Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Friendship Ball:Edge plays with Brian Ferry

The Edge made a guest appearance with Bryan Ferry Thursday night in London. It was part of The Friendship Ball, an event that helped to raise money for cancer programs and research at Crumlin Hospital in Dublin and Great Ormond Children's Hospital in London. The photo at right is from Ferry's Facebook page and says that Edge and Ferry are performing "Carrickfergus." Another artist, Darren Holden, also posted a photo with The Edge last night.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Tosca, one of Dublin's hippest restaurants of the 1990s is set to return to the capital for one night only on Friday October 26, to raise support for Self Help Africa.

Owned and operated by Norman Hewson, brother to U2’s Bono, the regulars at the Suffolk Street eaterie included artists Jim Fitzpatrick and Guggi, author John Banville and singers Gavin Friday and Liam O’Maonlai, among many more. A pit-stop for artists performing in the capital, celebrity patrons included Bob Dylan, Naomi Campbell, Bruce Springsteen and of course, U2.
In what promises to be a unique star-studded event, over 25 original staff are coming back – from places as far flung as LA, London and Limerick! – to reunite under the leadership of Norman Hewson and Head Chef, Aongus Hanly. They will be joined for this one-off night by regular patrons for a special 'pop-up' event in the Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar, which will also feature top class entertainment. Among the performers so far confirmed are Eric McGrath, Lady Vada and members of the cast of Raw. Tosca was also a regular place for Hot Press book launches, with Philomena Lynott and Jackie Hayden's original 1995 edition of My Boy, Eamonn McCann'sWar and Peace and Liam Fay's best selling Beyond Belief all launching there.

With a menu created specially by Hanly, currently of Caviston’s, an array of favourites will be served. All ingredients are being provided by Irish farmers and supporters of Self Help Africa. With performances by former Tosca patrons and some very special guests, as well as items for auction from the Tosca archives, the event will be limited to 200 guests and will sell on a first come first served basis.
This fundraiser is the flagship event of Self Help Africa’s World Food Day celebration activities, keeping in line with this year's theme of “Agricultural Cooperatives - Key to Feeding the World” and Self Help Africa’s work in rural communities helping households grow more food, diversify farming activities, access markets for their produce, and ultimately achieve a secure future.

'Music Is Beyond Politics': When U2 Went to Bosnia in 1997

Fifteen years ago, U2 brought music and a message to post-war Sarajevo.

Fifteen years ago this weekend, on Sept. 23, 1997, pop music changed the world.
Well, briefly at least. On a Tuesday night in a bomb-scarred Olympic stadium, Irish rock band U2 played the first major pop concert to take place in the recuperating city of Sarajevo since the end of the Bosnian war, in hopes of erasing the ethnic tensions that had overwhelmed Yugoslavia, if only for the duration of a two-act set.
"If there's any message, it's a simple one, a banal one," frontman Bono explained to CNN. "It's that music is beyond politics."
Famously, Bono's ballooning humanitarian efforts would later earn him a reputation—not a good one—as a "messianic do-gooder" and an overambitious, globe-trotting collector of vanity projects. In 2002, the cover of Time would ask cheekily, "Can Bono Save the World?," and in 2009, the Daily Mail complained that while Bono was certainly passionate about relieving Third World debt, he acted "as if he has the entire solution to it in his leather trousers." But U2 hadn't come to Sarajevo with plans to save the nation or reverse the course of history. Bringing a good time to some young people for a few hours was good enough.

Sarajevo had emerged only two years earlier from the longest siege in modern military history. Serb aggressors had surrounded the city for 44 months between March of 1992 and December of 1995, starving and mistreating its citizens. For three and a half years, Sarajevans were dependent on food and fuel trafficked into the city through a kilometer-long underground tunnel, continually taking cover from the hundreds of mortar shells that fell on the city every day. According to war reporter Charlotte Eagar,
"Old ladies staggered home, hauling prams and homemade go-carts laden with plastic containers of water. ... Unable to collect firewood, people burned first their furniture and then their books. And yet they died during the brutal mountain winters. ... Both the shelling and the cold were indiscriminate in meting out death."
By the time the war ended in 1995, more than 10,000 Bosnians had been killed in Sarajevo.
Bono had visited the country shortly afterward, and promised to return and "bring the band along next time." The 1997 concert was a fulfillment of that promise.
By then, the once-magnificent city—the host of the 1984 Winter Olympics—that had become a death camp almost overnight had started rebuilding itself. Sarajevo's zoo was being restored, and arts patrons swooped in to furnish the wounded city with musical instruments and library books. Guerrilla artists had begun beautifying the streets with "Sarajevo roses"—red resin poured into the scars and divots made by mortar explosions. So at the insistence of Sarajevo organizers, this would not be a small charity concert—rather, Sarajevo would be a full-scale, ticket-selling tour stop on the band's global PopMart tour.
The 60 trucks carrying U2's massive soundstage had to navigate narrow mountain roads to even get to Sarajevo; nevertheless, a team of 450 assembled the stage and sound system in Koševo Stadium.
"It's just a miracle that we're here, really," said guitarist The Edge to a swarm of reporters that greeted the band upon their arrival. "The fact that we can come and put on not just a concert but the same concert that we put on in Paris and New York and London [is] maybe a symbol for the people of Sarajevo that things are getting back to normal."

