Friday, July 17, 2015

My Dream U2 Weekend In Chicago Part 3 (the best for last!)

Did you ever think about how you would react if you ever came face to face with the person or persons you have admired for so long?

This first U2 concert I went to was during  the Zoo TV tour. I was transformed that night by the spectacle of this multi media show. I really liked the music before, but seeing Bono work the audience that night was mind blowing. Think what you will of him, but he has worked hard to lobby for causes of those in the world that have little voice to influence the influential in the world. Not only that-but Bono along with U2's founder Larry, bassist and residential "cool guy" Adam, and one of the best and most original guitar players in the world, Edge, make music that speaks to me.

So, I was determined to meet Bono during one of the two chances I'd have this tour.  My goal was a hug or picture with him, but if by chance he was signing I had it in my head that I wanted him to sign my shoulder and I would have that signature tattooed!  The best way to get his chance was to be there when they arrived at the United Center late afternoon. 

Sunday June 28th turned out special in many ways.  

Waiting around all afternoon for your favorite band to arrive proved fun in many ways.  I do have to say the fellow U2 fans around us were incredibly nice!  We sat around all afternoon sharing stories about U2. It was great  being around people who have a common bond with you. Meeting people from all over the world, meeting couples who met through the common bond of being U2 fans, meeting college age, older people, and even families whose kids were going to there first concert.  In my case having my 16 year old daughter along with me and seeing how excited she was at the prospect of meeting U2 was making me feel overwhelmed with pride.

So finally after sitting around sharing stories, laughing a lot (the people we were standing with were hilarious!!), it was time to stand up and take our positions.  Somewhere in the crowd it was said that they would be signing today, so my plan of getting my shoulder signed may become reality!!! 

More waiting, finally a big black SUV with tinted windows drove in, it didn't stop. There was lots  of speculation about who was in there.  Rumor went around that it was Bono. My heart sank. Strange thing was that Brian, Bono's body guard was not sitting in front, which he usually does.  I 
refused to believe it was him!  

After more time passed Edge came in, but didn't stop. Then another vehicle drove in at the end of the driveway. This time it stopped and out comes Brian. OMG my heart was pounding! Best thing was that I was right on the barricade so this was it! My time had come!!!  There he was, he started at the end.  The incredible thing was, he took his time and signed and lisened to everyone greet him.  Megan was standing behind me and the plan was she would have whoever stopped sign my U2 map of Dublin that came with the North Side Story book from my U2.come membership renewal.  Everyone was pushing and I was plastered up against that barricade. I was trying to brace myself so the barricade would not topple over.  The crowd was relatively calm.  Meanwhile Adam came in and stopped and he started at the other end. He went through pretty fast though.  When he got to me i knew he was right in front of me but I couldn't even see him cause my face was covered with album covers and other things for him to sign.  There were so many things in front of me, that he never did sign my map. I was happy though because Andrew, who was standing next to me had a poster that the only signature he needed was Adam's So he got finally got it.

Finally Bono was getting nearer to me!! My heart was pounding! This was gonna happen!! The coolest thing I saw that day was him drawing and signing on a couple's picture of their 2 little girls who are a product of U2's music. They met through there mutual love of the band. They didn't want a signature, but he did it anyway. Very cool!!!

Then he came to me!  I asked him if he would sign my shoulder. Megan was helping me hold my sleeve back. He said "yes, what would you like me to draw?" I told him I did not care, whatever he wanted. He told me to hold still. OMG!!!!! I did and he drew the cool clover design with hearts I had seen him do twice before.  Someone from behind me told him I was gonna have it tattooed.  Everybody around me knew this was what I wanted done! My design ended up being a different variation of this clover design with his o's being hearts!!! I was actually quite calm.  People were talking to him from behind me and my mind was totally blank!! The only thing I could think of was to ask him if they would play "Original Of The Species" live again.  He replied "yes" I asked "tonight" and he said "no, not tonight".  He finished with my signature and that was the end of my encounter.  Dream come true!!! Later Megan told me my voice sounded so strange.  Like I was trying so hard to stay calm that it was high pitched, like she had never heard before.  She did get a tiny snipped of video while he was signing my arm.

After all the excitement was over we were all standing around like show and tell and showing off all the signatures.  Megan and I found Steve and Shelly. They got to tell Bono their story too!  What a day.  I texted my hubby with a picture and a text saying "this just happened."  Of course the written text arrived before the pic and he was confused.  When he realized what just happened he was really happy for me!  I have the best hubby in the world!!! 

Then the funniest thing happened!  A couple came up to me to see my signature and said I really needed to have it done right now so it doesn't have a chance to fade.  I was in Chicago in a neighborhood I was not familiar with!!  My plan was to wait till I got home the next day to find a place to have it done.  I had no tattoos and had no idea how to go about this. 

