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[]That idea of me being like the leader of the nation of the imagination, that's interesting. -- Bono

by Alin (aka Party Girl Man)

My name is Alin (or Party Girl Man as Ive come to be known) and, yes, I am the guy who got the incredible opportunity to play Party Girl on stage with U2 in Pittsburgh. Its one of those things in life that cant quite be described with words, but Ill try.

First, though, I want to say that it was the most amazing show Ive ever been to (besides the obvious reason for my personally feeling that way). It was only the second time Ive seen U2 (first time was in Cleveland on the Elevation tour). It just amazes me how they all put over 100% into the performance from opening to closing, seemingly every night.

Ive been thinking of trying to get on stage to play with U2 since the Elevation tour when I read a few reviews of fans who had done so. So my plan was to get as close to the stage as possible and hold up a sign stating my desire. And thats what I did. We got in line at about 11am (#153) and endured the rain and cold with everyone else (thanks to Jackie, Todd, Jim, and Jen!) for the whole day. And it was certainly worth it! We didnt get into the ellipse, but were able to get on the rail just right of the center tip. I wanted to just enjoy the show for the first few songs, so I waited until about the middle of the main set to display my sign. I dont think Bono saw it the first few times he came by. The critical moment was right after he finished banging on the drums at the end of Love and Peace. He was right in front of me and so I put the sign up after the song ended and he looked straight at me and mouthed, Youre mine, then turned and walked back to the stage to start Sunday Bloody Sunday. It was about at this point that I began freaking out. Up until that moment I really didnt think it was going to happen- it was just one of those dreams that you have but realize probably will go unfulfilled. It was a bit difficult to concentrate on the rest of the show (since I was feverishly going over the chords and the solo in my head over and over). But I just tried to stay calm and enjoy the show and if it happened I would have to rely on instinct more than anything. So when Bono and Edge were playing Stuck in a Moment at the tip of the ellipse I flashed my sign again as Bono was looking my way. Right after that he said something into Edges ear, which I suspect may have been about his plans to get a fan on stage to play Party Girl next. And then after they finished Stuck in a Moment, Bono said into the microphone, Wheres the guy who wants to play Party Girl? Wheres my Party Girl Man? From that point on its pretty much a blur. Bono was looking for me in the wrong spot and for what seemed like an eternity I was struggling to get up on the rail (despite the security guard trying to push me back down). Then Bono spotted me and the guards were now helping me get on the stage. As Bono put his arm around my shoulder and walked me around to the main stage, I vaguely remember him asking my name and if I could really play the song. Since my mind was racing I dont remember this, but have been told, that he announced my name and said something like, Edge, weve got a live one. When on the stage someone handed me a guitar and pick and told me to stand next to Bono. So thats what I did. Then as Bono approached the microphone he asked me if I wanted to sing it also, to which I quickly replied, No thanks, thats your job. I may have thought about it if I hadnt been standing in the rain all day and just finished screaming my head off for 2 hours, but I really didnt want to make a fool of myself in front of thousands of people and ruin the show for everyone. So I just started strumming as Bono and Edge stood next to me to see if I could really do it. After one measure of the chords they gave an approving nod and I think Bono said something like, I think this is gonna work! into the microphone. Before I knew it we were up to the solo and I went right into it. The problem was that I couldnt hear myself playing it, so I messed it up a bit. Bono could see that I couldnt hear it (or maybe he couldnt hear it either) and so he put his microphone up to my guitar. The rest of the song went by in what seemed to me like a few seconds. All I was thinking was, I cant believe this is happening! Dont screw it up! Just have fun and enjoy the moment! So thats what I did and it was one of the best moments of my life. The song that Ive been practicing for a few months (ok, so its only 3 chords- but I really didnt want to mess it up) just flowed out of the undoubtedly most expensive guitar Ive ever played and it felt like I was part of the band, if even for a moment. I wasnt expecting the champagne (Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin), and it just added to the enjoyment. Bono sprayed me and the crowd with it and then handed it to me as I gave him the guitar back. Bono hugged me and he and Edge congratulated me. Edge shook my hand and handed me his guitar pick. As I jogged back to my spot outside the ellipse I received the biggest cheer of my life from an awesome crowd, and I cant describe how enormous that felt.

I cant thank Bono, Edge, Larry, and Adam enough for giving me this unbelievable opportunity. Bono and Edge were so gracious, kind, and supportive. Spontaneous and yet professional at the same time- I saw up front why they are the biggest band in the world and why so many people are drawn to their music. And I thank the best crowd Ive ever seen for a great show and for the support. It was wonderful meeting so many of you after the show. I hope Party Girl added to your enjoyment of the show, as it certainly did to mine.

Im desperately looking for photos, audio, and video of Party Girl (and the rest of the show). If you have any or know where I can go to find some please send a message to alinbota [at] gmail [dot] com.

See you in Cleveland!

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