Friday, October 24, 2014

U2's Songs of Transcendence

A heartfelt article by Cathleen Falsani. Award-winning religion journalist, author, and commentator. And U2 fan!!!

Sunday evening I did something I haven't done in close to 30 years: I went to an actual record store and bought a brand-new U2 album on vinyl, took it home, pulled out the turntable, put on my headphones, sat on the floor, and stayed up way too late reading the liner notes and listening to the songs over and over again.

Lord, how I've missed this particular ritual.

When I was a teenager, late Sunday nights were when I indulged my secret pleasure by listening in bed (clandestinely so as not to incur the wrath of my parents for being awake well past my bedtime) to the "King Biscuit Flower Hour" on WPLR, the classic rock station in New Haven that was one of two (the other being a horrendous pop-40 station) that came in clearly on the FM stereo in my upstairs bedroom.

I listened, religiously, every Sunday night for years, hoping to hear a song by one of the British New Wave bands of which I was fond, or, if I was particularly lucky, by my favorite band on the planet: U2.

Sometimes weeks would go by without hearing a U2 song on those late Sunday nights, my ear pressed to the transistor radio secreted next to the pillow on my twin bed. But then, like a bolt of lightning -- I'd hear Bono's voice or Edge's guitar begin to keen. It was a wee bit magical, although in retrospect today I might call it sacred.

All the waiting and listening was worth it. Always.

There was an intimacy then to the conversation that transpired between U2's music and my young heart. It was never about the sound alone -- I didn't care if it had a good beat or if I could dance to it -- what touched me, leaving indelible fingerprints on my soul, were the stories, confessions, and prayers wrapped inside the sound.


By the time I reached my room at the top of the unreasonably long, winding basalt staircase that led to the pensione's third floor late one night last month in Rome, I was out of steam and both my iPhone and iPad were out of juice. I plugged both devices and left them to charge while I took a quick shower to cool off after a day of hoofing it around the Eternal City in 90-degree weather.

By the time I'd finished my ablutions, put on my pajamas, and climbed into my narrow twin bed (one of the many charms of Roman hotel rooms), the pad and the phone were successfully resuscitated, the soft blue glow of their illuminated screens punctuated by texts and alerts that had been queuing during the dormant hours after the batteries ran out.

Sitting cross-legged on top of the duvet, I scrolled through messages and Facebook alerts that announced a surprise: earlier that day in California, U2 had released its long anticipated new album, Songs of Innocence, and delivered it for free to a half-billion iTunes users worldwide.

It took a few moments for that news to compute in my mind. There was an entire album of new U2 music and it was just waiting for me to download it from the (great) Cloud (of witnesses) to listen.

Thanks be to God for a strong WiFi signal.

Thirty seconds later ...

I was chasing down the days of fear
Chasing down a dream before it disappeared
I was aching to be somewhere near
Your voice was all I heard
I was shaking from a storm in me
Haunted by the spectres that we had to see
Yeah, I wanted to be the melody
Above the noise, above the hurt
I was young
Not dumb
Just wishing to be blinded
By you
Brand new
And we were pilgrims on our way
I woke up at the moment when the miracle occurred
Heard a song that made some sense out of the world
Everything I ever lost, now has been returned
The most beautiful sound I'd ever heard
Cue the waterworks.

Unplugged in Germany

The band performed six songs and sat for a brief interview for Germany's Radio NRW's Unplugged & Talk event.

This event,  "U2 - Unplugged and Talk" ,t gave 200 radio contest winners the chance to ask the band questions and also hear them perform tracks from Songs Of Innocence. 

The event was moved early in the day to accomodate U2's appearance on the Late Late Show in Dublin later in the day. 

The songs performed were performed acoustically on a small stage.

 "Song for Someone" was stopped and restarted due to Bono having some difficulties with the song. The band play "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)" a second time at the end of the performance. The full show is expected to be broadcast on October 27th.

Enlace permanente de imagen incrustada

U2 for Argentinian TV Programme "La Viola"

U2 with Bebe Comtempomi, Argentinian reporter. He asked Bono to sing "Happy Birthday" to acclaimed Argentinian rocker, Charly Garcia, who is 63.

Bono and Larry with Bebe Contempomi 

@BrandingLatAm @BebeMusicTW - London

Thursday, October 23, 2014

See with new eyes

Bono with a child he met on his first trip to Ethiopia in 1985. "It seemed he wanted to hold every child and comfort every mother," writes WV staffer Steve Reynolds.
Editor's note: Thirty years ago, famine in Ethiopia shocked the world, killing nearly 1 million people. World Vision staffer Steve Reynolds played a part in raising public awareness of the crisis in North America and Europe. 

 French novelist Marcel Proust once wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” I think there is a great deal of truth in this statement. I have experienced it in my own life and have witnessed it in others’. 

