On The Road With U2

This is a review of the book On The Road With U2 by Deena Dietrich.

Deena Dietrich is what you would call a super-fan, one of those people who obsess over something. Oftentimes obsession is a word that is used negatively, but I don’t mean it that way in this case. I feel like I have had a U2 obsession this year, writing every single day, listening or watching the band for hours each day this year. I’ve traveled and taken my family to a different city to see them, all because I love the band. I still can’t remember how many times I’ve seen them live, I think Chicago 4 was my 19th, but I lose count just tracking that many. Need to write it down. But if I’ve been obsessed with the band this year, Deena has been obsessed with them (especially Larry) for a couple of decades. I am most impressed with someone who can count to a hundred shows or more, or who writes a book about them. That’s Deena, who is arguably one of the most visible fans of the band.

I’ve known Deena online for less than a year, but somehow I feel I know her pretty well, having followed her tweets and read her book. I said hi to her from a distance at one of the Chicago shows, she said hi back, and that was the total of our in-person conversation. But following her on Twitter, I’ve seen the good side of things and the bad side of things. The good is all the things she’s done, communicated, people I have followed because she has retweeted them, jus the news and the experience of being that super fan. It is much like the book, except in real time.

The bad is the (few) people who have attacked her online for various reasons. It is hard for me to fathom those kinds of people, they are the kind that has to knock someone else to feel good about themselves. The implication of some of those people is that Deena is stealing from other fans, by getting in front and going to all the shows. This is obviously not true, anyone could do exactly what Deena does, spend their money and time to follow the band, go to the shows, hang out and wait and get to the places she does. So it frustrates me to see those people when they say mean things, they could be doing those things themselves instead of whining about them.

I have found myself in many ways living vicariously through Deena this year, following her travels like I said. That’s the good thing about the book, it ends up being a diary of her past trips to see the band. It is a travelogue, it is advice for being on the road with the band, it is the sheer fun of wishing you were in her place when she was doing all those things. One day I’ll have the time to do it all, I don’t know when (maybe next year, when they tour the US again?). It doesn’t have the inside scoop with the band that I like to see in a book, but it is perhaps the best fan perspective I’ve seen. So if you can’t make it to tour with U2 yourself, reading Deena’s book is a great way to imagine being in those places.

My rating for On The Road With U2 (book): 7 / 10