Registration Open for April U2 Conference

We recently purchased our registration for the second-ever U2 Conference, to be held in Cleveland, Ohio this coming April 26-28.

While there have been U2 fan gatherings of all shapes and sizes, this confab, which debuted in 2009 and coincided with a U2 show, is one-of-a-kind event in North America. Organized by the visionary Scott Calhoun, the website @U2, and a cast of many others, this U2 Conference further establishes “U2 Studies” as a legitimate interdisciplinary field of academic study, uniting those who work in the academy in areas such as theology and musicology, literature and popular culture.

The complete schedule includes numerous panels on either the “fan” or “academic” track, a keynote by noted rock writer Ann Powers, collaboration with the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame that occupies a beautiful piece of real estate on Ohio’s north coast, a U2-themed worship experience on Sunday after the conference closes, and two performances by two different U2 tribute bands ONE and UF (or Unforgettable Fire).

Follow the drop-down links from the main conference website (http://u2conference.com) for more details. Early-bird prices remain in effect through March 11.

[pictured on homepage: UF band]

Tiesto Toasts U2 With Pride Remix

Once upon a time, we went clubbing. Before raves, before house music, we went clubbing and danced to new wave “club mixes,” released as 12-inch singles. We would spend more 1980s cash on these vinyl delicacies than we would ever shell out today for an iTunes download.

In the mid-1980s, I shook my rear without fear to my favorite band’s songs re-framed as dance hits. My favorite, the original Steve Lillywhite remix of “Two Hearts Beat As One” is still available on the bonus disc of the War re-issue.

Electronic dance music has come a long way since the 1980s, but thanks to the renowned curator of sound known as Tiesto, the U2 dance mix can get my middle-aged-behind to boogie. Thanks to the interwebs, I can get my dance on in the morning, in comfort of my crib all alone.

Released in honor of World AIDS Day 2012 and the Dance (RED) campaign, this Tiesto-spiced version of “Pride” includes a soulful crisp new vocal track and the lyrical correction about the time of day in Memphis that Martin King took the bullet. The song about social justice and self-sacrificial nonviolent love feels as relevant in this new version as it did in 1984. In the name of love indeed! -Andrew William Smith, Editor

Check out the track here:

https://soundcloud.com/u2news/dance-red-save-lives-u2-vs-ti

Bono Preaches the Gospel of Social Justice at Georgetown

Reposted with permission from http://sojo.net/blogs/2012/11/13/bono-preaches-gospel-social-justice-georgetown

“Do you think he’ll sing?” the girl in the row behind me wondered aloud.

“I hope so,” the young fellow beside her said before continuing, “My dad would freak. He was a big fan of U2 when I was growing up. He used to play this one album,The Joshua Tree, over and over again.”

His father was a fan.

I am a thousand years old, I thought to myself, as more Georgetown students filled the seats around me at the university’s 111-year-old Gaston Hall, the main lecture hall on campus named after Georgetown’s first student, William Gaston, who later served as a member of the U.S. Congress.

The hall, decorated with stunning art-deco-era frescos and the crest of every Jesuit institute of higher learning, has hosted many dignitaries over the years, including Presidents Obama and Clinton, Vice-President Al Gore, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to name but a few.

“So if he’s not going to sing, is he just going to talk,” another student asked, with a distinct whiff of disappointment in his voice.

“I hear he’s an awesome speaker, though,” still another student said.

The students who packed the auditorium, many of them from Georgetown’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative at the McDonough School of Business and more than a few donning black t-shirts with the insignia of the ONE Campaign (of which Bono is a co-founder), weren’t sure what to expect from the famous Irish rock star and humanitarian.

A concert? A lecture? Another boring speech?

I’m fairly certain none of the students present for Monday night’s event, sponsored by the Bank of America and The Atlantic magazine, anticipated hearing Bono, the 52-year-old lead singer of U2, preach.

But preach he did.

After an introduction by Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America (whose presence was greeted by some grumbling from the students seated around me, one who suggested in a stage whisper that they start a chant from the Occupy Wall Street movement), Bono bounded up to the lectern, grinning with his blue eyes flashing excitement from behind his trademark rose-colored shades.

