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How Bono Said "Hello" last night in Spartan Stadium...


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I posted this on my FB as a "note" and wanted to share it here at U2.com... Keep in mind I wrote the note for "laypeople" (I teach in a HS and have for the last 11 years, so a lot of my friends are former students who've endured my fandom over the years).  I recently was the subject of a front page article about my love for U2 that kicked off a week of articles for our local paper in the Lansing, MI area, and so my conversations that I had with this Journalist must've have made it to Bono.  So, in his characteristic way he extended a small gesture to me in front of 65,000 others and it totally made my night.  Enjoy...

 

To the Friend I've Never Met...

 

The last time U2 played in East Lansing, I was 13 and my mom wouldn't let me go.  Three years later I schemed to see them play at the Grand Circus in DET, and that didn't work either.  I dunno why I didn't try to see them the following year ('84... or was it '85?) at Cobo... A big Thank You to Doug for talking me into not studying for my BIO exam and going to see U2 play at the Silverdome in '87.  My first of many concerts... tonight culminating in the 360 show at Spartan Stadium...

 

I've had many experiences with U2 over the years... But I'd have to say the best occurred during the Vertigo Tour in 2005.  That tour I managed to see them four different times... Twice in the stands, and twice in General Admission.  Back then they had the "Ellipse" and getting inside the ellipse was the equivalent of winning the lottery... each ticket was scanned, and if yours came up "VERTIGO" you were IN... and only 400 of the 1000 or more on the floor got in.  In May of 2005 (a series of concerts that became the DVD of the Vertigo tour) I attended the concert with my good friend BJ and my brother-in-law Les.  BJ and I both scanned negative, but Les managed a Vertigo, and with cameras rolling, we molested the security guy to let a threesome go in (if you scanned VERTIGO, you got to take in one person with you).  Unfortunately that footage never made it to the DVD (probably because we looked pretty stupid), but in all my years of fanatical devotion, the closest I ever got was a three rows off the stage that stuck into the floor on the ZooTV tour.  Now these guys were feet from me.  Imagine my surprise when I realized how short Paul Hewson really is! Or how beat up Adam's Bass looks!  The bootleg I have of that concert must've been recorded by the guy on the other side of this really annoying woman at the show who started screaming like crazy when Mysterious Ways came on.  And I can hear me singing on that boot as well.  Very cool.

 

Those of you who read the recent article in the LSJ will know that Bono gave my daughter a shout out at a CHI concert in Sept of 2005.  My daughter just turned six, and I asked a photographer for the band to get word to him that Alana would be there.  And he came through and waved the peace sign to my daughter as he passed before the house lights came down.  It was a small, selfless gesture that made a tremendous impact.  Alana says, "Daddy!  He waved at me!"  Awesome.  Something she will have with her long after I'm gone.

 

The second time I was scanned into the Ellipse was the Det show... My first date was my boy BJ, but he unfortunately backed out and I found myself with a ticket and no one to go.  I found out that Melissa LOVED the band and had never been, so I gave the ticket to her as a gift, and KARMA paid us back when Lissa's ticket scanned VERTIGO!  I had a sign with me at the time, one that said, "I Surrender. Security Took My Cowbell" made by a student of mine.  At the time I had an elaborate U2 fantasy, where I would be called up on stage to play said cowbell during one of my favorite songs "Surrender" off the WAR album.  We'd get into the song, and Bono would say, "We need more COWBELL!" and out would walk Will Farrell, and then we'd finish the song together amid a resounding cheer from the crowd.  Alas, that didn't come true (I don't think Farrell was there that night), but as they go into I Will Follow, I put up the sign.  Now, realize, I'm only maybe 200 feet from Bono, and Caitlin had done a GREAT job, so he reads the sign (laughs) and then sings, "I Surrender... We Surrender..." and all around me people are giving me high fives and patting me on the back.  Bono saw my sign and recognized me in the crowd of over 20 THOUSAND people.  And he sang TO ME! I have the Bootleg of that concert too, and it's still amazing to hear it happen...

 

Fast forward six years later... Spartan Stadium... 60 THOUSAND PLUS.  Recently I had a story about me posted online and plastered on the front page of my local paper.  During the course of my interview, I relayed the story of the "I Surrender..." thing to the young woman who wrote the story.  Unfortunately that part never made it into the paper...  Now I imagine that as a member of the local media she may have had the opportunity to speak with the band...

 

And tonight... if you were listening... Bono sings, "I Surrender... We Surrender..." in the middle of I Will Follow.  And, at the end of their first encore, he points, SWEAR TO GOD, RIGHT AT ME.  Alana says, "Dad! He's pointing right at you!!!"  Taps his heart twice, and points back at me.  "Dad!" Alana screams, "Did you SERIOUSLY JUST SEE THAT???"

