Nashville – It was stunning, uplifting, and unforgettable.
The world’s greatest rock band had just finished a rousing concert performance at Vanderbilt Stadium, taken its final bows, and was exiting the stage when U2′s frontman made what seemed like an inexplicable U-turn, going alone to the front of the stage to speak with a man in the raucous crowd. The 45,000 fans in attendance and Bono’s bandmates were bewildered. The show was supposed to end following U2′s usual set closer, “Moment of Surrender.” But on this night, the 100th show of U2′s two-year-long 360 tour, Bono had an epiphany.
The fan who attracted Bono’s attention was a man who for the duration of the concert stood in the jam-packed pit at the foot of stage holding up a sign that read “blind guitar player, bring me up!!” Bono said to the man, “What do you want to play?” Whatever the man said to Bono prompted Bono to say to the stagehands, “Get a guitar for this dude…. Get him my guitar.” Bono said to the other members of U2, “Gents, we have a surprise guest.” Bono told the security guards at the foot of the stage, “Just get him up the steps here,” and when he started walking up the steps, Bono said, “I got you here…. I gotcha.”
On stage, Bono strapped his green guitar around the shoulders of the man, and Bono asked him, “What’s your wife’s name?” “Andrea,” the man responded, adding, “This is dedicated to her.” Then, “I’m really nervous, man!” A moment later, the man was strumming the guitar, and Bono began singing U2′s love song “All I Want Is You”:
You say you want diamonds on a ring of gold
You say you want your story to remain untold
But all the promises we make
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you
After Bono and the blind guitarist performed the song’s first verse, the rest of the band joined in, with U2 guitarist The Edge playing the electric piano. After the song concluded, Bono hugged the man and gave him the guitar, prompting the man to pump his fist in excitement – a moment that moved me to the brink of tears.
I have seen U2 perform many times, including with Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger, and in Dublin. No doubt this will be among my fondest U2 concert memories.
Nashville’s newspaper described the concert as “mesmerising” – arguably an understatement.
I later learned the blind guitar player’s name: Adam Bevell, a long-time U2 fan who made the trip to Nashville from his home in Arizona.
On his Facebook page, Bevell posted a video of his U2 concert cameo, writing, “Me playing with U2!!!!!!!!!!!!” In response, one of his friends chimed in, “Adam, that is the coolest thing in the world.” Indeed.
Here is the U2.com-provided video of”All I Want Is You.”
Here is a fun fan-shot YouTube video of the performance.