“Thank you, Brian — a gentleman in a world where, uh, that quality is not always on tap,” Bono began, as the crowd roared. “The band wanted me to say thank you to you too, Brian, because, as you heard, the band are committed to the idea that ever school kid in Ireland should have access to free music lessons if they need ‘em. So Brian has been helping us out with that.”

(That seemed to quell any unrest about having one of the world’s leading bankers in the room.)

“I don’t know if this is a lectern or a pulpit,” Bono told the crowd, folding his arms on the wooden podium in front of him, “but I feel oddly comfortable. It’s a bit of a worry, isn’t it? So … welcome to Pop Culture Studies 101. Please take out your notebooks. Today we are going to discuss why rock stars should never, ever be given access to microphones at institutes of higher learning.

“You will receive no credit for taking this class,” Bono joked, “not even street cred — it’s too late for that. I will, of course, be dropping the occasional pop culture reference to give the impression that I know where your generation is at. I do not. I am not sure where I am at.”

Good. I’m not the only one who feels ancient amidst this audience of youngsters, I thought.

“And the first existential question of this class might be, ‘What am I doing in [Gaston] Hall?’” Bono quipped. “I could be down having my third pint at The Tombs….Pop culture references. Rock star does research.”

Score one for said rock star. The room erupted in laughter at the mention of one of the campus’ legendary watering holes.

“I heard Election Night was quite messy on the pint front. Isn’t it amazing how three pints can make everything seem like victory, but four or five and you just know you’re about to taste defeat,” he continued. “Anyway, congratulations are in order. Not just for turning out in record numbers, but — forgetting politics for a minute — for electing an extraordinary man as president. I think you have to say that whatever your political tradition.”

Bono also congratulated the audience for being freed from the “tyranny” of political “attack ads.” Imagine, he said, if they never went away, if attack ads were the norm for everything, even, say, college admissions.

“Hello. We’re Georgetown and we approved this message,” he said in the stoic voice of a political ad announcer. “Let me say a few words about some other fine institutions you might be considering. UVA: Thomas Jefferson, what have they done to you? Syracuse: A school whose mascot is a fruit. Duke: A school that worships the devil.

“Georgetown – you’re in with the other guy! Georgetown has God on its side. Everyone knows God is a Catholic, right?” said Bono, whose late mother was a Protestant and late father, Bob, a Catholic. “Two words: Frank Sinatra. That proves it!”

All jokes aside — and he was terrifically witty throughout his nearly hour long address — Bono turned his attention to his true passion: helping the world’s poorest of the poor.

“I’d like to hear attack ads on things worth attacking. If there was an attack ad on malaria, I’d get that, because 3,000 people die every day — mostly kids — of malaria. Let’s have an attack ad on malaria. Let’s have an attack ad on mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS. I’d get that. Choose your enemies carefully because they define you. Make sure they’re interesting enough because trust me, you’re going to spend a lot of time in their company. So let’s pick a worthwhile enemy, shall we?

“How ’bout all the obstacles to fulfilling human potential — not just yours or mine but the world’s potential?” he continued. “I would suggest to you that the biggest obstacle in the way right now is extreme poverty. Poverty so extreme that it brutalizes, it vandalizes human dignity. Poverty so extreme it laughs at the concept of human dignity. Poverty so extreme it doubts how far we’ve traveled in our journey of equality; the journey that began with Wilberforce taking on slavery and a journey that will not end until misery and deprivation are in stocks.”

Were Bono an actual preacher, that was where he would have pounded his fists on the pulpit.

Painted on the wall behind the podium where this unlikely preacher of the Gospel of Social Justice spoke are the Latin words: Ad majorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem. Earlier, Georgetown’s president, John De Gioia, reminded the students of their meaning: “For the greater glory of God and the betterment of humankind.”

The Abolitionists. The Suffragettes. The Civil Rights Movement.

Social movements have always been powerful, Bono told the audience, but there is something special about this moment in history — it’s “transformative.”

