It wasn't my first concert, or the first band I had ever seen, but it was U2.
And it was a night I would never forget.
As a young kid, the melodies of The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby were planted in my subconsciousness long before I could appreciate them. It wasn't until my late teens that these melodies revisited me, and have never left my side since. I had just started a new band, and it was U2's music that provided the drive to do so. It wasn't until the North American Vertigo Tour in 2005 that I would get to see the band that hadn't left my headphones in years. I was going to see my favorite band U2 for the first time. Tickets were purchased, car was packed. My bandmates and I were beyond excited.
The goal was to experience U2 live for the first time. What also happened, I never would have expected in a million years.
My bandmates and I got to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford bright and early on the day of May 18, 2005. Clamoring to meet our heroes, we decided to poke around the arena and look for a back entrance for a chance to run into Bono and the boys. We arrived at the back gated entrance, and after a matter of minutes, a shiny black SUV pulled up beside us.
The door opened, and our hearts nearly stopped. For once in our lives, we were in the right place, at the right time. Bono stepped out and greeted us. We told him all about our punk rock band from New Jersey, and how much inspiration the songs of U2 had on us. After a few minutes of standing eye to eye with the singer of the biggest band in the world, Bono had left to enter the venue. The only thing we could think about is how this day could not get any better..
Well.. It got better..
For nearly two hours, we sang and we sweat to the music of U2. "It's alright.. It's alright.. It's alright!" we sang at the top of our lungs, as Bono walked down the ellipse and spotted us in the crowd, giving us a head nod as we sang along in unison. We were being recognized by our favorite band on the planet. This was by far the best concert experience of our lives.
And you won't believe what happened next..
The encore had been nearly completed, when the lights went down, and Bono's shadowy figure came walking in our direction. Our hearts began to race in disbelief. Bono kneeled down, reached out and pulled us onto the ramp that led back to the stage. I will never forget Bono whispering in my ear and asking me if we wanted to come on stage and jam with U2. I could tell you what I said in response, but honestly, I don't even remember.
What I do remember is performing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" live onstage that night, together with the members of my band and U2. My band The Bank Robbers joined our idols in front of over twenty thousand people at the Continental Airlines Arena on the night of May 18, 2005. To this day, it was the greatest night of my life. It all seems like such a blur. One of those amazing experiences you only dream about. That night, my dream became real. It was even covered in Rolling Stone Magazine later that month.
What an amazing, surreal moment.
One that I surely never get tired of telling people about.