On Bono: Can A Saint Still Be A Rock Star?
Big Style section profile today on the African debt-relief activist Bono Vox. The central question asked by my colleague Sridhar Pappu is what makes Bono such an effective and powerful activist and lobbyist, particularly in a city as fractured as Washington.
(Not sure this has anything to do with the answer, but I do love that Bono is willing to conduct an interview at a urinal. Seriously. It's in the story. And I've heard the audio evidence. And no, I won't send you an MP3.)
Also in today's dead-tree product, there's a Names & Faces item about Bono showing up at a London charity concert to perform a few U2 songs with The Edge. Because, you know, for all the time Bono spends trying to save the world, his number one job remains Rock Star. At least I think it does.
Anyway, here's what I'm wondering: Do you think Bono is still a powerful rock 'n' roll frontman? Are you buying what he's selling? To what degree is your impression of U2's music colored by his day job as an Important Geopolitical Figure who hugs world leaders at G8 summits, takes meetings with POTUS and travels the world with the U.S. treasury secretary?
I liked "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" pretty well and I'm dying to hear what they do next, working with the great Rick Rubin. For the most part, I enjoyed the U2 concerts at [Insert Telcom Company Name Here] Center in 2005. But I really, really, really wished that Bono hadn't spent so much time on his soapbox during the D.C. shows. Less jabbering and more pure musical salvation, please.
It's not like Bono is new to the game of mixing politics and popular music. Hardly so. It's just ... different now. Elevated. More extreme. It's certainly magnified because he plays under such a bright spotlight, on such an expansive stage. It's part of the Bono package deal, I guess; but I'm not sure I like the way it's being bundled these days. You?
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