I remember my band and I being on the same bill with U-2 at an outdoor concert in Dublin, Ireland in late July, 1980. I recall it so vividly because it was held at an ancient castle which was stunningly beautiful, and there were approximately 35, 000 people there — a huge audience for us, except that since our musical gear never made it through customs, we didn’t play that day. I only had like an hour or two of sleep the night before, and we flew from England to Ireland in this tiny private plane. Also on the bill that day were headliners The Police, along with XTC, John Otway, and Squeeze. At that time, Bono and U-2 were in the process of coming into their own.
As the years went on, I came to see Bono in a very different light than merely as the singer of U-2. I started seeing him as the ideal 21st century rock star model: one who isn’t self-indulgent and self-destructive like so many celebrities who marry multiple models. Rather, as someone who actually puts himself out there right on the front lines to make this very dark planet a better world.
If the universe is going to bless someone with the kind of fame and money Bono has, I really believe that they owe it to the world that gave it to them to make good use of it and try to help others (versus getting wrapped up into something so obviously self-undoing as drugs, alcohol, having sex with uncountable numbers of people, punching photographers, throwing tantrums, etc).
And giving back is exactly what Bono has done. From AIDS, to poverty, disease, hunger, to trying to assist Africa, he has been a wondrously tireless activist. He doesn’t just show up for the benefit concert on a private jet; he is in the trenches with political leaders all over the world, seemingly unafraid, courageous and committed. I can honestly say that if I ever had that type of success given to me, I would only hope to handle it in the same way Bono has.
So when I noticed that he had to have emergency back surgery right before a new leg of a U-2 tour was to occur, I held him in deep thoughts of healing and recovery and wished him the very best. Of course, I assumed everyone else would do so, too. After all, “Why wouldn’t somebody like Bono?” I asked myself. He’s not a jerk, isn’t impregnating waif-like models all over the world, or someone who cancels shows because of vanity problems.
As I read the story on CNN, I started breezing through the comments section to see what people were saying, assuming that it would all just be warm and fuzzy well wishes and thoughts of healing. But to my utter shock, the postings contained some of the nastiest, most vicious things one could imagine, especially because they were stated without cause or reason (except perhaps jealousy, dumbness, and shortsighted mean spiritedness). It just shows the state of our culture, where everyone has an opinion and has to open their mouth, but often, without anything of value to say.
People were referring to Bono as an egotistical ass, wishing that he would break his neck too, and saying that he did this on purpose to copy Bret Michaels in order to get more media attention. One person was snarking that since he’s 50, he can now join AARP and get discounts on senior citizen concert tickets, while someone else stated that his nose should also be removed in surgery to get it out of America’s politics. One cynical post on Twitter even said the Bono had to have emergency surgery to remove his head from his arse.
Of course, there were also sentiments from many on the CNN comments board who expressed utter outrage at the viciousness of these statements, as they are without any tangible or rational cause. Of all the rock stars and celebrities on earth, Bono is perhaps the one who has done the very most for the well being of this planet, incalculably given of his time, money, and has self-sacrificed (even to the point where his fellow band members have considered replacing him because they want to make music more often).
Whether someone likes Bono’s music or not is irrelevant. His worldwide efforts to help save the planet and its people should be applauded and championed not just by humanitarians, but by everyone. Hopefully, his tireless work will help to assist in healing this disease-laden world, and set a wondrous example for all performers and people to emulate. Also, for the record, I think he’s really a great singer and performer too.