Dream out loud- U2 in Vegas -part 1
I am not a fan of Vegas because I always get sick when I stay there so when I found out U2 was playing 2 shows there I had to figure out something to make it happen. We also needed to be able to get me to the movie premiere of dream out loud created by my friends David Barry and Amanda McCune and that I was in. We decided to stay at an air bnb off the strip and hoped that I wouldn’t get sick. About 2 weeks before leaving town I got a bad cold and couldn’t eat well so I was really worried. I finally got feeling better enough but the day prior to vegas day I got an extremely bad earache so we ran to the doctor with only about an hour to go before we were supposed to be driving to Vegas. Luckily i only needed some ear drops and we were free to go. We checked into our place and ate a quick dinner before heading to the movie. When we arrived it was like being a celebrity the staff knew my name and had reserved a special spot for me. I loved the movie so much especially being surprised by the Bono interview that we had all been working so hard for. It was great to reconnect with my U2 family plus I got to meet several new friends. Little did I know that although this night was special the next one would be even better.
finally got to meet this sweet fan —
with Philip Roy Neal Chambers
my angel of a U2 friend —
with Seán Scaglione
all the way from down under —
my aussie mate Andreas Laveth and
his friend Jon
the incredible film crew, love you guys —
with David Barry and Amanda McCune
Lights of home- U2 in Vegas -part 2
I could only get two tickets in ga for the first night but was told by someone it would be taken care of for my dads ticket. With help from another ticket angel named Seán I was able to pick up 3 redzone tickets for the 2nd night. We got to the arena around 1pm and found where people were waiting to hopefully meet the band. I was able to get some pictures and meet up with friends old and new. It was a little hot and I didn’t want to get sick so I moved to the shade but not long after the band security came out to explain that nobody was coming out and to meet the next day around 2:30pm. Many people did leave but my friends Seán Scaglione David Barry Marcy Gannon Amanda McCune and her mother stayed with us. I had been messaged by the someone to get out of the sun and they would come find me. We decided to stay close and moved to the covered part of the building. It was great to be in a shady area but it was extremely windy. Lots of my friends came to say hello while we were waiting which was super cool especially to finally meet the U2 brother Mark Baker and the famous Brigitte Rebecca. Other fans also came by but after an hour or two dad got a couple phone calls from the someone to come around front to the box office area. miguel and Brian the security guys were there waiting for us. They said that the 3 of us needed to come with them but we stopped to talk about the red zone tickets with Sean and Brian to find out what we needed to do. Plus we had my feeding chair and I needed another oxygen tank. Miguel said that the chair was just fine, he would escort Dad back to get oxygen later and to let Sean and Brian figure out the tickets because if we didn’t hurry we were going to miss it. Mom and I asked what are we going to miss? “soundcheck” was his reply. We couldn’t believe it that was so exciting! We passed quickly through the security then went to the tunnel area where the band and GA entry is. A bunch of the fans were lined up waiting there to be let in and my friend June was there. We said hello to each other as we could all here Lights of Home being rehearsed. Two security guys were guarding the black entry curtains and then once they saw Miguel with us they parted them and we passed through into the arena where the magic happened.
trying to stay away from the sun
long time friend —
with Brian Jahns.
the famous friend —
with Brigitte Rebecca.
finally after many years we get to meet face to face —
with Mark Baker.
