My U2 Summer

I actually should call this my U2 year, but that would be too high and mighty of me as I am one who tries to be down to earth. However, it has been a great summer and one I will cherish for some time to come.

It started on the second Tuesday night in June at a Chicago bar called the HopLeaf. I was going to read a chapter from my memoir, however I couldn’t choose which one. I had only seven minutes to present my work and I didn’t want to bore the audience. Luckily, I had a section just long enough, and with just he right mount of humor, to hold any unlucky soul’s attention. I wanted to share with everyone my afternoon of a tough decision, back in the winter of 1992, buying scalped tickets and going to see U2’s Indoor Broadcast of ZOO TV with a gal whom I had no interest in going with. I really wanted to score tickets to the sold-out show and take my then girlfriend who had no interest in seeing U2. I knew the chapter of my “Tough Decision” would hold the audience’s attention as they sipped, or gulped, their craft brewed beers.

The evening went off without a hitch as I championed my own work and readied myself for even more public exposure at my first bookstore event. The excitement to stand up and talk about my worked scared the shit out of me, but I took it on knowing I came from a lineage of those who had defended their doctoral thesis and eventually went on to write great books on feminism and Joyce. So, I had faith I could do it and when my box of books arrived at home, from my self-publisher, for my reading, excitement and skepticism filled the air. I was hoping many would come, but reality set in and I had a little more than a handful of attendees. It didn’t matter as I plunged through my presentation, sweating profusely. I was nervous, but not trying to show it as the bookstore didn’t have air condition and everyone was in the same uncomfortable boat as me.

Although I didn’t pack them in at the Winnetka bookstore, I was feeling confident because my next promotional adventure was to take place on the day of U2’s Soldier Field stop on their 360 tour. I had everything in place. I had Cliff bars wrapped in faux cover of my book with info about my book and me. I knew how hungry fans can get waiting to see the Irish boy wonders. I also had a set list of people, whom I met on Facebook, and wanted to meet personally plus give them complimentary copies of my memoir. And then the phone rang five days before I was to crawl through the General Admission line outside Soldier Field.

“Hello?” I said.
“Eric, it’s Andres from U2,” Andres said in a hurried introduction.
“What’s going on?” I asked as I sat at my freelance graphic design gig trying to be professional.
“I have a question. Can you cover the U2 press conference on Thursday at Soldier Field?” he asked.
“You mean in two days? Let me see.”
Andres interrupted my thought and said, “You’re in Chicago and I need coverage.”
“What time is at…..”

The conversation moved forward. All of a sudden the biggest day of my life had suddenly shifted from the concert to the press conference. I was going to be privy to asking questions to U2 tour’s director about the tour, the stage and questions all fans wan to know ‘ have you ever caught someone sneaking in for a peak of the massive structure?” No, Bono et al wouldn’t be there, but that wasn’t the point to the event. I was asked to represent and the opportunity to be one of the few who would get an inside view to U2’s tour world was about to launch my ego through the stratosphere, but I wouldn’t let it happen. I cooled my heels and said to myself “this is what patience gets you.” My U2 summer was about to come full circle.

Within six days after that fateful phone call from Andres, I went to the press conference, met Andres personally, handed out 50 books in line and took in U2’s 360 event for the final time. It was a grand U2 summer and one that I will cherish. While all of this excitement was happening, my mother whom I dedicated my book too, was slowly slipping away into the night’s sky. I wish I could have shared in the U2 revelry with her, but I can’t. I can say this. The people I met this summer, thanks to my book and the doors it opened, have been supportive of my project and stood in where my mom once was. She may have not seen me interviewed on WGN about my memoir but I’m she felt the energy.

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