Between June 24 and July 2, U2 performed 5 AMAZING shows at the United Center in Chicago. I was lucky enough to attend 4 of them and be in the front row on the main floor each of those nights, each night from a different perspective. As a lifelong fan of the band, I’m a seasoned veteran at the general admission experience. Although I’m not as extreme or fanatical as some of the band’s followers (I’ve only camped out overnight once and that was in Hawaii), I do know that to get the best spots on the floor, you need to get there EARLY. I also know the general time the band arrives and that, without fail, at least one or two of the band members will come out to greet the faithful, even in the pouring rain. Unfortunately for me, I missed seeing the band arrive before each of the concerts I attended…until the last one on July 2!
Admittedly, I didn’t get to the parking lot as early as I would’ve liked, so by the time I got there, about 100 or so fans had already arrived. Needless-to-say that I missed out on getting a primo spot, but I’m not complaining. My goal was to give a member of the band a personalized copy of U2: Changing the World Through Rock 'n' Roll, the book I wrote, and with any luck, get a copy autographed for myself.
After waiting for about a half hour, two black SUV's pulled into the parking lot and drove straight into the stadium via the loading dock. We knew these were members of the band, but much to our disappointment, nobody got out of the vehicles. After about 15 more minutes with no action, my friend Margaret decided to give up and head back to the car.
Before Margaret abandoned me, we had been talking to Chris and Beth, a couple who are working on a photography project documenting fans with U2 tattoos. It’s called the U2 Tattoo Project and they hope to publish it in book form when completed. Anyway, after Margaret left, I realized that if I had the opportunity to give my book to a member of the band, I’d have no one to take a picture for me, so I asked Chris and Beth. They happily agreed.
Soon after, a black sedan pulled into the parking lot. From experience, we knew that this was bassist Adam Clayton, who for reasons unknown to us, prefers to ride in sedans rather than SUVs. Much to our delight, Adam got out of the car and started greeting fans. A couple minutes later, a third black SUV pulled up. A door opened and out stepped Bono. The crowd was ECSTATIC! Of course, both guys started greeting fans at the end where the early-birds had lined up. Moments later, drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. and Edge, the world’s greatest guitarist, came walking up the ramp from inside the stadium. They all shook hands with some lucky fans and signed a few autographs. This is practically unprecedented to have ALL FOUR guys come out on the same day! I couldn’t believe it!
Bono and Adam didn’t stay out very long. Both got in their respective vehicles and went down the ramp into the stadium before making their way down to the end where I was standing. Even so, I got some spectacular photos!
Larry came down by where we were standing and I was going to give him a copy of my book. But the Tattoo Project people were talking to him, so I didn’t get a chance to. He did shake my hand though. :)
At this point, I was sending Edge mental messages—“Please come down by me, Edge! I want to give you my book.” Perhaps he heard me or perhaps it’s just because he never wants to leave anyone out, but he did make his way down to us. Now, at this point, I must mention that the band members were on the other side of a fence from us. But luckily for me, where I was standing, there was a foot or so gap between the fence and the ground.
When Edge got to me, I said, “Edge, I wrote a children’s book about you guys and I’d like you to have a copy.” I kneeled down and passed it to him under the fence. He looked at it and smiled and said, “Thank you!” By this point, fans were swarming all around and asking for autographs, and one rather large man was being quite pushy. I was still kneeling down and was practically plastered against the fence, but I did manage to get my other copy of the book and push it under the fence as I said, “Edge, could I have you sign a copy for me, too?” He sort of laughed and said, “That would be a good idea, wouldn’t it?” I said, “Yes. Thank you! You’re the best, Edge! I love you guys! God bless.”
He handed me the book back and that was that. I got out of the mob and found the Tattoo Project people who had snapped some good photos for me.
- Jennifer Huston, author of U2: Changing the World Through Rock 'n' Roll (©2015 Capstone Press, a Capstone imprint)