"I always want an outstretched hand in music."
Pimm Jal de la Parra, 1966-2002
U2 show designer Willie Williams remembers a gifted U2 fan
April 16, 2002
Pimm Jal de la Parra, U2 live show archivist extraordinaire, has died.
Pimm Jal de la Parra was known to thousands of U2 fans as founder-editor of the Dutch U2 Magazine Collectormania and through his encyclopaedic book U2 Live: A Concert Documentary.
The book, which detailed U2 concerts from 1978 until the end of the PopMart tour in 1997, became a must-read not just for fans but for members of U2's touring crew, checking details of previous U2 visits to towns and cities worldwide.
Willie Williams, U2's show designer, offered U2.com his own reflections:
"Some time after the Zoo TV tour, the book U2 Live: A Concert Documentary dropped into my lap and left me speechless. Being something of an archivist myself I was deeply impressed by such a comprehensive history of U2's live career -- especially as this was long before the Internet made such data collection much more feasible.
"The book instantly became U2's final authority on all things regarding touring history. I would always carry a copy in my work box and there's always one on the tour aeroplane, largely for solving arguments over important issues like exactly when we first played in Detroit, or the name of that club in Burton-on-Trent where Bono first went body surfing. It would also make us laugh too, like a family photo album, reading P.J.'s frank, objective honesty about the standard of certain events and performances.
"The most delightful thing of all though is that through all the years he spent documenting our work lives, P.J. never asked for anything. He always bought his own tickets, queued to get into gigs, never hassled anyone about wanting to meet the band or get backstage.
"We corresponded occasionally over the years, largely as I was very keen to help fill in some of the blanks in early parts of the book. He was always pleasant and grateful but never inclined to take advantage of how much U2 were in awe of his information archive.
"I finally met him during the Elevation tour when we had a chat outside the venue one day. I invited him in to join us for dinner but he politely declined as he was with friends in line waiting to get into the heart. I felt quietly humbled!
"I was very sad to hear of P.J.'s death and join all in the U2 organisation in sending much love and sympathy to his family and friends."
Many U2 fans have testified to the friendship and support they received when writing to or meeting Pimm Jal -- many were inspired by his example to start their own U2 initiatives.
Pimm Jal de la Parra was also an authority on David Bowie and responsible for David Bowie - The Concert Tapes. We pass our condolences to his family and many friends.
If you would like to pay tribute to Pimm Jal de la Parra, there is a tribute page running at U2log.com.
Fans are also remembering Pimm Jal in our Zootopia area.
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