Friday, July 31, 2015

U2 teams with Paul Simon and performs a tribute to Lou Reed at Madison Square Garden

Thursday, July 30, 2015

U2 Concert Tour Special, Documentary Coming to HBO

U2 HBO specials

U2 and HBO are teaming up for two world premiere specials this fall — a behind-the-scenes documentary and a concert special.

The documentary, bowing on Nov. 7, will offer access to the rockers and the team behind their current iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE world tour, while also featuring interviews with the band, Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.

U2’s Nov. 14 performance from the Bercy Arena in Paris will be showcased in the concert special, which includes music from the band’s entire career, starting with the 1980 debut album “Boy” to their most recent “Songs of Innocence.”

“U2 continues to take risks, which has made them one of the most consistently exciting forces in rock ’n’ roll,” HBO president Michael Lombardo said Thursday. “The one-two combination of this documentary special, followed by the concert, will provide viewers with the ultimate look at this remarkable band behind the scenes and on the stage.”

The doc will uncover the creation of the tour with interviews with Willie Williams, who has conceptualized U2’s tours for more than 30 years; designer Es Devlin; production director Jake Berry; audio director Joe O’Herlihy; exec director Gavin Friday; set designer Ric Lipson; and more creative types who help bring the band’s music to life onstage.

Davis Guggenheim will exec produce and direct the doc along with U2’s manager Guy Oseary. Shannon Dill will serve as producer. The concert special hails from Done and Dusted with exec producers Hamish Hamilton, Simon Pizey, Guggenheim and Oseary. Hamilton, who has worked with U2 on collaborations including “Elevation: Live From Boston,” “U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle,” the “Beautiful Day” documentary, and “Vertigo in 2005: Live From Chicago,” will also direct the special.

U2’s iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE world tour kicked off May 14 in Vancouver and runs through November.

What nobody tells you about growing older ...

(Adapted from Deborah Lindsay Williams's article in

U2’s latest album is called Songs of Innocence, a title borrowed from William Blake, whose radical ideas frequently got him into trouble and whose genius was not fully recognised until well after his death in 1827. U2 seem pretty convinced about their own genius and although I’m sure that music critics no longer consider U2 to be “relevant”, I do know that the band made the 20,000 seat arena seem almost intimate.
As we left for the concert, my younger son told us that rock-and-roll is “music for old people”, and indeed, there were more than a few bald heads in the audience. The songs from this album seem of a piece with my own middle-aged musings about family, growing up and what the second half of a life can hold. U2’s music is embedded in my memories of growing up, from those days when people “bought albums” instead of downloaded songs and when a concert ticket set you back $30 (Dh110) instead of $200. That’s what my generation has instead of Proustian madeleines: snippets of rock lyrics that send us spinning back to our youth.
When I saw the Rolling Stones play in Abu Dhabi, I was amazed that men old enough to be my father had the stamina necessary for a rock show. Clearly, U2 must be working out with the same personal trainers.
Bono showed no signs of the intensive surgeries he had after his recent cycling accident – he never stopped moving. His scrupulously choreographed enthusiasm was infectious: the audience stayed on its feet the entire time, clapping and singing. Perhaps U2 has taken not only a title from William Blake but also inspiration: even on his deathbed (at the ripe old age of 69), Blake continued to write and draw and paint. I don’t know how Bono recovers between shows but both Blake and U2 remind me that there should be more to midlife than Panadol and sensible shoes. There will be inevitable aches and pains – my feet were killing me after two hours of concert-induced standing – but there needs to be singing and dancing and loud music, too.

Bono & Edge join Yoko Ono for inaugural 'John Lennon Day'

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Yoko Ono reveals her joy under the newly unveiled tapestry showing Manhattan as a giant yellow submarine with late Beatle at the helm, which was unveiled at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration during the city’s inaugural “John Lennon Day."

Yoko Ono,  Bono ,Edge  and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito marked the city’s inaugural “John Lennon Day” on Ellis Island Wednesday, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the day the Beatle got his green card. “They let him stay, and he is still here. Yoko, he is still here,” said Bono. Ono said that her “heart was crying” remembering her late husband, who battled to get his permanent residency and stay in New York after the U.S. government ordered him deported back to Britain over a pot possession plea.

“I remember how proud and happy he was” to be able to stay in the U.S., she said. “I’m sure John would have felt great to have a New York day.”

Ono recalled Lennon's fight against violence and hatred. She said he was a feminist before his time, taking their son Sean to Central Park every Sunday, and that now she thinks of him when she sees dads pushing strollers in the city.

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Ono, Bono, Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty and The Edge celebrate the 40th anniversary of the day the late Beatle got his green card on Ellis Island Wednesday.

"I just wish John was with us," she said. "Please be kind, be peaceful, and be loving."

The event, organized by Amnesty International, also celebrated Ono's gift of the rights to record cover versions of Lennon's post-Beatles songs to the human rights group, which has raised more than $5 million in royalties.

A tapestry showing Manhattan as a giant yellow submarine with Lennon at the helm — commissioned by Amnesty as a thank you to Ono — was donated to The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation for display at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration and unveiled Wednesday.

Mark-Viverito flashed a peace sign along with Bono, Ono and U2's The Edge in front of the tapestry after declaring July 29 “John Lennon Day” in New York City.

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Bono claimed John Lennon and the rest of The Beatles as Irish at a ceremony on Ellis Island off New York City to unveil a giant tapestry marking the 40th anniversary of the Liverpudlian singer getting his US green card.
Speaking in the presence of the former Beatle’s widow Yoko Ono, Bono evoked the famous image of Lennon holding up his two fingers in a peace sign on Ellis Island with the Statue of Liberty behind him.
“That’s why it is fitting to do this here, because John Lennon was an immigrant,” said Bono, before an audience that included U2 guitarist The Edge and Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International.

