When I Slept Under Bono
Thursday, July 7, 2011

I have a bit of business I need to attend to here first, guys and it goes like this: Hey Beth, my BF from high school! I got your comment on my blog, but I have no way of reaching you. Please email me. Look right above you,where it says "Contact Me." Hit that little link and there I'll be.

Alright. Now let me get this out of the way, first things first. 

I did not meet Bono, as I choke back my sobs. 

I did, however, come close. Very close. 

When I booked our hotel, I had no idea U2 would be coming to Nashville nor did I realize our hotel was just blocks from the stadium. I've just always had this amazing serendipity when it comes to those four Irish boys.

My sister doesn't believe I was that ignorant about Bono's whereabouts, but I swear I had no idea.

I mean, I might be a little Bono obsessed,
Bono and me and Bono's wife's hair

but it's not like I follow him around and stalk him.

Okay. I may or may not have lingered in front of two of his homes on two different continents at two different times. But we'll talk about that another day. 

No matter what my sister thinks, I did not stay at the Hutton Hotel to find Bono. Divine intervention drove me to the Hutton Hotel and of course, the summer special on their suites. 

See, it's one of the inconveniences of having three children, besides having to always buy the big car instead of the sporty little vroom vroomer and having to wait every single time for the big table in the restaurant instead of the 4-top and never, ever getting to hear an entire teacher presentation at open house. Two parents plus three classrooms equals lots of dashing.

A family of five is a fire code in a regular hotel room. 

And so, I'm always stuck paying the extra quarters for a suite. Damn kids. 

I can't imagine how the Duggars do it. Probably lots of camping.


I'm not trying to insult any of you campers out there. I'm just saying for me and my cashmere needs, it's gross. Sleeping in a bag and no blow dryers are just the top of the list of elements I find abhorrent in camping.

But that's just me. I don't like Popsicles or Cheez Its or ridiculously sweet cupcakes or most shellfish. And if you offered any of them to me, I would come up with the same response.


Everyone should own their personal grossness.

And that's all I have to say about that. 

The Hutton Hotel was utterly fabulous. Their staff was extremely attentive. The hotel was beautiful. And even better, they are a sustainable hotel, with card reader lighting, recycling programs, bamboo flooring, walls and furniture, LED lighting and the best of all, digital showers.

Oh, how I loved this shower, especially since my shower at home has multiple dials and if one of my hotel hogging daughters messes with my dials at home, I can never get it back to the perfect temperature. This one had a readout where you plugged in your exact comfort level of heat.
Mine was 106 degrees. 

Anyway, back to Bono. 

We were at the hotel for almost a week and in a week's time, you tend to make friends.

And sometimes in friendships, certain pertinent information is exchanged. I shouldn't say exchanged, because I didn't have anything of importance to barter except my best vacation tip, which is always wear your new, pretty heels constantly the week before your trip to avoid vacation blisters. But since the vast majority of people don't consider heels a good walking shoe and since my friends may or may not have been dudes, my share of the barter was not that helpful.

But they didn't care. They were cool and free with the information. And since I so appreciated certain key confidences they shared and I don't want to get anyone in trouble, my wonderful friends will remain anonymous. 

We were told that the big tour buses parked outside the hotel for days on end were Darius Rucker's. And that is why I realized the gorgeous man I shared an elevator with one early evening, with muscles that looked like they were carved from stone, was a member of his crew. It was the Hootie and The Blowfish tag on his luggage that made my hubs ask what his job was in the band.

Mr. Stone And Muscle was the head of Darius's security team. And because all I could do was gape at those stony biceps and try and resist the primal urge to reach out and squeeze those guns, I came out with this bit of genius blabber: "So, how do you get such incredible cuts?" 

And he said, "Just keep hittin it, baby."

He called me baby.

After we chatted genially for a way too short elevator ride, I smiled as the elevator door opened and said, "I'll see you tonight." 

Like we had a date.

Which we did, since we were headed out to the Grand Ole Opry where Darius was headlining.

Sadly, I did not get to see Bicep Man again on our date, our date with the hundreds of other people in attendance at the Grand Ole Opry, but my daughter did get to squeeze Darius's hand, reaching up to the Opry stage as he performed.

Stories for another day. I should probably make a list of all the stories I've promised you. They're becoming quite backlogged. 

Earlier in the day, someone, as in one of my friends who probably didn't benefit from my vacation heels tip, had told me that if they were a betting person, they would bet that a certain Bono would most likely be arriving late that night. 

