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One 'Unforgettable' night: The Semis' Matt Simmons reflects on jamming onstage with U2



Picture it: You’re 15, a gangly high schooler wearing bermuda shorts, pink sneakers and a mighty mullet, and you just ditched class to see the hottest rock band in the world. In the middle of the show, the lead singer picks you — you! — from a crowd of 11,200, and pulls you onstage to play with the band.

Matt Simmons has pictured it. A lot.

He’s 39 now, and he can’t even guess how many times he’s been asked to retell his story at bars, at concerts, to friends and well-wishers on Facebook. Sometimes he wished he didn’t have to.

“I really don’t want the thing that happened to me when I was 15 to define me as a person,” says Simmons, of St. Petersburg. “Nobody likes to admit that they had one thing that they peaked at, at 15.”

Still, who could forget the night he got to jam with U2?

Yes, that's Simmons, above, performing with U2 at the band's Unforgettable Fire Tour stop in Tampa in 1985. He got pulled up to perform Knockin' On Heaven's Door with the band, and says the experience shaped his life in music. Local music fans might recognize him as a guitarist with the Semis.

Click here to listen to a bootleg of Matt Simmons performing Knockin' On Heaven's Door with U2. And click here to read Jay Cridlin's story about Simmons and his moment onstage with rock royalty.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:13pm]


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