“He didn’t sail across the Atlantic in an ocean liner or a yellow submarine. He didn’t come in on a third-class ticket looking for a job in Hell’s Kitchen. He didn’t climb up out of steerage with all his potatoes in a single suitcase. But John Lennon was an immigrant all the same.”

Bono noted in his speech that the first immigrant through Ellis Island was Annie Moore from Cobh, Co Cork, who came through the door’s of the island’s immigration facility on New Year’s Day 1892. 

He referred to the Irish parentage of all four of the Beatles, describing Lennon as “one more Irish immigrant on an island full of Irish immigrants”.

“Let’s claim him, in fact let’s claim all the Beatles not as immigrants but as Irish,” he said to cheers from the crowd.

He paid tribute to Lennon, saying his music registered with him and The Edge growing up as teenagers in Dublin. Lennon offered words like All You Need Is Love to him and others “not as a balm but as a kind of dare”.

Give Peace A Chance – there’s another dare. Will we?” asked Bono.

Speaking of the day Lennon discovered he had been granted a green card, Ms Ono said “I heard his heart beating fast, I remember how proud he was.” To mark the date, the speaker of the New York City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito declared July 29th as “John Lennon Day”.

The tapestry has been donated to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation for display at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. The cost of the commission by New York-based Czech artist Peter Sis was covered by Bono, The Edge and music business impresario Jimmy Iovine.
This is the third tapestry to be commissioned by Mr Shipsey. An art piece honouring former Czech president Vaclav Havel, also by Sis, was unveiled in Prague and funded by Bono, The Edge, Peter Gabriel, Sting and Yoko Ono, while a tapestry by Sis dedicated to the late Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney hangs in Dublin Airport.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Amazing, Innovative “Innocence” Show

I can’t say U2 is taking it easy. Their “Innocence and Experience” show at MSG last night was about as exciting and innovative as you can get.
Of course, they could have called it “I’m Still Standing” as the entire floor of the Garden is General Admission– i.e. no seats. Three hours. If you go– and you must– wear sneakers and bring a cane!
Two nights ago, Paul and Nancy McCartney stood in one of the two VIP risers on the floor. McCartney, a great live show man, must have really soaked in how Bono et al re-designed the Garden in a way I’ve never seen for a rock show.
bono iphone
Last night the guests included Charlie Rose and Gayle King,actor Peter Sarsgaard, a bevy of models, designer Tory Burch, and AOL-Verizon chief Tim Armstrong.
The show, an interactive video extravaganza, turns the usual rock concert on its head. It’s at once grandly bombastic and simply intimate, with many stages running lengthwise cutting through the center of the venue. The staging reminded me a little of David Byrne’s Public Theater musical, “Here Lies Love.” Maybe that show was an influence. But it definitely relieves the rock band of the static notion of always being at one end of the stadium. Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry are able to move about freely through the giant room. And there’s no obstructed view– it’s rock in the round. Special kudos to the lighting designer.
The show also has nods– and I’m assuming pays royalties to– a variety of other composers including Patti Smith, Paul Simon, the Sex Pistols, Johnny Cash (who is literally the intermission entertainment, his animated image performing against the Berlin Wall), and Stephen Sondheim. Bono sort of knits together all of his favorite things– including the Irish troubles, Nelson Mandela, and the themes of freedom and equality.  U2’s “One” charity and “Red” products are also heavily promoted, in a good way.
The set included requisite U2 hits– “With or Without You,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”– as well as a bunch of cuts from the band’s latest album, “Songs of Innocence.”
The real achievement (aside from the financial– no seats and all standing means they can pack in more people) of this show is seeing how all four members of U2 function as one. Edge’s jangly guitar still sends goosebumps. Larry Mullen’s drums pound propulsively. But it was Adam Clayton’s bass that really caught my eye last night– it’s maybe key to U2’s trademark– and for some of us– brilliantly reassuring sound.
Bono remains a great show, gifted with gab and ceaseless energy, a sense of humor and that unmistakable voice. He has the heart of a crooner even when he’s belting over the sonic accompaniment of his three colleagues.

All photos c2015 Showbiz411 on a Lumix ZS20

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bono provides glasses for underprivileged with new charity campaign

NEW YORK - Bono, who has had problems with his own vision, is partnering with a company to provide better eye care to the underprivileged.

The "Buy Vision, Give Sight" campaign with eyewear brand Revo is designed to raise $10 million for screening, eyeglasses and other assistance to the impoverished. Revo will donate $10 for each pair of eyeglasses it sells, and the U2 frontman will introduce his own line of Revo sunglasses, which he's been wearing on U2's sold-out tour, in the fall.

Bono, who was diagnosed with glaucoma two decades ago, says his eyesight is OK now. But in a Thursday statement, he said "tens of millions of people around the world with sight problems don't have access to glasses, or even a basic eye test."

Friday, July 17, 2015

Jason D Rossi  chatted with The Edge and Adam Clayton from U2 backstage before last night shows. They talk about their love of Boston, why radio is the best place for music, how they snuck their latest album on your phone, and he gives them a reason to be a New England Patriots fan. –

Click here to listen to the interview.

Boston : 4 Nights to The Top

Night # 1:

The first of four nights in Boston,  and the band were welcomed as only Boston knows how,  like it was a 'hometown show' as Bono  put it.