“This moment, this generation [has] the chance that you have to rid the world of the obscenity of extreme poverty. Wouldn’t that be a hell of a way to start the 21st century?”

You could have heard a pin drop. The kids seated on either side of me were leaning forward in their chairs. They were listening with the attentiveness professors only dream about. Bono had their attention and kept it as he told them about the power they have to make changes — significant, global changes — by the conscious choices they make about how they spend their money, through social media and emerging technologies, by making sure their politicians keep the promises they’ve made about foreign aid funding in Africa and the rest of the developing world.

Something big was happening in the room. You could feel it. A palpable presence. I’d call it the Holy Spirit.

And it reminded me of a night 10 years ago at another college campus, when Bono spoke at my alma mater, Wheaton College in Illinois. At the time, I was traveling with Bono and his organization DATA (a predecessor of ONE) across the Midwest where he was trying to get American evangelicals (in particular) to turn their attention to the AIDS emergency in sub-Saharan Africa and to do something about it as a matter of justice — as a matter of the heart of their own faith.

Bono’s address at Wheaton fell about half-way through the Heart of America tour and it was a turning point not only for the tour, but for the movement it sparked. American evangelicals — the great “sleeping giant,” as Bono called them at the time — woke up, got involved, and worked for change. The monumental successes in alleviating crushing debt, supplying life-saving HIV/AIDS drugs, malaria netting, and the funds to put millions of African children in school for the first time are a testament to what transpired in Wheaton’s Edmund Chapel in early December 2002.

I know students who were there that night who’ve gone on to dedicate their careers and lives to helping the “least of these.” I, too, jaded journalist and wounded evangelical as I was at the time, was changed. Healed. Inspired and transformed.

The same thing was happening in Gaston Hall last night.

“Those people I’ve been talking about today — the poor — they’re not ‘those people,’ they’re not ‘them.’ They’re us. They’re you,” Bono said toward the end of his address. “They dream as you dream. They value what you value. There is no them, only us. The American anthem is not exceptionalism, it’s universalism. There is no them. Only us. Ubuntu. ‘I am because we are.’ There is no them. Only us.”

Maybe it’s a sheer coincidence (I’m doubtful) that the motto of Georgetown, a Jesuit university, is Utraque Unum, which means “both into one.”

Ultraque Unum in Latin.

Ubuntu in a dialect from South Africa where Archbishop Desmond Tutu — the man Bono only half-kidding says he works for — has taken the word as his own life’s motto.

Bono turned his attention to the Jesuits and their founder St. Ignatius of Loyola, to whom that Latin quote on the wall of the Gaston hall often is attributed.

“St. Ignatius, he was a soldier,” Bono began. “He was lying on a bed recovering from his wounds when he had what they call a conversion of the heart. He saw God’s work and the call to do God’s work. Not just in the church, in everything, everywhere. The arts, universities, the Orient, the New World. And once he knew about that, he couldn’t unknow it.

“It changed him,” Bono said. “It forced him out of bed and into the world. And that’s what I’m hoping happens here in Georgetown with you. Because when you truly accept that those children in some far off place in the global village have the same value as you — in God’s eyes or even just in your eyes — then your life is forever changed. You see something that you can’t unsee.”

Sitting there, tears dripping down my cheeks, I could feel it. Minds were opened. Hearts and eyes were, too.

Who knows when we look back 10 years from now, what the result of some of those Georgetown students seeing what they couldn’t unsee will be.

May we all have the eyes to see it.–Cathleen Falsani

Transform and Transcend: The U2 Conference Returns in 2013

In early autumn 2009, my life was changing significantly for the better in many beautiful ways. One October afternoon, I boarded a Greyhound bus to head east to meet a friend near Asheville, North Carolina, before heading on the next day to the Raleigh-Durham area for the inaugural U2 Conference and my third show (of six total) of the 360 tour.

What an honor to take my 25 year love affair with U2 and turn it into an intimate presentation about some of the more delicate aspects of my life, U2’s lives, and the message of their music for people struggling with addiction and recovery. But my talk titled “The Meme of Surrender” was only one of many windows into the intellectual, spiritual, and activist lenses with which we better understand the musical and societal contributions of our favorite band.

