Today Show Video

U2star.com have put up a video of The Edge and Bono’s performance of ‘The hands that built America’ on the Today show, as broadcast on USA television on Wednesday morning.

If you cannot access the video, you may enjoy reading a transcript of the interview at this site.

MATT LAUER: U2 is considered to be one of the greatest rock bands in the world. In the last 24 years, the guys from Ireland have sold more than 115 million albums and have won 14 Grammy Awards. Well, last month the band picked up a Golden Globe award for “The Hands That Built America.” It’s their song from the film “The Gangs of New York.” And now they can add Oscar nominees to their growing list of accolades.

Bono and The Edge, good morning. Good to have you here, guys.

EDGE: Good to be here, Matt.

LAUER: How big a deal is this? I mean, you guys have written songs for movies before. You’ve done a lot of things. But Oscar nomination, is that a big deal?

BONO: Yes, for a couple boys from the north side of Dublin, it doesn’t get much bigger, really. I mean, you feel like you’re breaking into somebody else’s house and robbing their furniture, a little bit, because it’s not our world, Hollywood. But we’re going to go out there and trash the place.

LAUER: Good for you. Wreck the joint. It seems strange, if you listen to the nominees. You’ve got Eminem, you’ve got U2, you’ve got Paul Simon, very different kinds of music. So when you deal with a category, if you deal with an awards show like this, is it a little bit like comparing apples and oranges?

EDGE: I think it’s about the context of the songs in the movies, you know. If you look at it in that sense, it’s not about what kind of a song it is, it’s like how does it resonate in the context of the film that it was written for. And that was one of the real challenges for us writing “The Hands That Built America” was we’re dealing with a period piece set in New York in the, I believe, the 19th century. So how do you write a song and and arrange a song that kind of can work in that context but still speak today?

BONO: I mean, there’s a lot of songs stuck in films, a lot of pop songs, rock songs, hip-hop, but it’s best when a song grows out of the characters and the story as Edge said. I mean, it is tricky working with Scorsese. He said, you know, ‘Could you write a song starts in 1861 and ends in 2002?’ Yeah, sure.

LAUER: Yeah. How much time do we have?

BONO: But we do–you know, we went at it old school with a respect for those people, like score almost. It was like a song as score.

LAUER: Well, you’ve said in the past that the really good songs kind of write you, you don’t write them. So this is a very different process. You’re commissioned to write a song.

EDGE: Yeah.

LAUER: Is it as easy? I mean, it doesn’t just come out of you, does it?

BONO: The story of Irish immigrants coming to New York is something that we have more than a feel for. I mean, we are them, in a sense, years and years later. But it’s a very powerful story. The blacks and the Irish were the only two races that came to America not out of choice. Irish people were starving, famine, the potato famine in Ireland, and they came off those boats, you know, grass still in their mouths from, you know, trying to keep alive. And they were mean, and they were rough. And as far as having the big ideas and wanting to join the police and the priests of this city, they were also thugs. So we wanted to get that across, that this great country, this great city had at the root of it this compromises that you find in, you know, in now, in say, in the developing world.

LAUER: Let me read you some names of people who’ve won this award, OK? Barbra Streisand, Isaac Hayes, Andrew…

EDGE: Wow.

LAUER: …Lloyd Webber, Irving Berlin.

BONO: Wow.

LAUER: U2 in that group. Must sound pretty good.

BONO: Well, I don’t know…

EDGE: It sure does.

BONO: If we win, but it is just…it’s a hell of an honor being there, whether we win or we don’t. And we’re there for Martin Scorsese. This has got to be his year.

EDGE: Yeah.

BONO: And if it isn’t, we know some Irish gangs here. You know what I’m saying?

LAUER: You’ll talk to somebody?

BONO: We going to know…we know where the academy park their car, OK?

LAUER: Twenty-five years in the business, guys. Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame’s going to induct you. You young enough or are you old enough…

EDGE: We’re trying…

LAUER: …to be in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame?

EDGE: We’re trying to forget about that. You know, it doesn’t feel–about 10 years premature. You got to understand, we started very young, so, you know, really we should be about 10 years older than we are to be in this position, because we started so young. So…

BONO: Edge was 15 when I was 16. I’m bigger than him.

