The conference session was in full flow when one of the attendees, an Italian PhD student, broke the news. "There's a party today evening," she said, barely managing to conceal her excitement. "At last, some good news," added another attendee cheerfully, even as the session speaker on climate change carried on with his doomsday predictions.
Indeed, it was good news. It had been raining in Dublin from the day we landed for the conference and the long journey, grey and cold weather had left us dispirited. Here was a chance, we told ourselves, to recover from those initial blues.
By the time we reached the venue, the party had begun. A stage had been set up at one end of the huge hall and we could hear someone singing. Balancing our food plates and wine glasses on a tray, we moved ahead.
A big surprise awaited us. On stage was popular Irish rockstar Bono, the frontman for the band U2. We nearly fainted, but recovered soon to push and shove our way to the front. Once there, the Italian friend was ecstatic and beside herself and got into the groove swiftly clapping, cheering, singing. We live in a real-time, connected world and within minutes, she had sent SMSs and photos of the rockstar to her friends back home. She even sent one to her mother, who replied, asking who Bono is. I must admit that I too toyed with the idea of updating my FB status but never got around to it only because I was busy clicking photographs.
As a new song started, a couple of fans moved towards the stage and Bono readily posed for photos with them. My Italian friend also got one and then urged us to get a prized photo each with Bono. Needless to say, she uploaded hers right then.
After two hours of merrymaking, it was over. An Indian journalist from Bangalore, an enterprising soul and a "diehard Bono fan", rushed into the green room to interview Bono. We decided to wait outside.
The Bangalorean, PN, was back in 10 minutes, his face dark. According to him, this is how the conversation between Bono and him went:
PN: When are you coming to India, Bono?
Bono: You don't think I am Bono, do you?
PN (stumped, but realises something was amiss): Er… no, but you are really good… can I have your autograph please?
Bono: Check my website, please, (and signs on a piece of paper)
"It's a cover band," he said, "And, here is his autograph". Yes, indeed the autograph: 'Michael aka Bono, Rattle and Hum".
By then the Italian was almost in tears: "This can't be true. What will I tell my friends now? I have become so famous". PN also wouldn't give up either. He rushed up to a security guard but he said he had no clue. Understandably, asking too many people was also not an option for us.
So we rushed to the media centre, switched on a computer and typed in 'Rattle and Hum'. The site opened with the lines: "Put four guys together, add the mix of being from Dublin, being U2 fans and excellent musicians together with a carbon copy of Bono (vocally and visually) as their front man and you have the excellent tribute band Rattle and Hum."