Like a Jennifer Aniston relationship, my weekend with Bono flew by in the blink of an eye.
My girlfriends and I arrived in Chicago late Thursday afternoon. We made it to our condo in Old Town (a VRBO.com find, much better than my last one), which Bono had so thoughtfully decorated with rose petals and shamrocks. A bottle of Bailey’s awaited with a note attached: “I read your blog and can’t wait to see you. Wear black.”
But the concert wasn’t for two more days, so my Chicago brother (Otis) suggested we have a little pre-show of our own in the Lincoln Square neighborhood to pass the time.
Lincoln Karaoke is located in a small building that could have been mistaken for a quickie income tax refund center from the outside.
The parking lot across the street and the ladies (of the night) in stilettos and Miss Breck led me to believe the cabbie had dropped us off at the wrong spot and was laughing his ass off at us as drove off.
We walked into the institutional-looking foyer and were led down a long white hallway, lit by florescent overhead lights and lined with oak doors, each numbered with stick-on numbers while muffled strains of Air Supply, Queen, and Barry Manilow (poorly sung) leaked out from behind. The building smelled like old beer-stained carpet. I was certain we were being punk’d.
The owner finally reached room #14. He opened the door to our own private karaoke room (rented by the hour) (and, unlike room #8, did NOT have a pole), filled with my brother, a few of his friends, and a few of mine. My three girlfriends and I were the last to join.
The room was dark, with tiny red, green, and blue dotted lights circling and floating around the walls, clockwise, from ceiling to floor. Large wall-mounted flatscreen TV’s hung on opposite walls with videos of Korean men and women acting out scenes from various music videos of the late 1980’s.
(I assume they were Korean, as the giant remote control had 11 buttons in English and 75 buttons in Korean; the music book had a huge section of Korean music selections in the back, but please do not hold it against me if the music video “actors” were actually a different nationality.)
My little brother and I broke the ice by singing a selection of songs from our youth, including John Denver and Simon & Garfunkel, just to get things going.
The night was a blast. Each of us had our moment of glory, entertaining our intimate little disco-slash-skating-rink room with Streisand, Bon Jovi, Backstreet Boys, and, of course, “Summer Nights.”
Lincoln Karaoke even had “D!ck in a Box.”
But that wasn’t the biggest surprise.
No, just as we were getting comfortable with the idea that we could rent a private room by the hour that would allow us to do whatever we wanted without interruption for as long as we wanted (which turned out to be over five hours) (I’m not saying I’m proud of it)…
The videos of men and women eating dinner, strolling the beach, and walking through the park that had filled the karaoke screens for the first couple of hours gave way, without warning, to scenes of topless women taking baths, modeling jean shorts, and making phone calls.
Right in the middle of my heart-warming rendition of “My Way.”
And it’s not that I’m bitter about those topless women stealing my thunder during one of my favorite anthems (which they totally did), it’s just that images of the many other activities that could very well have taken place in that room charged into the forefront of my brain at that very moment, rendering me unable to bring myself to sit down on – or even look at – the built-in furniture that lined the room for the rest of the evening.
But not even videos of soft-core fluffers could take away the fun of the night for this girl.
Not with Bono (and friends) waiting for me (in my black shirt) and our night together (with 64,999 others who did not count) that lay ahead (from the 13th row of section 153).
In the end though, I have to give Otis and our collective crew of friends all the credit for making our night at Lincoln Karaoke a pre-show I will never forget.
I’m not one to kiss and tell, but I couldn’t resist sharing this from one of my fellow back-up singers taken somewhere at Soldier Field. Where the Streets Have No Name