He mentioned that they'd played the city 23 times, the first at The Paradise in 1980. 'It’s a lucky man who can consider more than one city his hometown'.

'Like perhaps no other rock band of its era,' reported the Patriot Ledger, 'U2 excels at that mystical quality where melding words and music achieve something infinitely more meaningful than the sum of its parts. It is art that hits you at a visceral level, so that even if you may not know exactly what they're singing about, you intrinsically feel everything they're singing about.
Last night, as U2 opened a four night stand at the TD Garden in Boston, the Irish quartet had all that and more, as the Innocence and Experience Tour adds a dazzling high tech video production to the mix that gave the 20,000 capacity crowd the impression they were not just sharing the band's story, but inside of it at times.'

 'I don’t want to ruin too much for those going to the shows later this week,' reported The Boston Herald.'But the set is a revelation. It’s anti-ZooTV tour and still mind-blowing. The band can wander from one end to the other of the arena, sometimes while inside a video wall that rises 40 feet in the air.'

Night #2:

'Are we family here or not? Are we going to get out of control or not? 
We were and we did.'

This was Boston, night two and as Bono put it, after a call and response version of I Will Follow, 'last night we had a great time but it turns out that it was just a warm up for tonight... 'cus we're in Boston, more Irish than any city in Ireland.'

Special moment in Bad  and special memories, channelling the spirit of Lou Reed with a Walk On The Wild Side and a Satellite of Love. Remembering  this Saturday thirty years ago:
'We found ourselves on a stage, Wembley Stadium, in London, and … Live Aid. We played this song… we never got to finish our set…Lou Reed was watching the television that day… he heard us singing. That concert went on to save many lives… and gave us extra purpose as a band.'

Night # 3:

This can’t be a Tuesday night. Can it? Thank you for sticking with us Boston.. 25 shows over the years. You’re still here and we appreciate that'.
'When we first came to your city, we were too young to get into your bars, and in fact nothing much has changed because The Edge was not allowed into a bar last night.
The Edge gets thrown out of a bar in Boston because he’s no I.D.
'They said they weren’t sure if he was under 30… now the funny thing is, that Larry actually got into the bar, they didn’t ask him for I.D. … so now he’s really upset… bands break up over this kind of stuff.'

Great vibe at the Garden for the first show of the new week in Boston, third of four and, unbelievable as it sounds, already three quarters through the first leg of this tour. This Boston run is proving another tour highlight.

'Anyway.. some things shouldn’t change, some things have to… we’re gonna take you on a journey… our journey… from innocence to experience… and hopefully, back again… this is a different show than anything we’ve done before.'

And it was, with more changes to the set list, notably with only the second airing on the tour of The Crystal Ballroom - one of the new songs of innocence that only appeared on the deluxe edition of the record. It was introduced with a tribute to Mike Love from The Beach Boys - in the house tonight -  Bono remembering carrying their albums to the first U2 rehearsals.

'Life begins with the first glance
The first kiss at the first dance
All of us are wondering why we’re here
In the crystal ballroom underneath the chandelier...'

Chloe was the beautiful dancer who was up on the 'e' stage for Mysterious Ways and to capture Desire for the 'Meerkat Moment'.
As she stepped down, Gretchen stepped up, singer in a local band who the band met on arrival at the venue earlier - and now playing guitar with Edge for All I Want Is You. 

Night #4 

'It's no secret that the stars are falling from the sky
It's no secret that our world is in darkness tonight...'

'WATCH MORE TV.' Final night in Boston and instead of an animated Johnny Cash performing The Wanderer when the band slip off stage between 'End Of The World' and 'Invisible', the screen was alive with that electrifying mash-up of aphorisms, truisms and cliches that could only mean the return of The Fly... set to a searing, thumping, Gavin Friday mix of the 1991 classic.  'CALL YOUR MOTHER'

'Thanks for the loan of your city for the last 10 days,' said Bono introducing Iris, 'I guess we have to hand it back to you at some point. It kind of feels like our city too. I hope we didn’t make too much of a mess.'
'I'm just trying to find a decent melody
A song that I can sing in my own company...'
Stuck In A Moment was back, only the fourth time out so far, followed by this.
'Your eyes were like landing lights
They used to be the clearest blue
Now you don’t see so well
The future’s gonna land on you...'
Volcano, back after missing eight shows and illustrating a set list that's getting more and more unpredictable - not least the songs with the band gathered on the 'e' stage.

Four nights should have been fourteen...' as Bono put it later on.

U2 lights up the Garden

U2 has always been inventive in its staging, but Friday night, in the first of four shows at the TD Garden, the Irish rock quartet seriously amped up the wow factor in a spectacular, in every sense, two-hour-plus show that included more than two dozen songs.

The brilliant setup included a runway that ran the length of the arena and ended in a small circular satellite stage that transformed the rear of the venue into the best seats in the house; an oval array of overhead speakers to more evenly distribute the sound; and, most stunning of all, a ginormous central video screen that ran the length of the runway complete with an interior catwalk that allowed the band members to play inside it as images were projected on the outside.

But all the glitz was, happily, upstaged by the music itself. Two and a half months into the tour for its latest album “Songs of Innocence” — which some may recall showing up unbidden in its iTunes as either a treat or a nuisance last September — the band is clearly in a groove and it brought the firepower Friday.

Frontman Bono was in especially good voice. Whether he was softly crooning the tender, exquisite new piano ballad “Every Breaking Wave” or belting out the sustained power notes of the still vibrant classic “Pride (In the Name of Love),” he was pitch perfect.

