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"We can write sexy songs and spiritual songs — and songs that are both. We can write anything we want — and get away with it." — Bono

Week In Review: May 18, 2020

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60 Songs That Saved Bono’s Life: The Letters

For his birthday on May 10, Bono gifted us all with “60 Songs That Saved My Life,” a playlist spanning several decades and many musical genres. Each song on the list is accompanied by a fan letter from Bono to the artist who wrote or performed the song. You can catch up on the details here.

On May 15, all 60 letters were posted on u2.com and rollingstone.com. In the style of the very best U2 songs, the letters are heartfelt, lyrical and just a little dramatic:

You are my drug of choice. Whether reading a sacred text or being reminded of how to be in your body on a stage, I refer to you constantly. I learned that the dizziness, the headiness, the highness of a great show can only happen if both feet are planted in the mud and the messiness of God’s earth. (To Patti Smith, on “People Have The Power.”)

Every prison that ever held a soul is going to feel the ground shake and the bars rattle here. Freedom is at the heart of why we make music, freedom from a toxic situation, from an oppressive nation, freedom from addiction or any self taught affliction, freedom from our own DNA. Spiritual and sexual liberation…that’s why we’re all here. (To Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar, on “Freedom.”)

Bono’s letters have inspired U2 fans to respond in kind. On Twitter, U2Tour is encouraging fans to write letters to U2 explaining why a particular song has meaning for them. If you’d like to join in, post your letter on Twitter, tag @u2tour, and use the hashtag #fanletters2U2. U2Tour will compile the letters on a dedicated page on their website, U2Tour.de.

 

iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE: The Fifth Anniversary

May 15 was—incredibly—the fifth anniversary of the opening night of U2’s iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour, the tour that divided fans into metaphorical residents of Dublin’s Northside and Southside, separated by the innovative “barricage” screen.

After a rough couple of months following the release of Songs of Innocence and Bono’s devastating bike accident, U2 played a powerful and well-received opening show at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada.

From the review by Barry Egan in Ireland’s Independent:

They opened at 9pm with a blitzkrieg bop version of “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone),” which was quickly followed by “Out Of Control.” “We’re a band from the Northside of Dublin,” Bono told Canada, introducing the song. “This is one of our first singles.”

I’m glad to say that Ballymun boyo Bono still rocks like a beautiful bastard.

Amen.

The tour rolled on through North America in the spring and summer, then moved on to Europe in the fall. Two Paris shows, scheduled for November, had to be canceled in the wake of a deadly terror attack. U2 returned to Paris in December for a pair of powerful, emotional shows, which were recorded for DVD.

 

U2 Memorabilia Amongst The Lots For Island Records’ One Love Auction For Covid-19 Relief

On May 21, award-winning actor and playwright Billy Porter will host Island Records’ One Love Covid-19 Relief Auction, supporting NHS Charities Together and Feeding America. Artists and friends of the label have donated lots to raise funds for these organizations.

Amongst the musical memorabilia on offer is a signed 30th Anniversary The Joshua Tree vinyl box set, along with lyrics for “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” handwritten by Bono.

The event will be broadcast live at 6:00pm BST via Omega Auctions and Island’s Youtube channel. You can find info on bidding here.

 

While you’re here, check out our latest podcast, “Love To Walk Those Movie Sets”; the newest Achtoon Baby, featuring Bono’s life in the form of New Yorker cartoons; and, maudlin musings on Bono’s birthday from yours truly.

 

© @U2/DeGenaro, 2020