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Old 10-31-2005, 01:31 PM   #1
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Our "Angel of Harlem" -- Dallas

I enjoyed reading this article almost as much as seeing Sunjay up on stage Saturday.

It really was a wonderful moment! They all sounded so great!

Enjoy!

Apologies if this has already been posted.


UT student struck a chord with Bono at U2's AAC concert

POP MUSIC


10:18 AM CST on Monday, October 31, 2005

By STEPHEN BECKER / The Dallas Morning News

Playing quarterback for your favorite team. Rocking out with your favorite band. These are the dreams that fill a teenage boy's heart.

Of course, most boys don't think they'll ever actually realize those fantasies. But as 19-year-old Sunjay Devarajan strapped on a guitar next to Bono, The Edge and the rest of U2 on Saturday night in front of 20,000 screaming fans at American Airlines Center, his teen dream took life right before his eyes.

"This is like a Make-a-Wish Foundation kind of dream," said Arlington native Sunjay, a day after Bono plucked him from the crowd to play the band's "Angel of Harlem." "I'm just so thrilled that they gave me that opportunity. That they were adventurous enough to actually pick somebody that they had no idea who he was from the audience and have him play guitar."

The dream started simply enough. Sunjay's older brother, Vijay, 23, had traveled to Chicago to see the band in May and got the idea after a woman was pulled from the crowd to attempt what he recalls was a rather unsuccessful version of the obscure "Party Girl." Vijay knew that his brother could play a handful of U2 songs, and after the pair and their sister, Veena, finally bought tickets to the Dallas show on eBay, the idea was hatched.

After traveling from Austin, where Sunjay, a pre-med student at the University of Texas, and Vijay live, they headed with their sister and some other friends to AAC at 10 a.m., hoping to get as close to the stage as they could. While waiting in line, they concocted a sign that Sunjay feels was the key to his success.

The sign, written in red ink on yellow poster board, simply said, "Angel of Harlem" on it with the progression of guitar chords in the song and a note saying, "In case you forgot," since the band had yet to play the song on this tour. During the first encore, Bono peered from the stage at Sunjay and asked, "Do you know how to play it?" To which Sunjay says he screamed back, "Yeah! Yeah, I can play it!"

A few minutes later, he was summoned to the stage, and a guitar tech was handing him an instrument.

"They were kind of hesitant to bring a person onstage who claimed to play the guitar. They didn't want someone screwing it up," Sunjay said, noting that the singer was checking his guitar strap to make sure it was on right and that he had to borrow a pick from The Edge.

"Bono was just sort of joking around. He was like, 'You've never done this before, have you?' And I said, 'Um, no, I've never done this before.' "

As his kid brother was about to begin, Vijay looked on in awe from the floor, hoping for the best.

"I was thinking, 'Ooh – that first chord is going to be crucial,' " Vijay said. "But then I was like, 'Wow.' He was so comfortable up there, just jamming and grooving."

And then they were off. The Edge played the intro, Bono came in with the familiar, "It was a cold and wet December day/When we touched the ground at JFK..." and Sunjay was playing right along with them.

"Once we started, I felt so much encouragement from the band. They were all smiling. I looked at each one of them. I had Bono on my left. He's smiling singing the first words to the song. I turned to my right and Edge, who's one of my inspirations, is sitting there smiling and playing with me. Adam Clayton is jamming with his bass, and Larry Mullen is having a great time. So I just felt this encouragement from the band, and that really allowed me to ease up and I really didn't feel frightened after that."

Sunjay says that Bono noticed him singing the words as he was playing and motioned for him to come up and share the mike with him during the next chorus. What followed was a scene many rock fans had seen from the greats: Paul and John, Mick and Keith. And now Bono and Sunjay.

"It almost seemed natural in the beginning. And once I finished it really hit me," Sunjay said. "And that's when I got on my knees and was doing the we're-not-worthy bow. Because, I'm not worthy. Let's get real here. I am not worthy of that."

As the song came to a close, following Sunjay's solo singing turn on the last chorus no less, there was just one last part of the mission to complete: Snag Bono's signature wrap-around shades to fulfill a promise he had made to his brother.

So after receiving a congratulatory hug from the singer, Sunjay asked him if he'd make the trade, which the singer obliged. Sunjay walked off with Bono's rose-tinted Armanis; Bono donned Sunjay's Eckerd sunglasses.

A perfect end to a perfect night. And a dream come true.

E-mail sbecker@dallasnews.com



Photo courtesy of HENRIETTA WILDSMITH/Staff (Dallas Morning News)
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Old 10-31-2005, 01:54 PM   #2
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Sunjay, congrats on getting on stage with the boys!! I'm the girl that bought your Detroit GA's from you in the spring, and we got scanned into the elipse! Thanks!
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Old 10-31-2005, 02:53 PM   #3
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Re: Our "Angel of Harlem" -- Dallas

Quote:
Originally posted by BebeAutumn
I enjoyed reading this article almost as much as seeing Sunjay up on stage Saturday.

