Bono advertises his thievery

In the current issue of Billboard magazine, musicians and actors pay tribute to legendary crooner Tony Bennett, who celebrated his 80th birthday earlier this month. Many of the musicians who collaborated with Bennett on his Duets: An American Classic album, which will be released on September 26, placed advertisements in the magazine to congratulate him on his successful career and wish him happy birthday. Bono, who sings with Bennett on the song “I Wanna Be Around” on Duets: An American Classic, took out a full-page ad that reads the following:

Trying to sing with you was a humbling if not humiliating experience.
You’re like a house you can’t break into, at least
not by force. You can run at the door, but the doors
are locked…you can bang on the windows…
I got into the House of Bennett, but
only as the cat burglar…looking to steal a place in
this incredible legacy.
I’ve had the pleasure of singing with you, and for you…
I broke in through the bathroom window, up a
drainpipe…I’m not leaving.

100,000 Catalonian fans sing Happy Birthday to The Edge

Clad in a red FC Barcelona shirt given to him by Bono during Party Girl, The Edge finished U2’s show at Barcelona’s Nou Camp shortly after midnight… making it his birthday. Earlier during the show, 100,000 ecstatic Catalonian fans had sung Happy Birthday to him and released 17.000 red balloons in his honour. (OK, so maybe 100,000 fans is an exaggeration, but it looked like more than 80,000.)

El Pais: U2 hace estallar ‘la bomba’
La Vanguardia: El Camp Nou se rinde a U2
El Periodico: Un espectáculo de masas abrumador

Paris II: Pathos and Confidence

That's how late I arrived

If Paris I was confident like French girls are according to Bono, then perhaps Paris II was a great lover, like French men are (allegedly): aggressive, emotional and a little rough around the edges.

Bono seemed in a theatrical mood – singing flat on his back on the edge of the stage very early on in the show. Did we spot a little limp, was the back acting up? Who knows. Lots of things were going on on stage. Quick discussions with crew members, an ‘ok’ from The Edge for Bono to sing Happy Birthday/Bonne Anniversaire to his god daughter Holly, turning 21 that day.

This night was special from its playful ‘Unos, dos, tres, Louis Quatorze’ start. I felt it even outside of the front pit, having arrived very late for the show. Even if with my 5’1” I couldn’t see a damn thing on the stage. Even if the crowd weren’t ‘singers’ as much as the night before. Even if the band dropped notes left and right. Even if Bono got so carried away at times he forgot which verse was next. But things really spun into orbit with ‘Sometimes you can’t make it on your own.’

As Bono walked along the catwalk, taking off his trademark specs to sing nakedly of filial angst, something in his face betrayed tonight meant just that little more. And I remembered there was a story, of Hewson Jr and Sr, out on the town in Paris. I imagined he must be thinking of it now.

The song continued, twisting towards its conclusion. Here comes ‘No regrets’, I thought, but Bono starts telling the story I was thinking of. Am I dreaming this? He talks about his father, the Dub who liked the opera. ‘And now I’m living it.’ He recounts the time his father drank him under the table in Paris, then put him to bed like a little boy. ‘And as I fell asleep, I listened to him sing the opera.’

Then he started singing with measured pathos: “E tu dice: “Io parto, addio!”, T’alluntane da stu core…, Da la terra de ll’ammore, tiene ‘o core ‘e nun turná?!” And my head exploded because not too long ago, on the West coast of Ireland, I heard that other Irishman sing the exact same song: ‘Return to Sorrento’.

That’s it right there for me. Top it off with a prolonged ‘Amazing Grace’ after Running to Standstill and Paris II moves into the coveted ‘best gig on the tour’-spot, slithering past Dublin II, and maybe even Dublin III in terms of raw emotion.

When things go off like that, the ubiquity of Pride and Sunday Bloody Sunday (bizarrely, sung for French football legend Zinedine Zindane), With or Without You and the simply unforgivable double whammy of Vertigo really doesn’t matter one iota. ‘Live is where we live,’ say the members of U2. And what a great life it is.

‘Happy Birthday, Oscar’, from Bono and Gav

RTE1 (Ireland) will be airing a ‘Happy Birthday Oscar Wilde’ tribute that Bono contributes to with Gavin Friday this Monday 27th at 10.30 pm. Larry Mullen contributes too.

150 renowned public figures were filmed by director Bill Hughes, speaking 150 of Wilde’s finest lines, epigrams and verses. Proceeds will go to Amnesty International. A DVD release is expected.

More info here.