Saturday, 24 August 2013

What a Show, What a Night, What a Zooropa! - Memories of the Tour

I've been reminiscing a lot over the past couple of weeks as it has been 20 years since Zooropa, arguably U2's best tour, and certainly a tour that has a special place in the hearts of many long-time fans such as myself.

For me it was the tour where I saw the most shows - we saw them in Glasgow, London, Cardiff, Leeds, Dublin and even one in Germany.  And in some of those places we saw more than one show too. Ticket prices were so much more reasonable so we went to as many gigs as we could afford.

A large group of us fans - "the girls" - would meet up and there was a wonderful camaraderie, a sense of belonging and also a mutual craziness!  And yes, I have to admit we were quite obsessional in those days. We all came from different parts of the country and abroad, united by our love of U2.

Looking back I don't know how I managed all the travelling about - I can remember coming back home to do one night shift and then, without sleeping, set off to the next venue, couldn't do that now. Those were the days when we would queue from lunch time and run like hell when the gates opened to get to the front. Once hogging that much cherished place it was impossible to get out again so it was a test of endurance for our bladders! Our first port of call after the show would be the toilets then getting something to eat and drink. Madness yes, but it was also fun.

It was also an exciting time on many fronts. Zooropa was a dazzling spectacle, their first big production that bombarded the senses. This, along with the the fantastic new music from the albums Achtung Baby and Zooropa as well as their older back catalogue made to make this tour a most amazing and innovative experience in every sense.

Something that made it more exciting for me was that in those days I edited a U2 fanzine called Eirinn - no such thing as all singing and dancing U2 websites in those days! Fanzines were true labours of fandom, they took a lot of time and work to produce. U2 recognised this and were generous to fanzine editors in those days, they gave us photo and hospitality passes and two free tickets to one gig. I used my passes for Zooropa at their Leeds show and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! There weren't many people photo shoot and we had a great position, stood on a high step (that someone hand to help me up onto) right in front of the stage, we were actually leaning on the stage.  I've had other passes, but this one was by far the best position.  When the band came on the power that exploded from the audience behind us was spine-tingling. I had to remember to take photos during those first three songs that we were allowed to photograph, I got so caught up in it all, it was special to be so close, almost part of the show.  Bono gave us a little wave (we had met him a few times so he knew our faces) and my friend Jane got a kiss.  An amazing experience.

It was also a time when we got to meet all the band members after a lot of the shows, they were always patient and friendly with the fans. At Wembley for some reason Bono came out carrying a sunflower lol and I got the photo I've included here.

There have been other wonderful U2 tours and times since Zooropa, but it had just that something extra. U2 were at their creative best, we were able to see lots of shows, we were a great group of liked-minded friends that knocked around together, where ever we went we saw familiar faces.

Now U2 are still making albums after 37 years as a band, which is special in itself.  But though their music is still good, they are not as creative and innovative as they were, maybe that is an inevitable part of getting older, I don't know.

Bono, Leeds, August 1993
I am lucky enough to still be good friends with a couple of the girls (Debbi and Dianne) I was with those 20 years ago, we have a lot in common beyond U2 and our friendship has continued and prospered over the intervening years. Others from "the girls" have drifted off completely or I just see occasionally during tours, some I still have contact with via social media, one has even sadly passed away. I kind of miss the fun we had as a big group on that tour, the camaraderie, the sheer madness of it all, the crazy spontaneity of those days.

Zooropa was one of those special moments in time, but everything changes and moves on,. I'm so glad I'm an avid diary writer and have recorded those times in great detail, think I'll re-read the Zooropa weeks and re-live it as best I can!

There probably will be another U2 tour in 2014 and Debbi, Dianne and I have already said we intend to make the most of it. Not being morbid, but we know it could be our last tour, we are all getting older - same goes for the band who are all into their 50's now. We'll never get the glory days of Zooropa back, but then again we like our comforts nowadays lol! But I know we will still have a great time and have fun and new experiences and I'm looking forward to it already.  If anyone would like to read more detail about my Zooropa days you can find my posts about it in my blog dedicated to U2, Luminous Times


  1. Totally agree with your comments. One of the best tours ever!

  2. Can't believe it's 20 years ago!

  3. What an amazing array of memories