The night of the concert, special trains brought young people from former Yugoslav republics Croatia and Slovenia to Sarajevo. According tonews reports from the week of, Slovenes were informed that "they would not require a visa for the evening."
And for two hours that night, in a stadium surrounded by NATO troops, a sold-out crowd of 45,000 people from all over the former Yugoslavia bathed themselves in neon light, bounced along to both the classics and the manufactured synth U2 considered high art at the time, and kind of felt normal again.
The U2 of 1997 wasn't quite as suited to act as a symbol of hope for a discouraged city as, say, the U2 of 2002. The PopMart tour was a biting parody play on shallow materialism; Bono and his bandmates tramped around the stage in shiny satin capes and wore flesh-toned shirts with eye-popping foam muscles bulging out of them. In other words, it was a weird moment for U2. The PopMart tour, sadly, couldn't offer Bosnians the same simple, mighty images of resilience that an older, wiser U2 would later offer heartsick Americans in the months after 9/11.
That's not to say, though, that the concert for Sarajevo was without its moments of high-gloss emotional splendor. During the Luciano Pavarotti-assisted ballad "Miss Sarajevo," Bono led 21-year-old Inela Nogić onstage by the hand. Nogić had become the tragic, lovely face of the war—and the inspiration for the song—when she won a Sarajevo beauty pageant in 1993 during the siege. As she was crowned, Nogić and a dozen other swimsuit-clad, shrapnel-scarred teenagers unfolded a banner: "Don't let them kill us," it read, in English.

"[Holding a beauty pageant] was kind of a crazy thing to do during a war," she told the Associated Press earlier this year. "But we tried to live a normal life. It was some kind of a defense mechanism we all had." According to the AP, Nogić ducked shells and snipers just to get to and from the contest with her crown.
In the years after U2's concert for Sarajevo, inter-ethnic aggressions would flare up again in the Balkan region. War erupted less than a year later in Kosovo, and though Sarajevo itself is flourishing today, the celebrated "normalcy" that 1997 wanted so desperately to usher in was fleeting at best. NATO forces would remain in Bosnia through 2004, and European Union peacekeepers are still stationed there today. Ethnic Croats, Serbs, and Bosnians still uncomfortably share territory, and many would prefer not to. As Aida Cerkez of the Associated Press puts it, "Everybody [still] wants what they wanted back in 1992. So Bosnia today is not at war, but certainly not at peace."
So today, maybe it's best to think of U2's historic concert as just a kind gesture for a long-suffering people. PopMart didn't undo the horrors of war or bring long-lasting peace to Bosnia so much as it brought a happy distraction to some people who'd been through a lot.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How The Edge Created a Classic Guitar Sound

Not many people can boast about being in the same band for thirty-five years, with the same three guys you met in school. But that is the case for Dave Evans, or The Edge as he is more commonly known. The U2 guitarist started playing with Bono, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton while at the Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin, Ireland. The four pretty much learned to play their instruments after forming the band. The Edge and his brother Dick, who initially played with the band, had actually built their own guitar that they would take turns playing. It took a while for The Edge to develop what is now the classic U2 guitar sound. In the beginning his playing style was more blues-rock oriented, like that of fellow Irishman Rory Gallagher, which can be heard in the early U2 song “Street Mission,” that was scrapped before time came to record their first album.

The Edge would acquire the first piece of the puzzle to his guitar sound when he went on vacation with his family to New York City in 1978. He ended up buying a 1976 Gibson Explorer Limited Edition. The Edge paid $248.40 for the Explorer (there's a picture of the receipt in U2's autobiography U2 By U2), which was most likely a substantial amount of money for the young guitarist in those days. But today it's safe to say that it is a priceless instrument, considering its significance in creating U2's sound and it's use on countless recordings.

