into U2" stories that seem to be seeping into canadanne's survey. How about devoting an entire post to it? :)

Anyhow, I don't think I ever officially introduced myself to this, but I know some of you said hello to me on Interference. (Yes, neverletmedown = Carmanah) :)

Anyhow... here's my "How I got into U2" story.

As I was born in 1980, I wasn't aware of U2 until they were midway through their career. I remember being in grade 3, there was a boy in my class named Alim who had a U2: Rattle And Hum shirt. My friend Lori saw his shirt and asked Alim, "Did you see Rattle and Hum?" and he replied, " Mom took me! We went to the theatre yesterday!"

So for several years throughout my childhood, I associated U2 to with movie. Not a band. Just a movie. I was sort of right.

In 1990 my family decided to leave "TV stone age" and subscribe to get more than 13 channels, hehe... so for the first time in my life, at the age of 9 or 10, our household got channel 29 - Much Music! I was so fascinated with Much Music at the time... watching Madonna's "Oh Father" music video, or Fine Young Cannibal's "She Drives Me Crazy". While my parents weren't strict, I always assumed they wouldn't want me watching Much Music, so I would sit there watching it with the volume down low. Whenever they'd walk in, I'd switch the channel. Don't ask me why I did that... it was one of my strange childhood quirks! But it was around this time that I caught U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name" music video. I watched the entire thing, but never thought much of it.

Then back in early 1992 I was 11 years old going on 12. I was only starting to listen to the radio during my spare time, chosing my *own* radio stations for once (as opposed to listening to whatever my parents had on). Not that my parents ever stopped me from listening to the radio before, but I never had the interest... until then. I remember listening to the local pop stations... and in 92 the big hit songs were things like the Spin Doctors' "Two Princes" or Snow's "Informer". It was all fun, but nothing grabbed my attention.

Later in the year two girls in my grade 7 class came up to my desk. I never really knew them well, mostly because I was shy, and they were outgoing... so when they asked me, "Robyn, do you like U2?" - I figured it was a trick question. You know how "popular" people can be. I thought that if I were to say, "yes", that they'd say, "Oh... because they suck". In reality, I still wasn't familiar with U2... so I told them "No". Then I asked why. They said, "Oh... because we're going to the U2 Zoo TV Outside Broadcast concert at BC Place... and we have one extra ticket. We wanted to know if you wanted to go. It's in a few days"

And for whatever reasons, that silly childhood quirk came in, automatically assuming that if I wanted to go to a concert, my parents would say no, so I played it safe and told this girl that I wasn't interested in going to U2. After all, I didn't really know them, so why would I pay money to go see them?

End of story.

Of course, during the day of that concert, about 7 girls in my class were talking about how excited they were that they would see U2 that night. U2 were on TV and in the newspapers that day, but it meant nothing to me.

The next morning at school I heard all the girls' story. They were sitting in the worst nose-bleed section in the stadium. While one of the supervising parents was in the bathroom, a guy with a STAFF t-shirt approached them and told the girls that he worked for U2, and that at every show U2 would set aside several rows of seats near the stage to give to fans... then he asked the girls if they'd like to sit at the 5th row seats instead. The parent came back, made sure the staff member was authentic, then okayed the move... so all the girls were moved and were sitting 5th row during the Vancouver Zoo TV Outside Broadcast show. All I remember is them telling me the next day about how they were *this* close to Bono, and how they could see each bead of sweat on Bono, etc. Bono this, Bono that. It didn't excite me... yet. I didn't even know who Bono was. I assumed he was the lead singer.

I did ask my parents that night though, out of curiosity if I were to go to a concert, if they would allow me to go. They said, "Certainly. Why not?"

D'oh! So if I really wanted to go, I could have. Oh well... I knew for next time.

Only a few months later when U2 released "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" as a single, I really started to notice them. I probably heard that song two or three times, but I requested "that U2 album that has Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses on it" on a Christmas gift list.

I didn't receive it for Christmas, but Easter soon rolled around in early 1993. I'm guessing my grandparents asked my Mom for some gift ideas to bring for me and my sister for Easter Dinner. They were usually little token gifts... and usually we never received anything for Easter. But this Easter was different. My Mom must have told them something because when they arrived at my doorstep, they presented me with my very own Achtung Baby cassette.

After dinner I ran upstairs, took out my walkman and listened to Achtung Baby for the very first time. I had no expectations other than I knew Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses. I unfolded the cassette cover, looking at each picture, reading the lyrics... the intro to Zoo Station started, and it was quite unlike anything I had heard before. Then came Even Better Than The Real Thing. "Hey! Wait a minute! I've heard this song before!" Then "One" - and once again, another song I recognized. Each song played... and I was spellbound. Never in my life had music grabbed me in such a way.