The currently blond singer was also his typically chatty outsized self, at times endearingly self-deprecating and others eye-rollingly self-serious, veering from preacher to pitchman to political firebrand to pop star in his inimitable way. He talked between songs about everything from the band’s earliest performances in Boston at the Paradise to shouting out to supporters — including Patriots QB Tom Brady — of his various charitable campaigns.

At one point he noted that he and drummer Larry Mullen Jr., guitarist the Edge, and bassist Adam Clayton like to think of playing Boston as a “hometown show” and the sellout crowd certainly gave them that kind of welcome whether they were reaching back 35 years to their debut album “Boy” for charged takes of “The Electric Co.” and “I Will Follow” or muscling through the brawny rhythms of the new “Raised by Wolves.”

The screen was used to great effect throughout the night for everything from live shots of the band to eye-popping video including Bono taking a virtual stroll through his childhood on “Cedwarwood Road” and “Song for Someone.”

A female fan was brought on stage to bust a few moves during “Mysterious Ways” and then enlisted to shoot video of the band on the Meerkat live streaming app — to varying degrees of success — during the always ecstatic “Elevation,” with the crowd pitching in to help with the soaring “whoo-ooo-ooh’’ refrain.

That was among several songs that got an audience boost as hearty singalongs also met a stripped back and oddly metered “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” the soaring “Beautiful Day,” slow burn brooder “With or Without You,” and an encore of “One,” which actually featured the audience as the primary vocalists.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Influences from a more abrasive era continue to shape U2's sound

U2 is not usually thought of as a punk band. But they came together in the punk era.

In 1978, the pioneering punk-rock band The Ramones performed in Dublin for the first time. And all four members of U2 were there.
Frontman Bono sang about that moment in "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)," the first track on the band's 2014 "Songs of Innocence" album, making it sound like a religious experience: "I woke up at the moment when the miracle occurred/Heard a song that made some sense out of the world."
U2 is not usually thought of as a punk band. But they came together in the punk era.
Punk rocker Joey Ramone, top right, of The Ramones, was a heavy influence on the music of U2, says the band's frontman, Bono.
"The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)" is also the customary opening song on the band's Innocence + Experience Tour, which comes to Madison Square Garden in The Ramones' hometown, New York, for eight shows beginning Saturday.
It was Ramone's commitment to his material, despite its simplicity, that impressed Bono most. "This was a really important moment in the last 25 years," he wrote in a 2001 Time magazine eulogy for Ramone, who died of lymphoma at the age of 49, "because suddenly imagination was the only obstacle to overcome. Anyone could play those four chords. … You have to be able to hear it more than you have to be able to play it. Suddenly, the grasp becomes more important than the reach."
Or, as U2 bassist Adam Clayton said in his induction speech when the group entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, "We didn't know the blues or soul or R&B or country but we did know that together we had a chance to change the world by making a noise. This was punk and it saved [me]."
U2 is not usually thought of as a punk band. But they came together in the punk era. They cite punk icons such as The Clash and Patti Smith, as well as The Ramones, as primary influences; on the current tour, they have been inserting portions of The Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen" and The Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" into their own songs.
Looking over the course of their consistently non-conformist career, you could argue that they are not just a punk band, but are, in fact, the ultimate punk band.
The popular notion of punk, of course, is that it's abrasive and nihilistic (two qualities that don't fit U2). And some of it is, of course. But punk is not just that. It's about staying true to yourself, no matter what the consequences are, and not letting anything — the judgment of others, or your own insecurities or artistic limitations — keep you from saying what's on your mind.
And U2, over the past 35 years, has done those things as well as anyone.
Though other bands — most, notably, perhaps, Coldplay — have been influenced by their music, U2 has never really been part of any movement. Especially when they first emerged internationally, in the early '80s, there was no one like them — dead serious, politically outspoken, almost messianic in their intensity. Then, after they got huge, they got weird and experimental in the '90s, adding electronic beats and modern pop-culture references to their music, and making their tours into big, arty spectacles. (Remember the giant lemon of the 1997-98 PopMart Tour?)
Even now, they're taking chances, and occasionally suffering the consequences. When "Songs of Innocence" came out in September, it was automatically added, at no charge, to all personal iTunes libraries throughout the world. Some felt the move was arrogant and invasive. In an interview with Los Angeles radio station KROQ, Bono defended it by saying "the punk rock thing to do is annoy people and get in their faces."
Another thing that separates U2 from everyone else is the band's unity. From Day One, it has always been Bono, Clayton, The Edge on guitar and Larry Mullen Jr. on drums, and all four credited as co-writers. It's unprecedented in rock history for a band to be around for so long and accomplish so much with absolutely no lineup changes.
But that goes back to punk, too. "We were a band before we could play," wrote Bono in the Time eulogy for Joey Ramone. "We formed our band around an idea of friendship and shared spirit. That was a preposterous notion before The Ramones."
U2's all-for-one, one-for-all philosophy makes them a throwback to a time when musicians were all essential to the band's sound, and more interested in helping their bands succeed than launching their solo careers. (Inducting U2 to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bruce Springsteen cleverly called them "the last band of whom I would be able to name all of its members.") But though they are respectful of rock history — 1988's "Rattle and Hum" in particular, with its Beatles and Bob Dylan covers and its B.B. King collaboration, was an ardent embrace of it — they have always, primarily, looked forward instead of back.
And that's an important lesson for young rock bands of today, none of whom could play eight shows over two weeks at Madison Square Garden. You can make some money by imitating other successful bands or catering your sound to Top 40 radio. But it's nearly impossible to build a long-term career that way.
It's not totally these young bands' fault, of course. Rock doesn't dominate the world of popular music the way it once did: Pop, country and hip-hop all seem to offer easier roads to commercial success. (It's the likes of Taylor Swift and One Direction and Jason Aldean who are doing most of the big shows this summer, though admittedly some rock acts, including AC/DC and the Foo Fighters, are still filling huge venues, too).
But the first step, always, has to be creating something — a sound, a sensibility, an attitude — of your own. Having a long list of hits doesn't hurt, but the thing that is most responsible for ensuring that a U2 tour will be successful is the band's uniqueness. Their stubborn, punk-like, sometimes obnoxious but more often inspiring uniqueness.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Larry Mullen speaks about his return to U2 following the death of his father

