Even Better than the Real Thing

Even Better than the Real Thing

(On Meeting One’s Personal Icons)

Every person looks up to some icons—music, literary, political, sports, or of any other forms of art and showbusiness. These icons are obviously a reflection of the person’s passions. Perhaps in these icons the enthusiast can see himself, or he could well relate with what they’re professing. Or, he simply enjoys or admires their works. For instance, a music enthusiast will definitely look up to certain artists or a bibliophile to some literary authors. The politically inclined will certainly get excited upon seeing in person the likes of US President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. A big fan of sports will definitely go ballistic if he sees Canadian hockey star Wayne Gretsky or American basketball player Kobe Bryant or even Filipino international boxing champ Manny Pacquiao.

As for me, whose longtime and most favorite genre of music is Rock, I get starstruck every time I watch music celebrities in concerts and, most especially, when I get the chance to meet them in person. I’m not a big fan of autographs and merchandise signing; I rather have photographs taken of me with such music icons.

In the many years of my being a music fan, I have had the chance to meet many music icons and had photographs taken of me with them. These included Peter Coyle and Jeremy Kelly of The Lotus Eaters, in August 2002; and Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon of China Crisis, in December 2002; when these classic English New Wave bands toured the Philippines in separate occasions. Here in Winnipeg, I met Mark Osegueda of Death Angel, when the US-based Filipino-American Thrash Metal band played The Zoo on April 15; the Vancouver-based Canadian songwriter/accordionist Geoff Berner, when he played West End Cultural Centre on April 30; and the Toronto-based Canadian Metal band Anvil, when the trio (Steve “Lips” Kudlow, vocalist/guitarist; Robb Reiner, drummer; and Glenn Five, bassist) performed at Pyramid Cabaret on May 24.

However, the ultimate Rock experience I and Charina with our son Evawwen had had so far was the day we met Bono of the Irish Postpunk band U2.

On May 27, a small number of fans including us had gathered at the parking lot of Burton Cummings Theatre, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Irish quartet, who would be rehearsing for their Sunday concert at Canad Inns Stadium. Around 7 p.m., guitarist David Evans (better known as The Edge), bassist Adam Clayton, and Paul Hewson (better known as Bono Vox) arrived at the venue. Perhaps because the crowd was small, U2—instead of heading straight into the theater—stayed outside for a while, greeting fans, signing autographs, and posing for pictures. When Bono got near us, Charina caught his attention by shouting, “Bono, I love you!” Then Charina took the opportunity; she said, “Bono, can I take a picture of you with my husband and our son?” Bono smiled and said, “Of course”; and he posed beside me, who was carrying Evawwen. Bono even said to Evawwen, “You cool little guy. I want to be like you when I grow up.” Charina asked if he and the rest of U2 would go to the Philippines, to which he replied, “I would love to.”

The next day, we were surprised to see a picture of Bono with us in the local newspaper Winnipeg Free Press. Some kind of luck and chance? Probably but not totally. I always believe that you can never leave your fate entirely to chance. More than anything, you should have determination, hard work, initiative, and the confidence to pursue what you want to do. You work hard to accomplish the goals that you have set for yourself.

Final Note
Sunday evening, we finally headed to Canad Inns Polo Park to watch one of the greatest bands in the world. We were only in the general-admission area, but it didn’t matter anymore. We already met Bono in person and the rare moment was immortalized in a few photographs. And that rare moment was indeed really better than the real concert. Nevertheless, we truly enjoyed the astounding show attended by about 50,000 people. I was singing along and dancing to the groove right from the very first song, “Even Better than the Real Thing,” through the concert closer, “With or Without You.” Why not? I’ve been an enthusiast of U2 music and the entire Postpunk and New Wave genre since the early 1980s. In fact, the first U2 music that I owned was a cassette tape copy of U2’s first album, which I bought in 1985.