 In 1985 I was working as a communications officer for the World Vision Ethiopia relief office in Addis Ababa. Much world attention was focused on the famine ravaging the country. We received word that the lead singer of an Irish rock group called U2 was coming to Ethiopia “on the quiet.” We were to take great pains to keep his visit a secret. I didn’t know what all the fuss was about, since several celebrities (and wannabes) had passed through our office already that year, most of them wanting just to be seen in the context of the famine. What was different about this visit, however, was that Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, actually wanted to work at one of our relief camps — large feeding and health centers that catered to thousands of people each day. I knew what the conditions were like in these camps, the local food that was served, the sleeping quarters, and the rest. 

I remember thinking, "Well, they are certainly in for a shock." We picked up Bono and Ali at the airport and brought them back to the hotel. He seemed uncomfortable. I detected a hint of fear in his eyes. A few days later, they were at a feeding center in Adjibar, in southern Wollo Province. I was certain they wouldn’t last a week. But they did. In fact, they spent almost a month in Adjibar working with our staff, helping develop music and drama programs for the children at the center. 

The staff delighted in telling stories about “the girl with the beard,” a reference to the mop-type mullet hairdo that Bono was sporting at the time, coupled with the beard he had grown.

 The staff praised his energy, spirit, and creativity in helping write songs about eating healthy vegetables and washing your hands before you eat. Bono and Ali truly endeared themselves to everyone at the center. Upon the couple’s return to Addis Ababa, I had the privilege of touring with Bono around Ethiopia to the various camps and compounds run by different agencies. 

Something in him had changed. As we walked through row after row of makeshift huts and shelters where people waited for the next food handout, Bono showed tireless compassion. It seemed he wanted to hold every child and comfort every mother. The night before Bono and Ali flew back to Ireland, we had a party. We sang songs and traded stories. 

Bono mimicked himself as we listened to “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”— the song that launched the Band Aid relief effort in 1984 and the Live Aid benefit concert in 1985. It was a time of celebration after much sadness and heartbreak. For those of us working in Ethiopia, it was a healing and uplifting moment—one we would all treasure. Today Bono meets with presidents, prime ministers, and even the pope, advocating for the poor and marginalized. 

“It’s not about charity, it’s about justice,” he says. His vision is still strong more than 30 years later. When God does eye surgery, you never see things the same way again. I saw this happen with Bono, and I smile when I think about how this sharpened vision is changing the world. 

 Steve Reynolds is a 30-year veteran with World Vision; he has served overseas in Africa and Asia.

SOI Promo Tour at its Heights

In the last days the band have appeared in several radio and TV programmes around Europe. Here 's a short review:

With Pedro Ribeiro - Radio Comercial - Portugal (October 22)
With Pedro Ribeiro - Radio Comercial - Portugal (October 22)

Photo: #Bono, #LarryMullenJr and Tony Aguilar - London - October 22, 2014 - (via @Los40_Spain) #U2 #SongsOfInnocence Promo Tour
Bono and Larry with  Tony Aguilar - London - October 22, 2014 - (via @Los40_Spain) 

Photo: #Bono,  #LarryMullenJr and Ian Dempsey - London - October 22, 2014 - #U2 - #SongsOfInnocence Promo Tour
Bono and Larry with Ian Dempsey - London - October 22, 2014

Photo: #U2 & Jim Nugent (FM104's Strawberry Alarm Clock) - London - 22 Oct 2014 #Bono #AdamClayton #LarryMullenJr #TheEdge #SongsOfInnocence Promo Tour
With Jim Nugent (FM104's Strawberry Alarm Clock) - London - 22 Oct 2014

via U2NT

'U2 Take On The World'

The band are on the cover of the latest edition of Rolling Stone - on newstands now. 

Here's some highlights from an enthralling feature by Brian Hiatt.

'Making this album, we went back and listened to all the music that had brought us into ourselves, then we said, 'Now let's misremember it'.

'I was feeling really good at the beginning. Shit, this is going to really work. We're going to fly through this stuff. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong!'

'We love taking risks and working with new collaborators because that's how you carve out the next chapter in the story.' 

'They exhaust you. You're wrestling four guys coming in rotation and then all together at the same time... it's unbelievable how they work.'
Jimmy Iovine

'Even after years of working on stuff, the guys won't stop trying to make a song better all the way up to the end, and I admire that.' 
Brian 'Danger Mouse' Burton

'These digital, online companies cross borders. They have infinitely more power than any traditional corporation. From our point of view we got our record out to as many people as possible...'

'In a great song you can be as naked as a streaker singing acapella. I'm embarassed next to someone like Carole King, unless I can come up with something that's as raw as some of her great songs. So that was it. Songwriting school!'

'We're hoping Songs of Experience will be less about intimacy and more about a celebration of sorts.'

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

'Here For You'

'The first time I've ever had the whole band sitting in front of me.'

Latest broadcast interview is with Zane Lowe for BBC Radio 1 in the UK. All four band members were in the studio to talk about how the album began to emerge during the last tour and how it was finished... days before last month's release

Listen again here

A debut live performance for 'Volcano'  
U2 actua en el programa de la BBC 2 "Later With... Jools Holland"

Here's Volcano

And  'Every Breaking Wave' with the whole band and a string section.