When Bono wrote the song “Walk On,” he probably wasn’t foreshadowing wandering the streets of Canada at the mercy of a passers-by.
But that’s where the legendary U2 singer found himself Tuesday, stuck on the side of the road near Vancouver, his thumb extended in hopes of catching a lift. His chariot arrived in the form of a ride that brought him to his destination and turned the self-described rugby player on to Canada’s favorite sport.
“I like ice hockey, because people who play ice hockey are the kind of people who pick up hitchhikers,” Bono told a concert crowd Wednesday in Edmonton, Alberta, as seen in a video posted on YouTube. “I know this from personal experience.”
Bono and his assistant were out for a walk when, according to numerous reports, it started to rain. The U2 frontman/hitchhiker said that Edmonter Oilers player Gilbert Brule and his girlfriend were driving in a truck when they spotted the forlorn traveler.
Kelsey Nichols told CNN affiliate CTV, that she didn’t believe her boyfriend, Brule, that the hitchhiker was Bono. “I said no, we’re not picking up a hitchhiker. We’re going to die,” she said later, with a smile. “There’s no way.”
But Nichols, who was driving, changed her mind and turned around. According to the Edmonton Sun, the couple had set out for a local park to walk their German shepherd — a dog that eventually shared space in the back of the truck with the singer and his assistant.
“He was very cool,” Bono said of Brule, describing him as a “very modest man.” “He said, ‘Where do you want to go?’ And I said, ‘Just take me to where The Edge is’” — a reference to U2’s well-known guitarist.
During his Edmonton show Wednesday, Bono said that he had decided “that I now want to be Gilbert Brule,” a five-year NHL veteran center who scored seven goals in 41 games last season with the Oilers.
He then went on to cast his bandmates as other members of the Oilers’ franchise, dating to its 1980s heyday as a juggernaut on ice.
The lead singer decreed that Larry Mullen, U2’s drummer, would be Mark Messier, who won five Stanley Cups with Edmonton and another with the New York Rangers. Bassist Adam Clayton was dubbed Grant Fuhr, in honor of the famed ex-Oilers’ goalie. As to The Edge — who was born as David Evans — “he’s kind of the Great One,” Bono decided in casting him as nine-time league MVP, Wayne Gretzky.
Brule, who flew from Vancouver to Edmonton so he could go backstage at Wednesday’s concert, told CTV that he was “star struck” upon meeting the rock star and taking him to Horseshoe Bay.
“I couldn’t believe he said that,” said Brule of Bono’s gushing praise. “That was insane — I think I want to be him.”