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U2 singer records Simon & Garfunkel track with Saint Sister and others for McVerry Trust

by Ed Power, The Irish Times

Bono took time out from preparing for U2's 3Arena show last Friday to contribute to a charity cover of Simon & Garfunkel's Homeward Bound that is now storming the Irish charts.

The Street Lights version of the 1966 single, in aid of the Peter McVerry Trust, Simon Community Ireland and Focus Ireland, was released at 9am today. By lunchtime it had soared to number two on iTunes.

Alongside the U2 singer it features Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, Conor O'Brien of Villagers, Cathy Davey, Saint Sister and David Geraghty of Bell X1, with arrangements by Colm Mac Con Iomaire, formerly of The Frames, and backing vocals by the High Hopes Choir (whose members are former homeless people). The song was assembled at Camden Studios in Dublin by the producer the arranger Cian Boylan.

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October the 7th, 2018. It's been only 14 months since U2 played in Amsterdam as part of their Joshua Tree tour. Their studio reputation, damaged by 2014's Songs of Innocence, was fully repaired in The Netherlands with a great new album that was well received by Dutch critics. Yet, in terms of live performances, the band never lost their credibility as the Dutch press has always been praising U2 for their live shows. Last night, U2 blew away their audience with a stunning first night in Amsterdam.

The Blackout kicks in together with overwhelming video content presented on the big screen in the middle of the arena. Directly following the beautiful Lights of Home, "There is more": I Will Follow, Gloria, Beautiful Day.

The first thing Bono said after the opening songs of the show was: "The sun is shining. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. The sun is shining in Amsterdam!".

Bono had clearly recovered from his loss of voice in Berlin a few weeks earlier. He also looked fresh and energized. The frontman talked about their innocence when they started their career here in Amsterdam at the Melkweg:

"Tonight we return as men daring to believe that at the far end of experience with some wisdom and good company we can again recover that innocence that we had when we came here to the Melkweg in the port of Amsterdam".

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"You can see the pain in his face, and I felt he was sincere," Bono said of the pope during a meeting at the Vatican.

By Carol Kuruvilla, Huffington Post

U2 musician Bono said he had a hard conversation with Pope Francis about the sexual abuse scandal that has been roiling the Irish singer's homeland.

Francis was "aghast" about sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, Bono told reporters after a private meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican on Wednesday.

"I explained to him how it looks to some people that the abusers are being more protected than the victims," Bono said, according to Reuters.

The singer said Francis appeared deeply troubled by this.

"You can see the pain in his face, and I felt he was sincere," Bono said.

"I think he is an extraordinary man for extraordinary times."

A spokesman for the singer later elaborated that Bono believes Francis is "the leader to put this right and change people's perceptions that the church is doing more to protect the abusers rather than the victims," according to The Irish Times.

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Dublin City Council blocks planned centre amid 'serious concerns' over the scheme

Olivia Kelly, The Irish Times

U2's plans for a visitor centre and museum in Dublin's docklands have been sent back to the drawing board by Dublin City Council amid "serious concerns" about the proposed scheme.

The rock band last June announced plans to demolish their two-storey recording studio at Hanover Quay on the south docks and replace it with a visitor and exhibition centre, the equivalent of four storeys in height.

The new building, which would be almost three times the size of the old studio, would house an exhibition centre dedicated to the band's history and a reconstruction of the band's original studio, along with a cafe and shop.

Check out this video of Bono and the Edge performing "Summer of Love" at a beach house in Cape Cod on Saturday, June 30! The song was performed for the very first time live in front of about 200 radio contest winners and special guests hosted by Mix 104.1 as part of their ongoing "Beach House" series.

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By Dave McKenna, Washington Post

Recent U2 roadshows had the feel of overbudgeted Broadway musicals, where tunes were subservient to pyrotechnics and it was clear that singer, frontman and resident speechifier Bono had to hit the same stage mark at the same point in the same song in every city because the props compelled him to.

The legendary Irish rockers are taking a different tack these days. For its Sunday appearance at Capital One Arena, U2's main stage had only microphones, instruments, band members and enough stomp boxes to make the Edge's guitars as reverb-y and echo-y as expected. There wasn't a confetti cannon or balloon drop anywhere on the premises. Yet from beginning to end of a joyous, two-hour-plus set, less sure seemed like more.

The band ranged far and wide when picking the set list. The only thing off limits this time around was material from "The Joshua Tree," the 1987 multiplatinum monster LP that band members decided has provided too much material to U2 shows for too long. (Plus it got its due just last year on a tour devoted to the album's 30th anniversary.) That pronouncement meant more time for tunes from the band's 14th and latest studio album, 2017's "Songs of Experience," as the set opened with a trio of newish numbers: The somber if overly Coldplayish dirge, "Love Is All We Have Left," the rocky funk of "The Blackout" and fuzzfest "Lights of Home."

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