This incredible couple Bibi, and Edgar, who had some body art themselves, were from the area and were willing to take me and Megan to a place near to get it done right away!  Bibi said they would bring us back to the UC in plenty of time for the concert later.  By this time it was about 5:00. I thought what the heck I have to do this.  They did not want me to take a chance that it would fade.  They said we would find someone to do it right.

So off we went,  now I know that you must think I was absolutely crazy to get in a car with strangers and I wouldn't recommend this, but in all honestly I felt perfectly comfortable and after all they were fellow U2 fans, there that day with the same goal in mind-to meet the band!  I could not have met 2 nicer people, who took good care of Megan and I.

So after a couple of phone calls, we found a place, Native Soul Tattoos, that was open in the Pilsen neighborhood.  This place was familiar to a friend of Bibi's so all was good.  We arrived and checked out the artists Rick's work.  After Bibi gave the okay, it was time to get my signature made permanent.  I don't know if I was high on adrenaline or what but I did not flinch or feel any pain at all!!  40 minutes and $82 dollars later I had a permanent record of this wonderful dream fulfilling day!! I will never be able to thank Bibi and Edgar enough for what they did that day!!!

Rick did a fabulous job!!,

This is a split picture, the left shot is before tattoo, the right, after!  What a great job!!

In the end the only blemish to that perfect day was that my stub hub tickets would not scan when we got back and I spent 40 minutes on the phone with Stub Hub trying to get it straightened out.  I ended up getting better seats than I had and a nice little credit for the trouble.  This would have been a disaster, but honestly the day was so perfect, that somehow I knew it would work out!

So with my arm wrapped in plastic wrap, Megan and I took our seats and enjoyed the concert!  I did get some looks and I proudly told anyone that commented a brief version of the day including the 3 people outside the hotel as we were checking out the next day.

So 3 weeks later I have absolutely no regrets and would not have done it any other way!  I am so proud of my new body art and the story behind it!!  Sometimes dreams really do come true!  Don't give up on them cause I truly believe you can make them happen.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My Dream U2 Weekend In Chicago Part Two

So after the excitement of Thursday afternoon and the actual concert Thursday night I didn't think this weekend could get any better!

Friday I woke up later in the morning.  Friday was basically a free day although there was a fan meet up scheduled for that night that I planned on attending.  I ended up spending much of the day roaming around Chicago, stopping in some of my favorite stores, plus stopping at the nearest CVS and loading up on snacks and stuff for Megan and I.  Megan already had her day planned, meeting some friends and spending the afternoon with them. In the afternoon just after I had returned to the hotel tired from walking all over it started to rain.  This is how the rest of the day ended up. I went to the train station to meet Megan late in the afternoon.  She had been walking around and was a little wet.  I had my umbrella and we stopped and bought her a rain poncho. By the time we got back to the hotel, I had decided that I would skip the meet up at Pippins Friday night.  The rain put a damper on things and I was pretty tired from all the excitement of Thursday.  So Megan and I basically stayed put for the night.

Dreary Friday afternoon!!

Saturday was also a non concert day so Megan was off once again meeting friends at Millenium Park for Senior picture taking.  My main goal for the day was to try and score those coveted GA tickets for Sunday night in a ticket drop.  After spending over an hour in the morning refreshing the Ticketmaster App, I finally gave up and bought some inexpensive tickets on Stub Hub.  I ended up buying seats in the upper section but that was fine.  I decided that I wanted to view the concert from a different perspective.  In the end it proved to be a spot-on decision!  

 I ended up spending the afternoon with Shelly and Steve.  We made a trip past the Park Hyatt where the band usually stays when in town.  We ended up having a beer at Pippins and shared stories.  I was so happy that I met Shelly through Twitter a couple years before. Plus it was a bonus to be with her this weekend since my usual U2 bud, Carol, couldn't go since she had family in town. Finding another U2 fan that lives pretty close to me has really been a blessing!!  A lot of people don't get the whole U2 thing and when you meet someone that does and is an incredible person to boot, it's always a good thing!  



It was a nice day out.  By the time we got back to the hotel there was just enought time for a little rest and to get ready for the meet up at Hard Rock Cafe and a special treat, listening to UZoo, a cover band. We Uber'd it there.  Spent some time in the gift shop and took our place at one of the tables reserved for us. It ended up to be a fun time and I got to meet Shelly and Steve's friends Dolly and Jim.

 I think it was about 12:30 or so before we got back to the hotel.  I still was having trouble falling asleep.  Think it was 1:30 before I put my phone down.  This was the bad part cause there was so much going on with other U2 fans posting pictures and stuff, I could not stop looking at my phone!!! 