Free Yourself to be Yourself-U2 in Vegas -Part 3
After passing through the magic curtains Miguel led us to the very end of the arena floor near the e stage. We could see the boys on the main stage as Bono sang “free yourself to be yourself “while he walked on the rising middle walkway. We were not allowed to take pictures or video and were told to stay in the same spot. Brian came to talk to us for a few minutes. I told him that I had a birthday gift (book) for Bono, a copy of the book for him to sign, and some Christmas cards from me that my friend had been trying get to the boys. The books I had made were photo books titled , “You Let Me in To a Conversation: “13” Years of Meeting U2 and Their Crew”. Brian told me he would get the stuff to everyone and get them to sign my book. As he was looking through the book he saw the picture of him and Justin holding the Team ELSHAnator shirts that I had given to him and Bono in September at the 2017 Joshua Tree concert in San Diego. He said that he actually had the shirts with him in his bag backstage. Brian quickly said to keep the stuff I had with me and Give it to Bono myself. Just then as he was in the midst of singing while walking towards the e stage Bono said directly into the microphone “Is that who I think it is?” I smiled and replied “yes it is!” He walked down the stairs and came over to us. With his arms out to each side he bowed in front of me and said “at your service “. It was so funny and cute. We talked for a moment but then he had to finish soundcheck so he went back to the stage. They practiced “Lights of Home” and the beginning of “Beautiful Day” because Bono said that the intro wasn’t “bright enough”. They practiced for a little longer and then Bono walked up to me and said “I was looking for something.” With a huge smile I told him “I think you found it because I found what I was looking for. “ He asked how I was doing and mom told him that I was getting better but I had been very sick. He told her “I know, I had heard that”. He gave my mom a big hug. I think he loves moms especially since he lost his at such a young age. We asked him if he would sign my book but once he saw the cover he asked me if he could keep it. We told him that was mine for him to sign but I did have one for him to keep. He took a little time to look through the pages On the 2005 Salt Lake City pictures he said something like “ugh I had to wear those glasses “. Mom and I told him that we love them because he gave them to me and then he smiled as he remembered while looking at the picture of me actually wearing them. He began to sign the book but I could tell he was drawing a picture because he would look at me then draw then look at me again . Once he finished he started signing it then realized he spelled my name wrong. He said “I can’t remember how to spell it for some reason I always want to put Zed.” Dad showed him my name which was on the front of his “Team ELSHAnator” shirt he had on. Bono said “I am dyslexic and get easily confused. Mom told him that it was okay because he has good reason to be confused since he is so busy. It turned out that he had drawn a picture of me and labeled it “Elsha by Bono.” He said that his daughter was going to be at the show tonight and he would like her to meet me. I told him that meeting her would be awesome. He was running late as usual. He did take time to sign one of my hEART cards and AJ took my phone and told my mom and dad to get in the picture with me and Bono. We gave Bono his book and the other cards for the boys as he gave me a kiss on the head. He said that he would put the cards in their dressing rooms. We all thanked him as security rushed him out. This was a great surprise for the day and although it was hard that our friends couldn’t come with us I’m glad they were understanding of the situation. Plus we still had the whole concert to look forward to which was another adventure in itself.
The Blackout-U2 in Vegas -part 4
Once Bono and most of the security left us only the main arena floor managers and Miguel remained. Since they knew I was in a stroller thing and had GA tickets the entire staff and security down there were absolutely incredible. I was placed in my own safe little area. When we told them I was going to be too low to see over the gates in front of me they immediately got the maintenance guy to figure out a solution. He ended up placing my stroller and I on 2 pallets covered with a carpet to raise my chin above the railing. I could see so much better. After Miguel brought Dad back with the new oxygen tank Mom was allowed to set up my feeding chair so I could eat my portable soup I had brought. Many of the security people would stop to see if we needed anything and once the other fans were let inside lots of my friends came over to say hello. When the concert was about to start a few really tall people began to stand against the gate blocking my view. The security would keep asking them to move because that was not allowed. Most kindly did but one guy got upset saying that he paid for the same ticket that I did so he could stand where he wanted to. The female floor manager told him no he didn’t because I had been invited by Bono. Soon afterwards the girl, i believe her name was Hollie, along with the main floor manager, Parker, put a row of bright yellow tape in front of my area all the way around the VIP section creating a walkway where people had to keep clear or moving. Sometimes my friends would still stop by and as long as I said I knew them they were allowed to check on me before they had to move. The concert was incredible as usual. One of my favorite songs to see live was The Blackout. They were just killing it on the song. After a few more songs I saw a guy come down the stairs and began talking to my mom. He then began to be quite rude saying something about Bono believing in abortion and it came across that my mom should have done that with me. He then started taking pictures of me even going as far as reaching his camera around my mom to get better pictures. Once security found out something was going on they immediately got involved and put a stop to it. They even got the police involved and made sure that everything was settled how we wanted it. They apologized repeatedly for not catching him sooner. We later found out that he was removed from the concert and the security took his camera to delete the pictures. They came back and told us that there were no pictures of me because he was so drunk he had failed to remove the lens cover. Isn’t karma the greatest?! The rest of the show was even better than the first because most of the songs were back on the e stage. We even had a close up view of Macphisto which was incredible. My friend Dave had told us that Bono would be exiting the arena right by us so when it came close to that time Mom and Dad put me down off the pallets and pushed me to the side railing. A bunch of the VIP’s followed and stood in front of me. I think I possibly knew them but I didn’t remember what their names were other than Bono’s two daughters. Bono came walking by with his security a few minutes later directly in front of us. It was so cool! When most of the crowds left we chatted with my friends and the security guards. We thanked them for everything and they said that since we were coming back for the 2nd show they would add another pallet to raise me even higher. Not only were the security so caring but my friends especially helped me. Many stopped to see if we needed anything and my friend John, even surprised me with a piece of the book confetti. I must especially thank my health checkers, Marcy Gannon, Amanda McCune and her mom, my security team David Barry and Seán Scaglione, and most of all my parents for letting me spend the day waiting for and finally being able to meet up with Bono for a few minutes. We didn’t think anything could top such a great day but the next day was filled with even more surprises.
