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Old 04-17-2004, 09:05 AM   #1
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Experience : Message Thread Reaches U2

By Declan "Hanover" O'Reilly

Back in April I made my first post in the Feedback Forum. I can still remember it vividly, perhaps not so much every word I wrote there but, moreover, what inspired me to write it. My reply arose from an overwhelming urge to congratulate Devlin Smith after reading her story "Finding Hanover." Incredibly, her journey ended in the most memorable fashion when she achieved what every U2 fan dreams of--meeting Bono.

In one sense our two stories bear striking similarities, the only exception being my attempt to meet U2 involved a very unique objective, to deliver a forum thread containing the most genuine, heartfelt and passionate messages written by fellow members of personally to U2. I made a solemn promise that no matter how long it took that all the messages entrusted to me would eventually reach their intended source and that promise I aimed to honour.

On numerous occasions the temptation to just hand the thread in to Principle Management was strong. The date I had intended to deliver the messages was long past, I felt somewhat frustrated and questioned if my undertaking was overly ambitious. By this stage I became concerned that I may lose my credibility with the fans but I persevered. U2 was recording in the studio so at least the opportunity existed; all I needed was a little luck.

I received an email from Emilie (miss-u2) stating that if I needed any assistance getting the messages to U2 she would be willing to help. I availed of her offer. She had met U2 before and was very knowledgeable of what U2 was doing and, more importantly, she knew of their whereabouts. It was due to her information that I ended up en-route to the studio on the 3rd of November.

When I left home that morning I realised that in my eagerness I'd forgotten to bring the message thread with me. I couldn't turn back and I decided as I journeyed into town dropping into a cyber cafe and get it printed out there, unfortunately the place I tried on Wellington Quay didn't have a printer installed. I decided as lunchtime was fast approaching to make my way to the studio and perhaps I'd get a printout the next day when Emilie sent me a text message stating that Daniel
Lanois had arrived at the studio. She'd been waiting there since 11a.m.; we met outside the studio at 2.p.m.

Emilie is a remarkable and delightful woman, energetic with a vivacious zest for life and I'm certain that anyone that's been privileged enough to have met her can testify to this fact. For over 20 years I've been a fan of U2 and despite this I never once envisioned that I would ever actually get to meet the band. My visits to Hanover Quay were beginning to add up to a sizeable total and every time I found myself there, there was never any sign of U2. I seriously began to assign myself to the theory that out of the legions of fans U2 have only a very select few are ever afforded a chance to meet them, and I excluded myself from the few. Even as we waited outside the studio knowing U2 were inside, I still harboured reservations. At 3 p.m. a news crew left the building. Try as we could we failed to ascertain with which television network they were affiliated. Emilie remained confident, making two uncanny but very accurate predictions--Adam will come out first and Bono later. She was right. At around 4 p.m. our faces lit up as the studio door opened and Adam crossed the street to greet us. Naturally, I could scarcely believe it. I reached out my hand and introduced myself, my senses half-numbed.

Adam was so obliging, very down to earth and a pillar of courtesy as he posed for photographs and signed autographs. I asked him if he was going to miss recording in the studio once it was gone and nonchantly he replied, "We'll see what happens." I thought it a curious answer considering the deal with the DDDA had already been struck for this studio's demolition and the building of a high-rise structure to house a new recording studio for the band. It's strange I had so much I wanted to ask and that's the first thing that entered my mind.

When Adam eventually went back inside the excitement was at a fever pitch. I mused over the opportunity lost, if only I hadn't forgotten the thread I would have been the most content U2 fan in the world. Would I ever again in my lifetime have such a chance as the one I just experienced? I realised there was absolutely nothing I could do about it now; instead I vowed that I would return even more determined and much better prepared.

Approximately two hours later the fire exit window of the studio opened out and Bono appeared. All I could mange to muster as I looked directly up at him was, "Alright, Bono!" His hair was unkempt and he wore a black shirt with one sleeve rolled up. "Hey," he said. "How y'all doing down there? We're busy making a record inside but I'll be out in a few minutes."

Five minutes later the studio door opened and Bono came outside. We assembled around the door, by this stage having been joined by three more fans, Aidan, a Dubliner, and two Italian fans, one of which lived close to Emilie in Galway.

