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Old 05-27-2003, 09:30 PM   #1
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Experience : From Concerts to the Oscars, A Fan Meets U2 *

by Marisa Talarico

I have been a fan of U2 since 1987, when I was 14 years old. U2 has played a very important part of my life since the first time I saw them live, at Oakland Stadium on 11/15/1987. U2 has brought me continuous joy, through their music, their concerts and their memorabilia. It has been an untouchable dream of mine to meet U2. I never thought it would be possible to meet Bono, to tell him thank you for the impact he and U2 has had on my life. I dreamed of it often, and somehow, I can now say that my dreams have become reality....

April 19th, 2001 - San Jose Arena

On Thursday April 19th, 2001, a dream that I have had since 1987 amazingly came true. This was a day that I dreamed of, imagined and played through my mind for all these years. Since January of 2001, after purchasing my Elevation tickets for the San Jose Arena shows, I decided to "try" to meet Bono. Even though I had always thought of this as impossible, with the stories that I had read about on Interference of fan meetings in other cities, I at least thought it could be a possibility. So on the morning of April 19th, I went to work and on my way, scoped out the scene at the San Jose Arena, talked with some security and got very lucky as one of the guys told me he heard that U2 would be arriving at around 3-4 pm. So I went to work. I could not concentrate on anything other than the fact that U2 was coming to San Jose for the first time in a very long time, and the fact that this was my "chance" to meet Bono. So I harassed my supervisor until she let me leave for the day - so I went into the bathroom, threw on my homemade silver glittered Bono shirt and was off on my mission. With my Mom in tow so she could witness this event if it happened, we were off to the Arena. We found just two other people waiting in back of the Arena at the gates where U2 was due to arrive. The venue security maintained the rumor was 3:30 - 4:00, so we waited. As time passed by, more and more fans started to arrive. At about 4pm, we saw a motorcycle police barricade coming down the street followed by many black sedans....IT WAS U2!!!

The waiting crowd got very excited as the cars descended down the pathway to the back entrance of the Arena. It was all so surreal to me. I was praying that Bono would walk up the ramp to greet us. My mom didn't think he would. The next thing that happened was UNBELIEVABLE. Bono starts to walk up the ramp.

He arrives at the gate entrance, very close to us, and I yell out "Thanks for 14 years, Bono." Bono says"14 years eh?" and walks directly to me and kisses me on my right cheek. I was in complete and utter shock. My mom was nudging me telling me "he just kissed you!" and I just stood there saying "thank you" over and over and staring at him right in front of me. It was bizarre at how shaken I was, I thought I would be able to tell him so much, instead it was hard to find any words, it was so mesmerizing! He grabbed my Bono picture disc out of my hands and signed “Bono 2001” on it. He was talking the entire time, but I cannot remember one word he said!

Bono was so kind, so beautiful, he was just as I always imagined him to be. He was so soft spoken; I could not believe how quiet he spoke. He was wearing sandals with heavy socks underneath them. He looked adorable. I just stood there in awe at what was happening to me. It was wonderful. While he was in front of me, I had told my mom to move down the row and try to get a picture of us - which she did take while he was signing my disc. I managed to ask Bono for a picture and if he could look "that way" so he did, but sadly my Mom ran out of film on the last picture. I then moved away from the front row so that other fans could scoot up to get pictures and autographs too. I could not help but get teary eyed at what just happened. I was crying tears of joy. I had just met Bono!

Bono then moved his way through the line, and made sure that everyone who wanted an autograph received one. My mom had moved towards the end of the line, to see if Bono would sign my Joshua Tree program, which is very important to me as I bought it in Oakland the night I first saw U2 in 1987. So when Bono reached my Mom, she handed him my program and told him that it was for her daughter - he asked my name and she told him, so I heard him repeat my name aloud. He has signed my program "Bono, with love Marisa 2001,” awesome with my name on it. Bono signed just a few more autographs before his bodyguard started to say that they had to go. So I decided to try to get the picture that didn't come out before, and I walked up to him as he was about to turn around to walk back down the ramp, I asked him for just one picture. He quietly said "ok" and he put his arm around my shoulder as I did the same, we look at my Mom, she snaps my digital camera and it was very quick. I told him thank you again and he walked away. My mom had a look of horror on her face and she then told me that the camera had not worked properly and the photo did not take. My mom felt very sad about this, knowing how important it was to me. But I could not let anything disappoint me; I just met Bono, and have memories to last a lifetime, so how could I ever let it upset me. My dream was just fulfilled and I will never ever forget what happened to me on this beautiful day.