larry mullen
RETURN:U2 drummer Larry Mullen performs onstage during the U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour opener in Vancouver at Rogers Arena on May 14, 2015 in Vancouver
U2 DRUMMER Larry Mullen has opened up about the death of his beloved dad just days before the band’s world tour kicked off in May — insisting the “circus” had to go on despite his loss.
Larry (53) jetted back to Ireland from rehearsals in Vancouver in Canada for the funeral of his dad Larry Sr, from Artane in Dublin, who passed away suddenly at age 92 at the Bons Secours Hospital in the capital.
But grieving Larry Jr then had to dash back to Canada just in time for the opening of U2’s Innocence and Experience Tour to go ahead as planned.
“It’s part of life. It happens,” Larry said.
“We’re circus people. That’s what we do. We just get on with it.”
He said his only regret was that his dad never got to see the new tour.
LEGENDS: U2 perform erform onstage during the U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour opener in Vancouver [Wireimage]
LEGENDS: U2 perform erform onstage during the U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour opener in Vancouver [Wireimage]
“The only regret I have is that he’s not going to see this show because he would enjoy it,” he said.
“I’m proud of his involvement and proud of him. And I know he was proud of me. It’s all good.”
Larry’s mum Maureen was killed in a car crash in 1976, when the star was 15, but his dad was survived by his second wife Alice and Larry Jr’s sister Cecilia.
Larry continued to live with his dad after the death of his mum — but he has admitted that he and Bono, who also lost his mother at an early age, both found another “family” in U2.
Bono’s dad Bob Hewson passed away in 2001 during the band’s Elevation tour.
Bandmate Adam Clayton lost his mother Jo shortly after the band’s 360 tour ended in June 2011 while The Edge’s mother Gwenda Evans died in June 2012.

Rectify - Now Online: U2 Short Film “Song for Someone” With Woody Harrelson – SundanceTV

SundanceTV is now hosting the world premiere of the short film “Song for Someone,” featuring the eponymous song by U2 off their current album Songs of Innocence (Interscope).

Directed by Vincent Haycock, cinematography by Steve Annis and produced by Pete Vitale & Park Pictures, “Song for Someone” features Woody Harrelson as a man being released from prison after years of incarceration and features his daughter Zoe Harrelson. The piece thematically links to RECTIFY, SundanceTV’s Peabody award-winning series that follows the story of Daniel Holden and his family as they struggle to move forward after Daniel’s release from 19 years on death row.

Click here to watch the video:

Rectify - Now Online: U2 Short Film “Song for Someone” With Woody Harrelson – SundanceTV

U2 interview

Matty in the Morning Show in Massachusetts on KISS 108.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

U2 in Toronto:"The desire to communicate on an equal basis with our audience"

One night after bringing an entire U2 tribute band onstage to perform "Desire," Bono plucked a young woman named Stephanie from the audience at Toronto's Air Canada Center Tuesday night and let her play acoustic guitar on "Angel of Harlem." It's almost unheard of for a fan to get a second song, but she told Bono she wanted to play "All I Want Is You." After proving her knowledge of the chords, the band launched into it, with Bono sprinkling in bits of Van Morrison's "Into The Mystic" at the end.

U2 have been bringing fans onstage to play guitar and sing since the 1980s, but never with the regularity of this tour. "What was at the heart of punk rock for us was the desire to communicate on an equal basis with your audience," Bono told Rolling Stone days before the tour began, "meaning there's no division between you and the people that come to see you."

When the group began set closer "With or Without You" a few songs later, many hardcore fans near the front held up signs that read "Shine Like Stars," referring to a rarely-used coda to the tune that Bono used in the Rattle and Hum movie. This tour hasn't featured the extra lyrics a single time, but Bono delighted the fans by breaking them out.

Special guests influenced numerous songs in the set. With Dave Grohl in the audience, Bono sang a snippet of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at the end of "The Electric Co." The show closed with "One," which Bono dedicated to former President of Israel Shimon Peres, who also attended the show.

The American leg of the Innocence and Experience Tour heads to Boston for a four-night run on Friday before wrapping up with eight concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden. The group will then head to Europe for the remainder of the year.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


'Wherever you are, from the Pride Parade all the way to the 4th of July, the Irish are with you and your families. We are with you. '

Final night in Chicago and what a run it's been. 'The end of an 'incredible ten days' as Bono put it, and surrender was again the big idea, the band surrendering to the 'good people of Chicago', the good people to the good music.

Two songs played only sparingly on the tour to date.

'I try to sing this song
I, I try to get in
But I can't find the door
The door is open
You're standing there, you let me in...'

Gloria was unexpected and breathtaking, only its second performance in ten years. 
Then, later, this, written thirty years on.

'That’s how I know 
And why I need to know that there is no end to love
All I know and all I need to know is there is no end to love..'

California sounded beautiful on the 'e' stage, caught between Mysterious Ways and Ordinary Love, a song Bono introduced like this...

