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"It is true . . . that I once danced -- or, to be precise, pogoed -- with Van Morrison in Bono's living room."

-- Salmon Rushdie, 2001

@U2 home page

Column: off the record..., vol. 9-425

@U2, August 29, 2010
By: Tassoula E. Kokkoris



off the record, from @U2

I'm sure I'm not the only fan who breathed a sigh of relief earlier this month when Bono returned to the stage without incident following his back injury in the spring. Part of me was honestly convinced U2 shows would never be the same (or be forced to end altogether), and I'm so happy that my fears were not realized.

Speaking of the tour -- I've been following the European gigs as closely as my work schedule will allow and was somewhat underwhelmed by the lack of variety in the setlists until the Helsinki show on Aug. 21. The boys really brought it out for that one: an acoustic version of "No Line on the Horizon," the new song "Every Breaking Wave," and not one, but three separate uses of "Singin' in the Rain," in honor of the weather that evening. Fans who wrote reviews on described the night as "magical," "highly emotional" and "memorable." I only wish I'd been there to share it with them.

When it was announced that U2 would be kicking off their next 360 leg on my birthday, I began immediately searching for flights. Auckland sits on a part of the world I've always wanted to see, and what better reason to finally visit, right? Well, after hours of careful research, I determined that the shortest flight time I could get from my present location was over 16 hours long, and that was if I went for one of the most expensive routes (the ones within my price range were more like 27 hours). Plus, I'd barely make it in time for the show if I left the evening of my first allowed vacation day. Travel plan = fail.

Although I may not be leaving the continent to see U2 this year, I am still greatly anticipating their return to North America next spring. The new schedule may allow me to go to more shows than I'd planned to attend this year, but it also prevents me from getting to one I already had tickets for, which is why I was delighted to learn our @U2 forum team has created a new U2 Ticket Swaps/Trade section. Learn more about it here and please post if you have tickets to trade or to sell at face value.

If you've been following fashion news lately, you've probably read that Bono and Ali Hewson's Edun clothing line is struggling to turn a profit. The ethical, eco-conscious label was created in 2005 to encourage trade in Africa by way of a for-profit company, but was met with challenges in unreliable distribution and manufacturing. 

The good news is that Edun is returning to the spotlight -- their team has formed a new partnership with the LVMH luxury group and will be a prominent presence during Fashion's Night Out in New York on Sept. 10. Also during fashion week, Edun will re-launch its website with fresh new looks for fall and enhanced site features. Watch for the new to be unveiled on Sept. 9.

Sadly, this week marks the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, killing nearly 2,000 people and displacing almost 400,000 residents. In response to the disaster, The Edge, along with Canadian music producer Bob Ezrin and CEO of Gibson Guitar Corp. Henry Juszkiewicz, created Music Rising in November of that same year. Their aim was to "rescue the musical culture" of the Central Gulf region by providing replacement instruments for those lost in the storm. To date they've restored "tens of thousands" of instruments and initiated additional phases of their program aimed to specifically help churches and schools, and foster community musical organizations and events. You can help support Music Rising initiatives by purchasing merchandise from their online store or making a cash donation

Let's work together to keep the music alive.

© @U2/Kokkoris, 2010.

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