my Musical Journey ended 1 week ago on the U2 360 tour with a hug from Larry – this is the story of what led up to it
It was one week ago tonight that my Musical Journey ended with Larry hugging me on his way to the stage of the last show in the US on U2’s 360 tour. I keep replaying it over and over in my head. Larry walked toward me, smiling, jumping down to me, putting his arms around me without saying a word, and hugging me. It seemed like it lasted forever, but after watching videos, it was only a few seconds – but those were some magnificent few seconds! Please watch Deb’s video of Larry walking over to me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phshdCyqDXs Please watch this video of Larry hugging me – it’s not close up, but you can see it at the end in the far right side behind the squiggly lines http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjYuBeC6OUg
I had met Larry only once 10 years ago on the Elevation tour in Baltimore. Larry, Bono, Edge and Adam all stopped on their way into the arena to greet the fans who were waiting. When Larry got to me, I said, ‘I don’t have anything for you sign, but can I have a hug?’ Larry hugged me, I cried and that was that.
Although it was wonderful to be face to face with Larry and have him hug me, I wanted to actually speak with him and get a picture with him. I thought this 360 tour would be my chance since I was driving to all 16 US show, so I arrived at each stadium by 3pm to wait for U2 to arrive. I wore my black Larry Mullen Band shirt and straw cowboy hat to every show. At the first show in Denver, Bono and Edge stopped and met with everyone but there were too many people around for me to get close. For the next show in Salt Lake City I didn’t wait for U2 to arrive because I came across the GA line first and started talking with people, so I just got in line at 4pm.
I arrived to the stadium in Seattle just before 3:30. There were about 20-30 fans waiting who said that Larry already went in, so I was really upset. But they were wrong – can’t believe they didn’t even know what Larry looks like! A few minutes later U2 arrived, including Larry. Bono came back out riding on the back of a policeman’s motorcycle. He was talking with the fans, and I interrupted and shouted, “Is Larry ever coming out to meet the fans?” Bono replied, “He only likes you. I love you. You obviously like that kind of cold stare don’t you?” He continued to talk to others, I walked away, and then Bono shouted, “Where are the Larry Mullen Band people?” I responded, “Right here!” and then pushed my way toward him. Bono asked me, “Do you have a message I can deliver (to Larry)?” So I asked Bono to please ask Larry to come out and greet the fans in Oakland, which was the next show. Bono asked my name and then repeated it back to me. When he got in the golf cart to leave, it looked as if he wrote something down. At the end of the concert, I stood by the tunnel to watch U2 leave. Larry saw me, smiled, walked over, and shook my hand. So maybe Bono did say something to Larry. Please watch my video of talking with Bono about Larry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEJ22lgthb0
Three days later in Oakland, I arrived at the stadium by 3pm to make sure I didn’t miss Larry arriving because I was sure that Bono would deliver my message and I would finally talk with Larry. U2 arrived and Bono was in the first car as usual and stopped right in front of us. As soon as Bono got out of the car, I pointed at him and then at my Larry Mullen Band shirt and said, “Now Bono…” He put his hands in the air and said, “I tried.” He walked over to us, and I said, “So he’s not coming (referring to Larry)?” Bono said, “I tried.” While he was signing autographs, I told him that it’s ok because I’ll be at other shows. Bono asked me, “What is your name Deah?” I said, “Deena.” He said, “Yes, I remember.” He went on to talk to others. Before he got back into the car to go inside, Bono looked over to me and shouted, “I’ll try again.”
For the next month, U2 did not stop on their way into any stadium in the US. But luckily in Nashville we were able to stand in the parking garage overlooking the area where U2 got out of the cars and went into their dressing rooms in the building next to the stadium. Larry waved to everyone as he walked by.
A few days later in Chicago, Edge stopped on his way into Soldier Field. I shook Edge’s hand – his guitar playing hand! I asked him if Larry was coming out. He said, “I can’t say for sure. I can’t speak for Larry.” I thanked Edge for coming out to greet us, but I think it was too late and I had already offended him. I don’t think Edge had a sense of humour about it like Bono did in Seattle.
A week later, Bono came out to greet everyone before the show in Philadelphia, but people were crazy and swarming him so I couldn’t get close enough to see him let alone talk with him. In St Louis a few days later, there were only a few of us waiting for U2 to arrive, but no one stopped to greet us. Larry did wave as he drove by though. Inside the stadium, I stood at the stage to watch U2 walk to the stage (as I did every show), and Larry and Bono noticed me (as they did most shows) and smiled and waved. During the band introductions Bono said, “Larry is still upset that we changed our name to U2 from the Larry Mullen Band and there are some people here that agree with him” – and Larry busted out laughing. Everyone thinks Bono was referring to me, and maybe he was. A few days later Edge stopped on his way into the stadium in New Jersey stopped to greet the fans, but since I had already met him in Chicago I stood back and let others meet him – besides he didn’t seem too interested in delivering a message to Larry for me.
A week later at the final US show in Pittsburgh both Bono and Edge came out to greet the fans. I couldn’t get close enough to talk with them, but I did see Larry and Adam get out of their cars and walk inside. My friends Matt and Melissa talked with Bono and selflessly told him about me and how I’ve driven to every US show and would like to meet Larry. Brian, Bono’s security guy, told them to wait there and he would see what he could do. Brian came out later and told me Larry was in a meeting, but he told Larry about me and Bono told Larry about me. Maybe Bono and Larry knew he was talking about me, since I talked with Bono in Seattle and Oakland about meeting Larry and Larry sometimes waves to me as he walks to the stage – and Brian said he’s seen me at the shows. Brian took my phone number and said he would look for us inside. I waited on Edge’s side of the inner circle to wait for U2 to enter, as I always do. Brian came over and told me that he was still working on getting me to meet Larry. When U2 walked out of the tunnel (on Adam’s side) I noticed that Larry wasn’t first as usual. Adam and Edge were first and Larry and Bono were behind them, so I kind of thought something was up. But then somehow Larry moved up front. As Larry walked up the ramp, he locked eyes with me and was smiling. He walked across the platform and then down to me and hugged me. He didn’t say a word, he just put his arms around me. I think I muttered a ‘thank you.’ Larry gave me the biggest, best hug ever and then went on stage. I burst into tears. Everyone around me congratulated me and hugged me, which made the moment even more special. I was so excited that I don’t really remember Even Better Than the Real Thing or The Fly. I don’t think I came to until Mysterious Ways when Larry’s drum kit turned around and faced me behind the stage. I never thought Larry would walk over to me and hug me on his way to the stage before the show. That was my favorite moment of the U2 360 tour and a perfect ending to my Musical Journey!
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