'Ok so this song is a special song to us. I was speaking earlier about the man it was written about, we were blessed in our life to get to know and spend some time with Nelson Mandela. 
'We’ve been working for him as a band since we were 18 yrs old, i think it was 1978 we did our first anti-apartheid show for Nelson Mandela, he was like our  boss, got us into debt cancellation and lots of other stuff. 
'Him and the Arch… Archbishop Tutu these were two great heroes of ours, this is an aside, but it was the Arch’s wedding anniversary yesterday with Leah his missus, 60th wedding anniversary... that's pretty cool. What are the odds of these two men coming from the same neighborhood. That's pretty incredible.  Alright, this song came second at the Oscars...'

Sounded like a winner tonight, but then the whole night sounded like a winner, these five shows. Thank you Chicago...

All the way down to the final song, an ancient song, the one we all left the building singing.
'How long to sing this song...'

Friday, July 3, 2015

U2 @ United Center

U2Where: United Center
When: June 24th, 2015
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and Photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.
If there is one lesson learned walking away from U2’s opening of a five night stint at the United Center this evening, it’s that U2 is more than just Bono (and his signature sunglasses). Like many monumental rock bands of the last several decades, the frontman often becomes the band to a lot of people.  Until tonight, I was one of those people.  After witnessing U2 perform to an arena the size of the United Center, however, the way the band functions as a unit while still managing to make every person feel like they have a front row seat, is really a sight to behold.  Before this evening, I was more of an old school U2 fan — I grew up with their first few albums and, of course, The Joshua Tree made a huge impact on the music aficionado in me upon its release — but the Innocence + Experience show was immersive and captivating enough to inspire me to really dig into their last ten years’ worth of material.
As one would expect, tonight’s festivities were catered more towards U2’s newest album, the unavoidableSongs of Innocence, but the show was tailored to include all flavors of their fanbase from the casual listener to the U2 fanatic whose favorite tunes are all deep cuts.  The latter, for instance, probably got a nice kick out of the band’s inclusion of Boy treasure, “The Electric Co.” as well as Achtung Baby fan favorite “Until the End of the World.”  The band’s performance, though, was more of a standout than any one song on the setlist.  It doesn’t take a music historian to know that The Edge is one of rock’s most fervent and inventive guitarists.  Once you actually watch the man play guitar in the same room as yourself, only then can one really understand the extent to which this man is some sort of guitar mad scientist.  The way he plays is less about crazy riffage and more about allowing his instrument to create a unique atmosphere that is truly all his own.  Watching him pummel out the riff to “Cedarwood Road” was more impressive than the crazy business that was happening on U2’s massive stage setup.
The stage set-up, however, was just as much a star of the show as the music and the band.  The way U2 serves up their music on this tour is impressive to say the least, but the show seemed to really be designed with the audience in mind.  The band’s gigantic walkway made of see-through screens allowed everyone to see nearly everything that was happening onstage.  Whether the band was performing inside of the set-up or scattered across the catwalk, there was rarely a point at which every member of the band wasn’t represented to the folks even in the nosebleed seats.  While this was quite a visually intense experience, it seemed scaled back compared to previous U2 tours, which wasn't a bad thing.  The presentation of the show fit the music perfectly, especially the toned down version of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and the softer moments in the show like “Every Breaking Wave” and their tribute to Nelson Mandela, “Ordinary Love.”
Having never seen U2 until tonight, it was hard to not be overcome with emotion when the band finally ripped into classics like the emotional “With or Without You” and the soaring grandiosity of “Bullet the Blue Sky.”  The latter was especially memorable for The Edge’s blistering guitar work — he performed the slide heavy song as if it was the band’s first time playing the tune.  The only time U2 touched on landmark album The Unforgettable Fire was to perform – you guessed it – “Pride (In the Name Of Love)” and although it would’ve been great to hear another song from this album, Larry Mullen, Jr.’s drum performance was just as passionate as Bono’s vocal delivery that it made me forget my minor griping. 
It begs mentioning that the band didn’t perform “New Year’s Day,” which was hardly the only setlist snafu that comes to mind, but it's the first to enter my brain as it is indeed my favorite U2 cut.  But this tour is hardly centered around U2’s setlist choices.  The best thing you can do is to drop any expectations at the door and immerse yourself into the spectacle that the guys in U2 conjure up for their audience every night.  Whether you’re a lifelong fan, a kinda-sorta follower who appreciates the radio hits, or even if you’re a U2 hater – you will leave their show feeling as if you just saw a monument to rock music.  And that’s precisely what their Innocence + Experience tour is — a testament not only to the staying power of rock'n'roll’s most impactful band, but also the artists and causes that have inspired them to make it this far.  U2 may very well be the biggest rock band in the world next to the Rolling Stones (who were apparently present for this evening’s festivities along with Chris Rock).  But unlike the Stones, U2 pushes themselves further and further out of their comfort zone with each album and tour and this current cycle finds the band breaking the mold once again.  If you have a chance to see the band on this tour, do yourself a favor and go — it’s sure to be one of the most exciting rock shows you’ll ever witness.

