This is the 3rd in the series of Me & U2 where U2 Down Under finds out more about the band’s Australian fans.
Name: Dom Puglisi
You haven’t always been a U2 fan have you?
No I haven’t. Back in the 1980s, I couldn’t stand U2. I was an immature teenager who judged people on how they looked and U2 looked like a bunch of try-hard Irish wannabe American cowboys to me.
So what changed your perceptions of the band?
A few years later and more mature, I saw The Fly video and I was like ‘wow, is that Bono?’, ‘is this a U2 song?’. Surprisingly for me, I liked all the singles that they put out for Achtung Baby, and then one night, Channel 7 aired the Zoo TV concert special, and I was totally blown away. Just by watching that one show, and without even hearing any of their albums yet, I was hooked.
Watching a Zoo TV special on TV blew your mind. What was it about that performance that impressed you?
I’ve always been interested in how music artists present their music live on stage and when I saw what U2 were doing with Zoo TV, it was like a rock’n’roll show on steroids, like nothing that I had ever seen before, and it was so creative, so smart, it totally blew me away. Willie Williams’s idea of using actual cars (Trabants) as stage lights is, in my opinion, one of the greatest ideas in rock’n’roll history.
But more importantly, it drew me into the music, the music that I never payed attention to. I was suddenly like ‘woah, these songs are actually really good’. And the way the band was able to get across the stories and emotions of certain songs became a stand out for me. That’s when I knew that these guys were the real deal.
After all this happened, which U2 album did you go out and immediately buy?
I had heard all the singles, but once I heard the guitar intro to Zoo Station on that Zoo TV special, which I thought was one of the greatest guitar sounds I’ve ever heard, that’s what made me want to go out and find Achtung Baby as soon as possible.
Give us your favourite U2 albums in order of most to least favourite.
Very hard question. I love all their albums, but I’ll give it a rough go.
The Joshua Tree
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
Rattle And Hum
No Line On The Horizon
Songs Of Innocence
All That You Can’t leave Behind
The Unforgettable Fire
Under A Blood Red Sky
You took some really good photos on the Vertigo Tour. What are your memories of that show?
I saw two Vertigo shows, the 2nd and 3rd Sydney shows. I was first in line for the 2nd show. I rocked up at 2pm the day before the 2nd show and security were calling me crazy, telling me to go back home and come back the next day. Yeah right. It was worth every second, of course, because on both nights, I got the exact positions I wanted, at the end of each ramp that came out to the crowd and they were both as perfect as I imagined they would be. Both shows were amazing. I can’t remember exactly what was played, but I do remember them being great shows, and they were equally as good. These were probably the best two U2 shows that I had seen. The highlight for me was when they performed one of my favourite songs, Zoo Station, and Bono sang it right in front of me. I got it all on film too, probably one of the greatest music moments of my life.
You got to meet Bono on that tour in 2006. How did that come about? Tell us about his interaction with the fans.
I was lining up for my 1st Vertigo Sydney show and just near the line was the underground entrance into the stadium. I noticed there were some people hanging around there with books and pens. I got curious, so I wandered down there and realised quickly that this is where the band were gonna enter. So I hung around and within 45 minutes, the band rocked up in their cars. First Adam and Larry came, but drove straight in. Then Bono and Edge followed shortly after. Their car pulled up right along side me, with me staring straight into the back seat with the two of them sitting in there. It was crazy. By this time there would’ve been about 20-30 people in a line ready to get whatever they had signed. I only had my All That You Can’t Leave Behind album sleeve with me, so I got them to sign that. It was an awesome moment, it was brief, but amazing. Bono and Edge have to be two of the greatest and most friendliest rock’n’roll stars of all time, considering how popular they are. They were just so relaxed, signed what you had, had a chat with you and gave you their time. I think it’s because we are awesome fans and they trust us.
You came all the way to Melbourne on your own for the U2 360 Tour show on December 1, 2010. What are you memories of that show?
It was an amazing day and night for me. I got up at 4am, got to the stadium at 5am, and was number 116 in the line. I quickly became friends with a few of the fans and we started helping with the line numbering system. But as more people were arriving, it started to get difficult to manage the situation, and for whatever reason there was no security to help us. So I ended up being the line organiser so to speak, and did my best to control about 600 people who had numbers, but by the 1000th mark, that was it, I was done. It was a crazy morning, but it was a lot of fun too. The fans were just amazing and it was a memorable time for me.
The show itself was, of course, amazing. It was the first show of the Australian tour so everybody was excited to see what they were gonna play. And the build up to it was just an awesome spine-tingling feeling. The 30 minutes before the show started, everyone was just so pumped and nervous, like they were about to get on an a very long rock’n’roll rollercoaster. And of course, the band totally rocked it out.
You also created a YouTube documentary called A Day in the Life of a U2er about your trip to Melbourne. It’s a great document for those who were there and captures the vibe in the GA line. Queuing up is almost as good as the gig, wouldn’t you say?
Definitely. I think it’s a big part of the U2 live experience and I wanted to capture a part of that in the documentary. You end up meeting some amazing people and making friends with them. I’m lucky enough to still call some of them friends now, so it really is a beautiful thing, and it goes beyond the idea of just lining up to see a concert. The idea of the documentary came about when I came across Bono’s mini documentary about The Edge called A Day In The Life Of The Edge. I wanted to create a reply to that, from a fan’s point of view, and show firstly the band itself, the fans and anyone else who was interested, what it was like to be a U2 fan on the day of a concert. It’s probably a bit too long, but I’m quite happy with it.
See the documentary at the bottom of this blog post.
And then you saw them in Sydney a few days later. How was that gig? Any differences in feel?
Fantastic. I had a plan for the Melbourne and Sydney shows, and that was to get front row in Melbourne, and get front row of the outer circle in Sydney. I achieved both, which I was so happy about. The show itself was, in my opinion, a lot better than the first show in Melbourne. I believe it is always the case in every city they play in, that the first show is always kinda like a warm up, then after that the band lets loose a bit more and we have some really special moments. In this case, we were treated with Love Rescue Me, which the band hadn’t played since the Lovetown Tour (1989), and then the tour debut of All I Want Is You. So it was a very special night.
We are, of course, caught in the grip of terrible acts of violence across the globe at the moment, most recently in Paris where the band cancelled two shows. Is there a U2 song that you think best sums up the situation?
Definitely the first song that came to mind was Sunday Bloody Sunday. It’s a song that unfortunately still means so much and is so relevant. Bono’s lyric how long must we sing this song is just an amazing lyric nowadays. You have to wonder whether or not he wrote that thinking that we would still be asking the same question in today’s world. I think it shows how amazing and important the song itself actually is.
Favourite U2 song?
Can’t pick one, but I can pick two. With Or Without You and Zoo Station.
Favourite U2 album?
No doubt about it, Achtung Baby, an album I can no longer live without.
First U2 concert?
Zoomerang Tour, Sydney, 1993.
My first U2 live experience was the perfect scenario in what was to become normal on every U2 tour. Line up all day, make friends with other amazing U2 fans, get the best spot and hear, laugh and cry to your favourite songs live and so close. Bono rising from the underground at the start of Zoo Station was one of the greatest musical moments of my life. I was also so happy to be at my show in Sydney because it ended up being the ZooTv tour video/dvd concert.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A U2ER
Read more Me & U2 columns and find out more about Australian U2 fans:
Me & U2 – Michael Cavallaro
Me & U2 – Jane Ollerenshaw
Check out my U2 Australia Facebook and Twitter pages.
Want to feature on Me & U2? Drop me an email at U2_downunder@hotmail.com