For the rest of the day, I couldn't think straight. I felt like I was in high school again, my stomach in knots, plotting out how to drive by that cute guy's house oh so casually, or in this case, stand outside his hotel room as casual as one can act hovering outside a rock star's hotel room. 

After the Opry and a late night dinner, we headed back to the hotel.

And there, there, there! Stood a fleet of Escalades with a bevy of excited people, mostly women, flocking around the drivers, peppering them with questions of U2 and Bono.

We headed into the lobby and my hubs asked one of our new friends,"So, where's Bono?"

We were told he'd arrived a little while before and had used the service entrance. 

So, here's the thing. 

Remember that part about my annoying kids? How inconvenient they make it for hotel lodging?

Well . . . 

I've never been more grateful for those three kids in my life.

See, our suite, the room I was required to book because of this brood of mine, was one floor below the penthouse floor. Just one convenient elevator card swipe away from our floor. 

My daughter is the one who suggested we head on up to the penthouse floor. 

And so we did. 

The halls were empty. And there we were, all five of us, tentatively tiptoeing around.

And yes, I know we're not the most traditional parents, having our kids stalk a rock star with us. But as of today, none of them have turned to drug trafficking or serial killing, so I think our nontraditional parenting style just might be working for us.

We tried to wander the halls with a modicum of giggling, but there were three young ladies in tow. Needless to say, we weren't the quietest of stalkers.

We came around the corner and right in front of us was the Mac Daddy suite of them all. I'm pretty sure the rules of rock and roll state the front man gets the biggest penthouse and so, since no one was around, I stood there nonchalantly trying to peek into the surprisingly large gap in the door.


Do NOT sit on your side of the computer, gasping and being all, "OMG! I thought she was just a semi weirdo. But here she is peeking through the doors of Bono's penthouse! She's a full-on wack job!"

Let's define wack job.

Yes, I wanted to meet Bono. Yes, I was trolling around the penthouse floor trying to bump into him with my family in tow. And yes, I may have, once, tried to smuggle dozens of vodka laced Otter Pops into a Police concert by stuffing them down my pants.

But I am no wack job. I wasn't pressing myself up against the door in an effort to catch him strolling into the shower or anything.

I was a respectful few feet away. Here, see for yourself.
And for the record, I was semi squatting. My ass, when not squatting, does not almost bang into the wall.

All I could see from that distance was a hallway.

Now that doesn't mean if he happened to traipse across that hallway I was peeking into, I wouldn't have run up to the door and pressed my lips to that gap and called out to that beautiful Irish man.

There is a time to lose all sense of propriety and that moment would be exactly one of those times.

But as I was giving it my best Gladys Kravitz, all of a sudden, my three girls, the ones who have been a complete economic disadvantage in my life, started waving frantically at us and jumping up and down in only the way hysterical teenage girls can manage.

And we were both like, "Be cool, girls."

Because clearly, we have not schooled our daughters properly on walking a little to the left of normal.

And then, just like that, those three albatrosses who have planted themselves so firmly around our necks, took off—took the freak off. They fled around the corner without a thought to their parents, the people who have shelled out more than a few dimes on those ungrateful leches. 

And their reason for fleeing?

The large scary looking man, obviously security for U2, who appeared out of nowhere, his enormous arms crossed in a silent posture of, "What the f**ck do you think you're doing up here?"

Here's the picture where we were busted, my hubs whipping around to catch a glimpse of Mr. Security, while I'm trying to quickly get out of my squat and peek pose.

Without a word, Mr. Security "escorted" us to the elevator. As we waited for what seemed like an eternity for the elevator to come, my hubs and I acted as nonchalantly as we could for two people who just got busted peeking into Bono's penthouse. 

Mr. Security stood there, silent and menacing, his mean arms crossed until the elevator door closed.

There is no way I would ever go on a date with THAT kind of jerky security man.

So, that was as heartbreakingly close as I got to Bono.

We did try the next afternoon. The Escalades were lined up outside again. I tried to act as cool as possible, standing on the steps of the hotel as my family sat in the car, yelling for me to GET IN. I simply ignored them and acted like I had no idea who this lunatic family was screaming at. Until finally, one of my "friends" told me the cars would sit there until they were called to the service elevator and sometimes that could be a long wait.

My hubs drove us around to the service elevator where we hovered for about 20 minutes with my girls all whiny, saying, "Come ONNNN! This is not how we want to spend our time in Nashville."

