Thanks to Conor M. for sending me a scan of the January 2009 issue of Q magazine, which includes a brief review of U2 – A Diary. I can’t find the review on Q’s web site, so here’s the full text:
U2: A Diary
Matt McGee, Omnibus Press, £19.95
Want to know exactly what U2 were doing on 22 June 1985? Meeting R.E.M. for the first time in the glamorous environs of the Milton Keynes Bowl. How about 20 May 1981? Less historically, Bono was playing Pac-Man with two local radio personalities in the Holiday Inn, Rochester, New York state, after a soundcheck dispute resulted in a cancelled gig.
Matt McGee’s diary-style account of U2’s career, starting with their births and ending with Bono and his wife, Ali, attending the Boxing Day races in 2007, is an impressively exhaustive record of the band’s sprawling career.
A labour of love for the writer — the American founder of the @U2 website trawled through thousands of books and articles as research — it can be plain old hard labour for the casual reader. Yet you don’t need to be the kind of devoted fan who secretly checks to see what their favourite band were doing on their birthday or wedding anniversary to notice the way in which this meticulous format allows you to trace the ebb and flow of the band’s evolution, as tour dates and album releases are slowly replaced by meetings with Nelson Mandela and The Pope.
Obsessive, certainly, but oddly compulsive as well.
– Victoria Segal
Overall, I think that’s a fair review. I’ll confess to being sensitive about the “obsessive” comment at the end; but I’m happy with the “impressively exhaustive record” line earlier.
Thanks again to Conor for sending the scan.