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"We realized, 'This is our most joyful song. We've got to put that in to stop people jumping out of the window."

-- Adam, on adding "Wild Honey" to All That You Can't Leave Behind

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Column: off the record ..., vol. 15-680

@U2, July 19, 2015
By: Jill Marino


off the record, from @U2


Today is July 19. U2 will have played their first of eight shows at NYC’s Madison Square Garden the night before and their second one tonight by the time this is posted. I will have attended both shows and you can assume two things: 1) I will have cried my eyes out (especially during “Iris”) and 2) I will have given side-eye stares to those around me who are unenthusiastic during “Streets.”

I don’t consider myself an expert on concerts or the whole GA experience. My only goal is to enjoy the show, be it in a seat or the pit. I only started doing GA for shows a few years ago. The Killers were actually the first band I ever did GA for. This is an OTR, where I can voice my opinion, which is so wonderful about writing for @U2. GA is a blessing and a curse. It’s great to want to be close and near all the action. But I just have a problem with things like lists, line leaders, and actual “check-ins” when it comes to GA. Luckily, I’ve never had to deal with that. Whatever happened to just showing up in line and waiting it out? I wish venues would take the initiative and organize GA itself so it could be official (numbered wristbands, show up at this time, then come back, etc). Also, if you show up an hour before doors open after being in a hotel all day and had a friend hold your spot while everyone else was sweating, that’s not cool.

I’m just not down with someone assigning me a spot. We’re all here for the same show. We’re all going to get spots. Trust your fellow fans and calm down. It’s just a concert. I’m sure U2 are more concerned with putting on a great show for the thousands of fans in the arena than some entitled fan who feels the need to dictate how the line is going to be so they can get their spot. What I love about the GA line is getting to chat with other fans and chilling (it’s how I met a lot of my closest friends). Why does that vibe have to be ruined with the pressure of getting a spot? SERIOUSLY, WHO CARES? And how do people camp out for days, then get back in line after the show ends for the next night?! I have a job and a life that I can’t take a break from! It boggles my mind. Again, I’m not an expert and to each his own and this is a mini-rant on my part. But I don’t camp for anything (however, for the Roxy gig, I would have packed a sleeping bag). I also work hard to afford to go to these shows and I refuse to let someone tell me how a GA line works. Bye.

If reading that made you angry and you would like to discuss these points with me in person or talk about how amazing this tour is or celebrate the awesomeness that is this website, please come to our anniversary party in NYC on Wednesday, July 29! Info is here. I’m open to all discussions over drinks and cake (which will both be available!)

I have two U2 tattoos. Do you too? (That pun was kind of intentional.) Well, you’re in luck! Check out @U2TattooProject on Twitter and show them your inspired tats. I’m so happy a project like this exists. Shout out to @bethandbono and @ChrisLeClere for being the brilliant minds who created it.

My colleague Christopher Endrinal wrote in his OTR back in May about the types of U2 fans that he sees, which I found so cool because that’s what’s always so fascinating about fandoms. There isn’t one “type” of fan. After reading his list, I came to the conclusion that, at least for U2, while I drift toward “The Analyst” (lyrics are my favorite things to dissect about songs), I actually consider myself something separate, which is “The Bossypants.” It must come natural as I’m a Leo and we’re kind of diva-ish.

When a U2 tour is announced, my wheels are already spinning. They should play this month at this venue because it fits with my schedule. Then the tour starts and after a few shows, I start to analyze the setlists. “Oh U2 … we’re really doing ‘Ordinary Love’ but you guys can’t do ‘Window in the Skies’? Sigh.” For the record though, I’m on the biggest campaign to hear WITS live as it’s in my top five favorite U2 songs of all time. I’m thrilled they added “Miracle Drug” though, as How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb is my favorite U2 album. Have I mentioned I’m kind of bossy?

But then I feel bad when I have those thoughts. We’re lucky U2 are still here. They could have broken up years ago. They could have decided that “360” was the last go-round. They have a 40-year anniversary in 2016. To see a band that has gone through so much, can still have millions of fans flock to see them live, and make it to 40 years together is so admirable. I have to tell the diva in me to just shut up and embrace what a U2 tour is all about, which is sheer euphoria, and to let them play whatever the hell they want.

To stay on the subject of being lucky and blessed, this is an important week for me. I not only have all of these MSG gigs, but I’m also turning 30 this Friday. I’m not one of those people who are afraid of getting older. I’m actually super pumped to be turning 30 because I feel like I’m at a good spot in my life. I live in the greatest city in the world, I have an incredible job at a popular NYC bakery that is challenging but has taught me so much, and I’m confident I have the best group of family and friends I could ask for. The cherry on top though is that the night before my birthday is U2’s fourth NYC gig and I’ll be in the Red Zone singing and crying my eyes out. Best pre-birthday celebration ever! But the year between my last birthday and this year’s wasn’t easy and I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without U2.

I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease last October, and the months following my diagnosis were filled with multiple doctors’ appointments and various medications to get me in remission. There were days I could barely get through a day of work, I was fatigued and losing a ton of weight, and I was an emotional wreck who cried every day. It was a major struggle that I kept hidden from a lot of my friends until I ended up in the hospital for two weeks in April. I’ve never stayed in the hospital before and I was so scared. I remember the first few days in ICU, all I thought was, “Please let me be better for my birthday and the U2 tour. That’s all I want.” They were the only two events that I looked forward to all year and I just hoped that I could be well enough for them.

When I was discharged, I went home to New Jersey to recover at my dad’s house. I remember being on his couch, my swollen legs propped up on a pillow to ease the swelling from all the IV fluids I received, and crying while watching U2 perform “Beautiful Day” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon as it’s my favorite song. I just needed THAT. I needed to be reminded that although bad things happen to you, they make you appreciate all the good that you do have. For me, it was making it out of the hospital and leaning on the support system I had. I’m going to have this disease for the rest of my life, but I don’t have to let it ruin my life.

“The sky falls and you feel like / It’s a beautiful day.” U2 have and will always be my saviors and I couldn’t imagine going into this new decade without them. They just can’t ever cut “Beautiful Day” from their setlist! I know, I’m so bossy.

Any opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of @U2 as a whole.

(c) @U2/Marino, 2015

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