It's probably fair to say that U2 will touch most people musically at some point or another. I can't pretend to have been there at the start but it is the first few albums that remain my favourites out of their vast repertoire. "I Will Follow" from "Boy" remains one of my favourite singles and it was a song our band The Majority used to cover way back in 1985 which certainly does make me feel old. "New Years Day" from "War" was another song we covered and it remains just about my favourite U2 song.
My first experience of seeing the band live was in 1986 at The Longest Day gig at the Milton Keynes bowl which had the added highlight of being able to see The Faith Brothers supporting. I remember the rain taking hold during the afternoon and the queues at the bars! By the time U2 came on we were soaked through, but in spite of one or two sounds issues due to the weather I remember it being a great gig. We had to beg the driver of the mail train for a ride on the late night train home to Maidenhead as we had missed the last train home.
"The Joshua Tree" is of course a classic album and contains the beautiful "With Or Without You" which is simple in chord structure, but genius song writing. I saw the band twice on that tour. I must admit at Wembley I had consumed a fair few beers and had trouble in knowing where the stage was! At one point someone asked me if I knew what the Tricolour was, and I seem to recall managing to get the word "flag" out of my mouth. It was a slightly disappointing show for me and so when we went down to see the show in Cardiff I was a bit nervous as I so wanted the day to be great. A few beers in Cardiff set us up for the show and we entered the stadium only to find no booze on sale! Just Panda Pops and I must admit I wanted to leave the and then! But with The Alarm supporting and they played a blinder it was all good. Credit where credit is due the U2 performance the was fantastic; one of truly magical sets I have seen any band play.
I enjoyed Achtung Baby although the move away from the traditional sound of the band kind of meant I had come to the end of my real fan period with the band. I found the Zooropa Really hard to get into and the Zoo TV tour was just too much of departure from a real live show for me to enjoy. That was to be last time I saw the band live for many years.
I would enjoy some of the material the band produced on the "All That You Can't Leave Behind" album as it was more a return towards the traditional U2 sound that I loved. The most recent offering "No Line On The Horizon" persuaded me to go to see the 360 tour at the new Wembley and what an awesome show it turned out to be. So my return to the band had come full circle and was complete.
I could not finish without mentioning the legendary Live Aid performance at Wembley in 1985. There was a magical couple of hours during the late afternoon early evening period and the U2 set was just about as good as it can get.