The 2009 conference changed lives and the forthcoming conference in spring 2013 will surely do the same. Never before had such wide and international collaboration of writers, professors, preachers, activists, and fans come together in such a unique fashion under an academic but inclusive big tent to offer sustained, in-depth meditations on the meanings of U2.

So many highlights soar in my memories three-years out, but some deserve more mention, in hopes that someone reading this might make the trek to Cleveland next April.

I will never forget hanging out after Saturday’s lunch, midway through the three-day conference, with a fellow presenter who had never seen U2 and didn’t have a ticket for Saturday’s show. A couple of us fans found this tragic. How could you have come this far, this close, and not be ready for liftoff with several thousand of your dearest friends? We convinced our colleague, who found a single seat online, and decided to come along for the party.

During a session called “Every Poet Is A Thief” and during a paper discussing “Lemon” in particular, when the presenter cued up the song for us to hear, a couple of us could not help but to get out of our classroom chairs, you know the kind that are desk and seat all in one, to start dancing to U2 at one of their most disco-soul moments.

In a weekend when the epiphanies wouldn’t stop coming, meeting African activist Agnes Nyamayarwo was more than amazing. We’ve thought in the abstract about how U2 and their fans have been involved in movements to save lives, but hearing this testimony from Agnes put face and place to such bold redemptive claims. Lots of ink has been spilled in recent years to criticize Bono’s approaches to African issues, but meeting Agnes offered a saving counterargument that supersedes the critics.

Agnes and her friends had brought some hand-made jewelry made by folks in Africa. My beaded, red, ONE bracelet is so beautiful and special and unique, that I will always treasure it as one of many mementos from that fall weekend. The weekend also prompted the publication of an anthology and a new online journal of U2 studies will soon lanch.

While I doubt U2 will show up to play a concert, and while I am not sure that Cleveland in April could ever be as beautiful as North Carolina in October, the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a more than perfect venue and partner for a conference like this. I predict scholars and fans from all over the world will converge on America’s north coast for the second U2 studies conference. Everything you could want to learn about the 2009 conference along with all the breaking news about the 2013 conference as it becomes available are at http://u2conference.com. There’s plenty of time to draft a proposal or determine another way that you might get involved. See you next year in Cleveland!!!

–Andrew William Smith, Editor

(Image: Webzine editor Andrew William Smith meets up with hardcore U2 fan and author Cathal McCarron.)

Bono To Present Prestigious “Ambassador of Conscience” Award to Aung San Suu Kyi

On June 18, Bono will present Burmese pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience award at a tribute event in Dublin.

The concert, called Electric Burma, is being held in honor of her achievement and will also feature performances by Damien Rice, the Riverdance troupe, actress Vanessa Redgrave, and Bob Geldof. Bono has shown support for Suu Kyi for years, holding a series of concerts in 2009 in support of her release and dedicating all U2 360° Tour performances of the song “Walk On” in her honor. However, this is the first time he will meet the Burmese opposition leader, who has spent 15 of the past 24 years under house arrest.

Bono stated in regards to her release, “It’s so rare to see grace trump military might, and when it happens we should make the most joyful noise we can. Aung San Suu Kyi’s grace and courage have tilted a wobbly world further in the direction of democracy. We all feel we know her, but it will be such a thrill to meet her in person.”

Suu Kyi will attend Electric Burma as part of her first international tour following a long period as a political prisoner. In 1990, her National League for Democracy party achieved a strong victory in the country’s first multi-party elections since 1960, but the ruling military junta refused to recognize the results. Her next two decades were spent in house arrest or, while free, unable to leave Burma for fear of being barred from re-entry. She was then banned from the next elections in 2010, leading to an internationally-questioned election in which a pro-junta party took office. Suu Kyi was finally elected to Burmese Parliament in April of this year and has launched an international tour that includes Electric Burma, an address to the British government, and a stop in Oslo to collect the Nobel Peace Prize that she received in 1991 but was unable to accept in person until now.

