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"Let's just say he's on the border between something and nothing."

-- Bono, on Edge's nickname

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Column: off the record ..., vol. 16-713

@U2, March 06, 2016
By: Matt McGee


off the record, from @U2

U2 fans are fascinating. I'm trying not to sneak too many peeks at the in-progress results from the 2016 U2 Fan Survey because, whenever I do login to the reporting dashboard, it's like going on a YouTube bender where five minutes suddenly becomes 50 minutes and you ... just ... can't ... stop. But I love seeing what you guys think about U2's concert ticket prices, about why you subscribe to and your rankings of the songs on every album.

As of Sunday evening, we're already closing in on 2,000 completed surveys from about 65 countries. On average, you're needing 21 minutes to finish, which is faster than the last survey in 2012 that took an average of 27 minutes. One thing I hope changes between now and the time we close the survey at the end of March? The balance between male and female fans finishing it. Right now, about 72 percent of all finished surveys are from guys! Where are all the female U2 fans?? Last time, it was 68 percent guys, and I thought that was too one-sided ... so I'm hoping there's a rush of lady U2 fans who take and finish the survey before we close it.

I don't want to give away too many other results, but I don't mind letting you know that U2's recent work is doing pretty well. Songs Of Innocence is faring well against older U2 albums, and the Innocence + Experience tour is doing very well in the tour-related questions. I'm also not surprised to see more fans saying they "often" follow U2 setlists online when U2 is on tour.

On a personal level, I was nervous this time -- just like in 2012 -- that not a single fan would check the box for U2-A Diary as his/her favorite U2 book. Like, how embarrassing would that be??!! But whew ... I'm thrilled to see that my book does have votes. (Thanks!) And speaking of books, I want to apologize to fellow U2 fan Deena Dietrich because we accidentally left her book, On the Road with U2, off our list. Hopefully that's the only glaring omission we've made, but as always, drop us a note if you think we missed anything else.

Thank you to everyone who's taken the survey so far, and to all who are planning to take it soon! We'll start sharing the results as soon as we can in early April.

One of our DirecTV DVRs recently died. Well, not quite "died" ... but it was really old and certainly on its last legs. Since it was so old and since we've been customers forever, DirecTV gave us a free replacement -- but only if we returned the dying machine in the process.

And the reasons that I mention this on a U2 fan site are:

  • this was the DVR that had our recording of U2's Paris concert from early December, and

  • there's no way to move recordings from one DVR to another

I did all kinds of research on the second point and I bet you won't be surprised by the reason that transferring recordings isn't a built-in feature: Hollywood is afraid of widespread copying of recorded shows (beyond personal use). So that killed Plan A, which would've been ideal -- just move the recording from one DVR to another.

In a desperate attempt to save my recording of the Paris show, I then went through Plans B, C, D and beyond. One thought was to make a DVD of the show. I have an old DVD recorder in my office, but it's so old that it doesn't record in HD and only works with DVD-ROMs that are two hours and shorter. The HBO telecast ran 2.5 hours. So that was out. I thought about following some of the online hack-style instructions, which would've involved trying to connect a different hard drive to the DVR (or something along those lines), but that was too much effort. I thought about shopping for a newer DVD recorder that would record in HD and for more than two hours, but in the end I just decided to follow Bono's advice from "Bad" ... let it go. :-)

The night before the DirecTV service guy was due to arrive, I watched the Paris show one last time and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was my first time going back to the I+E tour pretty much since the tour ended; I hadn't listened or watched anything from the tour in a couple months. It was so good. And it taught me a valuable lesson: If something important comes on TV, record it on more than one DVR.

I think it was our staffer, Fernanda B., who tweeted this cool interview with the unheralded and oft-overlooked fifth member of U2, Terry Lawless:

It was recorded in late January, I believe. There's no U2 content in it, whatsoever, but I enjoyed hearing Terry talk about music and playing keyboards (even if I didn't understand half of it!). I think it's the first time I've ever seen an interview with him, and here's hoping there are more in the future.

And finally, one more video ... how about a cover of "With Or Without You" performed on a 3D-printed violin. For realz.


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, 2016.

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