Who knew so many of you were such big U2 fans? Or maybe you just like a good story. Regardless, after mentioning my run-in with the Edge last week back in 2003, I couldn’t not tell the story, could I?
It wasn’t even noon, and we were already at each other’s throats. Travel will do that to a trio of new friends—especially if the experience is further enhanced by the effects of a few too many martinis and no sleep the evening before. Knowing we had a car coming at 5am to take us to the airport, Evan, Francie and I decided to head out for a quick drink before turning in early. That “quick drink” turned into an all-nighter in a VIP booth at one of Edinburgh’s hottest clubs with the hosts of the following night’s MTV Europe Awards, then stumbling home to my flat on the Cowgate just 45 minutes before our pick-up time. It wasn’t our finest hour.
Waiting for our plane in Edinburgh.
We arrived in Dublin before breakfast having seen better days, but found a nap was out of the question as check-in wasn’t until 4pm. So today, we were out to find another quartet of celebrities, these in a league all of their own; we were on a mission to locate U2. (Or rather, the “U2 Memorial,” which was prominently marked on our tourist map.)
This wasn’t our reason for traveling to Dublin—99 pence flights on RyanAir were the cause—but once I saw the marker for the U2 Memorial on the map, I knew what the day would hold. The Joshua Tree was the first album I owned that I wore to the core, and few artists have held my interest over the years in quite the way those four Dubliners have. With little else on the agenda, we set out in search of this monument.
Evan and Francie, excited to finally be in Dublin.
After 45 minutes of wandering aimlessly around where the map told us the memorial was located, we still hadn’t found what we were looking for (pardon the poor U2 pun), and Evan was done with my musical exploits. Francie, always the mediator, wandered into the closest pub to ask for directions. After all, we were in Ireland, and you can’t spit without hitting a pub—or a pub owner who knows Bono personally as we soon found out.
The pub she randomly selected happened to be The Dockers, where U2 (allegedly) got their start. Being that it was not prime drinking hours—even in Ireland—the joint was empty and the owner more than happy to chat with us. He looked at my map and tore it up. “I don’t know why you’re following that mularkey. But I’ll tell ya something: I just saw Bono yesterday, and not only are they in town at the moment, but their new studio is just around the corner.”
He then pointed us in that direction, after making us swear to secrecy on the actual location, and we went on our merry ways, giddy with the possibility of bumping into Bono in the flesh.
We stumbled upon rows of what seemed to be abandoned warehouses on a fairly vacant street, but one in particular marked “Studio 9” had what appeared to be a shrine to U2 just in front of it, with hundreds of people having scribbled personal notes to the band on the wall. This is it! we thought. So we took Francie’s camera, perched it on a parked car just across the street, turned on the timer and went and posed in front of the studio entrance.
Just then, a car rounded the curb and started heading straight for us. One of us—seven years later, I’m not sure who—screeched, the driver glanced up, saw us and veered out of our path—and right into a parked car, side swiping the vehicle and leaving its rear view mirror partially dangling, partially knocked on the ground.
The injured party.
The car backed up, sloooowly, the driver rolled down the tinted window, and a very familiar beanie and goatee stared back at us. I guess now wouldn’t be a proper time to ask for an autograph, eh? It was the Edge, of course, and he didn’t look too pleased with the three of us. (Can’t say I blame him.) He put his car in drive again, then hit the gas and sped into a garage full of other Mercedes and Rolls Royce models. His minion ran out, jotted down the license plate number and left a note on the windshield (I have to wonder if he would have bothered to do so had there not been an audience); meanwhile, we starstruck tourists are taking pics of the whole debacle.
But the funniest part was yet to come.
After the coast was clear, a few hearty Irishmen from the construction site down the street meandered over our way. We asked if our eyes deceived us, if that indeed was the musical legend himself.
“Yes, of course,” one responded wearily. “We see them here all the time. Nice guys. But we couldn’t help but wonder what on Earth you three (pronounced tree as he was Irish) were doing taking a picture in front of an abandoned warehouse?”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Is that not the band’s studio?”
“No! It’s that one there (pointing), three (tree) doors down.”
So not only were we, in our picture-taking endeavors, responsible for the Edge crashing his car, but we did so while taking a timed photo in front of the wrong building. Though we felt bad—not like he doesn’t have the money and insurance to remedy the situation—how many people can put that on their resume?
The REAL U2 studio.
In the end, we did finally find the U2 Memorial. It was not at all what I was expecting:
I’d say our approach to channeling U2 in Dublin was a far more effective one…wouldn’t you?