What kind of U2 fan are you ?
One of the greatest things about being a U2 fan is the tremendous size of our community. You get to talk with so many different persons, from different countries, different religions, different views… And that’s the very beauty of that community. We don’t really care about all this, differences are our strength and in the end we’re all One. Even though we don’t let our differences define us, I came to realize over the years that guess what? We’re One, but we’re not the same. Ha! It’s a difficult concept to explain really (Thank you Bono for never letting my brain rest for a freakin second). Let’s say that we’re all U2 fans, but we’re all slightly different in our way of being a fan. Even if in the end the result is the same – our common love for that band – we don’t live it the same way.
I tried to think back to all the people I was given to meet and talk to since I reached out this community, and I saw some patterns emerged – Some different “types” of fans. I thought about giving it a shot. Hope you’ll recognize yourself in one of those categories, and probably more than one.
The different types of Fans
– The lambda fan:
The lambda U2 fan is cool. He’s probably one of the nicest person you’ll ever meet, because he lives his life based on the nice principles the U2 fandom is founded on. Always ready to help or available if you need to talk to someone – U2 related or not – he makes the “Carry each other” mantra come to life. He’s a good friend and a good fan. The lambda fan is the very core of the #U2Fam. I think most of us started like this, some evolved to something else, and some just stayed the exact same over the years. We all need a lambda U2 fan in our lives, and that being ourselves or someone else.
– The Happy fluffy kittens and cute rainbows fan:
Basically a lambda U2 fan who resisted through the years and turned even better. He’s always happy about everything U2 related, and love every single U2 fan as his dearest friend. He never gets into fights or arguments. He usually just leave and come back once the shit storm is over to drop some wise advice. He’s usually the voice of reason in a group of people. You sometimes feel like shaking him a bit because yeah shit happens! But nope, he’s a legendary Zen master and will keep smiling at you til you calm down. He’s always around to promote peace and remind you that life is good.
– The over excited Fan:
You either love or hate that one. You can easily spot him during tours. He usually runs up and down the GA line to talk to people, occasionally starts jumping around making squirrel sounds for no apparent reasons, and of course he never ever shuts up. He’s pretty recognizable on social medias too. Losing it every time there’s some news about the band, he’s a master at caps locking every single word, and usually swears like a sailor. He’s completely out of control when it comes to U2. He might make some people laugh, or people laughing at him – it doesn’t really matters to him. Yet, he can be a bit too much for some, and appear as some sort of a crazy person. Oh yeah, and he mostly runs on caffeine – I’m being soooo not subtle on that one.
– The living encyclopedia Fan:
You def need one of those in your circle of U2 friends. I have no idea how they can actually remember so many things about the band. It’s the kind of person who could (and may have) write a thesis about U2. They know EVERY single thing there is to know about the band. And I’m just talking about songs or dates. It’s way more impressive. They got the super ability to answer any questions. And they are more accurate than anyone. It usually goes like “Eh Remember when the guys did that thing during that song?” “Of course I do. It was that day, that year, in this city. Oh and Adam was wearing that kind of shirt”…. It’s kinda creepy sometimes. Same goes with albums and songs of course… They can quote every B-side, who produced and mixed it, in which studios – while you probably still struggle remembering the freakin lyrics. Their only flaw is sometimes getting so lost in facts that they can forget about enjoying the music as much as some other might do. They just can’t stop. But in the end, they’re amazing people. Mad respect. I like to think of them as the Sheldon Cooper of the U2Fam. Can get a bit annoying, but you can’t not love them.
– The Storyteller Fan:
That one is probably my favorite of all. He’s usually an older fan that has been following U2 around for many years. And like older siblings, they love to share their stories. And god knows they got loads of them! You usually come across them around arenas during tours, not necessarily in GA lines or signing lines – because they probably met the guys one zillion times already. Spot the guy in a vintage U2 shirt drinking some beers under the sun. I spent a whole afternoon in Turin with two of them. Some of the nicest people I ever met. Listening to their brilliant stories about the Zoo TV tour, looking at old pics, and just getting lost in those moments. I love that kind of fans the most because it’s not only about sharing simple U2 stories, but all about sharing their love for the band. Like mentors guiding a younger generation of fans to what the concept of being one really is about.
– The Achtung Babies:
You always feel so damn proud when you meet one of those fans. They’re young – sometimes very young. They’re always so enthusiastic and over excited, and to be true awfully cute. They are the latest generation of fans and they hold our hopes of a better future. No for real. When you listen to a 14 year old boy, and try to keep up with what he’s talking about – they usually talk very very fast – and realize how much love they have for this band, you know it’s not all lost. There is some good left in the world. I remember meeting a young fan earlier this year. He became a fan after listening to his free SOI on iTunes – Completely lost it all “OMFG you need to tell this to Bono!! IT WORKED!” – and there he was babbling about U2 like any of us… going crazy about seeing the guys live, going crazy about how much they brought him already. Emotions, music, friends, community… Keep it up kiddos. You rock!
– The commentator Fan:
This kind of fan has a different approach of music. They’re usually quite good at U2 history and facts. They often have some knowledge of music technics, and a better understanding of how things work. They usually deeply analyze songs rather than just listening to them. I think they’re necessary to the community because they get things we would never be able to hear if it wasn’t highlighted by them. Even though, they can sometime loose themselves into critical aspects and get a bit annoying. Especially when you’re trying to listen to a show online. “Oh oh Edge’s guitar sounds weird today… Oh my, Bono fucked up the lyrics… yesterday was a bit better I think…” Who gives an actual fuck! It’s a U2 show, enjoy it!!! It’s great to have you guys, but sometimes forget music as performance and just live it!
