This column is part of Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb. The words and pics are by Debbie Kreuser.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility

This has been an interesting year for many of us – a worldwide recession which shows no real sign of leaving, environmental catastrophes (the BP oil spill) and natural disasters (earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, flooding in Pakistan) and increasing levels of human rights violations around the world (China, Russia, Ivory Coast, etc). U2 have also seen an interesting year with the postponement of the North American leg of the 360 tour due to Bono's back surgery in May, the harassment of social activist organizations (Amnesty International and ONE) during the 360 tour concert in Moscow and the continuing problems associated with the Broadway musical “Spiderman, Turn Off the Dark” with music composed by Bono and the Edge.

The one shining event which uplifted all of our hearts was the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from seven years of house arrest in Burma. After years of singing “Walk On' to spur her release from house arrest, U2 were singing the “Rejoice” refrain from their song “Scarlet” to celebrate this human rights victory.

I, for one, will be glad to see 2010 go. It was a personally difficult year for me with the loss of a job and the loss of my mother. Since March, there seems to have been a dreary grey cloud hanging over my head. No matter what I have done to advance, forces have seemed to conspire to stalemate me. This has
sometimes led me to experience some sad moments but I always rebound stronger than before!

The new year is already looking better for me with the promise of a possible new job starting soon and the trip I was just able to book to go to NYC in April to see “Spiderman, Turn Off the Dark” - the new Broadway musical with songs composed by Bono and Edge.

Whether we see it or not, there is always something to be grateful for. And this year, like the thirty years that preceded it, I am grateful for the presence of U2 and their music in my life. They have travelled down this road of life as my constant musical companions, filling my days and lighting my nights with their always hopeful music.

And at the start of a New Year, my thoughts naturally go to one song “New Year's Day”. Thus, as I do every year since, I'm including an article that I wrote for a U2 fansite seven years ago about this TRULY INCREDIBLE SONG. I hope that you'll enjoy reading it and will make every effort in the new year to “begin again”. Have a GREAT 2011!


With its soaring vocals and nearly perfect rhythm
lines, "New Year's Day" emerged in the early 1980's as
a U2 favorite. Composed of simple words, it stirred a
timeless hope and belief in the souls of all those who
heard it - the aspiration for freedom and unity for
people around the world. This theme would continue to
follow U2's songwriting in the years to come (Pride, One,
Please, Walk On, etc.). And with its
message of Peace and Goodwill for all humanity, it is
the perfect U2 song to reflect on as we start the year

“All is quiet on New Year's Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year's Day
On New Year's Day

I will be with you again
I will be with you again”

According to Niall Stokes in "U2: Into the Heart",
"New Year's Day" probably began as a love song from
Bono to Ali, but quickly became something more. In
1980, the Solidarity movement in Poland under the
leadership of future Nobel Peace Prize winner and
President Lech Walesa openly challenged the oppressive
rule of the then Polish government. In December 1981,
the Solidarity movement was outlawed and Walesa (and
its other leaders) were arrested and put in jail. As
Bono tells it: "Subconsciously I must have been
thinking about Lech Walesa being interned and his wife
not being allowed to see him. Then, when we'd recorded
the song, they announced that martial law would be
lifted in Poland on New Year's Day. Incredible."

The song continues to document the growing
movement of people clamoring for freedom and justice
throughout Eastern Europe in the early 1980's.

“Under a blood red sky
A crowd has gathered in black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspapers say it's true
It's true...
And we can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one”

OK - great song. But what is the significance of
this song for us in 2004?

It resides in the power of FOUR words: I WILL
BEGIN AGAIN. The willingness to start over, to "begin
again", may be the singular most important idea that
we can gleam from U2's music and is a very appropriate
concept to consider at the start of a new year.

U2's music(and Bono's lyrics) have always given us
a sense of empowerment - the knowing deep within us
that we have the ability to change ourselves (and our
world). We CAN recreate ourselves, become better human
beings, bring Hope and Love to our world. And if U2's
music hasn't motivated us to "begin again", the
personal trials, tribulations and ultimate triumphs of
Bono's life should.

Bono's life and career has been an evolving
tale(some would say a parable or teaching story) of
one man's decision to CHOOSE good over "bad", hope
over despair, action over apathy, grace over karma.
And, in the process, he has given us a BRILLIANT life
which we can affirm and emulate.

So, as we start the year 2004, let us remember
this magnificent song by U2 and on "New Year's Day"
let our resolution simply be: I WILL BEGIN AGAIN!

by Deborah Kreuser - ♫ -

Sunday, 28 November 2010

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility

Many U2 fans and followers have long admired U2 for their social activism for issues as diverse as the environment (Greenpeace) to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (Amnesty International). One of the areas that U2 will be best remembered for in terms of their social activism is Bono's strident advocacy for Africa with his involvement in the establishment of several organizations devoted to a brighter future for the Continent - EDUN, (RED) and, of course, ONE.

This Weds, 1 Dec 2010, World AIDS Day, marks the eight anniversary of "The Heart of America" tour which featured Bono, Ashley Judd, Chris Tucker and several other famous people travelling to nine cities around the "heartland" of the USA speaking about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa and of how average Americans could help them through advocacy for Africa's Future by joining with Bono's new organization, DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa).