The Ambassador of Conscience is the most prestigious award given by Amnesty International, and it is given annually to honor activists who have worked to promote and protect human rights. Previous recipients include Nelson Mandela, Peter Gabriel, and U2.

Source: Associated Press

For more information on the Ambassador of Conscience award, visit amnesty.org.

Bono Denies Billionaire Status; Talks About Ending Hunger

U2′s Bono claims he felt rich when he was 20 and Ali was paying his bills. In this interview from the newswires, he downplays Facebook chatter and chats about ending hunger. 
ANDREA MITCHELL, HOST:  Here at the Global Food Summit, President Obama has issued a call to action for world leaders to attack poverty in Africa by expanding agriculture.  The immediate goal is to lift 15 million people out of poverty over the next decade.  Participating in this big launch for the G-8 Summit, some big players.  Singer/songwriter, co-founder of the One Campaign, Bono.
                Welcome.
                You’ve spoken here to the summit.
                What is the mission and the cause and — and why is it so urgent?
                BONO:  Well, the mission is, I guess, obvious, to…
                MITCHELL:  Right.
                BONO:  – you know, no one wants to see those extended bellies.  No one wants to see children — emaciated children.  Hunger is a ridiculous thing.  And we know what to do in order to fix it.  There’s, you know, these whole new approaches to agriculture to increase productivity, etc.  Etc.
                But what’s key about today’s announcement is that the president of the United States is supporting African ideas on how to fix their problem.  There are country-owned, country-devised plans in 30 African countries.  And that’s what it will take to get to that 50 million people taken out of — out of hunger over the next decade.
                So it’s — that’s what’s different.  It’s partnership, it’s not the old paternalism.  These are sort of horizontal relationships, not vertical ones.
                MITCHELL:  And these countries have spent the last couple of years, 30 countries, submitting their plans.  And now this is the time for action, for business leaders, for others, to — to join in and invest.
                You wrote in “Time” magazine this week that Africa is so rich in resources, that this is really the — the continent which can be like the American continent was in the last century.
Tell us what…
                BONO:  Yes, it’s…
                MITCHELL:  – the potential there.
                BONO:  – we’ve — we’ve got to, you know, we’ve just got to reboot our thinking on the continent.  Africa is — this — the 21st century, people say it’s about China.  Ask the Chinese.  They’re all over Africa.
                MITCHELL:  Exactly.
                BONO:  Africa, by 2050, will double the population of China.  So you’ve got this — there — there will be more young people on the continent of Africa than there are Chinese in 2050.  I mean it is just stunning.  They’re rich.  They’ve got all these minerals on the ground.  And the people are saying to us, the African people, they don’t want aid as an ongoing basis.  They need it now to help them get to a place of independence.
                But they’re future consumers for the United States.  The president is talking business.  This is good.  It — it’s just — it’s a whole new kind of development paradigm, I think, today.  It’s — the old sort of donor-recipient relationship, it’s over.
                MITCHELL:  And I mean the Chinese, as you point out, they get it.  They’re investing everywhere in Africa.  These businesses want to invest.
                What do we do about the — the fact that there has been so much widespread corruption and how can that be tackled?
                The World Bank has tried to tackle it.
                BONO:  Absolutely.
                MITCHELL:  There are some demands here up front.
                BONO:  Exactly right.  Corruption is killing more kids than any dis — killer — of the killer diseases, AIDS or malaria.
                So if you look at food as a resource that comes out of the ground, the same way, if you look at oil, gas, the great mineral wealth of the continent of Africa, what can you do to make sure that the wealth that’s in the ground, under the feet of the people who live there, gets into the hands of the people who live there?
                Well, there’s one way, transparency, daylight, which is to say, when private contracts are put out — given to a — to explore for oil or for gas, that the people know how much was paid for that contract.
                So in this, in this — this Congress is a bill in the finance reform bill, the huge big Dodd-Frank bill, there’s a Cardin-Lugar Amendment what — which actually makes it law that any company published on the United States Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange, has to publish what it pays for those mining rights.
                This is huge.  This is bigger than anything you can imagine.