And my response to that was, "Well, waiting until you straighten every infinitesimal square inch of your hair and try on the 3,000 outfits you packed, is not how I want to spend my time in Nashville."

My hubs told me he'd sit there for as long as I wanted. But he did point out the three security guards and the driveway, literally two steps from the elevator where the Escalades would most likely pull up.

This is us, stalking waiting.

And then I thought about the what if's. What if, after all this time, the same amazing stretch of years I've known my husband, after decades of singing Bono's songs, knowing every line, every word, of loving his music, of loving him, what if, in this finite moment of serendipity, when our paths finally, finally crossed, what if Bono said "Sorry, I don't have the time."

I would be brokenhearted forever.

And yes, I know he has the right to a life of privacy. And I know he has the right to be too tired or too busy to stop for a photo because everyone in the world wants just a few seconds of him and his time.

But after all this time, through mullets, (on both of our sides) and young rebellious years, (ditto) and walking these parallel lives of growing up and becoming and maturing (sort of),  I still squeal like a teenager every time I catch a glimpse of him. He's been with me throughout all these years, even if he never knows that and to have him turn me away would crush me.

As silly as that sounds.

And so, I watched that door for a few more seconds, bit the corner of my mouth like I do when I'm anxious and finally said, "Let's go."

My hubs looked at me and said, "You sure?"

And I thought about the fact that sometimes idols are often better left high upon their shelves, to ensure they don't crack or shatter.

And I thought about this serendipitous path I've traveled with U2, all these years crossing lives in accidental ways.

And I knew then without a doubt that sitting in an alleyway outside of a service elevator was just not my time.

Another time, perhaps.

Another time. I'll wish on a star for exactly that.

And I turned to my husband and with a firm nod of the head, I said. "Yes. Let's go."

And off we went. And oh, Internet, I have so many tales of Nashville to tell you.

I am officially in love with Music City.

We did go to the U2 concert thanks to a certain someone. And in my next post, I have a magical tale of lives intersecting at just the right moment in time.  Hi, Josiah!

Stories to come. Many, many stories to come.

And on one more note, I know I am sorely behind on stopping by all my beloved blogs. I promise, promise, promise to be over to all of your spots soon. Life—it really gets in the way of blogging.

Oh and one more thing: My friend Liz gave me a fine bit of solace when I wrote in my Facebook status that it was killing me, knowing Bono was sleeping one floor above me. She responded with, "Well, you could say you slept under Bono."

I'll take it.

Today's Definite Download: You will be treated to a barrage of U2 videos in the next few posts. In the four times I've seen this tour, this is always one of my favorite moments. Bono asks the crowd to sing with him and then steps away from the microphone as the Edge's guitar take over. As the familiar chords of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" washes over this enormous gathering of U2 fans, the entire stadium lifts their voices and sings back to Bono the entire first chorus.

I have climbed highest mountain 
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you 
Only to be with you

I have run 
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
Only to be with you
Only to be with you

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

This fan video I found on youtube is a bit far away from the stage, but it was my favorite of all the Nashville videos I scanned. It gives you a sense of the immense crowd, of the number of people, singing out to the open sky and the stars. The video's audio doesn't do it justice, the sound of thousands of people's voices in unison, singing out, giving Bono back his song. It is always an amazing moment and as a writer I always wonder how glorious that must feel, to have your words tattooed on someone's heart, so much so, that they can sing them back to you, word by word.

And if you happen to watch the whole video, the song on the back of this one is called "The Wanderer." Bono wrote it for the incomparable Johnny Cash for their Zooropa album. Bono refused to sing the lead on this song, even though producers pressured him to. He said it was Johnny's song. A tribute to the man, the legend, here in the town he ruled for all his years.



twelvedaysold said...


When I was reading about you going up to the floor you figured Bono was on, I was so nervous to find out what happened. But you know what? I think you were right to leave the service door and wait for the right moment to meet your man.

Can't wait to hear more tales of Nashville. Sounds like such a fun place.

Unknown said...

oooh I would have been right in that hallway with you lol..

Kelly said...

Or, you can say with the utmost truth that Bono slept on top of you. No need to mention a ceiling was separating the two of you.

And you're stalking of Bono is right up there with my stalking of hockey players.

Good times.

Cecelia Winesap said...

I think that was very respectable stalking. With those manners, I believe he certainly would have taken the time out for you. However, I think you were smart in not sticking around to find out. I would rather wonder than be disappointed. :)

Shell said...

Being a family of 5 is a pain for travel. Right now, we just shove the smallest in a suitcase and pretend he's not there.

