Every month we put a U2 fan in the spotlight. The fan of the month for September 2019 is user Stu22. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.
"Then the band started playing, Bono started singing. He took me across to the right of stage and the crowd went wild. He took me across to the left of stage and the crowd went wild. He took me back to the centre and and the crowd went wild. The band was laughing behind me as I played along with my knees shaking!"
How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
My journey with u2 began in the early 80’s with my days as a University student here in Perth, Western Australia. Sitting up late at night trying to study with the radio on but, really being fascinated by the new music coming out the UK. Artists like Elvis Costello, The Specials, Simple Minds. American bands like REM. And then hearing this song called Gloria by this band from Ireland - professing to be Christians and playing rock n roll that was dominated by guitar not synthesisers!!! What a revelation.
Needless to say I was there to see them Live Under Australian Skies in 1984, last concert of the tour, ending with a shower of champagne.
Does anyone in your family or one of your friends like U2?
My wife Donna, my brother Alistair and his wife attended the show with me in Perth in 1989. We were all U2 obsessed by this time.
So you saw the Lovetown show in Perth in 1989, what was that like?
On the night of the concert there was an almost magical feel in the air. BB King was simply awesome and had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. Once his set had finished the house lights came on and the PA started playing Beatles music. It was like the whole crowd was in a trance, dancing to Twist and Shout!
That was when we decided to leave our seats at the back of the Lounge and try to claim a seat surreptitiously nearer the front of the Lounge. We sat down in the fourth row as the security guards checked everyone’s tickets in the row in front of us and the row behind (not ours!!), sending people back to their rightful seats. Something magical was happening.
The band was amazing and we were so close!
Bono picked you to play guitar on People Get Ready, tell us about this experience!
During the set Bono started walking around the stage with a guitar around his neck (a cherry red Gibson 335), playing the Curtis Mayfield Classic, People Get Ready - a deeply spiritual song. The hairs on the back of my neck were alive!
As he was walking around the stage he said “I’m not a very good guitarist, is there anyone out there that can play guitar?”. I thought this was just a joke and a set up. Some guy to left yelled out “I can play!”. Bono invited him up but he declined.
It was at that point he walked back to the centre of the stage, right in front of us and asked the question again. I stood there with my arms folded thinking it was a joke. Then, in a moment of complete silence, my darling wife Donna yelled out and pointed to me saying “he can play!”. Bono looked straight at me and said “can you play?”. I shrugged my shoulders (still thinking it was a joke) and said “sure”. He said, “well, up you get” and before I knew it I was crowd surfing across the fans in front of me and there I was, on stage with the world’s biggest rock band!
Bono put his guitar around my neck and tried to show me the chords he was playing. He said “it’s a C, it’s an A minor and it’s a.......” I said “it’s an F”. He said “no, it’s a C, it’s an A minor and yes it’s an F!”
Then the band started playing, Bono started singing. He took me across to the right of stage and the crowd went wild. He took me across to the left of stage and the crowd went wild. He took me back to the centre and and the crowd went wild. The band was laughing behind me as I played along with my knees shaking!
The song finished and Bono took his guitar back. He asked me my name and if I played in a band. I told him my name and that I played in a band called Fat Boy Five. He then got down on his knees and bowed before me and announced to the audience “he says his name is Stuart, and he’s the reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix!!!!”
With the crowd still cheering I left the stage and went back to my wife & brothers.
Now you have to appreciate that in 1989, iPhones didn’t exist and cameras were banned at concerts. By some miracle we had smuggled in an old fashioned film camera and my wife managed to stand on the back of a chair, with the bouncers holding her ankles, whilst she took a bunch of photos.
After the show I had people all over me. Pointing me out in the street “look there’s Stuart!” It was surreal. It was like the whole of Perth knew about it. I walked into my office the next morning and my desk had been decorated with balloons and streamers. It seemed to be taking a life of its own. The local radio station was buzzing about it and even played Led Zeppelin’s Boogie With Stu in my honour. I rang the DJ and he interviewed me about the experience.
And now, 30 years later, I’m still completely amazed by the whole experience. Why U2? Why me? Why a gospel song? Why on earth did we have a camera!!!?
Two nights later (the third show) we decided to go back to the Entertainment Centre. We hadn’t even bought a tee shirt or a program so we thought we should at least do that. As the concert finished we could see people were gathering out backstage so we thought we would join the crowd to see what might happen. There were a few hundred fans there. I got separated from Donna. As I was looking for her, out walked The Edge and Adam, right into my path. We chatted for a few minutes about what had happened two nights earlier and signed the program I had just bought. I managed to give them a cassette of my band and even invited them to my church the next day!
We said our farewells and I went off to find my Donna. Out came Bono, right in front of us. He told everybody to be cool and that he would play a few songs on someone’s acoustic guitar, sitting on a low wall above us.
Then he look down at me and said “Stuart, you were great!”. I said, “you’d better say hi to my wife or she’ll kill me!”. He took her hand and asked her name. She melted!
He played for about half an hour and signed autographs. He really was the perfect gentleman and so kind & patient with the fans.
The whole event has been a defining event in my life. I mean, who ever gets to play on stage with the world’s biggest rock band. And to actually have photos means it was more than just a dream!
So yes, I’m an unashamed fan.
Any plans for this upcoming tour? What are your expectations?
I can’t wait for the Joshua Tree 2019 tour. It will be like reliving 1989 all over again - although I don’t expect to end up on stage this time!
Do you still play guitar regularly? Is U2 still an influence for you?
I still play guitar regularly and readily admit that The Edge is a massive influence on my sound. I play a Fender Strat through a Vox amp (very predictable!).
Thanks for this interview Stu22!
Note: Our crew members choose the fan of the month, you can't sign up for it.
Originally posted by Stu22:Bono put his guitar around my neck and tried to show me the chords he was playing. He said “it’s a C, it’s an A minor and it’s a.......” I said “it’s an F”. He said “no, it’s a C, it’s an A minor and yes it’s an F!”
The whole story is awesome, but instructing Bono on which chord closes the progression is something else Congrats -and genuinely jealous- on having such a lifechanging event And Bono coming and playing some songs after the last night on acoustic guitar, oh man. That kind of things don't happen anymore - not only because he obviously doesn't play guitar nowadays, but also because they're not that band anymore. So glad you had such an amazing time back then