Wellington woman stunned by Bono

BRITTON BROUN
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2010
Colleen Epapara
GREG SCULLY
WITH OR WITHOUT YOU: Colleen Epapara as lifted on to the stage by the U2 singer at the band's sell-out Auckland concert on Thursday.

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Colleen Epapara was sitting on the stage in front of 60,000 people with Bono's head in her lap – and all she could think about was what she was wearing.

The 25-year-old Brooklyn woman was lifted on to the stage by the U2 singer at the band's sell-out Auckland concert on Thursday after camping outside the venue for 24 hours.

Bono, dressed in sleek black leather, lay in her lap, looking up into her eyes as he sang the ballad In a Little While, from the album All That You Can't Leave Behind.

Looking back down at his trademark sunglasses, Ms Epapara was sunburnt and wearing her gym gear. "The first thing I thought was, `Oh, what am I wearing?'. Then, `Oh, my hair.' Then I remembered I have a boyfriend. I guess with 60,000 people [watching], he will find out.

"It was surreal. One minute I'm in the concert and the next minute I'm up on stage ... then he put his head in my lap. It was like, `Whoa, what's going on?"'

Ms Epapara was on the phone to her twin sister, Cherie, to let her know the band was playing one of their favourite songs, when Bono began singing and pointing at her. The next thing she knew security guards were lifting her over the barricade.

To ensure she got in the front row, she and a friend had camped outside the gates of Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium since 9pm on Wednesday.

After the song, Bono walked her to the side of the stage, kissing her on the head and hand, "like a gentleman".

Ms Epapara has grown up with the band's music, with her father jumping the fence into U2's 1987 Auckland concert. Though she does not describe herself as a diehard U2 fan, she did go to two of their three Sydney concerts in 2006.

At one of them, Bono had singled her out in the crowd, singing their hit Mysterious Ways at her.

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- The Dominion Post

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