Love owning your personal grossness. Everyone has something. Just like everyone judges about something. Liar if you say you never judge and liar if you have no personal grossness.

That shower looks heavenly.

I love Darius Rucker. Though that security guy? If he looked anything like that? HOT!!!

That pic of you stalking is awesome. Cracking up at you getting busted.

I don't blame you for walking away. Some people are best left on their pedestal.

Missy @ Wonder, Friend said...

Oh, I hate camping, too. Blech.

I have to re-read this later. There are too many gems here. I applaud you for trying to peek into Bono's penthouse. You would have kicked yourself if you didn't try.

PS - I call my husband Gladys, b/c he's our neighborhood Mrs. Kravitz.

Kerry Ann @Vinobaby's Voice said...

Loved it. I would have done the same freaking thing. Except I wouldn't have slept at all, just imagining him on the other side of my ceiling {sigh}. I was a few feet from him at a concert far too many years ago. Couldn't make it to the Miami show last week (so I sat with my Hubby and watched Rattle & Hum with a big glass of wine and pouted).

Great story. Cheers. VB

Lisa said...

I loved this story!! I would have been doing the same thing.

I'm so glad you got to sleep under Bono. :-))

Rebecca Grace said...

JoAnn, Bono doesn't know what he's missing!

Rebecca Grace said...

PS: if you were REALLY a crazy stalker, you would have been sawing through the ceiling to get to him. Just sayin'...

Rebecca Grace said...

PS: if you were REALLY a crazy stalker, you would have been sawing through the ceiling to get to him. Just sayin'...

Unknown said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time AND you got to sleep under Bono! Great stuff!

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

I love your vacation stories SOOO much! And yes blogger's, Joann gives the best advice ever, too. If you say Nashville is cool then sign me up! And you should totally say Bono slept on top of you. Actually, you should make it into a t-shirt!

TesoriTrovati said...

Quite the adventure Miss Joann! I think that it is never a dull moment with you around.
Bono doesn't know what he is missing. ;-)
Enjoy the day!

Liz said...

Awww, I find it so touching that you wanted to be sure that your image of him remained.

I think your husband is a really great guy for being so supportive.

I love that there are photos of you trying to peek!

Mom vs. the boys said...

ha totally exciting to be right outside of his room! sqeee!!!!!
alright maybe I will line up that babysitter and watch U2 in the box seats. lol
We have just recently discovered the whole, fire safety crap on booking a hotel room with a family of 5 too. A lot of hotels don't even have suites as an option, it's ridiculous!

myinnerchick.com said...

Fantastic Adventure...even though you didn't see the gorgeous Bono.
Loved reading this :)

Cari said...

OH! Under Bono, giiiirrrl. You have a good hubby there, kids not so much, (totally kidding). I suppose had Bono seen you and fireworks and so on and so forth, it may have ended as a Romeo and Juliet-esque tragedy. Or, you could hop on the pologimist reality show bandwagon, move to Utah and have Hubs and Bono both!

Mrs. Tuna said...

You totally make a way cuter wife to Bono, he'd be crazy not to pitch his current flame for you.

Thanks for following meeeeeeeeeeeeee!

mom in rome said...

THIS POST IS HILARIOUS!!!! I am totally a new fan!!!!

Tracie Nall said...

I am forever going to refer to you as "Joann, my blogging friend who once slept under Bono".

How much do I love that y'all snuck up to his floor and tried to sneak a peak? And photographed it? SO much!

You showed great restraint in leaving that alley.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Your ending showed great wisdom. I do believe there will be a time when you will meet Bono and he will have plenty of time for you. And you're right; that just wasn't the moment.
Your stalking photos in the hallway? Priceless!

Unknown said...

I went to Nashville when I was 8 and the best thing I can remember about the trip was the hotel we stayed at. (The Opryland Hotel-though I think it's been renamed since)I was in awe becuase they had something like 7 pools and a resturant that rotated 360 degrees. Needless to say, I didn't fully grasp the awesomeness of Music City, so I'd like to go back someday.
Glad you had a great trip, even if you didn't meet the man.

And your bit about owning your own personal level of grossness was great!

Rae said...

You really should have your own sitcom!!! Loved the entire five page blog post! ha! I've missed you! Thanks for a great laugh that will last through the weekend!

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

Okay. So I was having a really bad feeling of de ja vu while reading this. It all sounded so very familiar. Then I looked in my reader and I did read it. It had posted in reader days ago before you had pics and I must have read it on my phone. I can't comment when I read on my phone. It is not a smart phone. It's slightly dyslectic.