LAUER: Well, it’s a great honor. I–this is always weird to say with a minute left, but I do want to mention something with you, Bono, because you’ve done a lot to fight AIDS in Africa. President Bush in the State of the Union address comes out and says, ‘We’re going to go with $15 billion for that cause, to fight AIDS in Africa.’ What was your reaction when you heard it?

BONO: I was jumping up and down. The president deserves a lot of credit for that. He really stuck his neck out. He was right — it’s important the people know at this time what America is for as well as what America’s against, so that was a great moment. And we were on the TODAY show talking to Katie, she helped us when we went on our tour in the Midwest to break the ground for that initiative. So…

LAUER: Spread the message here in the States.

BONO: Yeah, so you helped here on the TODAY show.

LAUER: Well…

BONO: Thank you.

LAUER: …it’s our pleasure. I know you guys are going to perform for us in a little while. It’s good to have you here.

EDGE: Thanks for having us.

LAUER: Good luck…

BONO: Thanks, Matt.

LAUER: …at the Oscars.

EDGE: Thanks, Matt.

LAUER: A pleasure. Thanks.

76 thoughts on “Today Show Video

  1. I felt bad for the girl holding the “I skipped work to see U2” sign earlier. I guess she didn’t know they taped the performance last week.——

    Also, I don’t think Bono should have lip synched to the opera part, it made an already hokey song that much hokier.——

    I’ll say this, Bono and Edge definitely looked fit and trim, it’s been a while since Bono was this slim, and I think the beard looks good.

  2. I felt bad for the girl holding the “I skipped work to see U2” sign earlier. I guess she didn’t know they taped the performance last week.——

    Also, I don’t think Bono should have lip synched to the opera part, it made an already hokey song that much hokier.——

    I’ll say this, Bono and Edge definitely looked fit and trim, it’s been a while since Bono was this slim, and I think the beard looks good.

  3. why oh why did they dub the studio instrumental over edge’s guitar? Why did Bono sing over the prerecorded opera? This has got to be the most ininspiring performance I’ve ever seen from them. Eek. I hate being negative about the guys, because I adore them. But “Hands” has just surpassed “Miami” as my least favorite U2 song ever. sigh.

  4. why oh why did they dub the studio instrumental over edge’s guitar? Why did Bono sing over the prerecorded opera? This has got to be the most ininspiring performance I’ve ever seen from them. Eek. I hate being negative about the guys, because I adore them. But “Hands” has just surpassed “Miami” as my least favorite U2 song ever. sigh.

  5. The interview and performance were both excellent! At least the guitar and vocals were live. You would be hard pressed to find a current act that didnt lip synch the WHOLE thing. The guys did great! Ever been to a U2 concert? Edges feet trigger tons of samples. Big deal! They are the worlds finest band and can do what they want! Don’t forget, Academy members could have been watching today and the song needed full effect. I hope they win the Oscar! Bono could use a good doorstop ;o)

  6. The interview and performance were both excellent! At least the guitar and vocals were live. You would be hard pressed to find a current act that didnt lip synch the WHOLE thing. The guys did great! Ever been to a U2 concert? Edges feet trigger tons of samples. Big deal! They are the worlds finest band and can do what they want! Don’t forget, Academy members could have been watching today and the song needed full effect. I hope they win the Oscar! Bono could use a good doorstop ;o)

  7. It would have been better if Bono just let the opera part play with his mouth closed, or rather cut it out entirely. Pavarotti, he ain’t.

  8. It would have been better if Bono just let the opera part play with his mouth closed, or rather cut it out entirely. Pavarotti, he ain’t.

  9. i thought bono and edge did a wonderful job, but having the instrumentals and opera pre-recorded gives me the shudders. Bono sounded great! But save your voice for the tour bono, just stop talking until then!!p.s. those red sunglasses were a little scary…stick with the blue…am i right?

  10. i thought bono and edge did a wonderful job, but having the instrumentals and opera pre-recorded gives me the shudders. Bono sounded great! But save your voice for the tour bono, just stop talking until then!!p.s. those red sunglasses were a little scary…stick with the blue…am i right?

