June 02, 2011
As strange and surreal as it seems, this is the story about how one NHL player picked up Bono on the side of the road, and ended up backstage at a U2 show.
According to writer Ben Gelinas of the Edmonton Journal, Brule and Kelsey Nichols were driving in West Vancouver when Brule was convinced he had seen Bono hitchhiking. Nichols had her doubts, but Brule persuaded her to turn the car around and … well, it was Bono and his assistant, looking to hitch a ride because they had gone for a walk on a Beautiful Day, had been caught in the rain and were stuck in a moment they couldn't get out of. (We promise those are the only U2 song puns here.)
On the drive to Horseshoe Bay, Bono and his assistant sat in the back with the couple's dog. The four chatted about Brule's hockey career, about Dublin and Bono's apparent love for Vancouver. Bono mentioned that his band was playing a show in Edmonton on Wednesday and asked if they'd like to go.
So Brule and Nichols sold their tickets for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, bought plane tickets (three, so Brule's mom could come too) and flew back to Edmonton, where Brule is a forward for the Oilers.
Bono got them backstage passes to say thanks for the ride. On Nichols's pass, he wrote: "Thanks for the ride." On Brule's pass, he wrote: "My hero Gilbert."
Oh, it doesn't stop there, as Bono included the random act of kindness in his stage banter on Wednesday night. David Staples of the Journal said that Bono told the crowd: "I like ice hockey because people who like ice hockey pick up hitchhikers." He also said he wanted to be Gilbert Brule, while Adam Clayton is Grant Fuhr, Larry Mullen Jr. is Mark Messier and The Edge is Wayne Gretzky.
Watch it here as Bono tells the tale (starts at the 52-second mark):
As Bono discovered, hockey players move in Mysterious Brules. (OK, now we're done.)
Go and read Ben Gelinas' fantastic tale of Brule and Bono, the greatest rock-and-roll-meets-hockey story ever told. Or at least the greatest one until Taylor Hall(notes) gives Chris Martin a piggyback ride to a Coldplay show.