The Little Museum of Dublin announced last month it is creating a permanent exhibit of U2’s history and are looking for rare memorabilia for the collection. Last week museum curator Simon O’Connor told me they are primarily interested in pieces that help tell the story of the role Dublin has had in U2’s history, which probably rules out John Ballard’s pizza box. But I hear John, undeterred, will offer it to the museum. Do you have a pizza box too, or something else the museum might want?
Here’s John’s story:
Twenty years ago Bono bought me a pizza on March 27, 1992, on the Zoo TV tour at the famous “pizzas for everybody” concert at Auburn Hills, near Detroit. The story is legend. After “Even Better Than the Real Thing,” The Fly surfed TV channels, saw an ad for Speedy’s Pizza, and asked if we would like some pizza? Then he made a call: “Hello? Is this Speedy Pizza? I’d like to order 10.000 pizzas for Detroit. We’re at the Palace, you know the Palace? Yeah, I am serious, I’m very serious! You can’t make 10.000? Just make as many as you can OK? What? My name is Bono … .” We laughed.
But then, just before the encore, pizzas appeared. Reports were that 100 pizzas actually arrived and were passed out to fans. My son and I were six rows from the stage, Edge-side. Yeah, they had rows of seats back then. Pizzas boxes were moving quickly from fan to fan as they took slices of pepperoni. When the box got to me there were two slices left, which my son and I enjoyed. And I kept the empty box.
I always thought it would be good to have the box autographed by the band and then framed – or give to Larry for his collection of odds and ends. I haven’t tried. For the past 20 years though, it has given me great joy.
I’m a college professor. In one of my courses I take in a suitcase full of meaningful things from my life. I share and then ask students what they would like to have in their suitcases. I always take the pizza box out of the suitcase and just say, “Good pizza. Bono bought it for me.”