To live tweet or not live tweet ?
Technology enabled us this tour to witness way more U2 shows that we probably could have. The guys launched the whole Meerkat thing, but eh did they really think we would be content with a few songs? Don’t underestimate us good sirs. , The emergence of new live streaming apps like Meerkat, Periscope, Mixlr … and the good will of some other fans willing to sacrifice their phone battery and arms to let us in the sound has been our way in. And for those who couldn’t follow the band around as much as they would have liked to, it’s been a freakin blessing.
Some started calling me the U2 insomniac during the US leg – the cool ones called it dedication, the realistic ones blamed craziness. The fact is, I’ve been to a few shows this leg and yet I only missed about 3 during the entire tour (my alarm clock didn’t work and I only woke up on One for NYC7 and I got the flu for Antwerp’s shows). How cool is that? I’ve been able to be “on tour” with the guys from my living room. And many of us did. Of course we’d love to actually be there and all but sometimes life is not that easy – yeah I do have a life thank you (that’s for all the ones who have been gentle enough to suggest otherwise). It’s not the real thing and it will never be even better than (you know…), but it’s the next best option! And to be true, it’s one really cool option actually. Just be sure to have loads of coffee and have some days off between legs so you can sleep for some days in a row.
I won’t be talking about what I call “serious” live tweeting but emphasize on the “live” part, living the whole thing. I don’t only live tweet the show in order to give setlists and facts – some wonderful people are way better than I am with that bit and thank fuck they are. I’d be lost without them. I love music but I’m absolutely terrible with names – probably why Where The Streets Have No Name is one of my favorite, not that hard to remember. I manage to name most of U2 songs, but when it comes to snippets, Uff – don’t rely on me. I’m useless with names, I’m not one of those U2 encyclopedia fan and yet I really wanted to be part of it because it was a fun time to spend with my mates. So I did what I do best, stop thinking and go for it.
Some don’t really get it. Why the hell would you wake up in the middle of the night to watch a show? BECAUSE IT’S MY LIFE I DO WHAT I WANT WITH IT! Sorry. That’s the easy answer. There are always these 2 questions that relentlessly come back.
- Isn’t it the same show you watched last night? And all the other nights for that matter? – Oh I hate that one. You can have the same problem when you actually go to multiple shows. Bunch of ignorant heartless stupid people… (eh, I said I hate that one). After working on breathing technics to contain my anger, I learnt to reply something like “Don’t you kiss the person you love over and over again?” That’s what you do right? When you love something you just can’t get enough of it. Add to that fact that each show is different. Sometimes it’s not much but it is. And the best thing is, you have no idea what can happen! How could you possibly want to miss the opportunity of a surprise? And well, if it makes you happy, why the hell should you stop doing it. Damn, that question always makes me so grumpy. Because I don’t get why people don’t get it. Let me take an example. I got in a few arguments with friends because of this tour actually, and when I would confront them with the fact that they keep watching their football team playing for example, the only answer I’d get would be “it’s not the same”. Right, sure. Fine, fine, I’ll be the crazy one and I’ll let you kneel and yell in front of your TV then –Ranting over!
- The second question that often comes up is even worse. “Can’t you just watch this on YouTube tomorrow? It’s not like no one would record it if there’s something big”. That the moment I start to get really nervous and imagine very clearly my fist punching that stupid face. Of course I can watch it on Youtube the next day (and I usually do) – but it’s not live. It’s nice and all, but where’s the thrill? Maybe you could ask that second question (and definitely think I’m a violent psycho) so let me try to explain all this to you. I said try, right?
Just use your imagination for a second. It won’t be too hard, I promise. Imagine yourself back to the GA floor, holding that rail and waiting for the band to show up. That excitement, you can feel it right? It’s one hell of a unique feeling. And then the music starts and the show goes on. And when you’re physically at the show, so many thoughts and emotions go right through you. Your mind goes crazy on adrenaline and you share it with all the people around you. Not with words, but by pure instinct. You jump, you cry, you shout… you don’t think for a second, you just act. What if you were to put words onto all this? What if all that rumble of emotions going through your mind could be shared more than a simple physical symbiosis with other fans? That’s the point. That’s when live tweeting becomes interesting.
Take all this, and just add the fact that you’re not holding on the rail but your keyboard. And since jumping alone in your living room can be perceived as weird (doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, fuck sake go for it!) you got time to write down all these emotions you’re experiencing. I don’t tweet much in a “critical” way; I’m not really about “Oh that sounded better yesterday”. I actually don’t give a fuck about that. I’m not commenting on a football match or whatever, I’m not here for the facts – I’m just caught up in that moment, I’m on the GA floor. It’s not just about music; it’s about how music makes you feel.
But what happens to the whole sort of communion thing? That’s part of the fun! Being packed with so many other fans experiencing the same thing as you, the whole arena bouncing together at the first notes of Streets or uniting their voices to sing One – It can’t be the same right? Well guess what, it’s exactly the same. The more I live-tweeted (yeah I’m making up verbs now) the more I realized that the difference between watching the show online or on the floor in terms of social interactions wasn’t so different. To be true, the only thing you don’t actually share is that global sweat and spilled beer. There’s one awesome community of fans on social Medias, and twitter is my home. There might be thousands of miles separating us but we’re nonetheless one when it’s show time. We share the same excitement, tears and joy and if you’re not convinced try the #U2ieTour hashtag when it comes to Streets – I swear you’ll see your TL bounce like it’s the last night on Earth. Being at the show will always be the best thing, but listening in with your mates from all over the world is truly magic. And the I+E tour brought me way more great U2 friends than ever before. I found my new family, my #U2Fam. So basically, being with your friends, and listening to the shows, for real that’s the next best thing. And it is, because when you start putting words on those emotions, you realize how powerful they are and you can truly feel that high of adrenaline even if you’re not there. If you let yourself be caught in that moment, if you stop thinking and go for it: You’ll feel that unique intensity that makes us U2 fans. A little word of warning though, it’s addictive. Once you’ll have started, there’s no coming back. Live tweeting might turn you into a live junkie if you already weren’t.
But eh, music has always been my kind of drug and I won’t change this for anything in the world. Get your keyboards and coffee ready guys, I’m ready for next leg!