Pro Bono

Adam Bevell has fulfilled his wildest dream: playing on stage with U2.

He did so in Nashville, Tennessee on the 4th of July weekend after being spotted holding a sign in the crowd by Bono.

The 37-year-old from Mesa, Arizona is the consummate U2 fan having trekked to stadiums all over the U.S. 27 times to hear his musical idols.

He used to see them, too, but Retinitis Pigmentosa, a congenital disease, has robbed him of almost all of his vision so that he is legally blind.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Bevell convinced his brother-in-laws, Ben and Mike, to be his “bodyguards and my eyes” to get to the very front row of the stadium show, and asked them to write a sign that Bevell held up during the concert which read: “Blind Guitar Player Please Bring Me Up!!”

In an interview with the Irish Echo, Bevell said fans kept telling him that Adam Clayton and Bono were look over to him holding and talking to each other off-microphone.

The final song of the night came and went, and Bevell thought to himself that just having had the chance to be in the front row was absolutely amazing when suddenly he heard Bono’s voice and the hands of security officials guiding him to the stage.

Bevell said he would like to do a song for his wife, and Bono kept asking him what his wife’s name was, but emotions and nothing to drink in four hours meant Bevell finally croaked his wife’s name “Andrea” only after a couple attempts at speaking on stage in front of thousands at Vanderbilt University’s stadium.

Bono’s own acoustic guitar was placed around his neck and he chose “All I Want is You” in honor of his wife, at home with the couple’s four young children in Arizona.

“I thought it was going to be so loud up there, but it wasn’t it was like we were just playing in the living room.”

“Bono told me, ‘OK let’s play it nice and soft’ and then he gave his techs some direction.

“I played a few chords, and then I could feel Bono and it was like ‘the dude knows what he’s doing, let’s do it.’”

Bevell said he started losing his sight when he was a young teenager, and though it might sound “corny” he was inspired by much of U2’s music. He learned to play guitar, and a lot of the band’s songs. He went on to college and became a teacher, got married and had children. In recent years he lost almost all of his vision. He now stays home and raises the couple’s children.

After finishing the song, Bevell was being guided off the stage when Bono gave him the guitar. Incredulous, Bevell said, “Are you serious?”

Getting out of a packed U2 concert with Bono’s guitar posed a problem, so the technicians took his number to arrange shipment.

“One of the guys told me he’d been working with the band for years, and it was the most unbelievable moment he’d ever experienced on a tour,” recounted Bevell. He swears none of it was staged.

“You know, it was just something I dreamed about and wished for, and I had a funny feeling when we went. I just knew I was going to do it.”