 

Thank you, Bono, for taking the time to say "hello" during the concert tonight.  It's a small gesture on your part, but a big deal to fan like me.  One day, hopefully in a pub in Dublin...

 

 

 

the pints are on me.

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Now thats something great.  Your efforts and passions are clearly genuine and if its one thing Bono appears to be its Genuine.  I'm sure you've read it but theres a very good book by a French writer Michka Assayas.  "Bono in conversation with Michka Assayas".....

 

Love the U2 stories.  When I come on the site which hasn't been often (see:  wife, kids, job) thats the best part. The stories. A couple come to mind:

 

1.  Being in the Even Better Than the Real Thing Video with that Wayne-Garth video feel during a TV award show - see "random fans holding irish flag screaming"  haha. 

2.  Having Bono stop at our flag (can't remember which show or building..sorry..too many) when he normally would walk to the stage extention and do an acoustic set and finish.....gosh,,can't even remember the song now, thats how bad its gotten, then have 30 seconds of "dead air" because he wasn't where he was suppposed to be.  He was with us.  Long ramp extension, rolling flood light, Bono kneeling, my cousin and I up on the fence holding the flag as a backdrop.

 

To everyone - keep the stories coming.  Its not bragging and we know that. I love em!

 

Ok now the not so good part.  Did anyone else notice that Edge was ready to throw his kick box-mixer-track peddle box thing - against a brick wall last night?  We were up against the rail on his side at the closest point and had a birds eye view.  I'm telling you he was not happy with it.  Even his tech was out there messing with it a bunch.  I felt bad for him.  I could see it on his face and hear it in the songs.  It was about an 8th measure off on guitar track entrances and exits which caused other issues as well.  Anyone with me on this???? And please before anyone sends the "youre crazy" or "how could you complain..." notes thats not it at all.  Just an observation.  Not all shows can be perfect.  Thats what makes a U2 show unlike any other.  They will push for the greatest show every night and last night thats why I think they took a little bit of extra time at the end of the show thanking everyone.  I was ready to go find Willie W. myself and ask his whats up but security, handcuffs, not my scene. 

 

Webby 

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Surrenders LOVE the video (I'm still holding on to that fantasy... maybe someday!)!

 

Webby, I noticed it too, both in Edge's face (he was uncharacteristically stoic Sunday) and in the fact that he was WIRED for some of the show.  In Vertigo CHI he had issues too, and I remember him looking the way you described.

 

This morning's paper had an interesting story about cleaning up after the show (they're running out of U2 stories, can you tell it was the BIGGEST thing to happen here in a long time?) and I thought I'd share: "(The U2 Fans) left MSU employees with less of a mess to clean up than a typical event at Spartan Stadium, officials said.  'It took about half as much time to clean up as a normal football game," said Karen Zelt, communications manager for MSU's Physical Plant. 'The crowd was prepared to have a good time, but they were a very respectful audience.'"

 

I've had some time to reflect about the fact that Bono would take the time to recognize me first in the middle of one of their greatest hits (Oh, yeah... I need to remember to give that guy a shout out in the middle here... and that story from that show he saw in Detroit, I'll do the same thing...) and then, to remember WHERE I'm sitting (I know he's stage left here, about 2 sections over in the front row, I need to recognize him again) requires a thought process and an unconditional love that many people don't take the time to do, let alone a rockstar the caliber of Bono.  A small gesture, certainly, but magnified by the fact that he did it in the middle of his 'job'? 

 

 

Wow.

 

 

 

I'm still blown away.

 

 

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Wow, what a great story Sunder!

 

I can see how Webby's evals may have been right...in looking back, I can see how Edge might have been less smiley than usual, more intensity of energy in a sort of grrr-y way than usual, that could totally have been related to some frustration...at the time, it just felt like wow, there's edge ( I was on the edge side of the outer rail catwalk couple rows away in GA, and he was out on the catwalk a lot it seemed this night too!) and he's working hard and goodness he's amazing.

I didn't sense his usual happy ease perhaps, in looking back, at some points in the show maybe.

 

And I did perhaps notice for some of the time that there was a little something off in a part or other of a song here or there, like some off-ness related to delay or timing. Did I interpret it as anything but something akin to an electrical problem maybe? No. Did it bug the lads who want to be perfect, as U2 always strive for amazing awesome sound at their shows, if something was off? No doubt. I don't know enough about music to be able to pinpoint what might have been 'wrong' and it wasn't a persistent enough feeling of "off-ness" for me to look for reasons I guess.  I didn't have a view onto the offending bits the tech was working on though, so perhaps if I'd noticed that I'd have been more prone to look for their effects.ohwell.gif

I may have been to a U2 show where the sound was a bit tighter-seeming, but I still felt there was something special energy-wise and performance-wise even (for sure Bono's vocals were way on, it seemed to me!) about this Lansing show!

And I didn't even experience Bono saying 'hello' to me grin.gif

 

Cheers all...

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