That night I went to bed with my walkman, listening to Achtung Baby intensely. Each time I gained more and more enthusiasm and wonder for this band... U2. I listened to Achtung Baby each and every day. I'd turn on the radio with hopes of hearing U2. If I heard U2, I'd take out a blank cassette and I'd tape the song. Keep in mind U2 was this new realm to me. I was 12, turning 13, and I didn't have a lot of money to buy a lot of CD's. This was also before the Internet, so I couldn't search for any info. But I recorded a whole lot of U2 with the radio.

I took a little note pad and I'd write down every "new" U2 song I'd discover on the radio. Sunday Bloody sunday, In God's Country, Surrender, Pride, etc. Sometimes the DJ's would say the name of the song... other times they didn't, so I'd have to guess. It's quite funny looking back at the titles I came up with, but for the most part, I got them right. U2 was my new obsession.

With all these titles of new U2 songs, I'd go to the record stores and search out the albums where I could find these songs. I bought The Unforgettable Fire within weeks.

Because U2 were still touring, on the radio they'd always say a little news clip about U2 right after the song. On May 10th of 93, after recording "With or Without" off the radio, I managed to tape the DJ saying, 'Today's Bono's birthday... he's 33 today'. So I'd jot that down in my notebook. "Bono = birthday: May 10, 1960". Any U2 trivia I could get my hands on, I'd write down.

I remember several weeks going by, and then all this talk about the new U2 album titled "Zooropa". I bought it the day it came out. I actually would sit infront of the radio, listening to any previews of the album. All the newspapers were printing the funny stories of Mr Macphisto travelling through Europe, making prank phone calls to Chancellor Helmut Kohl. I'd cut the articles out and save them in a shoebox. My "U2 box". U2 were becoming incredibly sacred to me. I now had several U2 CDs, books, cassettes, etc.

Throughout the summer Much Music (Canada's music channel) would do Spotlight's on U2... an entire half hour devoted to their stock of U2 interviews and music videos. That's when I saw "Where The Streets Have No Name"... and something triggered a flash back. 'I've seen this already!' hehe. Much Music was a great source for U2 videos and interviews. I still have those videos in my closet!

In August 93 I sat infront of the stereo and taped the entire U2 Live in Dublin show. I was also kicking myself, remembering how less than a year earlier I was foolish enough to say "no" to the Zoo TV tour. Now it was too late. I was always kicking myself for that.

In January 1995 I got the internet for the first time. I was 14 years old, and I immediate joined the #U2 IRC channel where I nicknamed myself "Bonofan"... but decided that was too generic, so I called myself "Ultraviolet". Many people chatted with me about U2 trivia, and couldn't believe this 14 year old girl knew so much. Hehe! I was insanely obsessed. I'd paint myself to look like Macphisto with my Halloween makeup. I'd draw portraits of U2. I'd replicate the Achtung Baby or Zooropa cover with pencil crayons... and everything I did somehow revolved around U2. I also joined Wire and was an avid poster.

In 1997 I finally got my chance to see U2 in Vancouver for the first time. I asked my little sister if she wanted to go, but she was unsure, so I went with a good friend instead. Unfortunately the sound was lousy (BC Place is like a cave) but the seats were alright (around the 47th row on the floor). I was there with my good friend Andrea and we kept on smirking at eachother the entire time. We always considered eachother U2 buddies. (She was one of the girls who went to see the Zoo TV show). We'd always obsess about U2 together.

I graduated high school in 98 and went to a multimedia school where I learned computer graphics, interactive multimedia and programming. I worked full time at an internet company in downtown Vancouver. My manager just happened to also be a die hard U2 fan. He was lucky enough to see them when they toured the clubs in Vancouver during their first show here.

In early 2001 I was one of those lucky few who bought advance tickets for the Elevation tour online... and I reserved 2 general seats for the floor. I took my sister who was kicking herself for missing the last tour. We woke up early during the day of the show and were probably the 30th in line. We were able to see the entire band outside of GM Place before they entered, and I was able to get Adam to sign my ticket stub. Then inside, we were in the heart, at the tip. Unfortunately we were on the "wrong" side of the tip, as Bono decided to dance with someone on the side opposite from us, but we didn't care. We were sooo happy. We were in awe and Bono and Edge performed Until the End of the World one foot away from our reach. We loved the fact that we were RIGHT there... and the music nearly brought us to tears. It was the perfect night.

Currently? I'm not as obsessed as I used to be when I was 15, as I know as much U2 trivia as anyone can cram in her head at the moment, lol.... although I'm sure I'm a bit rusty now.... U2 have been a part of me for nearly half my life now. I started playing guitar at the age of 13 because of U2... I learned every U2 song by ear because I loved them so much. Years later in high school I won awards for my guitar playing... so I kind of give credit to The Edge for that. I doubt I'd find music half as passionate if it wasn't for U2.

So there you go. Now you know. And if you want to find more about myself, feel free to ask... or just check my profile. And if you read this far, I sincerely thank you. You rock!

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