It was perfect. Meeting Bono had always been a dream of mine and now it was occurring exactly as I'd dreamt it. The first comment that Bono made instantly registered, "I'm learning how to play the piano." Like Devlin, I also studied Bono. His face, wrinkled, wise, unshaven; his stubble a variety of colours; the buttons on his shirt undone a little; his hair now freshly brushed; his freckles caught in the light hanging over the doors. He wore black cargo pants and over his shirt a black leather jacket. Obviously an audience with Bono is rare; I treasured it, savoured every moment. When he was signing an autograph for me someone said, "Draw Declan!" and that's exactly what he did, but in words rather than an image. It was witty. Under his own name he wrote the word "Realism."

Realism was so appropriate a choice of word. Bono may have given us five minutes or more of his valuable time but it passed so quickly it seemed like seconds. We duly thanked him, wished him well with the new album and then he was gone. As the door closed I glanced back and we crossed the street again back towards the bench. It took ages for us to gather ourselves as we talked in a sense of disbelief about what had just happened. Mobile phones went into overdrive as word was spread to family and friends of our meeting with Bono.

After a while, the obvious departures took place. The Italians left. Then Aidan. Finally all that remained were Emilie and I. Soon Flavia (Niamh_Saoirse) was on her way to meet us. The night was in and it was quite cold. Emilie had captured Bono on video and when Flavia arrived the excitement returned, the clip was shown to her and she was in heaven. She relayed the story to me of the time when Bono reached out to dance with her in Argentina. I checked the time it was almost 8:30, time to go. I bid the two girls goodbye, my thoughts elsewhere as I rolled back the clock and ran the images of an extraordinary day through my mind and in my daydream state I forgot to give both the girls a goodnight hug, one that would have shown my utter appreciation and gratitude for making all that I had just experienced possible.

That night I stayed in my sister Sharon's in Bettystown, talking with her until the early hours. When I eventually got to bed I barely slept, everything seemed to be running through my mind--had I really met Bono? It seemed unbelievable. I settled, tomorrow it may sink in. It did. I told my story excitably to almost every person I knew. I had to return. Again I made contact with Emilie and with Aidan; I needed to know if the band was still recording. They both confirmed that the band was. A
chance still existed to finally achieve what I initially set out to do. U2 were back in the studio. I set a date, Wednesday the 13th, that's when I'd make my way back, this time with the thread in my possession.

I left home that morning at 10 and journeyed into Dublin by coach. The radio was playing and the weather forecast read; a storm had entered the southwest coast of Ireland, by evening it was due to reach Dublin. By the time I arrived at the studio rain was falling and it was bitterly cold. Someone had just left; the bench across from the studio was dry on one side. I took off a black jacket I had on and put on a hoody and over it another warmer jacket. I sat down, checked everything again--thread, camera. I was ready, nothing was going to deter me from moving, not even the harsh climate. The band began to arrive, automated roller doors opened right on cue in the building next to the studio, designed now to accommodate the fleet of automobiles that ferried the band. Larry was the last to arrive.

Two burning questions now occupied me: would anyone bother to come out and, if so, at what time? About an hour had elapsed when a car carrying four people passed by. The car turned and came back toward the studio, finally stopping just a few yards from where I sat. More fans. The company would be welcome and, if anything, may enhance situation as normally when a few fans assemble, someone would emerge from inside the studio. The fans that arrived had just been in Dublin for two hours, three of them flying in from Great Britain, whilst the other an American had been in Dublin since the previous Monday. We introduced ourselves and I learned that they had decided to all meet on the day in question and drive to the studio, hoping to meet someone from U2. These plans were not in vain.

At 4 p.m. the studio door opened and Adam emerged, crossing the street to where we were gathered. I couldn't have wished for more, once again I was about to meet Adam Clayton, only this time as a representative of members of First we asked if it would be alright to take some photographs. He smiled agreeably. Mark, one of the British fans, got his T-shirt signed and it was quite funny when Adam asked if it was one of theirs beforehand. Eventually, it got to my turn. Adam looked at me as we greeted each other, something registered with him that we'd met before. I explained that I'd met him 10 days earlier and asked if he knew of Charming as ever he smiled and replied, "Of course, yes." I told him that I had some messages for the band from fans on He seemed humbled and replied, "That's very kind." I asked if it would be alright to get a photograph of him and me with the thread. Adam was really courteous and immediately said, "Sure, that's fine." We both held the homepage of at chest height as the camera flashed. Unfortunately,
when I received my photographs back after they were developed I was taken aback to find that the photograph that was unconditional proof that Adam Clayton accepted the thread from on behalf of U2 had not come out.

