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Evan's U2 Experience


deniseck
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I posted this note on my Facebook page, and a lot of my friends suggested that I post this here for my fellow U2 fans.

I hope you enjoy it!

Denise

 

I guess that most of my Facebook friends already know that my youngest son, Evan, has been a challenging child. He was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorderwhen he was about 5, but up until that point, I just knew that something wasn't quite right with that kid. He was hyper, into everything, and stubborn, buthe was also very loving, very coordinated, and he loved music. When he couldn't talk, he could sing, and U2 was one of the bands that made music that Evanliked.

 

Evan and U2 go way back. When Evan was 4 months old, the CD "All That You Can't Leave Behind" was released. We bought it as we left my sisterJenni's house in Meadville, PA and listened to it all of the way back to Indiana. Everyday when I'd drive Alex to Kindergarten, I'd listen to thatcd, come home singing the songs, and put Evan down for his afternoon nap. I noticed that the song "Walk On" was the song I'd be singing when Iturned off the van, so it was the song I'd most likely sing to him as I rocked him to sleep. As Evan got older, he'd fuss until I started singing thatsong to him. It seemed to calm him down, so I kept singing it to him everyday. It worked for both of us!

 

About a year later, the U2 Live in Boston DVD hit the shelves, and Evan loved it! He'd be sitting on the floor in front of the TV, sucking his thumb, andholding a cloth diaper in his hand, watching Bono. If I turned the TV off, or changed the channel, he'd cry and throw a fit! So, I just left it on, and wewere both happy! The song "Beautiful Day" became another one of Evan's favorites at this time. At age 2, Evan could barely talk, and this waswhen I began to suspect that there was something a bit more wrong with him. I did notice that he'd hum along with the U2 songs, and sometimes he'd singthe end of the phrases. When I'd put him in his bed to sleep, we'd sing a lot of U2 songs, but "Beautiful Day" was the one he'd always behappy to hear. Evan would always try and sing the words to the song, and that's when I knew that I could use music to teach him how to communicate withpeople so he wasn't so mad all of the time.

 

As U2 released more cd's, Evan learned the songs and sang along. He didn't refer to U2 as "U2", but he called them "Bodo" and whenhe could speak more clearly, "Bono". In the van, if a U2 song comes on the radio, he knows it's them! One of his favorite songs is "Out ofControl", and when Evan gets, as he calls it, "that wild feeling inside", sometimes he'll just sing out like Bono "I'm out ofcontrol!!" In second grade Evan had to do a report on a famous person, and he chose Bono as his topic. He still tries to wear his Vertigo shirt, eventhough it fit him when he was 5 years old. For Christmas one year, my brother John gave Evan a picture of Bono as a gift, and Evan still has it hanging on hisbedroom door. Evan really loves U2, and especially their lead singer!

 

So, when the tall, skinny b&*$% at the U2 concert said very loudly to her male companion "I'd NEVER bring my kid to a concert like this!!" Iyelled at her "why not??" but I really wanted to tell her everything that I've just written. She looked away from me when she heard my reply. Shewouldn't understand anyway! In fact, there were quite a few kids at the concert, so I guess I'm not the only one who wanted to share a great night withmy kids.

 

When U2 finally took the stage on Saturday night, Evan was just screaming "Bono, I'm here to see you" and waiving his hands with huge eyes and awide smile on his face! The first song they sang is from the new cd, and Evan said "Mom, that's the song I play on my cd player in my room atnight". I had worried for a long time that Evan wouldn't be able to handle the loud noise of the concert or the huge crowd. Neither of these thingswere a problem for him. The stage was huge, with lights everywhere, and Evan really, really LOVES lights! (He wants to turn them all on, all the time,everywhere we go!) There were also two bridges from the main stage out to the circle around the stage. When Evan saw the bridges move, he squealed and did nottake his eyes off of them! Then they played "Beautiful Day" and Evan could not contain his happiness any longer. He sang all of the words, and threwhis hands into the air just like everyone else in the crowd. I guess I shouldn't have worried about him not having a great time!

 

I watched Evan enjoy his favorite band, sometimes watching him more than the show on the stage. When they played the song "I'll Go Crazy If IDon't Go Crazy Tonight", they changed it to a dance mix, and Evan was dancing around like he was at a disco. He truly enjoyed the show just as much asthe old people like me who can still remember the first time we heard "Sunday Bloody Sunday" or "Pride". Evan kept looking up into the skyat the lights from the stage that were shooting beams of lights into the clouds. He looked at me and asked "Mommy, is that heaven?" I didn't knowwhat he was talking about, so I said "Where, up in the sky?" and Evan said, "No, everywhere here?" I didn't know how to answer such aquestion, and I was a little choked up by it. I said "Well, maybe it is to some people" and Evan said "Yeah, that's what I thought!" Itold Sam what Evan had said and he just shook his head with a smile on his face and said "That Evan!"

 

So, when you ask Evan how he liked seeing Bono or how he liked the U2 concert, he'll probably just say "it was good", but don't be fooled. HeLOVED it!! Just before the show ended, as he was standing on my chair, leaning into my back so he didn't fall while he was dancing, Evan put his armsaround my neck and said "Mommy, I LOVE this concert! Thank you for bringing me to see Bono!" It was all completely worth the expensive tickets tohear those words, spoken clearly into my ear, by a boy who not so long ago couldn't talk, but could always sing the songs that he loved by his favoriteband!

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What a heartwarming story! So glad that he had what will probably be a memorable time for him. As an Assistant Principal of an elementary school, I know thatmany times autistic children tend to have a fixation on something. I can think of a better something to be fixated on than the greatest band ever!!! My sis andI took her 2 kids (ages 10 and 11) to the Saturday Chicago show, GA nonetheless. Once the band took the stage, the grueling task of waiting in GA all day waslong forgotten. People around us seemed to be cool with the fact that kids were around. One guy even let my nephew sit on his pillow while waiting. Anotherlady put my nephew on her shoulders when Bono and Edge came out on the catwalk. Long live the memories! :)

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What a great story you have... so glad your son got to see his Bono and had a fun night!

It must have been wonderful for you to watch the concert through his eyes...

I'll be taking a teenager with me to the show on Sunday in Boston & am looking forward to her reaction almost as much as the show... I said almost! :)

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thank you for sharing Evan's story. i teared up when he asked if it was heaven. he's 100% right. i was overwhelmed myself on saturday night. i actuallycried when they played Streets. they are a wonderful band and good role models. if i had a kid, i would definately take them to a U2 concert. when i was 4years old, i watched the grammys with my mom and U2 won for best album -- The Joshua Tree. I remember laughing b/c I thought who would name a tree "JoshuaTree". for a long time i thought the band's name was Joshua Tree and the lead singer had that long hair. i'd never seen long hair on a guy before.the first song I heard by them was I still Haven't found what I'm looking for (which was playing at the grammys). the song stuck in my head. my dadowned rattle and hum and i liked listening to pride off of it. i would later take it and claim it as my own. anyways, i think it's wonderful that your sonhas grown up with U2 and I plan on doing that for my children when I have them. I even thought about naming one Joshua :)

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Thank you everyone for your positive comments! Sometimes on forums like these, people can be a bit mean!

 

Evan is still talking about how much he loved the U2 concert, even after one week! We keep looking at our pictures everyday, and he's loving the video clips online. He's told all of his teachers that he wants a coat with red lights on the arms, and when I explained to them that Bono has one, they just laughed! Maybe that's what he'll be for Halloween this year, who knows!!

 

Thanks again for not thinking I'm crazy for taking my 9 year-old autistic kid to a U2 concert!!

Cheers!

Denise

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