All Access: U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour 2015

U2 has brought it back inside arenas, playing multiple dates in various cities, again with huge, stellar production values. Mix caught the fourth date of the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., where a ramp extended from the main stage all the way down the center of the arena to a circular B-stage, where the band performed several numbers. There’s also a huge LED video wall over the ramp that has a catwalk for the band to perform. Helping to make this all happen is the tour’s show designer, Willie Williams, and Production Manager, Jake Berry. We spoke with the band’s longtime sound engineers about the tour’s audio. - 

“Jo Ravitch is the best systems engineer there is,” says U2 FOH engineer Joe O’Herlihy. “We have relied on each other for over 30 years now; that is what working together really means. The FOH mix position has been the subject of many a solid debate on this tour because the P.A. system supplies a totally omnipresent sound in the arena—you can realistically put the FOH mix position anywhere. We’re up in the seats this time around, and it’s brilliant being with the audience because they are the people you spend your entire career trying to reach with perfect audio. “My console is a DiGiCo SD7,” he continues. “It’s extremely creative and reliable, which is why I have used DiGiCo the past 15 years. Across the whole audio team on this tour we are using a total of six SD7 consoles. We’re using all of the available processing power and we are running at 96k. I don’t use any Waves DigiGrid plug-ins. While the onboard dynamic processing on the SD7 is fantastic, I prefer the real deal—lots of vintage processing Manley VOX Box, Avalon 737SP, Summit Audio DCL200s, TC2290 DDL, TC D-TWO, SPX1000, Lexicon 480L, Lexicon PCM 70.” - 

“The band has been using Clair systems for 30-plus years and for this tour we’re using the new Clair vertical array system called the Cohesion 12,” O’Herlihy explains. “My sound design concept for this tour was based upon our show design brief from the band—that the main stage, the runway stage and the round stage were to be entirely used throughout the show. The P.A. system is typically set up using a stereo image across 12 vertical arrays equidistant from one another, complemented by eight hangs of three Cohesion CP-218 subs using the cardioid method for bass steering into the arena. The P.A. system also incorporates the Cohesion 8, which is distributed as a downfill and center fill system above the front of the main stage, the runway stage and the round stage; we also use the Cohesion 8 as front fill following the same line of the various stages at stage level to maximize the audio quality on the arena floor areas.” - 

“As I essentially have one mix to focus on, I submix my inputs through stereo audio groups assigned to the center faders to make it feel closer to how I mix in the studio—drums, bass, guitars, etc.,” says monitor engineer Richard Rainey. “I get to spend a lot of time on details that maybe in a traditional setup you wouldn’t be able to. As a lot of Edge’s playing requires very precise timing, the feel of the mix is very important, as is obviously giving him the best timing info I can to play off, which is probably my main focus during the show. After that it’s just turning up the quiet bits and turning down the loud ones till he looks happy.” - 
The Edge’s vocal headset is a Shure Beta 54. He has two Vox and one Fender Harvard guitar amps miked with Shure Beta 58As, and two Fender Deluxes miked with Shure SM57s.  

“Bono uses a standard Shure Beta 58A,” says his monitor engineer, Alastair McMillan. “Then I have an analog chain that goes directly into an SSL X desk to be summed with the SD7 outputs. It’s very clean in that classic SSL way and has loads of headroom, which was an important feature as his vocal is very dynamic. There’s something about his voice that hits the compressors and effects in a unique way. It’s impossible to replicate during setup! So I just have to start with a basic setting and dial it in once he starts singing.” For in-ear monitors the band is trying something different—the JH Audio JH-16s for everyone except for The Edge and his engineer Richard Rainey, who opted for the JH Roxanne in-ears. - 

“The DiGiCo SD7 I’m using is extremely powerful and reliable. It can do anything we throw at it,” says Bono monitor engineer Alastair McMillan, pictured at left with monitor engineer CJ Eiriksson (Larry Mullen, Adam Clayton) and monitor engineer Richard Rainey (the Edge), each of whom also has an SD7. “We’re using all of the available processing power, which is quite impressive for a four piece band! I’m a big fan of the new classic EQ option and especially the multiband compressors. With those two features I have everything I need so I decided not to opt for the Waves grid. We’re all running at 96k. I am hooked up to Pro Tools via two Madi bridges which are able to sample convert in real time. This way we can run our Pro Tools sessions at 48k, making them a much more manageable size.” - 

“We have a fairly traditional mic setup for Larry [Mullen’s] drums, from Shure 421s on toms, to 57s on top and bottom snare, and Audio-Technica 4050s for overheads,” says monitor engineer CJ Eiriksson. “We keep the mics fairly close and tight on everything, which helps keep the arena bleed out of drums as much as possible.  - 

“For this tour Adam [Clayton] has simplified his whole setup,” Eiriksson continues. “We have ditched the bass subs and only have an Ampeg B15 on stage. There are a couple extra DIs and another amp selection running under the stage, but they are only used when needed for different flavors on particular songs.”  - 

Article and all photos by Steve Jennings

Thursday, July 2, 2015



Kyle Meredith flew to Chicago recently for the very rare chance to get to talk with one of the biggest bands of all time, U2. Below is both the audio and transcript of his interview with The Edge and Adam Clayton.

Kyle Meredith: I’m here on the front line of rock and roll with The Edge and Adam Clayton from U2.

Adam Clayton: If this is the front line, we’re pretty comfortable, I guess.

Kyle Meredith: I don’t know if that’s true. It seems throughout your entire career, no matter how good the record is or what’s going on, you’ve always had to defend yourself. Like there’s always been some defense with what’s going on with you guys. It must be exhausting to be in U2.

Clayton: I guess it means we must be irritating someone somewhere. Maybe that’s a good thing. It’s good to be an irritant.

The Edge: The worst thing to be is unobjectionable.

Clayton: Unnoticed.

Edge: It’s just part of what we seem to generate in the audience, a type of extreme response in a positive or negative direction. Thankfully, still a lot of people really love what we do, but even from the very beginning there were always people who just couldn’t take it. Weren’t open to it. Our music is very up front. It’s not a detached music. It’s passionate. It’s kind of in your face and if you’re open to it and you want to accept it then I think it’s an amazing thing. But some people are just not ready for that. My attitude is that if you don’t like U2 you’re just not trying hard enough.

