A day-by-day history of U2, now in its second edition.

Your Expectations for U2 DIARY

By on September 16, 2007 in Researching with 9 Comments

I find it very easy to get lost in the details of this book. I can spend an hour or two hunting down some obscure date or fact before realizing … It’s okay if you don’t solve that mystery. It’s not that important.

I force myself to limit those wild goose chases by focusing on the “big picture” of this book, and making decisions about how I want to present the most important dates and events of U2’s career. You won’t notice if I’m unable to find the exact date Bono recorded “Dreaming With Tears in My Eyes,” but you will notice if I do a poor job of presenting U2’s appearance at Live Aid.

Do you agree? I’m curious about your expectations for U2 Diary.

Here are some decisions I’ve made about what matters most:

  • Every album release has to be presented fully, with as much detail as I can find. Single releases will be included, of course, but won’t be presented as the “big deal” that an album release is. (I’m purposely not telling what I mean by “big deal” because you need to be surprised to some degree if/when you buy the book!)
  • The opening night of each tour, if possible, should be presented in great detail, because these shows often represent our first look (as fans) at U2’s latest incarnation.
  • U2 at Live Aid deserves a significant entry.
  • September 25, 1976 — the very first day together in Larry’s kitchen — deserves a significant entry.
  • U2’s sessions at Hansa Studios for Achtung Baby should get significant explanation.
  • etc.

I’d like to hear from you about your expectations: What are the events and dates that you think require a lot of attention? What are the events that, if I don’t write enough detail, you’ll say … Matt, you really missed the boat on that one. … ?

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There Are 9 Brilliant Comments

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  1. OptimaX says:

    During the ZOO TV tour at some point ‘linked’ via satellite with live updates about the events going on in sarajevo. It would be nice to have all ins and outs about those updates, who bono spoke to, how many days he ‘linked’ what the story was all about. Then off course the band promised to play Sarajevo as soon as they could, wich they did in their following Popmart Tour. I really would like to have all details about all of this.

    Also it would be great to have a complete diary of who bono called and why and what every day during the Zoo TV tour (Incl. Outside Broadcast, Zooropa and Zoomerang leg’s).

    I know this is a lot of work, but it really would be a great thing to read back!

    Oh.. and i think the 10.000 Pizza’s show is definitely something that is not to be missed along with Bono’s falling from the stage ending up with arm-injury in 1987’s Joshua Tree tour. Then sure the Dalton Brothers need to have an apearance, the lost ‘October’ briefcase that was returned to bono after 20+ years, The mystery about the missing Red Hill Mining Town video, The Lemon that wouldn’t open during the popmart tour (i think it was sweden). Also i think the beach accoustic session with daniel in 1987 that was seen in the outtakes of rattle and hum and how the whole ‘let’s do a song with BB-king’ could be a great story too!

    Maybe some of them are obvious, but i just let it all out there. I’m sure i can think of loads more events that would be great for a U2 fan AND a non-U2 fan to read in this already highly demanded Ultimate U2 Book!

  2. Matt says:

    Thx for all that detail, OptimaX. I may not have explained my question too well, though. I’m not really asking what you WANT in the book — I’m asking what NEEDS to be in the book. For example, if the entry for July 13, 1985 only says “U2 plays at Live Aid”, you’re gonna think I’m a stupid ass. 🙂 Live Aid needs a lot more than just that.

    This is the kind of book that could be researched for YEARS and still be incomplete. I’m getting to a point where I have to make decisions about how to spend my researching time….

  3. Raul says:

    Dear Matt,

    I think you should put all the (relevants) facts you can find.

    But yes, the book just with the date and the fact would be, at least, incomplete.

    More than details, what your book needs is your opinion and your feelings about that specific fact and date.

    For me, facts and dates are just an excuse to read your opinions and your views.

    What I need your book needs is not quite what hapenned that day but your opinion about it: how was that fact important, what were the reasons, what were the consequences.

    What your book needs is not only the fact but also the decodification of the fact, the explanation of the fact.

    Between the detail and the explanation/opinion, I would go for the explanation/opinion.

    For instances, the “Dreaming With Tears in My Eyes”. If it is just the date and the place, it’s ok but doens’t give much to the fans. What we need to know is WHY was it done, was it GOOD OR NOT [for me is very goood…], what were the consequences (if any), the first time they did this, the last time they’ve done that, etc.

    Walk on,


  4. Coca says:


    Maybe you’re worried about write something new about U2, something relevant. Little pieces of data hard to find and hard to link with other kind of data, but man, don’t worry too much, just let it flow… 😀

  5. blueshades says:

    Don’t forget the last nights of the tours as well! Some of the most interesting stories come from the post-tour after parties.

  6. Andrew MacPherson says:

    The first post touched on something that did resonate for me. What is interesting for me is not so much the dates of shows and albums. For those you could almost just say the date and event because we all know those stories. (Even Live Aid!) It’s the events where things happened to Bono and the rest of the band that made a difference in their writing and world views. Examples like Sarejevo, visits to Africa and Central America, and other life events that we don’t already know about.

    Maybe I’m thinking of another book which lays out causes and effects.

    A big part of writing is decision making…you can’t get everything in (see the movie Wonder Boys.)

  7. Erika says:

    I agree with you, Matt. As long as all the important entries are addressed in full, you’ll meet expectations. By the same token, if you leave out some important stuff (like the events OptimaX addressed in the first reply) I think your book would suffer; it’s more interesting to read about things that we don’t know as much about and to see a different side of U2 that isn’t portrayed in many other books. Does that makes sense? It makes sense in my head…


  8. Matt says:

    Thanks for all the excellent feedback, friends. It’s very interesting to be able to get a reader’s thoughts while writing the book. (At least I hope you’ll all be readers!) 🙂

  9. Rhianna says:

    You know, there are so many great dates I’d love to see discussed, but I think probably the one thing I’d love to hear more about is the series of shows played in NYC after 9/11/01. These shows are what sealed my fandom (unfortunately, I didn’t attend, but I’ve heard the recordings). I’d love to know more about what was going on those nights with the band, and with the crowd. Possibly getting some info from any of the NYPD or NYFD people who were there would be amazing. Also, PopMart’s disasterous Las Vegas opener deserves more chronicaling. I know you said you’d write about each opening show – but that deserves a whole novel in itself, probably…hmm…and now I have my idea for MY U2 book!!! 😀

    That’s all I can think of now – sounds like the other stuff you’ve got covered.

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