  11. yeah, definitely stick with the blue. I was impressed, however, when Matt Lauer told Bono he had a minute to talk about his AIDS relief work, and Bono actually kept his comments way under a minute. Had to be a world record. 🙂

  12. yeah, definitely stick with the blue. I was impressed, however, when Matt Lauer told Bono he had a minute to talk about his AIDS relief work, and Bono actually kept his comments way under a minute. Had to be a world record. 🙂

  13. Gloria, “shudders” is a good word, me too.

    Three things struck me about this appearance, above and beyond the usual. First, that poor woman with the “I skipped work to see Bono and The Edge” sign — it was 15 degrees here and she was on camera just after 7 — didn’t see her after that, someone must have taken pity on her. She should check out this site to avoid future miscalculations! Second, almost the whole time Edge spoke uninterrupted, not always easy to do with Our Bon in attendance, they rolled the video footage instead of keeping the camera on him. Not nice folks, some of us were waiting on that shot!! And third, what is Bono talking about when he says only Africans and the Irish came here because they were forced to? Africans, of course, but the Irish on the condition that they were forced to by conditions in their country, i.e., the famine? Yes, but they weren’t the only ones — where does he get this stuff? I’m second generation American, picking a story at random from millions, my grandmother left Slovenia at 17, all alone, made her way to Germany to get a ship to New York so she could come to a land where she didn’t speak the language so she could clean houses in Forest Hills. Why, because she felt like a change of scene and the local Hyatt was booked? SHE WAS HUNGRY! Does he really think that everybody else left their homes willingly, that they were anxious to abandon family and country and home and hearth, to come live in slums, be spat upon, and denied the chance to make a decent living? Sometimes, that boy needs a good talking-to. I hereby offer my services….

  14. Gloria, “shudders” is a good word, me too.

    Three things struck me about this appearance, above and beyond the usual. First, that poor woman with the “I skipped work to see Bono and The Edge” sign — it was 15 degrees here and she was on camera just after 7 — didn’t see her after that, someone must have taken pity on her. She should check out this site to avoid future miscalculations! Second, almost the whole time Edge spoke uninterrupted, not always easy to do with Our Bon in attendance, they rolled the video footage instead of keeping the camera on him. Not nice folks, some of us were waiting on that shot!! And third, what is Bono talking about when he says only Africans and the Irish came here because they were forced to? Africans, of course, but the Irish on the condition that they were forced to by conditions in their country, i.e., the famine? Yes, but they weren’t the only ones — where does he get this stuff? I’m second generation American, picking a story at random from millions, my grandmother left Slovenia at 17, all alone, made her way to Germany to get a ship to New York so she could come to a land where she didn’t speak the language so she could clean houses in Forest Hills. Why, because she felt like a change of scene and the local Hyatt was booked? SHE WAS HUNGRY! Does he really think that everybody else left their homes willingly, that they were anxious to abandon family and country and home and hearth, to come live in slums, be spat upon, and denied the chance to make a decent living? Sometimes, that boy needs a good talking-to. I hereby offer my services….

  15. I really hope that Larry and Adam stop being the invisible men and stop this playback/karaoke thing that U2 are turning into. Isn’t U2 the best live band in the world? Or at least a TOP 5 live band in the world?

  16. I really hope that Larry and Adam stop being the invisible men and stop this playback/karaoke thing that U2 are turning into. Isn’t U2 the best live band in the world? Or at least a TOP 5 live band in the world?

  17. Jobling: My thoughts exactly. It’s always Bono and Edge. But Adam and Larry probably don’t want to be known for this song 😉 It’s more a Passengers song than a U2 song and you know how Larry thinks about the passengers 🙂

  18. Jobling: My thoughts exactly. It’s always Bono and Edge. But Adam and Larry probably don’t want to be known for this song 😉 It’s more a Passengers song than a U2 song and you know how Larry thinks about the passengers 🙂

  19. Ben: I can read on the song’s credits “U2”, so as part of U2 Larry and Adam are part of the song. But my biggest problem is the playback thing. If Bono & The Edge are alone then play an accoustic version like they did previously in other occasions (San Remo is an exemple). Why 5 or so takes of this? Difficult to synchronize with the tape?

  20. Ben: I can read on the song’s credits “U2”, so as part of U2 Larry and Adam are part of the song. But my biggest problem is the playback thing. If Bono & The Edge are alone then play an accoustic version like they did previously in other occasions (San Remo is an exemple). Why 5 or so takes of this? Difficult to synchronize with the tape?