So glad you got to sleep under Bono. That is something you can brag about to your grandkids. Oh and it's so much better with the photos!

W.C.Camp said...

I believe you COULD have met Bono but two things bother me about this post. 1) YOU would never be a brunette getting kissed by Bono and 2)106 degrees!???? - Oh my gosh that is so HOT?? Is your skin made of Kevlar??? W.C.C.

Julie said...

Two things. (well maybe three.)

First, I got goosebumps reading your pink lyrics to "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."

That's the sign of a damn powerful song, right?

And also, I can't imagine having ANY MORE FUN than traveling with you...(with your cute shoes and blow dryers and cashmere, I'd be the Yin to your Yang. but not if you think that sounds dirty because I didn't mean it to sound dirty. much. it's just that I wear flats and let my hair air dry and most of my clothes are made of something other than cashmere. that's all I meant by the yin/yang comment and really you crack. me. up.)

And then here's the third thing I alluded to:

I love love love the fact that in the midst of a flat-out hysterical post WITH semi-squatting pictures, you also managed to be insightful.

Yes. Our idols are sometimes better left up high above us (so we can say we slept under them. or something).

Another time, my friend.

Another time.

Cheeseboy said...

Okay, was this the concert that Bono allowed some blind guy come up on stage and sing to his wife? I read about that, but I wasn't sure if that was it.

Now, I think that if Bono would have saw you stalking his room, he totally would have let you in and invited you to sit down for tea with him.

And that is one nice hotel. I'd be worried an electric shower would shock me though.

Judie said...

Actually, the sitcom idea is a pretty good one! You could have it based in Nashville. I used to live in Nashville--did I ever tell you that? Probably not.

Another successful trip for you, babe!!!

Baby Sister said...

So close, and yet so far away. One day you'll meet him. I can feel it. :)

Suniverse said...

Thanks for giving Larry Mullen, Jr., my number. YUM.

Sexy time sleeping under Bono is awesome and a good consolation prize.

I can't wait to read the rest of your adventures.

PS Camping is for suckers.

Anonymous said...

We stayed around the corner at the Hilton and I literally cried when I found out where they had stayed. I passed over the Hutton House to save $50. We also realized the black SUVs that passed us on West End as we walked to the stadium were the ones belonging to the band. I cried then too. I hope Bono saw me walking down the street. My obsession is ridiculous but I can't help it, and I'm glad others share it. BTW, I'm going to see them in St. Louis.

Anonymous said...

We stayed around the corner at the Hilton and I literally cried when I found out where they had stayed. I passed over the Hutton House to save $50. We also realized the black SUVs that passed us on West End as we walked to the stadium were the ones belonging to the band. I cried then too. I hope Bono saw me walking down the street. My obsession is ridiculous but I can't help it, and I'm glad others share it. BTW, I'm going to see them in St. Louis.

Sandra said...

I hope you realize those pics can be used against you in a court of law when you get arrested for stalking...I'm just warnin' ya sister, I don't think you'd look as good in stripes as you do as a brunette or in Bono's arms.
Now let's talk about that shower...holy! It's fancier than my oven!

Silver Strands said...

Just came over from Cheeseboy's blog ... LOVED your post. To prove it, I'm your newest follower :)

Silver Strands said...

PS - you have the best blog name ever. Wish I would have thought of it ... hehehe

The Bipolar Diva said...

Ok, I'm SO going to Nashville!

Anonymous said...

Hi - Love your Bono Adventures! Thanks for sharing and love your photo shopping love photo!

Their song, "Beautiful Day," is my favorite of theirs.

I have to admit, though, my U2 crushing has always been on their super cute drummer!!!

Have a great weekend -
Oh, Am your Newest Follower, too!


Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Okay, you and Bono clearly have some star-crossed thing going on here!

FranceRants said...

These are people I have stalked in hotels while at business meetings:

Kevin Costner in Aspen

George H. Bush in Houston (I even asked his security people if they could help me 'accidentally' run into him. They laughed at me)

Jerry Seinfeld in Brentwood

Alec Baldwin on a plane, going to Sundance (and I actually got to meet him, since he was stuck with me. On a plane. He was very nice. And big. He's a big guy.)

Robert Redford in Sundance

One of my favorite authors, who lives close by me. I drive by her house periodically. Sometimes I force my kids and husband to do so too.

So I find your behavior, clearly, quite normal.

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