When The Edge put up his 1975 cream Gibson Les Paul for auction in 2007 it brought in $240,000, and while that guitar had been used by him on tour since 1985 it still does not even come close in terms of importance to the U2 sound, since the Explorer was around from the very beginning. The Edge talked about buying the guitar, and his band mates reaction to the instrument in the BBC series The Story of the Guitar: “I just picked it up in the store and it felt so great, this is it. I actually went in to buy, I think I was going to buy a Les Paul, but I just fell in love with this guitar. I brought it back and I was slightly's a little strange looking...are the guys in the band gonna look at it and go 'what?'...there's a few strange looks for the first day, but everyone just loved the sound of it. I think it became like a signature look, no one else was playing Explorers at that point, and so quite soon it became the thing we were famous for. Apart from a few other things obviously.”

The Explorer has taken a bit of a beating from all its years on the road, with one particularly nasty accident, as told by The Edge in The Story of the Guitar “It's had a few accidents over the years. This happened in Radio City about the mid eighties. We were playing a show and the bouncers were particularly heavy in the venue, and there were some kids in the front getting pummeled. So I actually threw the guitar off, sort of to intervene, and stopped it. Bono stopped the show and we got it sorted out, but I came back, picked the guitar up and the head was hanging off. It was totally broken...We got it repaired. I'm not sure it has affected the sound, I couldn't tell the difference when I got it back.” But the repair is quite visible on the back of the neck, since the replacement piece of wood is newer, and has assumed a different color over the years.

The Edge still use his original Explorer to this day, but it has now been relieved from touring duties, and is only used in the studio, explains Dallas Schoo, The Edge's guitar tech, in an interview with MusicRadar: “We finally retired it. It's such an important guitar for recording that I finally convinced him to leave it home. Nothing serious ever happened to it, but it's spent years in the sun, getting rained on - outdoor shows do that. I wanted to nip things in the bud while I could.”

But if you thought any 1976 Explorer would do, you'd be sorely mistaken, as Schoo explains: “The right ones are hard to find because Gibson had two different Explorers in production that year. The ones that were produced from June through December had a thin neck, but the models that were produced during the first part of that year had a thick baseball bat neck. Those are the ones Edge prefers. Gibson didn't make many of them, only about 1800 of them or so, and people hang on to them.”

The second piece of the puzzle in creating the classic U2 sound came in the form of an echo unit. The Edge got himself an Electro Harmonix Memory Man Deluxe, a delay pedal that allows you to modulate the original tone with a chorus or vibrato effect. Edge experimented with different delay intervals, and changing the modulation of the original tone. The one most closely associated with the U2 sound is perhaps the dotted eight-note delay heard in “Pride (In The Name of Love)” and “I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.”

Since it is quite tricky to set a specific delay time on the Memory Man, The Edge would switch to using two Korg SDD-3000 digital rack processors instead sometime in the mid eighties, later also incorporating the TC Electronic 2290 Digital Delay. He has two processors since some of U2's songs, like for example “Where The Streets Have No Name” use two parallel delays with different delay times.

The final piece of the puzzle for that early U2 sound came in the form of the amplifier The Edge has been using for decades. It's a 1964 VOX AC30 Top Boost chassis in a 1970s cabinet. The Edge would stay with this signature sound, or variations thereof, for all of U2's recordings during the 1980s. During the nineties The Edge and the rest of U2 felt the need to reinvent their sound to great success, especially on their 1991 album Achtung Baby. But The Edge has since returned to the classic delay driven AC30 sound on some songs on the albums All That You Can't Leave Behind and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb - guess you really shouldn't mess too much with a good thing.

Daniel Eriksson

Rushdie: How Bono annoyed the gardai by taking me for a pint!

The writer Salman Rushdie reveals some of the high jinks he got up to on his jaunts to Ireland during his notorious fatwa where he and his wife Elizabeth stayed in Killiney with U2 star Bono.

"There was," he writes in a memoir, "a beautiful little guest house at the bottom of the Hewson's garden with CinemaScope views of Killiney Bay. Guests were encouraged to sign their names and scribble messages or drawings on the bathroom wall."

He adds that on that sojourn to Ireland then President Mary Robinson received him in Aras an Uachtarain and "sat twinkly eyed and silent" while Rushdie spoke. "She said little," Rushdie claims, "but murmured: 'It's no sin to listen.'"