  21. I thought it was fucking amazing. They knew what they were doing. You have to watch Edge say, “okay”, and then press start on the thing. It’s cool. Edge(or Dallas) probably made that cd before the show on his laptop…fuck, who cares. They looked good…sounded good. Im a musician…its not uncommon to use a backing cd when playing..although U2 as a band wouldnt have fit on that little today show stage anyway. Give them a break.

  22. I thought it was fucking amazing. They knew what they were doing. You have to watch Edge say, “okay”, and then press start on the thing. It’s cool. Edge(or Dallas) probably made that cd before the show on his laptop…fuck, who cares. They looked good…sounded good. Im a musician…its not uncommon to use a backing cd when playing..although U2 as a band wouldnt have fit on that little today show stage anyway. Give them a break.

  23. Perhaps Adam and Larry are happy laying down some have drum and bass back in Dublin…you never know we could have a heavy ‘Clayton/Mullen’album coming our way!

  24. Perhaps Adam and Larry are happy laying down some have drum and bass back in Dublin…you never know we could have a heavy ‘Clayton/Mullen’album coming our way!

  25. Right on Rolling_Richard. It wouldn’t have sounded half as good without the backing track. Think of Mysterious ways without the backing track on tour. It just wouldn’t be the same.

  26. Right on Rolling_Richard. It wouldn’t have sounded half as good without the backing track. Think of Mysterious ways without the backing track on tour. It just wouldn’t be the same.

  27. Cool to hear of U2 being nominated. That sure does say a lot. That’s the thing, U2 has always been the band I could believe in, they are a real inspiration to the world around them. With all the changing times their songs still hold true to hearts of it’s listeners.

    –Matt

  28. Cool to hear of U2 being nominated. That sure does say a lot. That’s the thing, U2 has always been the band I could believe in, they are a real inspiration to the world around them. With all the changing times their songs still hold true to hearts of it’s listeners.

    –Matt

  29. I thought the performance was AMAZING…i was at work and had to run to our break room every 15 min. to catch it…i think bono did sing the opera part if you noticed he backed away from the mike to wail it out and it moved me to tears cause i was blown away by his vocal range. i can’t wait till they perform it on the oscars. u2 will never cease to amaze me.

  30. I thought the performance was AMAZING…i was at work and had to run to our break room every 15 min. to catch it…i think bono did sing the opera part if you noticed he backed away from the mike to wail it out and it moved me to tears cause i was blown away by his vocal range. i can’t wait till they perform it on the oscars. u2 will never cease to amaze me.

  31. Kovax, your right. You also have to think about it this way…Bono and Edge could have played it acoustic, BUT…U2 were nominated, and they wanted to present the song to the world as it is nominated…as it is on the cd, and stil represent it as a recorded song that included Larry and Adam. Really…I don’t even care if they win the Oscar…Id like to see a new U2 album this year instead!!

  32. Kovax, your right. You also have to think about it this way…Bono and Edge could have played it acoustic, BUT…U2 were nominated, and they wanted to present the song to the world as it is nominated…as it is on the cd, and stil represent it as a recorded song that included Larry and Adam. Really…I don’t even care if they win the Oscar…Id like to see a new U2 album this year instead!!

  33. From Italy:More I listen and see the video of “hands ..” more emotions I feel….for the music and the words…If I see your video&songs I back joung (now I 30y)feling the energy that you sing…good luck…don’t stop to present us dreams..I think to be in love with you..how to forgetyou or better where to see you in Italy or Dublin?

  34. From Italy:More I listen and see the video of “hands ..” more emotions I feel….for the music and the words…If I see your video&songs I back joung (now I 30y)feling the energy that you sing…good luck…don’t stop to present us dreams..I think to be in love with you..how to forgetyou or better where to see you in Italy or Dublin?

  35. From Italy:More I listen and see the video of “hands ..” more emotions I feel….for the music and the words…If I see your video&songs I back joung (now I 30y)feling the energy that you sing…good luck…don’t stop to present us dreams..I think to be in love with you..how to forgetyou or better where to see you in Italy or Dublin?

  36. From Italy:More I listen and see the video of “hands ..” more emotions I feel….for the music and the words…If I see your video&songs I back joung (now I 30y)feling the energy that you sing…good luck…don’t stop to present us dreams..I think to be in love with you..how to forgetyou or better where to see you in Italy or Dublin?

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