On Wednesday night, Bono kicked off his book tour at Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre in a “transgressive” mood. Despite feeling a little bad about performing on stage with three musicians who weren’t from U2, Bono sang, joked, and shouted his life story to tens of thousands of adoring fans.
Even one song in Italian, a superb operatic rendition of “Torna a Surriento,” was performed by him.
He once said, “This is all a little strange. But everything appears to be going smoothly.
The 62-year-old singer, composer, and humanitarian described himself as an “eternal boy” with his fists “in the air,” a baritone trying to sound like a tenor, and a “grandstanding” rock star. Paul David Hewson was his father. His recently released book “Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story” has already climbed to the top 10 on Amazon.com. He has since had his work published and become a bestseller.
He tells the story of his life through the songs “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” and other U2 classics, beginning with his crowded Dublin upbringing and the agony of losing his mother, Iris Hewson, at a young age, to the creation of the band that propelled him to worldwide fame and his enduring relationship with Alison Stewart.
Among his famous supporters in the audience, who frequently stood, cheered, and sang along, were The Edge of U2 and former president Bill Clinton. To add some color to the about 90-minute “Stories of Surrender” performance, Bono chose a short black blazer, matching pants, and orange-tinted glasses. The performance was billed as “an evening of words, music, and some mischief.” He began by reading an account of his 2016 heart surgery from his book. Despite this, he sang songs from decades ago without any sense because he had forgotten what had inspired them and sprang and pranced around like a man who had never been inside a hospital.
Bono is the stage name of Paul David Hewson, an Irish singer-songwriter, activist, and philanthropist. He is the rock band U2’s lead singer and primary lyricist.
He was born and raised in Dublin and went to Mount Temple Comprehensive School, where he met his future wife, Alison Stewart, and formed the band U2 with other students. Through his expressive vocal style, grandiose body language, and dynamic songwriting, Bono made a name for himself as the band’s charismatic leader. His Christian beliefs influence his religious imagery, and he usually incorporates social and political concerns into his lyrics. In the early years of U2, Bono’s lyrics helped to set the band’s defiant and ethereal tone. His lyrics become more influenced by shared personal experiences with the other band members as the group progresses. In addition to being elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bono has won 22 Grammy Awards while a member of the band U2.
Additionally, Bono acted out his several unpleasant encounters with his father in bar rooms, who appeared to view his son’s profession as a failing financial enterprise. When Brendan Robert Hewson met Princess Diana, his rugged exterior did once suddenly crumble, as Bono remarked, “It was like witnessing centuries of Irish hatred of the royals go away in eight seconds.”
Bono said, “One princess, and we’re even.”
His mother left when he was a teenager, and his father passed away in 2001. He frequently talked about loss. But he also said that his life was a story of presence, whether it was that of his family, his bandmates, or his wife and kids. He described himself as “fortunate” and said that “what was silence has been filled, primarily, with music” after the typical Irish reaction to a child’s too-ambitious goals, which is to pretend they don’t exist.
Prices for rock star tickets ranged from hundreds to thousands of dollars, even for seats with obstructed views. With scrawled drawings projected on screens that hung from the back of the stage and just a few tables and chairs that Bono could climb on or use to act out dialogues, the setting was more intimate than a U2 concert. He recalls phone discussions with Luciano Pavarotti and the opera singer asking him to appear at a charity event in Modena, Italy. Pavarotti reportedly unexpectedly showed up with a film crew at U2’s recording facility. He imitated this in a kind and humorous way.