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"People are interested in bridges. I guess I've always been more interested in what goes on underneath bridges."

-- Bono

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Column: off the record..., vol. 13-565

@U2, May 05, 2013
By: Matt McGee


off the record, from @U2

The latest U2-related rumor has a soccer/football twist. As U2 Brazil reported, a Brazilian journalist writer named Lauro Jardim recently wrote that organizers of the 2014 World Cup are in negotiations with U2 to either perform at the opening or closing of next year's tournament.

Nothing else was mentioned in the report, although U2 Brazil also pointed out that Bono has promised ex-Brazilian president Lula da Silva to attend the opening ceremony with him.

The only other rumor that I've heard lately was actually the news that Steve Averill shared at the U2 Conference last weekend, when he said that he's about to meet with the band to talk about the new album and discuss design ideas. That meeting should be happening any day now, presumably in Dublin.

It's not a guarantee that U2 will actually put out an album this year, but it's certainly a step in the right direction for all of us hoping they do.

I apologize up front if you're tired of hearing about the U2 Conference already ... because you're probably gonna hear a lot more about it in the coming days and in future OTR columns.

Bottom line for me is that something special happened last weekend in Cleveland. It was different (better) than the first U2 Conference. It was something different than what's happened over the years at the various @U2 parties we've done. I don't really have words for it. It was different. And very, very special.

For me, on a personal level, the conference re-energized me and helped me re-commit to everything we do on this website. Because you know ... when you've done something for going on 18 years, it's probably normal to wonder "What if this ended? What else could I do with that free time?" ... and I'll be the first to admit that thoughts like that have come up several times over the years.

But the conference weekend wiped away any questions or doubt that may have been lurking deep inside my heart and mind about that. I heard a story from one forum user that really moved me, proving that what we're doing here can really mean something in the bigger picture. And I heard a lot of kind things about what we're doing from @U2 readers. "Words of affirmation" has never been my love language, but it was last weekend, that's for sure. :-)

Thank you to all for those stories and words. It added tremendously to a very special weekend.

And it wasn't just me who felt something special happening. Read some of the attendee feedback that's already being posted on and you'll start to get a sense of what it meant to others, too.

I don't know when or where the next conference will be, but when it happens, give serious thought to doing whatever it takes to be there. This thing has a ton of momentum now and will only get better. You'll want to be part of it.

One more thing about the U2 Conference: a special thank you to the guys in Unforgettable Fire, the tribute band that did our "U2's Sound" session on Saturday morning and played the official post-conference party on Saturday night.

Not only are they excellent musicians (they really are), but they're also very solid, down-to-earth guys. I was more impressed with them as people than anything. They loaded up all their gear and drove from Connecticut and New York all the way to Cleveland, did the first session on a Saturday morning, then played for 3+ hours on Saturday night and into Sunday morning -- all the while knocking off conference attendees' socks -- and, when it was all over, they were thanking Scott and me for inviting them to be part of it all. We were thanking them profusely, and they were giving it right back to us. How cool is that? Great guys.

Do you remember that music festival in Mali that Bono participated in early last year -- Festival Au Desert? There's a live CD that just came out with performances from the event but ... alas ... Bono's appearance with Tinariwen didn't make the cut. :-(

That's okay, though. Remember, we posted the entire 15-minute performance on our blog a couple weeks after it happened.

And finally ... an interesting find on YouTube. This appears to be the original Brian Eno video of a sign language performance of "Ultraviolet" that was used on the screens during the Zoo TV tour.

Until next time....

(c) @U2, 2013.

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