The fatwa encouraged Muslims to kill Rushdie because they claimed his book The Satanic Verses was blasphemous.

Later at Trinity College during a small drinks party, after a 'Let In the Light' free-speech conference, a "small sturdy woman" approached Rushdie to say that because he opposed Section 31 "you have removed all danger to yourself from us".

"I see," said Rushdie. "Who's us?"

"You know fockin' well who we are," she answered.

"After being given his free pass by the IRA" -- but not alas by the Ayatollah Khomeini -- two days later Rushdie was smuggled out by Bono to a bar in Killiney without telling the garda protection squad, "and for half an hour" Rushdie was "giddy with the unexpected freedom of it and maybe thanks to the unprotected Guinness too".

When the most infamous author on the planet and the most famous singer in the world returned to the Hewson home later, the gardai looked at the U2 frontman with "mournful accusation but forbore to speak harsh words to their country's favourite son".

In the course of the 636-page Joseph Anton (his nom de plume) Rushdie doesn't refer once to the story printed by the Sunday Independent columnist Terry Keane in 1998 -- a story that was taken up by media all over the world that Bono sheltered the hunted author at his house for five years in secret. In his 2002 book of essays Step Across The Line, Rushdie did, however, mention it: "A couple of years ago, for example, a front-page Irish press report confidently announced that I had been living in the folly -- the guest house with a spectacular view of Killiney Bay that stands in the garden of Bono's Dublin home -- for four whole years!" he writes.

In the new memoir, Salman is expansive about how his relationship with Bono grew. In 1993 when U2's Zooropa tour landed at London's Wembley stadium Bono rang him personally to ask him to make an appearance onstage. "U2 wanted to make a gesture of solidarity," Rushdie writes.

"Amazingly," he recalls, "Special Branch did not." Rushdie took his teenage son, Zafar, who watched the show with him waiting for dad's big moment. When Rushdie stood up to go back stage, Zafar told him: "Dad, don't sing." Rushdie said he didn't see why not. "It's quite a good backing band, this Irish band, and there are 80,000 people out here."

"You don't understand," said Zafar, "if you sing I'll have to kill myself." He didn't sing but he did tell Bono onstage, dressed as MacPhisto in horns, "real devils don't wear horns".

A few days after the concert in England, Rushdie writes: "Bono called, talking about wanting to grow as a writer. In a rock group the writer just became a sort of conduit for the feelings in the air, the words didn't drive the work, the music did, unless you came from a folk tradition like Dylan, but he wanted to change. Would you sit down and talk about how you work? He sounded hungry for mind food and for what he called just a good row."

Bono, he says, also offered him the use of his house in the south of France. "He offered friendship."

The two ended up collaborating on a song called The Ground Beneath Her Feet. Rushdie had sent Bono his novel of that name and Bono put melodies to it. Rushdie writes that Bono wanted him to go to Dublin so he could play the song for him. A few weeks later Rushdie did go to Ireland: Paul McGuinness's bolthole in Annamoe, Co Wicklow, where Bono apparently "made" Rushdie go and sit in his car and listen to the demo CD there. Rushdie said he liked it but "Bono kept playing it to be sure" Rushdie wasn't "bullshitting".

And when at last Rushdie said he was sure, Bono said: "Let's go in the house and play it to everyone else."

Maybe there's no one better placed than Rushdie to know that you have to suffer for your art.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


U2 have co-funded a new Cork music programme that could create the stars of the future.
Music Generation Cork City, a new programme to bring music to youngsters who may never otherwise have had an opportunity to play instruments or learn musical skills, begins in nine city schools this month.
The programme is designed to create greater access to music for children living in the city’s four RAPID areas — parts of the city deemed to be in need of better services.
These areas include Knocknaheeny, Hollyhill, Churchfield, Blackpool, The Glen, Mayfield, Fair Hill, Gurranabraher, Farranree, Togher and Mahon.
A total of 1.2m will be spent on rolling out the three-year project — half of which was raised locally by the city council, the HSE, local third-level colleges and other State agencies.
This is then matched by the programme’s national donors, U2 and The Ireland Funds — a group of overseas donors who have  links to Ireland.
The programme will initially be open to 500 children in seven primary schools and two secondary schools and will later be expanded to work with youth and community groups.

Bono and Edge: Out and About

Bono attends Festival of Urban Art in Sandyford

Bono, and Ali attended the Festival of Urban Art organized in Sandyford. There were two principle themes, urban art, and landscape, with top artists from Croatia, Ireland, Denmark, England and Australia participating.