Love is bigger than anything in its way-U2 in Vegas -part 5
I decided not to go to the arena as early the next day because we had been told the boys would not be coming until 2:30pm. We arrived after 1pm only to realize that we should have come earlier because there were tons of people waiting there. I visited with my friends for a while but couldn’t see a place to get up to the fencing. We found a place in the back of the crowd and waited. I was nervous about missing the boys but I was still having fun especially making new friends with @Christina Christina Bouskos Carter, @melissa, her friend, and Sylvia Rendon. It seemed like forever but eventually some action began. Luckily my new friends let me squeeze in with them and I had a little space up to the gates. Not long after that Adams car pulled up. Pretty soon I saw Jerry the bodyguard coming in front of me so I said hello and asked how he was doing. Finally Adam came down the line to us. My new friends helped to get his attention so I could meet him. He was just as cool as usual and leaned closer to me over the fencing so we could talk. He was going to move on to the next fans when I remembered I wanted him to sign my book. Mom handed it to him and he gladly signed it Although we didn’t get a perfect posed picture together my friends did capture the moment for me and my friend Christina even got a video of it. I thought that was going to be the best ending for my adventure but I didn’t realize how many more surprises were still coming later that night.
“13” -U2 in Vegas -part 6
After taking a little while to collect our thoughts and come back to earth after the excitement of meeting Adam we decided to get some food before checking into the red zone I tried eating my soup but it was not working and since it was getting late I didn’t want to finish. We headed to the check in booth and on the way we saw Mark Baker again. This time he was wearing his dark blue shiny outfit. After a picture we checked in with Sean and got the red zone passes. Seán Scaglione was a ticket angel and helped about 10 people get tickets including my friend Christina Bouskos Carter. It was so sweet of him to do that. Although the security didn’t want me to be in the real red zone area because I was too short and it would be a little dangerous for me they let me go see what it was like before the crowds came. It definitely wouldn’t work but it was cool to get the eXPERIENCE. I heard somebody calling me which turned out to be my friend Renee West. We visited with her and her husband James West who climbed to the bottom of the stairs on a broken foot because he wanted to meet me so bad. They are sweethearts. We made our way back to my special area where I laid on the 2 chairs for a few minutes. Justin the U2 security guy checked on us and I was able to get a picture with him. David Barry and Amanda McCune chatted with us and as I was getting off the chairs the one began to fold up on me. I slipped almost all the way through the back and mom only had my legs. It was scary but luckily I didn’t get hurt. In fact I was laughing really hard and I told David “That was AWESOME!” we got situated after that and a couple of other ladies were placed in the area with us which was fine. The concert was just incredible once again. My friends and security continued to check on us throughout the night. It was nice being up higher on the third pallet because I could see a lot better. It was especially nice when Adam and Edge showed up on the sides in the middle of the arena because I could see Adam really well. I could see Sebastian (Adam’s brother) walking around but could not get his attention. When the concert was coming to an end my dad and one of the security people got me down off the pallets and placed me by the rail where Bono would walk by. A lady stood at the railing right by me. My friend Dave had told me that Ali (Bono’s wife) was going to be there and thought it would be awesome for me to meet her. I kept looking at her and finally said “Hi”. When she turned her head I realized that it was Ali! I told mom that it was her and mom asked her. She acknowledged that she was Ali. We were so excited to meet her. Ali asked me if I like the concert and wanted to know which song was my favorite. I told her it was “13” which just happened to be the song the band was performing. She said “Yes, that is a very special song.” Mom told her that