– The dormant fan:
That one is a special kind of fan. You don’t always get it because you know that once you become a U2 fan, there’s no coming back. This band becomes a part of your life, and these songs are as much as whom you are than anything else. And yet, some manage to get their inner U2er under control (How? And more importantly why?!). They usually reappear when the guys release a new album or when they go on tour. And then… they just go back to their life, and vanish for a few years. I guess we could call them “casual” fans but I still don’t believe such thing is possible concerning a band like U2.
– The jealous fan:
That one is usually harmless. Some fans get a bit jealous of each other. That’s sad but it happens. I’m usually happy when something good happens to someone I know, but that’s my way of life I guess. I get that when you see that someone who is not even that much into U2 met the guys for the 10th time in 2 days (while you’ve been waiting for decades to just meet them once), it can be slightly irritating. But Meh, that’s life!
It gets a bit meaner sometimes and that sucks. Some people will judge you on how many shows you got too for example, complaining they can’t and always come up with so many brilliant ideas about how you’re able to do that. I’ll let you in the confidence, here’s the secret… Save and plan. For years. Then you can do it 🙂
This tour has brought quite a lot of jealous vibes with the whole e-stage thing. It saddened me a lot to see some people reaction. It was a party every single time, and the smile on the fan face up there was priceless. It embodied our joy and love for that band. How can so much happiness ever be a bad thing? How can you not smile at those smiles? I don’t get it.
Anyways, I guess there are a million reasons why we could experience jealousy towards other fan. But there’s an easy solution for that. Don’t 🙂 Be happy, and who knows it might happen to you someday too.
My coffee came in a Star Wars mug this morning, and it struck me that, sadly, we kinda also have a dark side in our fandom.
– The competition fan:
Uff. First real step down to the dark zone of the U2 community. This kind of fan is just exhausting. I try to avoid them as much as possible. I never found them very interesting. They are typically the kind of people that could have turned into an encyclopedia or storyteller fan if they weren’t so full of shit. They went to more shows than you ever will, they know their U2 history better than anyone else, and they keep spamming you with their pics with the band. They did it all, they know it all. And there’s nothing else to add. And we, mere mortals, just have to shut the hell up and worship their supremacy as biggest U2 fan ever. Ha. Well, sorry about that but no. Rule number 1 in the U2 fandom: It’s not a freakin competition. We don’t give a crap about this. It’s just not who we are, nor how we function as a community. We’re One, remember?
The groupie fan:
That’s a tricky one. We need to be honest with ourselves; we all have some part of this in us. We can occasionally lose it when it comes to the guys. We all love seeing new pics about them. But we keep it under control – most of the time. Don’t misunderstand me, there’s a thin line between passion and craziness. But even though we can all be a bit batshit passionate at times, some just go further down that road. And trust me it’s a steep cliff.
The actual die hard groupie fan – sorry couldn’t come up with another appropriate word that wouldn’t sound like a proper insult – can appear as one hell of a nutcase. Some are harmless, others are just really scary. They certainly are a bit delusional. The band belongs to them so they just think they can allow themselves to do whatever the hell they want. They usually turn into those creepy stalker fans, but eh, all good because the guys just LOVE them (in their own reality). Anyways, yup, maybe it’s not such a good idea to come to close to these ones.
The screamer Fan:
I never made up my mind about them. Are they funny? Or just plain boring? We all came across this kind of people during tours. They usually hold on the rail in some kind of trance, wailing, crying and screaming the hell out… when the show hasn’t even started. And when the guys take the stage, you’re half laughing at them and thinking “get a grip man gosh” and half worried they might actually be having a stroke or something. Eventually they faint after 2 minutes in so you don’t have to worry for too long. But if they don’t – well that’s when it gets boring. Shut the hell up will you! All in all, they’re quite funny. A bit sad but funny.
The GA asshole:
Specifically met during tours, this one is really a pain in the ass. There’s the soft version, that won’t let you get back to your spot because you needed the bathroom. But, after showing the number on your hand and telling him to fuck off he usually give in and let you go through. The hardcore version is a bit nastier.
He usually shows up around show time, stands right behind you and claims that the rail should be his. Yeah, sure, I just queued for 2 days for that rail man, so it’s not gonna happen. After some death stares and “fair enough” comments, you think you’re good. Except you’re not. When the light goes off, it really starts. He thinks he can make you give up your spot. And usually here comes half an hour of pushing, beer spilling on your back and even punching. Always aiming for lower back and legs so security can’t spot it of course. Sometimes you think you well deserved your spot after so many hours of queuing, and yet you still have to fight for it. Don’t let them win. Call security if you have to. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Ever!
The grumpy Fan:
The grumpy fan might have started his fan “career” as a commentator. And slowly slide to the dark side of it. He came to the point that nothing is satisfying anymore. He’s never happy and complains about everything. He’s not a bad fan or whatever, but it’s not like trashing the guys will help make things better in your perspective pal. He gets more vivid during tours obviously. The audience is always shit, the set list is always boring and of course the guys are not as good as they were. He’s often a crossbreed with the competition fan. He knows better, he is better. That’s probably why he gets so insulting sometimes. It’s probably a fan who lost track of music business reality and the fact that U2 can’t be playing a show only for diehard fans. Every person down at the arena or the stadium is coming to have a good time. So yeap, they can’t be just playing b-sides and people are not under obligation of knowing every lyric to every goddamn song.
I agree that some shows can be better than others of course. We tend to forget it but those four guys on stage are only human. But it doesn’t mean it’s always worth the critic. We would have moved on to another band if they were always so damn bad, don’t you think?
The grumpy fan can be a dangerous one if not handled correctly. If you want to confront him, be warned, he might turn into the next phase…
“The Bow Down and Worship My Opinion and Don’t Ever Disagree With Me – Lest You Suffer My Wrath” fan:
Uh oh… Block and run, folks. Block and run.