                Who’s telling us that?
                Africans are telling us that.  This is what they’re saying.  They’re saying just bring some daylight, bring some transparency and we won’t be as dependent on you.
                MITCHELL:  And, you know, this is such a novel idea, the Europeans, some of them, are pushing back against this, saying whoa, you know, we don’t have these same rules, we don’t want these rules for our companies.
                But this would really tell the people in Africa exactly what money is being transferred and what — what their resources are going for.
                BONO:  That’s it.  So then they can ask — they can hold their own governments to account.
                Now, the British are — are looking at this.  There’s some discussion about whether it should be project by project or country by country.  It has to be project by project, I think.  We’re meeting with David Cameron later.  I — I’m — I am hopeful to — to convince him and to do that.
The French are there on this.  I spoke with the Germans, with Chancellor Merkel’s people, not with her yet.  But I have before on this subject.  And she is leaning in — in this direction.  That’s huge.  The German leadership will be great.
                I’ve actually spoken to 12 of the G-20 heads of state on this matter.  So Brazil is — is looking to lead in this.  And Australia is.
                And this is the way of the future.  Daylight is the way of the future.  The direction of information technology, guess what, it’s information.  People want information about the big decisions that affect their lives.
                MITCHELL:  Now, speaking of information technology, you have been so innovative.  You’ve been on the — the cutting edge of this.  Back in 2009, I think, you were first investing in Facebook.  It’s gone public.  You are reportedly going to con — you know, conceivably have this huge payout.
                Tell me about Facebook, what you see in it, what the business model is and what you think it’s going to accrue to your own investment.
                BONO:  Well, contrary to reports, in bus — I am not a — this boy is not a billionaire.  And — or going to be richer than any Beatle.  And not just in the sense of money, by the way.  The Beatles are untouchable.  That’s just a joke.
                MITCHELL:  I — I get it.
                BONO:  We — you know, in Elevation, we invest other people’s money — endowments, pension funds.  We do get paid and — and that is a — a good thing.  We will get, you know, I’m blessed.
                But, you know, I felt rich when I was 20 years old and my wife was — was paying my bills, you know, just being in a band.  I’ve always felt like this, I mean being — being so blessed.
                I got interested in technology because I’m an artist.  I’m interested in the forces that shape the world, you know, politics, religion, the stuff we’ve been talking about today.
Technology is huge.  I wanted to learn about it.
                And people say it’s, oh, you’re a musician, what are you doing on this?
                But I think it’s odd that — that artists are not more interested in the world around them.  The zeitgeist, I’m always chasing that.
                MITCHELL:  What do you see in Facebook?
                What is it about Facebook that you think, to those who say, well, what is the business model here, what do you think is the future of Facebook?
                BONO:  Well, they’re — they’re an amazing team.  They’re a brilliant team.  And they really care about this stuff.  And — and, you know, it’s — it’s a technology that brings people together, people who are traveling a lot, to keep in touch with their families, with their friends.
                And — and you see it, the role it’s played in — in — in North Africa, in the — in the so-called Arab Spring.
                So it’s a whole — it’s — it’s the village square.  But it was the leadership of it that got me excited to going back.
                And — but there’s other companies out there.  Yelp I invested in, Drop Box.  There’s — there’s just a — there’s just — there’s a lot of excitement in America.  This is — in this area.
                MITCHELL:  What do you say to people, Wall Street and others, who say there is no real business model here, that people might go to Google and, you know, really look at the ads, but not on Facebook, that social networking is a different kind of — of zeitgeist and that you don’t really want advertising?
                BONO:  That’s an intelligent criticism.  I’m not even going to try to answer it.  I’ll let Facebook do that.
                You know, I’m, in a ways, the — the thing that I bring to elevation is I’m curious about people.  You know, I asked Warren Buffet what was the most important thing in investing.  He said judgment of character.
And — and there’s some pattern recognition and some sensing of what the future might look like. But I think — I think Facebook has gone — is only beginning.  That’s my own view.

