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"I can't look at the audience as a mass. It disturbs me. I have to look for individuals." — Bono

Column: off the record..., vol. 6-218


Who's up for some Connect the Dots?

We know that U2 is in the recording studio working on new songs, but when it gets serious enough to bring in a producer, who might they call? Well, Zsuzsi O. from the Hungarian fan site U2.hu let us know about an April interview they conducted with author Michka Assayas. In the interview, Assayas tells about Bono's interest in working with Rick Rubin, who's recently produced for Johnny Cash, the Dixie Chicks, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Assayas told U2.hu, "Bono is a great admirer of Rick Rubin," and says he encouraged Bono to work with Rubin: "I think it would be fantastic but I do not know if it's going to happen. Because we discussed it with Bono and I said to him you should do that! They are thinking about it."

Making things more interesting was an article last week in USA Today profiling Rubin, which includes this nugget: "He'd love to produce a U2 disc."

Interesting, n'est-ce pas?

Just a quick update on what I wrote in this space last week about the ETS/U2 situation....

I'm told that ETS has, in fact, closed its doors. I'm also told that other travel-related companies are already trying to help pick up the pieces with Clear Channel Entertainment (tour promoters) to make sure that U2 fans get what they bought for the remaining Vertigo Tour dates. I'm also told that this situation is "probably a small reason" the rescheduled tour dates have not been announced yet. If you're an ETS customer, I would sit tight for now. Make sure you have some kind of proof of purchase and sit tight.

Speaking of the Vertigo Tour, one of the great things about last year was the various "fan displays", or whatever you want to call them, that happened in various cities. You know -- when fans coordinated their efforts to make a sign/statement to the band during the show. There were THANK YOU signs, balloon releases, and things like that. But it all began in Poland a little more than a year ago -- July 5, 2005. On that night, fans in Poland turned the stadium into a giant Polish flag -- red on the ground, white in the stands -- and the display knocked the socks off U2, Willie Williams, and others.

A friend of ours in Poland, Zbych, coordinated the effort and he's written "The Story of the Flag" which you can read at U2tour.de. Great story!

Off-topic: While on vacation last month, I had time to do something I haven't done in years: read a work of fiction. It was so good, I have to recommend it. It's called Tears of the Giraffe by a guy named Alexander McCall Smith. It's the 2nd book in a series of six books called "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency." It's set in Africa, and every once in a while something will be said that subtly reminds you of what we all know about Africa via Bono's work there. But that's not the point, really -- it's just a great, great book* and if you're looking for something to read this summer, I can't recommend this enough.

* Mrs. McGee has read the whole series and says they're all great.

And finally ... amazing aerial photographs by Jason Hawkes.


See ya next week.

© @U2, 2006.