September 2005 Archives

U2 back to frisky self this time out

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Band digs deep in encore concerts

By Greg Kot, Tribune music critic

In contrast to its four-show run at the United Center last May, when U2 was starting to sound like a highly competent but not particularly adventuresome junior version of the Rolling Stones, the Irish quartet was in friskier mood in two encore concerts last week.

U2 tossed aside the predictable set list and dug deep Tuesday and Wednesday. Here are some key differences between the shows last week and the ones last spring:

Then: The band doesn't make the case for its latest hit-and-miss album, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb." The new songs are bunched together and dispatched early on, as if Bono and the boys didn't know how to integrate them into their performance.

Now: "Miracle Drug" (with the Edge's beautiful guitar figure getting some breathing room at the top) and "Original of the Species" (a killer soul ballad with falsetto harmonies) are showcased instead of buried. The arrangements are less fussy, the melodies more apparent. These are the kinds of moments that send skeptical fans rushing back to the album to hear these songs with fresh ears.

Rep. Green to meet with Bono at U2 concert Sunday

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By Frederic J. Frommer, Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Rep. Mark Green, a U2 fan of '80s vintage and a lawmaker with an interest in Africa, plans to meet with the band's lead singer Bono to discuss HIV/AIDS and debt relief prior to Sunday's concert in Milwaukee.

Green, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in Wisconsin next year, said Wednesday that Bono's representative suggested the meeting. Debt AIDS Trade Africa, an issue advocacy organization co-founded by Bono which Green's office referred to, declined to comment.

The two men met previously a few years ago, in a discussion with other lawmakers as part of President Bush's AIDS initiative, Green Said.

Bono is a familiar presence in Washington, where he has lobbied lawmakers and presidents of both parties to provide more money to help fight AIDS, eliminate poverty and forgive debt to Third World countries.

Green, who taught high school for a year in Kenya in the 1980s, said the United States should assist Africa.

"We have to find ways of sowing seeds of hope in regions that have known a lot of despair," Green said. "There are ways in which we can help promote freedom and hope and hopefully prevent despair from taking hold in the future."

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Angela Pacienza -- Canadian Press

TORONTO (CP) - Calling Prime Minister Paul Martin "a friend" who has improved his record on global aid, Bono continued his fight to end African poverty at a sold-out rock show Monday.

Before an adoring public, the U2 frontman challenged Martin to spend the audience's "money on the poorest of the poor."

"He's a good man and he's been improving. Every time you shout he hears you," said the iconic frontman, decked out in his usual black uniform and sunglasses.

"We look to Canada to lead, not to follow."

It was a softer message than the one Bono delivered in April at a concert in Vancouver. At that show, the Irish rock star chastised Martin for breaking a promise to raise Canada's spending on foreign aid.

Back on stage after a month off their world tour, the band, rounded out by The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr., was in fine form Monday, the first of four sold-out shows in Toronto.

U2 in T.O. for tour rehearsal

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By Jane Stevenson - Toronto Sun

If the A-list celebrities in town for the Toronto International Film Festival aren't enough, star-gazers can also look forward to sightings of Irish rockers U2 for the next week.

The veteran Dublin group arrives in the city today to begin rehearsing at the Air Canada Centre before they launch the second leg of their North American tour. They have four sold-out shows here.

"What a week in Toronto," U2 tour promoter and Toronto native Arthur Fogel told the Sun in a Canadian exclusive interview yesterday. "I know there's going to be a lot of people in town and a lot of great events."

So not only might singer Bono, guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr., show up at the odd film festival event, but the VIP guest list for the four Toronto U2 shows will be impressive.

"It's definitely starting to reach frenzy point," says Fogel.

"I'm just looking forward to getting rolling again. It's hard to beat this band, this show, and what they represent. It's something very special."

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