"The last time we took a TV station on the road -- this time we are taking a supermarket."
-- Bono, on Popmart, 1997
Column: off the record ..., vol. 16-743
October 02, 2016
I'm sitting in a hotel room in Burlington, New Jersey, as I begin to write this week's OTR column. It's late Friday night -- welp, actually the clock just turned to midnight Saturday morning -- and I'm exhausted. This is the last leg of an eight-day trip that began with the #U240 events in Cleveland, transitioned immediately into a four-day visit to New York City for a work-related conference and is ending here with a visit to see my mom.
At some point, I want to go back and review all the photos I took in Cleveland, watch the videos I/we shot, listen to the latest @U2 podcast and just step back and remember a wonderful weekend with the @U2 crew, a few hundred crazy U2 fans, Dave Fanning and the excellent staff of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I also need to do the same with the photos, videos and stories from our European staffers -- led by Aaron Govern -- who put on what everyone says was an incredible party for #U240Dublin.
Speaking of Aaron G., before I say any more I want to give major props to both him and fellow @U2 staffer Scott Calhoun. The two of them carried the torch for our Dublin and Cleveland events, respectively. They did most of the heavy lifting for both events and did a marvelous job. I tend to get fans approaching me to say "thanks" when we do things like this, but it's pretty much never me who deserves the thanks. In this case, it's most definitely Aaron and Scott -- with some help from other @U2ers -- who deserve the thanks.
By far the biggest surprise of the weekend was Adam Clayton's Skype interview with Dave Fanning on Sunday, which I still haven't had time to watch/listen to since it happened.
One last note on Adam's interview. Our joy about it didn't last long because shortly after it was over, we heard from our European staffers that some fans who attended the Dublin party were angry/frustrated/etc. that Adam chose to connect to the Cleveland event instead of Dublin.
The worst thing is that one fan who was at the Dublin event confronted Aaron G. on Sunday to angrily gripe about Adam's appearance in Cleveland -- a confrontation that happened in front of Aaron's family and brought his youngest son to tears. Can you imagine?!? That's not how U2 fans should act toward one another. Hell ... it's not how anyone should act toward one another.
(It's now about 4:00 pm ET Saturday, and I'm writing this on a United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver.)
My son texted me a couple hours after Adam's Skype interview: "People are gonna start expecting a band member to show up at every atu2 thing from now on." Several people said the same thing to me in Cleveland, actually. And so I'd like to announce our next @U2 party right now: On November 31st, we're gonna have a "Red Hill Mining Town" video viewing party! I'm going to sit in my office eating a bowl of Funyons and simultaneously commenting on that video, and I'll live stream the whole thing on Periscope so other U2 fans can join the party. It'll be incredible, I promise. (And if that doesn't lower expectations for future @U2 events, nothing will!)
It's kinda weird when my day job and my @U2 hobby intersect like they will this week. I have a press pass for the Dreamforce conference as part of my day job, and that pass also gets me in to see U2!
I'm going in with the assumption that, much like the recent iHeartRadio Music Festival gig, U2 won't be any introducing any new songs. I'm also assuming there'll be a similar political message like the anti-Trump one that started the iHeart Radio performance (but this week they're playing outdoors, so probably no Trump dollars falling down on us). It doesn't really matter to me what happens. As I've said before in past OTRs, I'm at the point of just being grateful for the chance to see them live whenever, wherever and whatever they decide to play.
(And it's now Sunday evening and I'm putting the finishing touches on this week's column.)
And with that, I think I'll wrap-up this three-day, multiple time zone edition of OTR. I need to go watch all the YouTube videos (here and here) from that Adele show I saw last week. And then get caught up on our #U240 stuff, too!
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.