BONO and The Edge turned up for the opening night of the new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar on Sunday.
The new Superstar, which features Melanie C, Chris Moyles and Tim Minchin, kicked off at the o2 Arena in London before heading off around the country.
Tim, who plays Judas, tweeted: “So Bono & The Edge seem to love Jesus Christ Superstar.”
The U2 men are fans of musicals, though their first attempt to write one, for Spider Man on Broadway, was problematic.
A stage play using U2 classics could be great, they should see if Andrew fancies a collaboration

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: (FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE IN CONNECTION WITH THIS STORY) In this handout photo provided by Dundas Communications, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and U2's Bono and The Edge pose with Julian Ovenden, Rosalie Craig and director Rob Ashford at the opening night of Harvey Weinstein's new musical 'Finding Neverland' at The Curve theatre on September 22, 2012 in Leicester, England.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22:   Bono and The Edge pose with Julian Ovenden, Rosalie Craig and director Rob Ashford at the opening night of Harvey Weinstein's new musical 'Finding Neverland' at The Curve theatre on September 22, 2012 in Leicester, England.

These two have an extraordinary busy life!!!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mexico Honours Bono

Bono with Mexican President during 360º Tour

The Mexican government has  announced that they have given Bono the Order of the Aztec Eagle (Condecoración del Aguila Azteca); this is the highest award given to foreigners in that country.

In this case it has to do with Bono`s humanitarian work for boosting campaigns to raise awareness in the fight against poverty and preventable diseases in poor areas of the world, especially Africa.

This award will be given this month in New York.

(Translation: ours)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dublin Museum seeks rare U2 items for new exhibit

The Little Museum of Dublin is seeking U2 memorabilia relating to the band's history for a permanent exhibition in Dublin.
Rare photographs, posters, set-lists, and T-shirts are among items sought by the Little Museum of Dublin on Stephen's Green.

The non-profit museum decided to set up a permanent U2 exhibition after a record number of visitors came to an exhibition of photographs which opened in May.

"We've had people coming from as far away as Greece and Italy. The response has been incredible," museum director Trevor White told the Irish Independent.

The former publisher believes it's high time Dublin had a museum to celebrate U2.

"We envisage a place where fans can see memorabilia from throughout U2's career. But we need help from the public" added Mr White.

Members of the public with rare U2 memorabilia should contact Simon O'Connor at

- Ken Sweeney

Irish Independent

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Patti Smith Honors her Heroes at Monaco

Monaco : Patti Smith honore ses héros - 18422514.jpg

 Patti Smith perfromed at  l' opera Garnier to a  small  audience of 500 people which  included  several members of the royal family, as well as Bono and The Edge, U2 inseparable leaders, neighbors and Smith`s fans .

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bono: Evolution over the Years

Excellent work found in U2France. The many faces of Bono throughout the years...Enjoy it!!!

Copyrights belongs to

Friday, September 14, 2012

Larry at the Toronto International Film Festival 2012

If we were wondering where on earth Larry was, here is the answer: at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Here he is in the after party of the movie "Love Marilyn".

Last year the U2`s documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim was part of the festival. In that occasion, Bono , Edge and Guggenheim were seen in Toronto. Is Larry seeking a career in movies? He has already starred "Man on the Train"...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Adam Spotted in Brazil

Nobody knew the whereabouts of Adam until he was spotted in Brazil ... at the airport when he was about to leave!!!

It`s his third time in that country on holidays. According  to Adam had been seen in a restaurant at Sao Paulo and on 11th some lucky fans met him at the airport when he was waiting for his flight . As usual, he let them take pictures and commented he liked the place very much and would like to come oftener. The fans reported he was kind and gentleman-like. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Edge The Edge attends The Mario Batali Foundation Inaugural Honors Dinner at Del Posto Ristorante on September 9, 2012 in New York City.

The Edge attended The Mario Batali Foundation Inaugural Honors Dinner at Del Posto Ristorante on September 9, 2012 in New York City.
Other special guests were President Clinton, Michael Stipe, Stanley Tucci, Jimmy Fallon

The Mario Batali Foundation was established to feed, protect, educate and empower children, encouraging them to dream big while providing them with the necessary tools to become an active force for change in today's world. In an effort to do so, the MBF strives to ensure all children are well read, well fed and well cared for.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ali's still the sweetest thing 30 years on . . .

