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[My dad's] kind of boring, but sometimes when he drives us to school he wears just his dressing gown, and has the music turned up really loud. -- Bono's daughter, Jordan Hewson

Martin booed at U2 concert; fans sign Bono''s end-poverty pet

- April 29, 2005


Martin booed at U2 concert; fans sign Bono's end-poverty petition to PM AMY CARMICHAEL
Fri Apr 29, 4:05 AM ET

VANCOUVER (CP) - Prime Minister Paul Martin was booed at a sold-out rock show by thousands who have sided with U2's Bono, a rock star who won't let Canada beg off the fight to end poverty.

Bono is speaking out against the embattled leader for breaking a promise to raise Canada's spending on foreign aid. But at his first Canadian show of the Vertigo tour in Vancouver on Thursday, Bono asked the crowds not to give up on Martin yet. "I think we're going to figure this thing out. I think he's a great leader for Canada and that he can do what we want him to do, to lead the world out of despair and poverty, this year."

Bono, a long-time crusader for the relief of Third World debt, challenged Martin to deliver on a commitment to raise Canada's spending on foreign aid to 0.7 per cent of the gross domestic product by 2015.

He flashed a phone number on the jumbo screens above the stage asking people to call the prime minister and give him the strength to write the cheque Martin now says Canada can't afford.

"If you people believe in it, I believe Paul Martin is the kind of person who will listen to you. Let him know. Get out your phones. Dangerous little devices, these cell phones. We want to make poverty history," Bono screamed. "This is the year!"

The stadium, a rocking temple of Bono worship, was lit in the cool glow of dialling mobiles and the band, inspiring the crowd to make a difference with One.

"One love, one life, when it's one need, in the night," the audience cried along with Bono.

"This audience, this generation, has had enough," he screamed back.

"Enough! Enough! Enough of despair! No more! So Paul Martin, I'm calling you!"

Some fans said they thought Canada's prime minister should listen, but not because it was a rock icon screaming.

"Bono wasn't elected," said Kieran Kennedy, who camped out a 6 a.m. to get the best spot on the floor when the gates opened at 6:30 p.m.

"Paul Martin should give more money to the Third World, not because Bono says so, but because he himself promised to."

Others, taken with the trendiness of the cause, would follow the star wherever he wants to go. Girls wriggled into the fad, snapping up white rubber bracelets being hawked at the show that say Make Poverty History.

The bangles are part of a campaign backed by Bono, Sarah McLachlan, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Tom Hanks, and Bob Geldof.

The Make Poverty History group launched TV ads Thursday that will air in prime time on CBC, CTV, and Global Television. Print ads featuring McLachlan will also run in major newspapers.

The campaign is active in over 50 countries, with the Canadian effort set to begin Friday at a downtown Vancouver church, which will be wrapped in a white band.

The ever-symbolic Bono lavished praise on the city while rocking on stage with a bandanna wound around his head emblazoned with a star of David and a cross. He rounded out the look with his signature shades and a bulky black leather biker jacket.

Vancouver has been lip-locked in a big screen kiss with the self-described biggest band in the world for days.

U2 filmed writhing locals during a free show Wednesday, when they arrived in town to begin shooting their latest video. Rumours were rampant that the Vancouver shows on Thursday and Friday would be filmed to make the official tour DVD.

An announcer asked the crowd to be patient before the start of the concert as crews set up on stage to shoot the show.

Fans shrieked as the announcer confided, "We're making a video!"

So many had made like pilgrims, travelling across the country and the world, camping out at the stadium 12 hours before the performance for a chance to get close to the stage. The ecstasy was palpable, begging to be filmed.

Pulsing his body forward and back, Bono exploded in joyous karate kicks as fans proclaimed their love for him, or simply held up signs that said, Thank you.

"See the world, in green and blue, Vancouver right in front of you!" the frontman sang, tweaking the lyrics of Beautiful Day at the start of the concert.

With his arms and legs spread like he was riding a surf board, Bono jumped up and down, daring the crowd to bring it on.

"I first came here, in a building that's knocked down now," he sang in a low voice.

"Just watched the city grow and grow. From the first, I always liked walking the streets of Vancouver. Taking a dip in the bay, freezing cold."

Cryptic and deep, Bono told the thousands in the stands that "the community of unity goes on and on and on."

Flags of African countries streamed down from the ceiling and the United Nations declaration of human rights played on video screens, all the way through articles one to seven.

Couples swayed together as the band crooned through Where the Streets Have No Name, New Year's Day, beginning a string of the group's romantic classics.

The new album, Vertigo, has what U2 considers to be an up, all-out rock and roll sound for "these nervous times."

The sold-out crowd of some 18,000 was evidence of the 80's band's ongoing relevance. U2 has a new generation of young fans. They stood side-by-side with Generation X'ers and Boomers, all die-hard fans and many of whom will say this is the only band they wanted to see this year, or even in the past five years.

Arguably, the best band in the world.

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