March 2005 Archives


Robert Hilburn

Great rock bands tend to be built for sprints rather than marathons. They come and go in brief bursts of glory, usually torn apart by internal problems or the inability to maintain a creative edge. Nirvana was gone in the blink of an eye. The Beatles never really made it out of the '60s.

All this makes U2 unique.

One reason for the band's continued relevance after a quarter-century is that the quartet keeps challenging itself -- never more so than in the captivating new world tour, which began Monday at San Diego's Sports Arena.

U2's latest album, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," is a thoughtful, deeply personal look at faith, family and rejuvenation; not exactly easy themes to build an arena rock show around. Yet the band brought the spirit of the album to the stage in a two-hour set that was as warm and eloquent as the songs.

U2 Go Old School in Cali



By Steve Baltin --

This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of U2's debut album, Boy. And while the band's current world tour, which kicked off last night before a sold-out crowd at the San Diego Sports Arena, is in support of last year's chart-topping How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, the four lads from Dublin were clearly feeling a bit sentimental, making for some surprising vintage moments during the two-hour set.

The lion's share of material came from the new record, starting with the opening "City of Blinding Lights" and the album's punchy first single, "Vertigo," which singer Bono introduced by saying, "Spanish lessons in San Diego . . . I don't think so."

The night's first surprise came soon thereafter, when Bono announced, "We're gonna go back to where it started." As a flag unfurled over the backdrop featuring the Boy album cover, the foursome -- Bono, guitarist the Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. -- jumped into the way-back machine for "The Electric Co.," with Bono segueing into a snippet of the showtune "Send in the Clowns." U2, who have largely ignored their distant past on recent tours, then treated longtime fans to "An Cat Dubh" and "Into the Heart" -- both also off of Boy. "An Cat Dubh" was the concert's moody highlight, with its hard bass line pulsing under the bluish stage lights.

U2 Kicks Off World Tour

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By Jane Stevenson -- Toronto Sun

Irish rockers U2 kick off their Vertigo world tour tonight at the San Diego Sports Arena. And after the success of their Elevation trek, the Dublin band -- who will play four sold-out shows at the Air Canada Centre in September -- has a lot to live up to.

Not that long-time band manager Paul McGuinness sounds at all worried about the group, whose longevity after 27 years seems assured given their most recent album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, has sold nine million copies worldwide largely on the success of just one single, Vertigo.

The song also netted U2 three Grammys in February and, earlier this month, they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

"They're very good, I think that's probably the key," McGuinness told the Sun in a Canadian newspaper exclusive last week from Vancouver.

By Jane Stevenson
Toronto Sun

THERE'S JUST five days to go until Irish rockers U2 launch their Vertigo world tour at the San Diego Sports Arena on Monday night. And long-time band manger Paul McGuinness says the group enjoyed themselves during a week of rehearsals in Canada, at Vancouver's GM Place. Toronto has to wait until September for their four sold-out shows at the Air Canada Centre.

"It's fantastic," said McGuinness, speaking to The Sun in an exclusive Canadian newspaper interview down the line from Vancouver. "We're kind of semi-Canadian ourselves, because we've been working with (Toronto concert promoters) Arthur Fogel and Michael Cohl, so we feel pretty much at home here."

McGuinness said that while a crew moved into GM Place on Feb. 25 to start building the Vertigo stage, the band didn't arrive until last week following their March 14 induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at a ceremony in New York.

text by Bruce Springsteen

Uno, dos, tres, catorce. That translates as one, two, three, fourteen. That is the correct math for a rock and roll band. For in art and love and rock and roll, the whole had better equal much more than the sum of its parts, or else you're just rubbing two sticks together searching for fire. A great rock band searches for the same kind of combustible force that fueled the expansion of the universe after the big bang. You want the earth to shake and spit fire. You want the sky to split apart and for God to pour out.

It's embarrassing to want so much, and to expect so much from music, except sometimes it happens -- the Sun Sessions, Highway 61, Sgt. Peppers, the Band, Robert Johnson, Exile on Main Street, Born to Run -- whoops, I meant to leave that one out (laughter) -- the Sex Pistols, Aretha Franklin, the Clash, James Brown...the proud and public enemies it takes a nation of millions to hold back. This is music meant to take on not only the powers that be, but on a good day, the universe and God himself -- if he was listening. It's man's accountability, and U2 belongs on this list.