Bono and Ali on their wedding day in 1982
Bono and Ali on their wedding day in 1982

'She was the hottest chick in the class -- everyone fancied her. He was already a rock star to us -- everyone envied him. Even then, they made such a sweet couple."

Neil McCormick is reminiscing about his school days in Mount Temple Comprehensive in Dublin in the late 1970s, and specifically about the early courtship of two of his closest friends, Ali Hewson and her husband of 30 years, Bono.

McCormick -- author of the book, I Was Bono's Doppelganger, which was adapted as the movie, Killing Bono -- says he is not surprised the pair's enduring marriage is regarded as one of the strongest in the business.

"Take away the rock star thing, and you've simply got two people who are devoted to each other and hugely respectful of each other.

"Ali is a very strong person -- you'd have to be if you're going to be with someone as forceful and passionate as Bono. He's an intense, wild character at heart, and will be the first to admit to having an ego when he's on stage. But on a one-to-one level, he's got such humility and he cares deeply about other people. Ali has that too, in spades."

The pair celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary at the weekend in a field in Laois. They flew to the Electric Picnic festival by helicopter and were standing at the side of the stage while another old school friend, Gavin Friday, dedicated to them his most celebrated song, 'Angel'.

That their marriage has survived in the notorious world of rock, with its myriad temptations has long been commented on.

Adi Roche, the founder of Chernobyl Children's International, is also a close friend of the couple. She has known them for the best part of 20 years, after Ali agreed to front a documentary she was making on the fall-out of the horrific nuclear explosion in Belarus. Ali is now on the board of the charity.

"They're both incredibly compassionate people," she says.

"Just look at the campaigning work they have done over the years. Ali has been there to support Bono with his debt reduction and Aids campaigns and he's been fully supportive of her Chernobyl work. But knowing his own fame, he has been careful not to hog the spotlight when it comes to her work.

"Ali doesn't seek publicity and prefers to work without fanfare. And, let me tell you, she hasn't been afraid to get her hands dirty -- she drove an ambulance to Chernobyl and has put her own health in danger by visiting parts of the country that were most badly affected by radiation. She's earned her stripes."

A loose relation of the colourful Dublin discount retailer, Hector Grey, Ali -- born Alison Stewart in Raheny, Dublin, in 1961 -- grew up wanting to be a nurse. Like several other children of northside Protestant families, she attended the progressive Mount Temple school on the Malahide Road.

She and Bono, who hailed from a working-class Church of Ireland family in Ballymun, started seeing each other in late 1975, when she was just 14. Bono, a year older than Ali, suffered the trauma of his mother's death the previous year and he subsequently cited the fledgling relationship with the soft-spoken, brown-eyed girl as a pivotal part of his recovery.

The two were inseparable and their bond was strengthened by a deep-rooted Christianity. "That faith is still very strong today," Neil McCormick says. "They still go to church of a Sunday. It still informs Bono's songwriting."
Bono and Ali celebrated 30 years together this summer.
Bono and Ali celebrated 30 years together this summer

The couple married on August 31, 1982 in the All Saints Church of Ireland church in Raheny. It was a comparatively big showbiz story at the time -- U2 had released two albums and were considered one of the Irish bands most likely to make it internationally. Much of the material on their 1983 breakthrough album, War, had already been written.

As the 1980s wore on and U2 became the world's biggest band, Ali's support for her husband never wavered, although she deliberately kept a low profile during this period. She studied sociology and political science at UCD and finished her degree in 1989, just two weeks after giving birth to Jordan, the first of their four children.

The following decade saw her embrace charity work alongside Adi Roche, but her main focus was motherhood. In an interview with Weekend Review earlier this year, her second daughter Memphis Eve spoke about her grounded upbringing and insisted that her parents tried to raise her as normally as possible.

"Ali and Bono did not spoil the children," Roche says.

"They were brought up with strong values. They're lovely, and very grounded and they have their parents' capacity for kindness in spades."

Roche would see such kindness for herself during the 1997 presidential election, in which she stood as a candidate.

"My husband and I couldn't afford to travel from Cork to Dublin every day. It was Ali who invited us to come and live with her and Bono and the children in their house in Killiney and we were there for over two months."

It is a sign of Ali's level-headedness, as is the couple's intriguing long- running custom of spending time apart in the days immediately after a tour concludes so Bono can come down to earth after the highs of life on the road. He usually stays in a hotel.

Outside of U2, Bono has long had an entrepreneurial streak -- from co-ownership of Dublin's Clarence Hotel to investment in Facebook -- but it's only in the past decade that Ali has revealed herself to be a business risk-taker in her own right.

