Anyone who knows me knows I’m fanatic about U2. I became a fan in the middle of their career at the time of the Auchtung Baby album. God used their music to touch my heart and deepen my relationship with Jesus. The more I dug into their music, I noticed that every song was about Jesus, faith, and was saturated with Scripture. But their music drew me in because their lyrics were “nonreligiousy.” They could fill stadiums and touch millions of lost hearts with the Gospel; this has amazed me.
As a student growing from a lukewarm Christian into a hard-core disciple, U2’s music ministered to me so much that some friends heard them at the Starplex for their Popmart tour. I loved how they wrote through their struggles with faith and how they mocked the ways of the world.
My passion for seeking God through their music grew when they released How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. I nicknamed this album the “social justice worship album.” Through it, Bono invited people to be aware of and love the wounded. He called us to take responsibility to alleviate the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Bono urged people to “journey beyond ourselves,” unite as one, and minister to these hurting people. Millions joined this campaign. Stars such as Brad Pitt and Beyonce joined the cause and took action. This reminded me of Jesus inviting the fishermen into a journey beyond themselves to help the sick, oppressed, poor, and hungry.
I’ve nicknamed Bono “the greatest evangelist of all time.” I bet I’ve watched the Vertigo tour on DVD at least 100 times, and it ministers to my heart every time. In 2005 I went to the Vertigo concert in Dallas, and I prayed then that I would meet Bono someday.
Their latest album, No Line on the Horizon, was meant to be a worship album. A good friend and ministry partner, Jeremy, went with me to see U2 at the Cowboys Stadium. We received a phone call a few weeks before the concert saying they reconfigured the stage, so we had to come pick up new tickets right before the concert. The venue’s attendants led us to our seats, and on the third elevator down (the one that we met Jerry Jones on), I thought, “Wow, these will be pretty awesome seats.” They were! We sat in the front row on the 40 yard line—the closest seats to the stage.
During the concert, I kept rolling back to the VIP area to see if there was any way to sneak backstage, but I could not find a way. I overheard a lady who worked in VIP talking to a coworker about Bono’s assistant! I immediately went to meet her and told her how much Bono has influenced my walk with God and asked if I could meet him. Later she returned and relayed that Bono’s assistant said no.
The next Sunday, October 18, my friend Tracey and I journeyed to my alma mater, OU, to see U2 at the OU football stadium. Let me stop here and share that many people who know how God has used U2 in my life had been praying for me to be able to meet Bono.
We found our seats in the wheelchair section in the end zone. I was familiar with this stadium and section because of past experiences at OU football games. I knew that the field house—where the band would be—was right under the seats behind me, because I used to hang out there back in the day as a student visiting my friends who were on the OU football team. To my left in the wheelchair section was a ramp going to the corridor of the field house. Concert attendants blocked the ramp. When the Black-eyed Peas came on stage, I left my section with out telling anyone I was with, got past the attendants, and was right next to the front door of field house. There were many people in front who worked for the tour, but no one asked me to leave the area.
I soon met a nice guy with long dreads and asked him if there was any way I could go backstage to meet Bono. He replied, “There’s no way.” I went on to tell him how U2 has impacted my life, and he kept repeating there would be no way he could let me meet Bono. I was down but still had a little faith about meeting Bono and the band.
I headed back up the ramp to my seat. Half way up the ramp, I looked to my right, and there stood Bono less than a foot away from me!
He wore a boxer’s hoodie with no glasses.
I stopped and put out my right hand. “Hi, Bono, I’m Todd Lollar.” He warmly and firmly shook my hand. Surprisingly without a slur or stutter, I said, “Bono, God has used you in my life and ministry in amazing ways.” He bent forward and replied, “God bless you,” and hugged me.
I was in a daze and in a dream state. I looked at the person standing beside Bono and it was The Edge!
He bent forward and shook my hand. It was not like an encounter with two reknown rock stars as it was meeting two older brothers in Christ who have impacted my faith in Jesus in profound ways.
Still in a daze, I left them, rolled up the ramp to my seat, and yelled for two minutes, “I met Bono, I met Bono!”
This encounter happened so quickly and I was in such shock, that I didn’t get a picture—even though my cell phone was right on my lap! But this amazing gift from God always will remain vivid in my heart and memory.
I keep asking myself: “How do I use this experience for the Glory of God?”
This is a great testimony of how faith and prayer prompts the power of God to move in unbelievable ways. He does do immeasurable more than all we can ask or imagine!