Sunjay's older brother, Vijay, 23, had traveled to Chicago to see the band in May and got the idea after a woman was pulled from the crowd to attempt what he recalls was a rather unsuccessful version of the obscure "Party Girl."
Is that really how Vijay recalled Laura's rendition of Party Girl? Hey, I'm just asking quesitons.

I saw Laura's performance on 5-09 AND 5-10. I was there when Bono searched for her in the crowd on the second night. Thankfully, that's not how Bono recalled Laura's performance.
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Old 10-31-2005, 03:14 PM   #4
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awesome story- thanks for posting it, and congrats to the guy who got onstage.

btw, i saw laura's performance of 'party girl' on may 10th in chicago, and thought she rocked!!!
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Old 10-31-2005, 03:58 PM   #5
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Re: Re: Our "Angel of Harlem" -- Dallas

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Originally posted by u2forlife


Is that really how Vijay recalled Laura's rendition of Party Girl? Hey, I'm just asking quesitons.
In all honesty, I completely skimmed over that part of the article. I got to the first part of that paragraph and was excited that I recognized that that was most likely the original "Party Girl" I had read about from this forum. I remember watching her video thinking she is awesome.

I'm sorry if this hurt feelings. Didn't mean to. (My heart sank when I read that statement just now.) I was just very excited this morning to see the article about this total stranger that I will most likely be talking about until I don't know when. It was a thrill to watch him and the band together.
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Old 10-31-2005, 04:07 PM   #6
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I did not hear Laura play on May 10th, but I heard it was much better than the day before. I heard her play the first time and loved it, although there were a couple of hickups. The guy in Dallas, who I heard from a seat in the 300 level, was either so good that I could not tell him apart from the rest of the band, or so bad that they turned his guitar off. So maybe the article just compares a good first performance by Laura to a great one by this guy....
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Old 10-31-2005, 04:36 PM   #7
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Re: Re: Re: Our "Angel of Harlem" -- Dallas

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Originally posted by BebeAutumn


In all honesty, I completely skimmed over that part of the article. I got to the first part of that paragraph and was excited that I recognized that that was most likely the original "Party Girl" I had read about from this forum. I remember watching her video thinking she is awesome.

I'm sorry if this hurt feelings. Didn't mean to. (My heart sank when I read that statement just now.) I was just very excited this morning to see the article about this total stranger that I will most likely be talking about until I don't know when. It was a thrill to watch him and the band together.
awww, no worries! i read the entire article and didn't notice that statement either, until u2forlife pointed it out. it's totally fine!
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Old 10-31-2005, 05:04 PM   #8
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Our "Angel of Harlem" -- Dallas

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awww, no worries! i read the entire article and didn't notice that statement either, until u2forlife pointed it out. it's totally fine!
i don't feel bad about my performance...it was the highlight of my life, as i'm sure his was the highlight of his life. quite frankly, i'm proud of myself. at that time, i had been self-teaching myself guitar for maybe a year and a half. party girl has an odd rhythm and what i consider the toughest barre chord to play (Bm). angel is a considerably easier song to play.

but all that aside, i'm just surprised that a newspaper would print that. the word "unsuccessful" was completely unnecessary, and rather subjective. of course it hurts my feelings a bit, but what can you do? people will be people, say what they will, and the news will print what they hear.

i just wish people would stop bashing the best 15 minutes of my life...*sigh*
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Old 10-31-2005, 06:04 PM   #9
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as i wrote earlier, you were awesome, laura!!!

in the words of our favorite lyricist, 'don't let the bastards grind you down..." (EDIT: this quote is NOT directed at anyone in particular!!! it's just one of my favorite U2 lyrics!)
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Old 10-31-2005, 06:16 PM   #10
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hey hey. I'm a reporter, and I'm not a bastard

ohh, and, hi Alice, we always post around each other, but not to each other What's up?
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Old 10-31-2005, 06:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
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hey hey. I'm a reporter, and I'm not a bastard

ohh, and, hi Alice, we always post around each other, but not to each other What's up?
oh sorry! that quote was NOT directed at anyone in particular- certainly not you! sorry if it came across that way!

i'm good, roman, just busy with work... seems like you're going to lots of shows this leg- i hope you have fun!! i'm only doing the MSG shows in november, for sure... maybe one more (if possible). so maybe i'll see you on the road!
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Old 10-31-2005, 06:43 PM   #12
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Congrats to Sunjay

And Laura - don't think twice about that comment in the paper. Your performance was AWESOME and the fact that you got to play 2 nites in a row, and...well, you know.
I still have the video clips on my computer! YOU ROCK
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Old 10-31-2005, 07:11 PM   #13
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Congrats to you Sunjay. I was literally in happy tears for you when you played. I swear I lived vicariously thru you during that performance!
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Old 10-31-2005, 07:11 PM   #14
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awesome job, Sunjay! i can truly say- I know the feeling!

and if it hasn't been said enough, laura- you were great, definitely inspiration for me.
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Old 10-31-2005, 07:43 PM   #15
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thanks guys...i shouldn't let these things get to me, but it's hard to ignore sometimes...

and sorry for the tangent. a big congrats to sunjay...
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