April 20th, 2001 San Jose Arena

The next day, my cousin Ali and I were bringing both our moms to the show at San Jose Arena. There were more fans there than on Thursday, so we ended up towards the end of the security barrier. The sedans came in one at a time, and Bono and Edge went straight in, while Adam and Larry got out and started up the ramp.

Adam was eating an apple, and when he arrived to the top of the ramp, he threw it at the garbage can, missed, and the apple exploded on the ground, which was hilarious, everyone including Adam, and Larry was laughing!

My cousin and I had just bought some cheap bootleg U2 shirts, I gave it to my mom who had Adam and Larry sign it, but when Adam came to me I just shook his hand, and took pictures, then he looked at my cousin and she asked him to sign her homemade U2 shirt she was wearing. Adam in his adorable accent said, "Are you sure you are comfortable with this?" as he opened up her jacket to sign her shirt underneath, it was rather comical, he seemed rather nervous, like it wasn’t appropriate or something!

Larry then made his way down the barrier and when he got to us, I was frantically trying to find something for him to sign, and the only thing I had brought this time was this 8x10 picture of Bono I have had for years, so I hand it to him while asking if he would sign it, he chuckles, and then says "I'm not going to sign a picture of Bono" and then he proceeds to scribble his name huge all over Bono's face in the photo. It was so damn funny, everyone around me was laughing at me. Both Adam and Larry were both so friendly and kind, and with great sense of humors. They both spent a good amount of time out there, and everyone got an autograph or picture.

March 23, 2003 Hollywood

I had been planning a trip to southern California for a few months now, and when U2 won their Golden Globe award and rumors about an Oscar started circulating, my head started spinning and I decided to take a road trip with my mom to visit my relatives. I decided to try for the second time in 16 years to meet Bono, to see if I would be fortunate enough to maybe get that picture that didn't come out in San Jose in 2001. I was trying to think of a way I could get a glimpse of Bono at the Oscars, so we sent in our application for Red Carpet bleacher seats, but soon after we received the letter denying our seats.

While in Los Angeles, everywhere I went I looked for Bono. In my purse, I carried a gift for Bono, just in case we crossed paths. On the Friday before Oscar Sunday, we went to a restaurant that I had thought since it was owned by an actor friend of Bonos', there would be a chance that Bono would be there. Upon entering the restaurant, there was a reservations list, which said "Private party for Harvey Weinstein (who is the head of Miramax),” this created butterflies in my stomach as I thought maybe Bono would be in attendance. Slowly the guests entered, we were able to see Weinstein, but Bono never arrived. Our waiter spoke Italian, and so I asked him if Bono had ever been there, and the waiter then got excited and told me that yes, Bono had been there the day before and sat at table 57 and was there until about 4:30pm with some friends.

On Saturday, my mom and I went to wait in front of the hotel; my mom knows how much meeting Bono means to me, so she also brought along her camera in case we got lucky. We met a fellow Interferencer, Devlin Smith and her friends, and we had a great time, sharing pictures and stories. At one point, her girlfriend calmly said "Larry" and we looked over to see Larry in the front seat of a black sedan, and then proceed down the ramp to enter the hotel. Soon after, we also spotted Paul McGuinness. Around 4:30, we see Bono coming in the front seat another black sedan; he waved to us and then motioned his security guard to come to his window. The security guard came over to tell us that Bono was running late and wouldn’t be able to stop for now. After about an hour, Bono returned and waved again, and went straight into the hotel.

On Sunday we decided to go back to the hotel at 10 am. When we drove up in front of the hotel, there was no one there except for Bono's security guard. I was there alone for about an hour, when his security guard came up to chat with me. He told me he was surprised to see me there so early and I told him it was a once in a lifetime chance, and I told him I was very hopeful that Bono would come out. He gave me a strange look, like as if it was going to be ok. He returned to in front of the hotel, and he kept talking on this walkie-talkie type thing.

Four other girls showed up, and they told me great stories of meeting him many times in the past, I think they were all from LA and had met Bono multiple times. At around 11:30 am, Bono started to walk out of the hotel, and he was lingering around the entrance. This time however, there was no car waiting for him, and I instantly felt that he was coming out to greet us!

He starts to walk up the driveway, and then continues across the street over to where we were standing. As he was getting close to us I held out a bookmark and said "Bono I have a gift for you". (A few months ago, I had bought it for him it was green felt with "May happiness fill your days" with 2 green clovers embroidered on it. And on the back I had written, "Bono thanks for 16 years and thanks to U2").

