I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working on my collection of U2 bootlegs. With a new tour right around the corner, now seems like a good time to get my collection in order so that I can add to it easily when new recordings become available. Over the years, I’ve kind of taken it for granted, but I recently thought about how lucky we are as U2 fans that there are so many great bootleg recordings available. Sure, there are some gaps (especially from the early days, when no one knew that anyone would be interested in collecting bootlegs of some little Irish band) but the majority of the band’s live appearances are pretty easily available for free on the internet. Now, a lot of the credit for this goes to the fan-base – particularly to those intrepid fans who record and share all those shows – but I give credit for this to the band, too, for two reasons. Firstly, because they’re so awesome that people actually want to preserve their performances. Secondly, and even more importantly, because the band have encouraged such recordings over the years. A lot of bands don’t give their fans the freedom to make and share bootleg recordings that we enjoy as U2 fans, and I want to be counted as standing up and saying “thanks” to U2 for both reasons. After all, they’re just more reasons to love U2.