Bono: Born in the U.S.A., my arse. That man was born on the north side of Dublin. Irish. His mother was Irish. The poetry, the gift of the gab, isn't it obvious? In fact, I think he's tall for an Irishman.

It's an Irish occasion this evening. Paddy Sledge, the O'Jays -- they're a tribe from the west of Ireland. This is a bit of an Irish wedding. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a bit of an Irish wedding -- beautiful girls, beautiful frocks, fights in the bathrooms, managers and clients again, lawyers with bloody noses. It's an Irish wedding. It's a great occasion.

I even like it when it gets dirty. I've seen it get really dirty over the years here -- that's what rock and roll is, the sound of revenge. So make your enemies interesting, I would say, ladies and gentleman. But not tonight. When I, when we look out we don't see any enemies, we just see friends. And this country has taken this band into its bosom all the way. (applause) It's an amazing thing.

U2, Guy Rock the Hall

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The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrated its twentieth anniversary -- and the fiftieth anniversary of rock itself -- Monday night in a ceremony that peaked with Bruce Springsteen inducting U2 and Neil Young ushering in the Pretenders. Justin Timberlake welcomed the O'Jays into the Hall, B.B. King and Eric Clapton joined forces to pay tribute to fellow bluesman Buddy Guy, and Rod Stewart inducted soul singer Percy Sledge. "They're both a step forward and direct descendants of bands who thought they could shake up the world," Springsteen said of U2. "This was a band that wanted to lay claim to this world and the next one, too."

Samantha Critchell, AP

Bono is now another type of frontman. U2's lead singer - and most recognizable face - is charged with raising awareness and interest in the new fashion brand Edun.

The casual collection of jeans, T-shirts, chiffon dresses and shrunken blazers is Bono's brainchild. He's out there promoting it and he's wearing it, showing off his Edun jeans paired with his signature wraparound sunglasses at a New York appearance.

"I'm here to try to get the sound on the radio, if you know what I mean," Bono says.

Edun is "nude" spelled backward and is intended to imply innocence, sensuality and a return to nature.

By Donna Freydkin, USA Today

"The world does not need another clothing line," U2 frontman Bono pronounces. No sweatshops: Bono, wife Ali and designer Rogan have created the clothing line to reflect "a marriage of social activism and aesthetic innovation."

But the self-described "big-mouth Irish rock star" and his wife, Ali Hewson, are entering the fashion universe with their collection, Edun, co-created with designer Rogan. Edun's earthy but chic duds, which are created from organic materials, are made in family-run factories in South America and Africa with fair-labor practices.

"We're not preaching that we're going to save the planet. But we're doing our best," says designer Rogan, who goes to each factory and meets with workers.

Ethical Culture

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Susan Mitchell,

Fashion houses have an understandable horror of having their designs copied.

Not Ali Hewson, founder of Edun. In fact, you could say her mission statement is to have the concept behind her new fashion label replicated the world over.

Hewson's goal is to build a business that makes beautiful clothing in developing countries, giving sustainable employment and providing trade potential.

"We want people to rip us off," says Hewson of her business venture. "We are really trying to establish a business model with Edun.

Liz Jones, Evening Standard

Having lunch with Ali Hewson, the wife of Bono, lead singer of U2, at the Clarence Hotel in Dublin, partly owned by her husband. Their oldest daughter, Jordan, turns up dressed in the typical teenage wardrobe of skinny jeans, bomber jacket and trainers. At 15, she is already a beauty, with huge, blue eyes. "Her dad's," beams Ali. "I remember when I saw Bono on stage for the first time and all I could see were his eyes, it was as if they were lit up. They were electrifying. Amazing."

I ask Jordan whether having Bono (Ali calls him "B") as her father can sometimes be a little embarrassing. Does he wear those wraparound dark glasses to breakfast? She laughs. "No," Jordan says, "he's kind of boring, but sometimes when he drives us to school he wears just his dressing gown, and has the music turned up really loud." Does he give her a hard time when it comes to boyfriends? "Well, I don't have a boyfriend yet," she says, squirming, "so he thinks I'm a real loo-ser."

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