Bono walked right up to me and took the bookmark; he looked very pleased with it and thanked me for it. Sensing a chance to retake our famous picture, I start rambling about the San Jose pictures that didn’t come out and if could I please have another picture with him. He said "of course," and put his arm around me where he stood with me long enough for my mom to get a bunch of pictures!!!

I was so nervous; I can't describe how I was feeling exactly. So then I handed him my book to the page with my story from last time, he said "I think this book is really fantastic" and "I was so impressed with this book, isn’t it great?”
He started to draw on my picture in the book, a cowboy hat on my head, and arms and an outfit; he was doodling and chatting for a long time! I of course just kept saying thank you over and over completely awe struck. While he was almost done with the picture, someone pulled up and Bono gave me my book back and walked over to the car to talk with that person. Then he came back to me to finish the drawing and sign "Cowgirl with mo blues Bono 2003"

My legs were shaking this whole time; I swear it is so surreal and amazing. He gave me my book back and then chatted, took pictures and signed for the other girls. At one point this girl ran up from working at the newsstand across the street and told Bono "I love your music" and he said "I love your dress, we need to get a picture of that" so we all took some pictures of him and this girl with a black dress on. He spent quite a long time with each of the other girls, and it seemed as he knew them and remembered them all from past visits! He was so chatty and smiling, it was all so amazing!

He was in front of me again so I got up the courage to ask him for one more hug and he of course obliged. We hugged right there in the middle of the street. He is so snuggly, I wanted to hug him forever! Then my mom even asked for a picture with him, he agreed, and so I snapped an amazing picture with his arm around her.

After chatting with the other girls another few minutes, he looked back to me and said "Thank you again for my gift!" I said “your welcome,” and then he walked back up the driveway to the hotel.

This amazing Sunday morning blew my mind once again. Bono is just the most genuine, kind, generous and wonderful person. He spent 15-20 minutes out there and he seemed to have a great time talking with his fans. He is all that you could ever imagine. After being a fan for so long, this is something I will never ever forget!!! THANK YOU BONO!

U2 really amazed me - after so many years of loving them, following them, and growing up to be a better person because of them, they showed me what amazing, kind, generous, wonderful people they really are. I realized that they were normal people just like us, and that they have HUGE hearts and love their fans as much as we love them. It is a special thing we have in this lifetime - U2!

(Photos courtesy of Marisa Talarico)

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Old 05-28-2003, 04:42 AM   #2
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Simply Beautiful. What a time in your life to capture.

Thank you for so eloquently writing and posting your story Marisa.

It is so inspiring.

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Old 05-28-2003, 07:45 AM   #3
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It's very uplifting to hear U2 fans [or U2 nutters] and their encounters keep it up 'U2 ers'
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Old 05-28-2003, 11:38 AM   #4
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you rock babe thank you
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Old 05-28-2003, 05:04 PM   #5
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Wow. What an awesome story about your experience with meeting Bono, Larry and Adam. They really do care about their fans. What a superb group of rock stars!
Into the heart of a child...
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Old 05-28-2003, 09:24 PM   #6
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that is such a great story. that is one of my dreams , to meet one of my idols. my dad, with whom i have a great relationship with, and Bono, whom i'd like to meet one day.
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Old 05-29-2003, 07:15 AM   #7
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I love this story Marisa!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-29-2003, 08:39 PM   #8
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Thanks for this lovely report Marisa. I hope one day to have an experience like that, to be able to tell Bono how much I love and respect him. All of them, if possible.
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Old 05-30-2003, 11:43 AM   #9
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Thanks to all of you for the kind comments, I am glad you enjoyed my story

follower I hope that one day you WILL have an experience of your own with Bono, and more than anything I hope that U2 tours South America
I hope that all fans that dream of meeting U2 will have their chance as well
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Old 05-30-2003, 06:21 PM   #10
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Originally posted by u2sangel
I love this story Marisa!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-01-2003, 05:05 AM   #11
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just simply fookin awesome....

so happy for you, girl
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Old 06-01-2003, 09:25 PM   #12
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Originally posted by mmmBono
just simply fookin awesome....

so happy for you, girl
What she said

Oh yeah, and you are absolutely gorgeous
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Old 06-02-2003, 12:36 AM   #13
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Thanks Sicy, Autumn and Anne

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