Meredith: You guys have made it pretty easy for a lot of people like you. There have been so many diffrent sounds through the years anyway. With this new album, Songs of Innocence, I know a lot of the theme is about looking back or celebrating your youth. When you’re doing that, and maybe it’s more lyrical with what Bono is doing, do you find that there is any kind of closure when you have to relive your teenage years over and over every night on tour? It would seem to me like there would be a point where you could close that door.

Edge: I think the songs take on a different meaning the longer you live with them. It’s funny how a song like I Will Follow started out as a quite an abstract lyric. No one really knew quite how it had come from or what it was about. Looking back now you can see exactly, that was the moment Bono lost his mother and became as he’s now saying during the show, became an artist. Certainly it was probably the spur that gave him the ambition he has and the sense of having to use music as a way to make sense of the world and define himself. That song kind of grew in depth and our understanding of it over the years. I think this album is no different. There’s a lot of songs that are very personal, but there’s nuances and lyrics that we’re still figuring out. The songs are really taking on a life of their own live in a way that always happens, but they are becoming really powerful in the live context. The show is very weighted towards the new songs and it’s holding up. That’s what’s really kind of exciting. These are new songs, but they’re standing alongside our best work. We’ve created with this show really new, unique live moments where the songs really start to come through in a very powerful evocative way.

Clayton: I think in some ways being in U2 is like having a living diary, because every time you look at those early songs, you are reminded exactly what your experience was, what you were thinking at the time, and what you were doing. And now, when you go back to those songs and you play those songs with a different perspective, it’s like, “Ah, ok. Now I know why I’m here. Now I know what it’s about.” And in some ways we play those songs better now than when we first wrote them. Certainly with a different energy.

Meredith: It unfolds like a play on the live show, and it looks like it was meant to do that. With that in mind, musically, if you’re going into the album thinking this may be what we’re going to be doing thematically, I look at a song like Every Breaking Wave that kind of harkens back to older sounds of U2. A little bit of Joshua Tree in there. I know it doesn’t have to be like that because there’s the acoustic version which sounds nothing like that. Is that part of it? Do you say lets’ do those fun little tricks?

Edge: I think we actually quite mostly do the opposite. We try and avoid direct references. But it is the same four guys and the music that turned us on, and so formative for us means that we’re always going to move in a particular direction in songwriting and production. We like to try and keep things as fresh as possible. If things start to sound like previous albums, it’s almost against the grain of what we’re trying to achieve mostly.

Meredith: It seems like it’d be so hard. You’re known for innovation. By the technology, by the style of music. I had an argument with a friend talking about U2 as arguably the greatest band of all time, in the sense that if we’re going to put you up against another band, it’s gotta be The Beatles who changed the world twice, with their first record and Sgt. Pepper. But you guys did it with Joshua Tree, with Achtung Baby, and then with All That You Can’t Leave Behind. To have that on your shoulders, to constantly try to innovate forward musically, and there are so many new sounds on here like the song you do with Lykke Li, and the castoffs Lucifer’s Hands and Crystal Ballroom. How do you do it? How do you go into that and go “Alright, we’ve got to come up with something new. We’ve gotta be U2.”

Edge: First of all, to compare us to the Beatles is an unbelievable idea and I don’t think anyone could ever be a comparable band to The Beatles. They, for me, they stand in a different sort of a universe to anything else, but to even be in the same sentence is like just amazing to me. But in terms of the drive within our group, we always sort of seek out that feel new and fresh. It’s almost the only time we really start to get very excited in the studio or live is when we feel like we’re doing something unique and different. That’s just, we’ve had that from the very beginning I suppose because we came through in that era of punk music where everything was being reinvented. We’ve never relied on a knowledge of traditional forms within rock and roll. We’ve actually tried to avoid them most of the time at all costs. Few exceptions like on the Joshua Tree, we definitely were playing around with some blues ideas and Rattle and Hum, but it’s most of our work is dedicated to trying a new point of view that hasn’t been explored before and that goes through to our live productions and a lot of other things that we do.

Meredith: It seems with the idea that there are only so many notes, it becomes more about what new sound can we put on those notes. It’s just mind blowing that you’d have 30 some odd years in that you’re going, “Alright, no we can still do this different. This can be done different.”

Clayton: I think we’re very lucky because we can get very excited about the potential of those notes and that we think we can find another note in there amongst all of them.

Edge: And I think we can. I really genuinely think we can. Rock and roll as a form is pretty simple. When I listen back to our early records, Boy album particularly, hearing these nuances and compositions, I think “Where did that come from? That’s so out of the box of rock and roll.” I can’t think of a reference for it. I remember at the time a lot of it was we would just be in the room trying out some ideas. We knew so little about music composition that we would try a lot of experiments. It was through that playfulness, trial and error, that we would hit on these new compositional ideas that were coming from some complete different world and yet they sit on that album quite easily. I think it was that moment where music was really, everything was up for grabs. The rulebook had been torn up, so it was like just see what you can do.

Meredith: With all that’s been said about Songs of Innocence, reviews, great, bad, all of it, do you think now that it’s directing or re-directing how you’re looking at Songs of Experience as you go into that?

Clayton: I don’t think so. We’re very happy with what this record is and what these songs are. Songs of Experience will obviously be from a different perspective. We’re trying to make it a little rawer as a sound, the production a little rawer. But until it’s done, it’s really hard to comment on.