Sunday the plan was to get to the United Center early in the  morning so (hopefully) we could secure a great spot when the band came in for sound check.  I didn't care if I had to wait all day.  My number one goal was to either get a hug, selfie, or if I had the chance to have Bono sign my shoulder so I could have it tattooed when I got home!  These were all lofty goals, since I had never been that close to any of the band members before Thursday afternoon. 

The four of us stopped at McDonalds on the way for a quick breakfast.  I was armed with a bag of snacks, sunscreen, water, and other necessities. When we got to the UC the parking lot was not opened yet, so Shelly dropped Megan and I off at the corner.  When we got to the loading dock entry I spotted Dolly right away but she was standing outside of the grassy part where people were waiting for then to arrive.  There was only a handful of people inside.  Turned out security was not letting anymore people in until 1:00. That was fine by me cause a line was forming and we were 3rd and 4th in line!!! 

         Dolly just wanted a hug

                    Megan and I waiting in line

This was gonna be a good day! The only reason the people that were in there already was cause they were there before the security was out.  I was excited but we had a long wait ahead of us.  I was secretly very happy we did not have GA for that night!  I knew between Thursday, doing all the walking around to see the city, and this afternoon, I don't think I could of handled another GA night.

The best to come in part three.....

Sunday, July 5, 2015

My Dream U2 Weekend In Chicago Part One

Wow, wow, and just wow!!! Even though my weekend seeing U2 twice in Chicago is a weeks memory today, I am still living the high.
This much anticipated number 1 event of my summer could not have been more perfect if I could have scripted it myself. Yes, it was that good folks!

I have been a U2 fan for many years. Ever since the first time I saw them on their Zoo TV tour in Madison Wisconsin on September 13, 1992 I have been hooked!  I liked the music before that, but seeing them live with Bono, the charismatic lead singer, I was forever transformed. Many say attending a U2 concert is like a religious experience.

Anyway, this time around I had GA (general admission floor tickets) for the second of 5 shows they did in Chicago at the United Center.  My daughter was going to go with me for the second of her U2 concerts experiences, but the first doing GA. I had plans to stay till Monday and wanted to score 2 more tickets for us to the Sunday night show through a last minute ticket drop. I typically only go to one show on a tour when they are near, but this time with all the buzz I decided to make it a full weekend.  Also I was looking forward to experiencing it with my friend Shelly who is also a huge fan and lives not far from me, and her hubby Steve. There were fan meet ups planned too and I couldn't wait for the opportunity to meet other fans.

So, off we were Thursday morning for a long drive to Chicago.  The plan was to hopefully check into the hotel when we arrived about noon or so, drop our stuff off and get to the United Center to wait for the band to arrive usually around 3 or so in hopes to catch a glimped of them, maybe even shake a hand or get an autograph.  My dream was to have Bono sign my shoulder and get it tattooed!

We got to the hotel and our room wasn't ready but Shelly's was so we dropped our stuff off in their room, got ready and had something to eat. Checking into our room would have to wait till after the concert.  We took the bus to the United Center and there were probably about 50 people waiting already.  No chance of getting up close for a hug or anything. Just the chance to see any of them stop and get out and greet fans was ok by me. We had heard Bono didn't stop the day before, just Edge stopped and that Bono was not feeling well.

We waited quite awhile and I finally Edge came in but didn't stop.  Adam stopped and did a quick greet shaking hands with people. I was glad I could get some pictures.  Honestly I could not believe I was this close.  Larry also stopped and greeted fans.  Then Bono came in and got out.  Well, I think I totally blacked out cause I knocked my daughter glasses off trying to get up closer!! He just briefly greeted everyone and said he was still not feeling well. I was in shock and could not believe it!


After all that excitement it was time to go get our number for GA entry so we knew our place in line. We ended up being 253 and 254.  Considering the stage set up we were almost guaranteed a spot close to the stage at some point.  I wanted to be near the smaller "e" stage. I had heard that it may be impossible to see the main stage from some points at the smaller stage, but I just wanted to be up close. We just pretty much sat around till we started to line up in,order for a 6:00 entry.

Finally it was time to go in, we got a great spot and had 2 hours to wait.  Megan and I took turns getting out merchandise so we wouldn't loose our spot.  I could tell Megan was pretty excited about being this close and I knew she would love it as much as I. 

Finally it was time, Bono came up the stairs right in front of us and the night was about to begin! 

We had a great view from our spot but regrettably we could not see anything while they were on the main stage and it was hard to see everything on the gigantic screen, but Bono moved around quite a bit, so I was happy with where we were. Course I kept looking over at Megan and seen she was really liking it dancing around and signing and I could not have been more proud!

Soon though the night was over and chapter one in out U2 adventure weekend had to come to a close. By the time we got back to the hotel that first night, checked into our room, grabbed our luggage it was late and although tired, I was way too wired to sleep. Took me till about 1:30 before I finally could get to sleep. Little did I know that the big highlight of my weekend was yet to come!!