She is the founder of two companies: the ethically minded, Africa-made designer label, Edun, and Nude Skincare, whose key selling point is its environmentally friendly ingredients.

"Both these companies are very good fits for Ali because she has long been both fashion-conscious and an advocate of fair trade and environmental matters," says an associate.

Yet, beautiful wives of world-famous rock stars aren't immune from financial hits, and this week Edun reported loses of €6.8m.

"Having a conscience and paying extra for clothes that are made ethically is all well and good when times are good," says a Dublin-based fashion writer who admires Ali's sense of style. "But, frankly, that goes out the window in a recession.

"And, although their hearts are in the right place, I thought it was very distasteful of Bono and Ali to appear in that Louis Vuitton shoot from Africa a couple of years ago. They've been raising awareness about poverty and injustice in that continent for years, and there they were, photographed with high-end LV luggage beside a private plane."

It's a conundrum the pair have to confront daily. Although passionate about several worthy causes, they live lives of untold luxury -- with palatial homes in Dublin, the south of France and New York.

And the decision in 2006 for U2 to move their tax affairs to Holland to maximise the band's income hasn't sat well with those who feel that such outspoken campaigners should be above such -- perfectly legal -- manoeuvres.

Still, such thoughts are unlikely to have troubled Bono and Ali as they listened to Gavin Friday serenade them last weekend. Their thoughts may well have gone back to a very different Ireland when they first set eyes on each other across a busy secondary school classroom.

- John Meagher


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Flashback: U2 Perform on Ireland's 'Late Late Show' in 1980

'The band for the future' a year before their first album.


The Eighties were only five days old when U2 appeared on Ireland's Late Late Show to perform their new song "Stories for Boys." The band's debut LP, Boy, wouldn't hit stores for another 10 months, and their first single, "Another Day," wasn't even out yet. They did have a three-song EP called Three on sale in Ireland, and that was enough to get them a slot on the popular late-night show.

Journalist John McKenna gave them a freakishly prescient introduction. "What can I say about these titans among rock & rollers?" he said. "The band for the future – the Eighties or Nineties, who knows? U2!"

His words may not be as memorable as Jon Landau's "I've seen rock & roll future" line about Bruce Springsteen, but it's still quite remarkable when you look back upon it. Just two months after this appearance U2 were signed to Island Records. That same month, they met with Joy Division producer Martin Hannett about possibly producing Boy. By a crazy cosmic coincidence, they happened to visit during the "Love Will Tear Us Apart" recording session. They wound up working with Steve Lillywhite, who they've worked with (off and on) for the past three decades.

But in January of 1980 not a lot of people were calling U2 the band of the Eighties, let alone the Nineties. John McKenna did, and we take our hats off to him.

Peter Neill : An unexpected journey

Peter Neill - Music Photographer

Book preview


The first edition, a limited collectors edition of my photobook is now available.
Called "An unexpected journey" it is a visual memoir of his experience photographing U2
as well as providing some insight into  Concert Photography and its unique challenges.

It is a book with beautiful print quality and a few extras than the non-limited edition will not have.

1) The first page of each copy of the limited edition will be customised for each buyer.
A total of 150 copies of the limited edition are available.

2) The limited edition will be signed and numbered by the photographer himself.

3) The limited edition will include a CD with a selection of High Res shots from the Book.

For more information:

The price comes to £125 for this limited edition including worldwide delivery.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Inspiration Of The Year: Sir Salman Rushdie

Bono presented Salman Rushdie the GQ Men of the Year award 2012

This time last September, Rushdie found himself presenting a GQ Men Of The Year award to his friends U2, talking about meeting Bono during the Achtung Baby tour. This time around one of Britain's most controversial novelists finds himself on the podium. Never hesitant to speak out, Rushdie has shown again why he remains a remarkable literary voice - whether speaking out on American national security, debating press censorship at literary or having a casual pop at Kim Kardashian's nuptials on Twitter, he's still one of the most incisive voices out there.
However, Rushdie's biggest triumphs of 2012 are still to come: firstly, director Deepa Mehta will adapt his classic novel Midnight's Children for the big screen this autumn and secondly this year's most eagerly anticipated literary memoir, Joseph Anton, the story of Rushdie's decade in hiding following the fatwa, will be unveiled in September. As vital and provocative as ever.

