"I love hymns and gospel music, but the idea of turning your music into a tool for evangelism is missing the point. Music is the language of the spirit anyway."
Bits & Bytes
A collection of the latest U2 news and announcements posted by our staff.
Edge helped close the conference Friday night by performing at least one song ("Ordinary Love") inside the Sistine Chapel. Those in attendance were saying that it's the first contemporary music performance inside the famous building, which opened in 1483. Here's a short clip of Edge's performance.
UPDATE: NBC News reports Edge also played "Yahweh," "Walk On" and Leonard Cohen's "If It Be Your Will." A young Irish choir joined him with backing vocals. Edge said, "When I was asked to perform in the Sistine Chapel I didn't know what to say, because usually there's 'this other guy' who sings (referring to Bono) ... So it took me at least, well, 30 seconds to agree to it."
Bono accepted the We Are Family Foundation's Humanitarian Award at a gala event Friday night in New York City, and took the stage to perform four U2 songs, too. The award is given to "a person in the public eye who has made tremendous efforts and inroads into making the human condition better throughout the world." Previous recipients include Sir Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Sting and Trudie Styler and others.
But the highlight of the night was when Bono joined Nile Rodgers (the foundation's founder) and Chic for a four-song set featuring some of U2's biggest hits: "Pride," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "Beautiful Day" and "Mysterious Ways."
@U2's Karen Lindell was at the event taking photos and providing fans with a Periscope livestream of the live performance. Here are a couple of her tweets/photos, and you can visit @U2 Tours for more on the show and links to videos from the event.
A beanie-wearing Edge met Pope Francis today at the third international Vatican conference on regenerative medicine. Edge sat in the front row with other dignitaries as the Pope, US Vice President Joe Biden and others spoke about medical research and cures for cancer and other diseases.
Edge's daughter was diagnosed with leukemia years ago, and he's been an active learner and champion of medical research since then; he joined the board of the Angiogenesis Foundation in 2007, and participated in the Stand Up To Cancer telethon in 2010.
Below are some news clips from the conference, most of which focus on the Pope and VP Biden, but both show Edge at least briefly. First is a photo of Edge and Pope Francis meeting.
There's a longer video of the Pope's speech (in Italian), and you can see him greet Edge at about the 14:30 mark.
The fourth and last set of results from the 2016 U2 Fan Survey is now available, and this batch has your votes on the full "Tours" section of the survey, "Current Events" and more. Here are few things to look for as you dig into the 40+ survey questions/answers that have just been added:
I+E tour rated very highly: Even though large portions of U2 fandom didn't even get a chance to see the Innocence + Experience tour in their home towns/countries, it was voted the second-favorite tour overall (behind Zoo TV). More than 22 percent voted I+E as their favorite U2 tour. Later in the survey, the I+E tour was voted fans' favorite tour video screen.
Most fans see a couple shows per tour: In this year's survey, we learn that 73 percent of fans have seen 15 or fewer U2 concerts (according to question G2). Back in question B1, we learned that about the same number of fans (74 percent) became U2 fans in 1996 or earlier. So that group has been fans for at least five U2 tours -- PopMart, Elevation, Vertigo, 360 and I+E -- and many have been fans for 8-9 tours. Put these two together and you see that the typical U2 fan sees three or fewer shows per tour. If you see more, your experience is out of the ordinary.
We want post-show recordings, please: A whopping 96 percent of fans would be willing to pay if U2 offered live recordings of concerts immediately after the shows end.
Bono is most indispensable U2 member: Every survey we've done has asked fans to decide if U2 should continue as a band if one person leaves. It's a way of finding out who fans think is the most important member of the band, the guy you think "U2 can't continue without (HIM) in the band." In all of our previous surveys, The Edge has won the honor as most indispensable band member. Not this time. Bono wins with 95.16 percent saying no, U2 should not continue without him. That barely beat Edge's 95.10 percent.
That's just a taste of what you'll find in this latest batch of survey results. Here's the link for all 40+ new questions, which you'll find in sections G, H and I at this link:
That's the full set of survey results! Thanks to everyone who participated this year, and thanks for your patience as we posted all the results.
