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"People say I should get back in my box because I'm just a rock star. . . But in every pub in this city at this moment, there is somebody shooting their mouth off on every subject under the sun. Why shouldn't they? Why shouldn't I?"

-- Bono

@U2 home page

Column: off the record..., vol. 13-567

@U2, May 19, 2013
By: Sherry Lawrence


off the record, from @U2

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you turn.
Bono’s on morning TV
Talking about poverty
And Edge is out and about at social gatherings.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Hopes of CDs out in the stores
2014 Grammys on January 26th
Eligibility’s only ‘til September 30th
No pressure on U2’s front door.

Our first 80-degree day in a while and I’m humming Christmas tunes, I know. But let’s face it, the signs are all there. Bono’s back to his usual front-and-center activities. He celebrated his birthday May 10 with the band and his friends in Dublin. He then flew to New York City for the Robin Hood Foundation’s benefit, singing “One” and “Moment Of Surrender” with Mary J. Blige. Then he was interviewed at The Spotted Pig restaurant by Charlie Rose for both his own show and CBS This Morning. It should be noted that Bono is one of the partners in the restaurant, along with Jay-Z, Mario Batali, Michael Stipe, Paul McGuiness and a few others. Not sure if this was the same meal shared with Dr. Jeff Sachs. He was also seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop for a new installation.

As a proud papa, he also turned down a commencement address request and an honorary degree from New York University so as not to upstage his daughter’s achievement in receiving her degree.

Rounding out the weekend, Bono introduced The Killers before they performed at the Saturday Night Live cast after party in the wee hours this morning outside 30 Rockefeller Center.

Not to be outdone, Edge was seen in New York City at the Guggenheim Museum for its Arcane Collective event May 11 and 12, celebrating his wife’s work Cold Dream Colour. He also joined in a moderated discussion with the collaborators on the production.

On Tuesday he was spotted at 10 Downing Street meeting with Samantha Cameron and other representatives of Mencap. You might recall that his cousin, Ciara, works for Mencap.

As someone who has studied this band for close to 25 years, I see all the signs there for the fall. They’re coming out of their cocoons and resuming their public appearances. For me, I might as well start my U2 Advent calendar. Let the countdown commence!

As you might have noticed from the amount of links above, social media has been most helpful in keeping up with the comings and goings of our favorite band. As expected, social media usage was one of the topics of conversation at last month’s U2 Conference. What struck me was the way Jim Henke, Brian O’Neal, Jim Gorman and a few others felt that U2 was making a mistake in not fully embracing the world of social media.

In 2010, Edge said to, “I’m intrigued by new movements in digital domain and Twitter came along … I didn’t like the idea of a dialogue. From my experience words on the ’Net are very easy to misinterpret … But I thought an interesting way to use Twitter is to just use a photo diary so I’ve been sending loads of photographs out on this Twitter and people seem to like it.”

I have to wonder if his opinion will change when the new album is released. It will be difficult to market their new release without social media. I will be very interested in seeing what the app will be that U2 will release at that time too. It was mentioned at the U2 Conference that every image created for the band has been handed over for this application, so time will soon tell.

As part of my midlife crisis, I’ve been moonlighting with other fan clubs. Most recently, I signed up for Michael Buble’s Bungalow-B. This is the first official fan club that I’ve paid for outside of U2. For $29.99, I received ticket presale access for his upcoming tour, a copy of his new album, a digital copy of the new album (saving me time from ripping it), a discount in his online store and access to the online fan club for the next 12 months. There were other levels of membership available with other benefits that would rival U2’s fan club cost. What I found interesting was that “legacy” members (a paid member for two-plus years) had a four-hour head start on the ticket presale, and the ability to purchase four tickets (four for one show or two for two shows). “Standard” members had access to two tickets for one show. While there was no guarantee that tickets would be available, I had no issue getting the two tickets.

What struck me, however, was that Buble’s fan club had no access to the front sections of the floor. Instead, rows 1 through 5 in sections 1, 2 and 3 were available through online auction only. As much as I could see following suit with the various membership pricing and ticket presale code availability, it pained me to see that members of Buble’s fan club could not have close access to the act they’re paying $30 or more to support online annually.

With a potential U2 tour in 2014, I can only hope that the fans (legacy or not) who pay for fan club access can still be allowed to be in those coveted areas near the stage without going through an auction like Buble fans or paying thousands of dollars like Bon Jovi fans do.

And finally … something special for Larry fans. “The white T-shirt is a symbol with hunky, sexy male.” (It gets good around 1:37) Who knew Larry’s favorite film growing up was West Side Story?

Have a great week!

(c)@U2/Lawrence, 2013

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