He says: "After presenting an award last year, it's nice to be on the receiving end!"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Ali Hewson is naturally curious. It’s what drives her. But it’s disconcerting trying to interview someone who wants to ask all the questions. As we sit in a hotel suite in New York, where Ali and business partner Bryan Meehan are presenting their revamped skincare line, NUDE, she wants to ask all about me. “Oh you moved here to New York did you? Where do you live?” she asks, eyes alert and friendly behind heavy black spectacles, all in a dancing Dublin lilt. The thing is, we are in a hurry. Her husband is coming to pick her up.

That husband, of course, is Bono; the boy who made her laugh when she was twelve and the man with whom she celebrated her thirtieth wedding anniversary this August. His car is imminent, it’s the end of the day, but Ali is charm itself, fluent about the merits of her skincare line and why it has been updated.

“Well, if you are conscious of what you are eating and what you are wearing, you have got to be conscious of what you are putting on your skin every day,” she explains earnestly. “We wanted to make a natural skincare line and, although there were plenty of them around, none were active in anti-ageing or feeding your skin. We wanted to make skincare that was pro-active.”

Her inspiration came from omega oils and probiotics, healthy bacteria found naturally in the skin and the LVMH group was so impressed, it bought a 70% share of NUDE last year. “They were so excited about the formula and re-formulated it with us. So now, this is ‘super NUDE’,” Ali exclaims, proudly passing me bottles. The packaging has also been given an overhaul. “You want to have beautiful things in your bathroom. After all, it’s a luxury to live in a part of the world where you use skin creams.”

I can’t help but notice Ali’s skin is translucent and quite flawless, so much so, I worry she that she has succumbed to needle intervention until, to my relief, her forehead moves. Instead, I suspect she did a deal with a high SPF factor at an early age because, at 51, she looks a dozen years younger. She wears steep platform shoes and a black dress by House of Dagmar, a small Swedish brand. “I’m not wearing Edun, which is sad,” she sighs.

Inspiration for Edun, her fashion line, “came out of buying for my children and not wanting to buy clothes made by someone else’s children, made with despair.” As an early ethical label, Edun has been a roaring success and now shows at New York Fashion Week. Is Ali ever temped to design herself? “That is not something I have training for, although I do love to watch the process as much as possible.”

Does she have any style icons? “I like to look simple relaxed and uncomplicated. But you would die if you saw the state of my closet: most of my clothes are 20 years old and I hate shopping with a passion.” But she does adore clothes, often buying online. “I love Vivienne Westwood and the
way she hits the female form, though there is nothing uncomplicated, simple and relaxed about her clothes!” As for her enviable figure? “I try not to eat anything out of a packet. Fresh food seems to give more energy but, like most women, my weakness is chocolate.” What exercise does she do? “Mainly yoga. I don’t normally get the chance to do it with an instructor so I have a guide, a little piece of paper.” It’s rather sweet to imagine Ali in her hotel room in eagle pose scored from a cheat sheet.

Ali and Bono – or Paul Hewson – started going out long before U2 was conceived or became successful. Alison Stewart, as she was then, was born in Dublin in 1961 to a father who ran an electrical business and a stay-at-home mother, growing up alongside a younger brother who now lives in Australia. At school, she thought about becoming a pilot, nurse or vet. “I always knew I would see the world.” See it she has; and they are a close bunch, U2, which has been key to their success and stability as a band. “Nearly all our friends come from school, the whole band went to
secondary school together. I think maybe, as fame happened and the band became bigger, it was more important to hold onto friends who really liked you and really knew you.”


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bono turns tables on pal Gavin as Electric Picnic off to a hot start

Bono was a surprise addition to the Electric Picnic festival when it kicked off in brilliant sunshine yesterday.

Arriving by helicopter at 6.15pm, the U2 frontman wasn't performing but turned up to catch a set by his long-time friend Gavin Friday on the first day of the music and arts event.

For decades Friday has jetted around the globe as U2's 'special adviser', giving them notes about their live shows.

But last night the roles were reversed as Bono sized up the former Virgin Prune's performance on the main stage just after 7pm.

The only problem with having a superstar pal watching your show is that photographers' lenses were all trained on Bono watching from the mixing desk rather than on the stage.

Bono and his wife Ali watch their friend Gavin Friday
Edge, Bono and his wife Ali watch their friend Gavin Friday

Nevertheless, Gavin dedicated his song 'Angel' to Bono and his wife Ali who are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this month.

It was Bono's first visit to the Electric Picnic, which is now in its ninth year.

Guggi , ex-Virgin Prune together with Gavin, was present too