Bono Announces the Beginning of the End of AIDS

Bono finally made an appearance on the Daily Show, but it wasn’t to talk about the Achtung Baby rerelease. For World AIDS Day this year, we couldn’t turn on our television without seeing Bono on a variety of programs, on just about every channel. Collaborating with celebrities, corporate leaders, and the last three US presidents under the umbrellas of the ONE and (Red) campaigns, Bono announced what he’s calling the beginning of the end of AIDS.

Bono explained the moment to CNN, “Thirty years, 30 million funerals later, on the 30th anniversary, we just have the end in sight if people – if people want to go next leg.”

The singer-activist celebrated what he sees as the United States’ role in ushering us closer to an AIDS-free generation. He remarked, “The United States has saved five million lives by getting them these drugs that were once thought impossible to get to rural areas in far-away places.”

And he recognized that the roots of AIDS activism began here decades ago: “And it’s worth, on World AIDS Day, to remember heroes of the domestic AIDS fights. You know, from – both from the gay community and the straight community, from regular folks to people like sports stars like Magic Johnson. Where would we be without Magic Johnson?”

Any mention of U2 on this day only touched on how our fan community has been outspoken and integral to the overlapping movements to end poverty and disease.

As he has done since the 1990s when he got involved in the Jubilee 2000 efforts, Bono connected his activism to themes central to his spirituality, to how he was willing to reach out to conservatives like George Bush:

“Christ only speaks of judgment once and it is not about your sexuality, it is not about your bad behavior.  It’s about how you treat the poor, Matthew: 25.  I spoke to him [Bush] and as a person of faith – it might be a bad example of it – to him who was a believer and he was moved by that because we’re so judgmental. This is what happens. This started in the United States in the gay community. People didn’t want to go there, and the gay community had to be bold and they showed incredible leadership and said this is not just about us, you know.”

Quotes from CNN.com. Photos from various newswires. Please check out joinred.com and one.org for more information.

Bono Envy And The Box Office

Editor’s Note: In addition to making its rounds on DVD, online, and on pay-per-view TV, the new film Killing Bono, based in part on the writing of Neil McCormick, is enjoying a limited US theatrical release. You can check your local listings for more details.

Don’t talk about Rattle and Hum. Don’t talk about your Spidey sense and SciFi musicals. The history of our Bono and clear success at movie or theatre box offices are a mixed bag.

Unrivaled at selling out rock concerts? Yes. Concert DVDs doing well in the 2000s? Yes. But this doesn’t mean that a movie that frames you as a minor character will be a big hit.

Killing Bono bases itself on the frustrated truth of growing up in the shadow of giants. From a plot made with a jolt of rockstar-caliber jealousy, Killing Bono tries to be many things to different people, but a typically nerdy rock biopic for the hardcore U2 fans it’s not. Even though the work of Neil McCormick as journalist and tweeter are well-loved among U2 fans, many of us are not sure what to make of Killing Bono.

The early parts of the flick feature all the members of U2 as characters, with some choice footage from their roots at school, complete with (formerly known as) The Hype’s first gig and a hilarious scene when when Paul and Dave adopt their stage names at the same time they drop “The Hype” for the hype-yet-to -come in U2. But does this film work as an Irish Almost Famous? Is this movie a faithful rendering of McCormick’s prose?

The American drop of Killing Bono coincides with the epic onslaught of Achtung Baby rerelease options. Was this intentional? Surely, this saturated market manages to appease the post-360-tour blues among fans willing to pay to stay engaged with their favorite band.

But pit the mixed-up comedy mostly-about-the-band’s-mates against the garden harvest of DVDs and documentaries, and most U2 fans are going to be perfectly pleased to dig deeper into their new Uber and Super box sets and may end up ignoring Killing Bono. Maybe we prefer Bono admiration to Bono envy.  –Andrew William Smith, Editor
 

U2 tribute in Seaton

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
4:59 PM

U2UK is set to bring its awesome multimedia stage show, that honours 30 years of the Grammy award winning rock legends U2, to Seaton.

