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Bono is exactly the way I thought he would be. Super personable, short and makes you feel like you’re the most important person ever.
MY NIGHT WITH U2
WFNX, WPHX and WFEX PD Keith Dakin Visits with the Boys at Boston After Party
U2 visited L.A., Chicago and Boston this week, where they conducted live radio interviews for their new Interscope album, No Line on the Horizon, plus performing a five-song set in Beantown, where our man on the scene, WFNX, WPHX and WFEX PD (and ardent fanboy) Keith Dakin managed to meet the guys and even ask some questions at an exclusive after-party soiree. When he recovered from his thrill of a lifetime, Keith submitted the following report:

We were told to arrive at the Museum of Science at 6:30 p.m No phones. No cameras. Etc.

I show up and it’s mayhem. A huge line of gross prize whores. If they had blown up the Musuem of Science, there would be no callers to win stuff on radio stations today.

Two hours later we get our wristbands and we are put on buses. A police escort takes the eight buses to Somerville Theater.

Outside of the theater are tons of TV stations, but not as many people as I had hoped. Also nothing was on fire, which was a disappointment.

We get into the theater at about 8:45 p.m. and Fletcher and I are escorted to the “radio dicks” section, which is at the back of the balcony.

The band comes out at 9 and does five songs (“Boots,” “Magnificent,” “Crazy,” ”Breathe” and “Vertigo”). It was almost like watching the U23D IMAX movie. We were real close, but it didn't seem real at all. I guess having watched them so many times in the last week on TV that it just felt like a TV show on a big screen.

They sounded real good and the crowd was bananas. That ends at about 9:20 and then it’s the Q&A, which was funny and fine.

We leave at 9:50 p.m. and get on the buses with the other radio dicks. They take us to Upstairs on the Square, which is actually awesome.

Free top shelf open bar, passed apps (no potato skins though). Even without the band there, it’s pretty fun. We talk to the WBCN and WAAF folks. The guy from WBRU is there, etc.

Then, all of sudden, the band shows up (no Larry though) and the whole vibe of the room changes from casual to really, well, a "holy shit the band is here" vibe.

Fletcher and I get in line for Bono. (Keep in mind there are only about 40 people in the room).

Bono is exactly the way I thought he would be. Super personable, short and makes you feel like you’re the most important person ever. He looks us in the eye. He doesn't seem distracted, etc.

Here is the conversation as I remember it:

Keith: Hi. Im Keith Dakin, program director of WFNX. This is Dustin (Fletcher’s real name).

Bono: Nice to meet you. Thank you for playing our record.

Keith: (shaking nervously) Yeah… Um… No problem. So can I ask a real random question?

Bono: Sure.

Keith: So the added verse of “With or Without you...”

Bono: (confused look)

Keith: The "we will shine like stars in the summer night" part.

Bono: Oh. Yes?

Keith: Where did that come from? Was it supposed to be on the song originally? Why don't you do it live everytime?

Bono: (dead serious and almost like he gets this question all the time because he has a perfect ready to go answer). Well I was a real big fan of Van Morrison growing up. Van Morrison, when playing live, used to get lost in the songs and just improv. Those lines came out as an improv to that song during the Joshua Tree tour.

I really feel that those lines give the song a happy ending. The song is about the duality of relationships and in the regular version you never know what happens but with those live verses it makes it a happy ending.

And the reason we don't do it live every time is because I forget to do it. Sometimes I just forget about those lines for years.

Keith: (shitting myself) Oh. Wow. Yeah that makes sense.

Fletcher: (has nothing at all to say. Looks dazed)

Keith: (on a roll) And what about “Acrobat”? Why do you guys never play that live?

Bono: That's funny. Someone asked that question yesterday. It’s one of our five favorite songs and we've played it a few times, but it never connected.

Keith: (knowing that Bono is actually wrong here because they have never played
the song live, but I don't say anything). Well, it’s a great song.

(at this point the label guy says Bono has to go)

Keith: Bono can you sign this for me (Wide Awake in America CD cover). I really
love the live version of “Sort of Homecoming”...

(signs it)

Fletcher: And I have this (No Line CD cover). And could you give me a hug?

(Bono then hugs Fletcher)

Bono is then whisked away and we get in line for the Edge. Again, the conversation with the Edge is funny because Fletcher still doesn't say anything.

Keith: Hi Edge. I would love to have you sign this, but Bono took our Sharpie, which is really a sentence I'll never get to say again ever, but anyway, great show tonight.

The Edge: Thanks

Keith: Fletcher and I were talking to Bono about “Acrobat” and why you've never played that live.

The Edge: Well, we tried it a lot in soundcheck around the time of the album, but it was always too mid-tempo and doesn't fit. It’s funny though, because someone mentioned that yesterday.

Keith: It’s a great song with some of the best lyrics.

The Edge: Maybe this tour.

Keith: Well, I think you should go practice that song tonight after this is all over.

The Edge: Maybe I'll do that (laughs. Walks off)

(Please note that Fletcher still said nothing)

We then decide to go talk to Adam Clayton, who is literally by himself. Fletcher has now had another drink and is more fired up.

Keith: Hey Adam. Great set tonight.

Adam: Thanks.

Keith: Heard about the tour. So do you find that touring with a giant video screen will hinder your ability to be spontaneous on-stage?

Adam: Not really. I think we had some problems with that during the Pop tour, but this time we might be able to mix it up a bit

(I am then distracted by some girl asking me questions about the tour. Fletcher continues conversation)

Fletcher: I mean it would be great to hear a song like “Wire.”

Adam: (making a face of disgust) Eeh.

Fletcher: Or, like, “A Sort of Homecoming.”

Adam: We haven’t played that one in years. (seemed interested in idea)

Fletcher: You know, Keith and I have a theory.

Adam: OK?

Fletcher: We think you guys don't even remember your first three albums.

Adam: You think so?

Fletcher: Yes.

Adam: Actually I feel like I know those albums way better than the more recent ones.

Keith: Well, it’s probably because you played those songs over and over again every night at shitty clubs in the early ‘80s.

Adam: Yeah, that's probably right.

(he is now taken away by record label)

So, all and all, the performance thing was cool, but this after-party thing will clearly be the greatest time of 2009 and one of the best things that ever happened this decade.

Almost 17 years to the day that I saw them live the first time, it was pretty awesome. By the way, the 16-year-old Keith would have passed out if he knew this was going to happen.

And thanks to Derek and Maura for being awake at 12:30 a.m. when I called to tell them this story....



























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