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"A game like chess suited me because I was able to put everything from my mind and work with something abstract." — Bono

Column: off the record..., vol. 5-186


If Neil McCormick has his facts correct, today is the 29th anniversary of the date that U2 first got together in Larry Mullen's kitchen. In his book Killing Bono, McCormick says the fledgling band gathered for the first time on September 25, 1976, talked about other bands and influences, played a couple songs, and decided to form a band by the name of Feedback. And the rest is history...

I remember thinking last Tuesday night, when I saw the setlist for the first Chicago show -- acoustic "Walk On," debut of "The First Time," etc. -- that's pretty inventive for a first-night show in a two-show city; wonder if they did that because of the bad reviews from their first visit to Chicago in May? Well, whether or not it was premeditated spontaneity, it appears that at least one of the two critics who reamed them back in May has had a change of heart.

Speaking of Chicago, Kevin H. on our news staff let us know that friends of his were able to get tickets right before the 2nd show from a scalper for only $10 each. Not kidding...

Speaking of tickets for less than face-value, Suzannah Evans -- one of our earliest news staffers -- is auctioning two tickets to see U2 in Washington, D.C., and the full price of the winning bid will be donated to hurricane relief. With two days left in the auction, the high bid is lower than face-value.

Meanwhile, in other tour news that hits much closer to home...it's all set. My 7-year-old will see his first U2 concert during this 3rd leg. He's beside himself with excitement; it's all he can talk about at the moment. And I can't wait...

So, what on earth is U2.com doing to make Google think it's "unsafe"? Don't know what I'm talking about? Okay, follow these instructions:

1. Go to Google.com and do a search for U2. The first site listed should be U2.com.
2. Up at the top, next to the SEARCH button, click the link that says "Preferences."
3. On the Preferences page, scroll down to SAFESEARCH FILTERING -- should be the 3rd section down. when you find it, click the first option -- "Use strict filtering."
4. Scroll down and hit the SAVE PREFERENCES button. Your preferences will be saved, and Google will re-do your search, but with "strict filtering" now turned on.
5. Where'd U2.com go? :-)

Thanks to Steve L. for the tip on this. (Note -- I have no idea if this happens on the various international Google home pages.)

I keep getting a lot of emails from people alerting @U2 to "some new U2 DVD" that some retailer has for sale online. So just to recap:

The only official U2 DVD on the horizon is the Vertigo Tour Chicago DVD which is due in mid-November. (CD Universe also lists a PopMart Mexico City DVD, but doesn't have a release date.)

Everything else is an unofficial release. Seems like everyone is putting together their own "Unauthorized U2 Bio" on DVD, and judging from the reactions of the few fans who have bought these in the past, most of them are garbage.

Happy Birthday to our friends at U2tour.de, who turned five years old this past Thursday, Sept. 22nd.

Flickr image: "Dear Chris, you are trying too hard to be like U2..."

And finally...this guy in Oregon put an airplane in his back yard and is turning it into a home.

See ya in two weeks -- I'll be away from a computer next Sunday.

@U2/McGee, 2005.