Nonetheless, I can assure you all that at 4:15 p.m. on the 13th of November, 2003 Adam Clayton received your messages. Actually as he was re-entering the studio he was reading through some of them. No words can do justice to how I felt that evening, I was utterly delighted. Adam is a complete gentleman. When we spoke, I jokingly remarked that after all these years did he ever expect that U2 would still be receiving plaudits. He stretched out his arms to the side of his body as if he was about to conduct a sermon and just nodded and smiled, his eyes beaming with pride.

After Adam departed, a sense of euphoria took over. Christina (DigitalLove), Mark's girlfriend, sat on the bench with her American friend and tears ran down her face. No, these were not tears of sadness, she was in a state of bliss, we all were. After a while I decided to leave, it must have been close to 7 p.m. The wind was gustier and drove rain down Hanover Quay with some force and there was no shelter. With my mission accomplished I had no other reason to remain. I bid Christina and Mark goodnight, it was a pleasure meeting them and it made me realise that when you experience something as emotional and profound as we had, it's better to have others around you.

What we achieved was remarkable and so unique. No-one had ever attempted to present U2 with multiple-fan mesages before, so, in that sense, we were pioneers and instigaters of a new trend.

I want to thank Emilie, ,Aidan [for the photograph, the coffee and conversation], Flavia, Christina, Mark, Hans, Bia and all the other fans I met and spoke with whilst at the studio. It's been a remarkable period in my life and in the lives of all I met. Activity still continues on Hanover Quay, U2 are still there, still working on 'that' album. The construction is still on-going there- and, in a way, all that wrote such poignant messages that reached U2, you're all still there. Thanks for your patience my friends, we got there.

[This Article was originally posted on the content page of - Yet because it was indeed a Band Meeting I thought it fitting to post it here also.

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Old 04-17-2004, 08:44 PM   #2
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Thank you Hanover! Nice pics too!

But I hope they don't read EVERYTHING here

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Old 04-17-2004, 11:17 PM   #3
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Old 04-21-2004, 06:31 AM   #4
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i love this story!!! but i keep blushing when reading the part where u talk about me

thanx again for this experience declan, it was great sharing this with u
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Old 04-22-2004, 10:37 AM   #5
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awww brilliant story Declan!!! Thanks for sharing it with us all!
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Old 04-22-2004, 11:10 AM   #6
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Great story, Declan - got chills when reading it!

I just hope that one day I'll be as lucky as you, and meet some of the guys...
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Old 04-22-2004, 11:26 AM   #7
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What a wonderful report, Declan -- well-written and downright "respectful" -- and that's the way it should be! Thanks for your good work!
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Old 04-26-2004, 07:23 AM   #8
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What makes being a fan of U2 is that we belong to one of the most genuine and united fanbase that ever existed...and I heartily thank all of you for allowing me to share my U2 life with you. You are the 'best' and I appreciate your feedback.

If anyone is interested in 'Sending Birthday Wishes To Bono' -Please leave a message here. Thanks again all. Love and respect - that's what we're about!

Happy Birthday Bono!
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Old 06-10-2004, 10:21 AM   #9
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New Album

I live across the water from Hanover Quay studios and last night the band we're playing material from their new album. It sounds good.
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Old 06-10-2004, 10:45 AM   #10
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Great story! Adam is so hot..... mmm........ I wish I could have stuck around to meet him.

I live across the water from Hanover Quay studios and last night the band we're playing material from their new album. It sounds good.
Stop lying Just kidding. You are very fortunate. Does it sound like anything off of ATYCLB?
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Old 06-21-2004, 06:17 PM   #11
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Originally posted by U2Kitten

But I hope they don't read EVERYTHING here

This is an awesome story, I couldn't get through it without crying. Thanks for sharing, thanks so much.

Sorry, I know this is oldish, I'm just now getting around to some of the forums, there's so much to read here!

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Old 07-26-2004, 06:41 PM   #12
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good story

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