Bono joined Pastor Eugene Peterson to chat about the Psalms for a short film for Fuller Studio, a new e-resource by Fuller Theological Seminary. Filmed last April, the almost 22-minute documentary debuted on YouTube today. The conversation took place at Peterson's home in Montana ahead of U2's launch of the Innocence + Experience tour. Bono references his earliest memories of the Psalms, the violence in Dublin in 1974 captured in "Raised By Wolves," and his affinity toward the psalmist. Bono said, "The psalmist is brutally honest about the explosive joy that he is feeling and the deep sorrow or confusion, and it's that that sets the Psalms apart for me."
The documentary explores Bono and Peterson's friendship, which was fostered at the start of the millennium when Bono sent Peterson a video thanking him for his The Message translation. Angela Pancella interviewed Peterson for her @U2 Connections article in 2002, where he admitted he wasn't able to meet with Bono at the time. Since then, Peterson and his wife Jan traveled to Dallas in 2009 for a three-hour lunch with Bono and took in the U2360 show. Scott Calhoun shared some of the documentary's behind the scenes stories on the @U2 Blog.
Bono sent a video message to Willow Creek Community Church's Bill Hybels to commend and inspire the congregation this weekend as they conclude this year's Celebration of Hope. Hybels told the congregation that he and Bono stay in touch, joking that whenever Bono needs song lyrics, he's there for him. When Bono found out that 4,000 runners were participating in a "Run For Refugees" 5K to help refugee women and children receive therapy to recover from the trauma they've endured, he wanted to send a message to the congregation. He said, "In a globalized world, the definition of neighbor is not what it used to be, but the principle hasn’t changed ... We as believers are called to take a stand." He quoted from Matthew 8:20 and 25:42-46 to explain the importance of the church's role with the refugee crisis.
Bono has spoken with Hybels in 2006 and in 2009 for Willow Creek's Leadership Summit, both through a pre-recorded sit down conversation to talk about the global AIDS pandemic and helping the poor and disadvantaged. To date, Willow Creek Community Church has raised over $35 million to fight poverty and injustice in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.
Bono's video will be shared again during Willow Creek's services on Sunday, April 24 at 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. CDT. You can watch it streamed live via willowcreek.tv.
UPDATE: Here's Bono's video...
The @U2 podcast has turned 30 episodes old! This week's show started off with a somber discussion about Prince (and his U2 connections), since we recorded just hours after news spread of his death. From there, our crew dove into a discussion of the recent U2 Fan Survey results, including favorite and least favorite U2 albums, U2's fashion mistakes, how long the band will be together and more.
Sherry Lawrence, Aaron Govern and Kenny Irwin joined host Chris Enns for this week's show, which runs 63 minutes. If you've subscribed to the podcast via iTunes or your favorite RSS reader, you'll get the download automatically. You can also listen on the web:
We have a couple hashtags you can use to contribute to the podcast going forward:
Thanks again for listening!
Ready for some more results from the 2016 U2 Fan Survey? Today's batch includes the two sections that cover U2's musical output: favorite albums and favorite songs. Here are few things to look for as you dig into the 30+ survey questions/answers that have just been added:
Songs Of Innocence performance: U2's latest album placed sixth in the rankings for overall favorite, beating out the likes of Boy, War, Rattle And Hum and Zooropa. It ranked eighth on the question asking fans to name their least favorite album, fourth on the question about most underrated U2 album and third on the question asking which album has the best lyrics. All in all, a good showing for SOI.
Songs from Songs Of Innocence: This was our first worldwide survey since Songs Of Innocence came out, and our first chance to see which songs are fan favorites. The winner? "Every Breaking Wave," picked by more than 22 percent of fans. "Iris" and "Song For Someone" were Nos. 2 and 3.
"Ordinary Love": Another new U2 song, this one did well in the question asking fans to name their favorite U2 soundtrack song. It finished second behind "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me."
Physical albums rule: For the first time, we asked on what format you prefer to own a U2 album and "digital" was the top choice of less than a quarter of U2 fans. Physical formats -- CD, vinyl and cassette -- are preferred by 77 percent of fans.
That's just a taste of what you'll find in this latest batch of survey results. Here's the link for all 30+ new questions, which you'll find in sections E and F at this link:
We'll post the fourth set of survey results sometime in the next week or two, so stay tuned!