her husband has been so good to me and was one of the best men on earth. Ali said “Thank you so much.” She talked with Mom about me and told her what a special person Mom is. Then she gave Mom a great big genuine hug over the railing and said “God Bless You” I wanted to get a picture so we asked and she said “Sure.” My dad took a couple of pictures but it was really dark so they didn’t turn out very well. He finally turned the flash on and we asked her for one more which she graciously agreed to. We were talking more but then she was being escorted out so she said, “Sorry, they are making me leave.” I thought that was a perfect ending to my adventure but there was still more surprises awaiting me. Right after Ali left Bono passed by on his way out of the arena escorted by Brian. I went back to my safe spot to let the crowd out first. My friends came over to chat with me and Jennifer Struss surprised me with another piece of the book confetti. The main floor security guy came by and gave me his set list for the night which was all marked up and color-coded. After that and some more pictures with friends we were surprised when Sam, the drum tech, saw me and walked over to say hello. He remembered me from previous concerts and talked about his daughter who is now 14 years old. I wanted a picture with him but he told me to wait a second while he ran over to supervise the guys taking the drums off the e stage. When he came back he brought me a pair of Larry’s drumsticks. We got some pictures with him and visited for a short time before the security people came by to ask us to leave. As we were walking out one of the stage crew guys handed my friend a folded up paper to give to me which was another set list. This night was the best ever! By now a lot of people were crying especially my mom because of all of the wonderful things that occurred in the last three days. We were all happy but we were all so sad because of our friendships and not knowing when we would see each other again. My friend Andreas kneeled down and “just remember all of those little moments.” That is exactly what I decided to do. Since my favorite song is “13” and I have had 13 years of meeting Bono, the band and the crew, plus 13 years of hanging out with my U2 family, here are my 13 special moments of this eXPERIENCE:
(In no particular order)
1. Finally meeting U2 brothr Mark after being Facebook friends for many years
2. Being well taken care of by my security team David and Sean plus my friends Marcy and Amanda. Most especially thank you to my parents to let me do all the stuff I dream of.
3. Being able to at least have one red zone eXPERIENCE with the generous help from Sean to get the tickets and the T-Mobile security team for letting me see what it was like before going back to my safe zone
4. Having new friends let me squeeze in line with them to meet Adam where he signed my book and I was able to say hello to Jerry.
5. Getting my picture with Justin the U2 security guy
6. Being given 2 setlists in one night
7. A surprise visit to soundcheck again where I was able to meet Bono again to have pictures together. Also having him sign my book where he drew a picture of me and then he signed my hEArt card. I was able to give him a birthday gift and some Christmas cards for the band. It was so great to meet Brian and Miguel again too.
8. Being surrounded by so much love from my U2 friends old and new from around the world because I can never have too big of a U2 family. They constantly checked on us and gave me little gifts. Two people even saved a piece of the book confetti for me.
9. Going to see the Dream Out Loud U2 movie where I felt like a celebrity and then being shocked to see Bono was actually in the movie.
10. Meeting Sam the drum tech who remembered me and gave me a pair of Larry’s drumsticks.
11. Having such a great security team at T-Mobile who let me be in my own special area up on pallets so I could see. They made sure nobody was in my way and immediately took care of the nut job who was upsetting us. They always checked on us and became good friends.
12. Having slumber parties every night with mom as we shared a big bunkbed even though there were 5 other beds. We stayed up every night until 2am just chatting and talking about the day.
13. Being able to meet Ali to get a few pictures. She is an Angel.
#U2family #IGoThereWithYou #DreamOutLoudFilm #U2friends #U2eitour #vegas