The group has appeared on Netherlands TV, on the radio stations in Cyprus, Amsterdam and in the UK, and had a double-page feature in the internationally famous ‘Q’ magazine alongside U2 themselves.

Playing anywhere up to capacity crowds of 9,000 fans across the UK, Belgium, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, Romania, Sweden and building interest in Italy, Portugal and India; it’s easy to see why U2UK are Europe’s Premiere U2 tribute band.

U2UK provide a trip down U2’s memory lane that is not to be missed, will have you singing, dancing, standing on your seats and screaming for more as you relive all those fantastic moments in the history of the world’s greatest rock band.

This show is a must for any lover of music and theatre!

The band will be performing at The Gateway at Seaton Town Hall on Saturday, September 24, with the doors opening at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £12 in advance or £15 on the door. This show is not to be missed by any fan of live rock music.


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    Jack White to Cover U2 on Actung Baby Tribute Album [It Might Get Loud … Again]

    BowPwnd.jpg

    Achtung! That’s German for “Attention!” Have I got yours? … Good, let’s blog it out.

    In case you missed it, documentarian Davis Guggenheim’s It Might Get Loud is a film about guitars and the men that love them. In it, Guggenheim pulls an eHarmony on Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White — matching up the three famed but aesthetically and generationally contrasting guitar gods based on 29 dimensions of compatibility in their abilities to rock, scientifically proven to foster a conversation about how hard being talented, influential and, ultimately, successful fucking rules. “I plan to trick both of these guys into teaching me all their tricks,” the film captures White musing in anticipation of this meeting of the musical minds.

    According to this recent news item, such arts of misdirection and slide of slowhand may have apparently paid off for White, who is slated to appear on a forthcoming tribute record to U2’s (that’s The Edge’s band, FYI) 1991 landmark LP Achtung Baby, which Q magazine is compiling in celebration of the album’s 20th anniversary.

    White will put his spin on Achtung album-closer “Love Is Blindness,” which — if I’m to let the lifelong U2 fan in me out to editorialize a bit — boasts one of the greatest, most anguished, unrestrained, yet meticulously composed guitar solos in The Edge’s arsenal. Like, if he were Kirk Hammett, this shit would be his “Unforgiven.” Perhaps White’s trickery netted him some key pointers on how to play the solo, in case he intends on whipping up a shot-for-shot remake. Or perhaps he’s gonna adapt it in his own style. Either way, it might get good, not to mention loud. Check out the original (below) for reference. Solo starts around the 3:18 mark:

    But … how much louder might the “Love Is Blindness” solo get were a certain Led Zeppelin guitarist to play it with a fuckin’ fiddle-bow, eh?

    Appearing alongside J-Dub on this tribute to Achtung Baby — which is also set to get an epic reissue treatment by year’s end — is Depeche Mode, contributing their take on the so cruelly underrated “So Cruel,” Patti Smith, taking on U2 fan fave and concert-staple “Until the End of the World,” and Damien Rice, firming up his buffalo stance for a rendition of “One.” For all we know, with other artists on the tribute still TBA, Jimmy Page may very well have his name attached to a cut. Maybe he’ll reunite with David Coverdale on a cover of “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?” — a song that need not remain the same as its original recording. Though I really, really (really) doubt it. It’s been a long time since Page rock and rolled. Maybe he didn’t get the call. Seems like it might get loud in Jimmy Page’s cry room, if you know what I mean.

    Dazed, confused, and remembering the good times he had with The Edge in that movie, reconciling them with the bad times of this rejection — “Where did our communication break down,” he may inquisitively ramble on to himself, “Who will help me in my time of crying?”

    We will.

    Some dude once imparted some sage pearls, stating, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I think it might have been Killers singer Brandon Flowers — can’t recall at the moment. Anyway, not important. The point is, do we, as a musical community, want to hear The Edge’s reverb-laden, delayed licks played with a goddamn bow or not?

    That’s why I’m starting the Coalition to Reunite Coverdale/Page (or The Firm, Subject to Availability) to Cover “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?” Leave your name in the comments to have it added to the petition. Once this thread reaches a million comments, I’ll email the link to Bono.

    Who’s with me?