Book Review : A Grand Madness: 10 Years on the Road with U2 *

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The Fly
Jul 26, 2000
Reviewed by Devlin Smith


Author: Dianne Ebertt Beeaff
Publisher: Hawkmoon Publications

I was in the midst of prepping for my second trip to Ireland in two years, when my brother gave me Dianne Ebertt Beeaff?s A Grand Madness: 10 Years on the Road with U2 (Hawkmoon Publications) for Christmas. ?I thought you?d like it because it?s written by a fan,? he told me. He was right.

Taken from journal entries, Beeaff?s book details 10 years, 38 shows, two continents, five albums and five tours with U2. She?s made friends with other fans, embarked on mini-tours of her own, hung out after shows, wrote for fanzines and met band members. She's basically lived out the runaway-with-the-circus dreams that so many fans have. Her adventures whetted my appetite to do the same.

What Beeaff, a freelance writer, wife and mother of two, does so well in her book is show the excitement and fanaticism for U2 in a measured way. Certainly traveling to Ireland from Arizona to see several U2 concerts may seem somewhat excessive but when Beeaff tells it, it makes sense. Her appreciation for, admiration of and connection to U2 and its music is completely honest and heartfelt, and mirrors so much of what I feel for the band.

Beeaff details her connection to many of U2?s songs, showing how so many of them tie back into her own personal experiences and how that creates a lasting link to the band. Reading through her recitations of the line ?Let it go? from ?Bad,? one can see that it is totally logical that Beeaff would go out of her way to see U2 live 38 times. Through her passion for U2, she also helps explain why any of us would do things like take time off work to see a succession of U2 shows or spend hours online discussing and dissecting the band.

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of A Grand Madness is its depiction of the U2 community. Bono once described U2 as a culture and Beeaff proves this is so. During the course of her journeys, Beeaff made friends with fans around the world, traveling with them and staying in their homes. U2 provided an introduction that somehow stuck. While many bands have dedicated fan bases, there is just something different about U2 fans. Though Beeaff acknowledges that not all fans are the greatest, she repeatedly shows how it is possible to strike up a lasting friendship with someone you met on the GA line.

Even though it is a personal memoir, A Grand Madness could easily be the story of so many U2 fans. Fans who are always eager to tap into that joy, spirit, energy and excitement of the band and its music. Reliving all of Beeaff?s adventures, the next U2 tour can?t come soon enough for me.


Click here to read's interview with the author, Dianne Ebertt Beeaff.
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