This tour would also introduce to the world a new spokesperson for Africa, Bono's choice for a "face" of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa - Agnes Nyamayarwo of Uganda.

Bono had met Agnes in May 2002 during his infamous trip to Africa with then U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. They had visited the office of TASO Uganda ( ) and Bono was so overwhelmed by Agnes' personal life story and the way that she carried herself with dignity, courage and grace, that he recruited her to come to the USA to join him and the others to speak her truth....which she did.

Agnes came to Lincoln Nebraska on World AIDS Day, 1 Dec 2002, and joined the others present there at the forum. She quickly won over the audience's hearts as she shared her story with them that evening in Lincoln.

I know - because I was there. I got the chance to meet most of the participants in that first DATA event, including Agnes and Bono to thank them for bringing to public awareness the situation for people in Africa suffering the adverse effects of HIV/AIDS.

Agnes would go on and stick close to Bono's side over the next five years of African advocacy through DATA, and then through ONE, which came into existence in May 2004.

I met Agnes again in March 2007 at a regional ONE training workshop in Houston and my life has never been the same. We instantly bonded on many levels - as mothers, as women, as social activists. I think we both knew that day that we would be friends for life and that either one of us would do whatever they could for the other.

That was March 2007 - this is November 2010 and nothing has changed. We are as close today as ever....if not more so.

Agnes recruited me to help her to publicize to the world about the women's group that she founded in January 2004 - the Mulago Positive Women's Network (MPWN) of Uganda - a group of women receiving their AIDS meds from TASO Uganda but who had banded together in a women's economic co-operative to try to better support themselves and their children through the sale of their authentically African handmade crafts.

As someone who has long loved crafts from around the world, especially Africa, this was a no-brainer for me. I immediately started posting at U2 fansites about Agnes and the MPWN, started a MySpace page for them, developed a modest website for them and finally found a home for the MPWN at Agnes' Facebook page.

Over the last three years, we have sold approximately $10,000 in MPWN crafts for the women and raised thousands of people's consciousnesses regarding Agnes and the MPWN....but more needs to be done.

And on this World AIDS Day, 1 Dec 2010 - eight years from the start of "The Heart of America" tour - Agnes and the MPWN will launch a new venture that YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN IN.

Every month, Agnes Nyamayarwo and the women of the Mulago Positive Women's Network will be hosting LIVE interactive online forums at the link below. You will be able to join them in their forum and hear them speak DIRECTLY TO YOU about their daily lives, their needs and their hopes for the future.

You will be able to ask them questions and each month they will feature a different craft item that they make and demonstrate to you exactly how that craft item is made!

It is a BRILLIANT, low-cost way to connect people around the world who support the empowerment of some of the world's poorest women by allowing them control of technology which can vastly improve their lives.

The broadcast will be live between 10:00am - 12:00pm EST on 1 Dec 2010 at this link:

PLEASE JOIN US ON WORLD AIDS DAY as we once again hear from the woman who inspired a movement - Agnes Nyamayarwo of Uganda and members of the MPWN. It is an event that you don't want to miss.

Bono and Agnes at the Lied Center, 1 December 2002, Lincoln Nebraska, at the start of "The Heart of America" tour

Bono and Agnes, May 2004, at the rally which started
the ONE Campaign, Philadelphia PA

Bono's handwritten endorsement given to me by Bono with a big smile on his face in Sept 2009, Chicago Illinois, for our activities for Agnes Nyamayarwo and the MPWN

by Deborah Kreuser ♫

Sunday, 3 October 2010

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility

Posted: October 3, 2010

As I write this, the European leg of the 360 tour is less than a week away in Rome. It has been a wild and wonderful two months of music and magic from U2. The band should come away from this time on tour VERY PROUD of themselves - after some initial concern from a lot of the media and their fans, U2 rebounded from concerns over Bono's back problems and the band's solidity to impress all of us with their COMPLETE MASTERY of their music and the stage. Kudos once more to this band of musicians who have been at the TOP of the music industry for almost thirty years and have yet to show major signs of growing tired of doing the one thing that they will be most remembered for: sharing their incredible music with all the world.

Now it's two months of rest and relaxation for U2 before they return to Australia for several concerts in December to finish out the year. And you never know - there might even be an album release in the near future too. Whatever they do and wherever they go, I hope that U2 will always know that they take a piece of our hearts with them.


This said, I did notice with some consternation this piece in the Irish Times with a purported quote by Steve Lilywhite, which he has since stated was taken out of context:

I simply don't know what to make of Lilywhite's purported statements except to say that I vehemently DISAGREE with them. NLOTH has become one of those U2 albums, like UF or JT, that I can put on and listen to until completion and never get tired of. It is one of U2's "concept" albums and I think that it works just fine that way. It expresses what U2 was going through emotionally, both as a group and individually, a few years ago and there is nothing wrong with that.

That is the way U2 creates its BEST music - fashioning music around an idea and allowing what's inside of them to appear on a CD. It's what Bono means when he says that U2's music attempts to "reveal, rather than conceal". It's Bono's "open heart surgery" at its finest - and it's what made U2 the pre-eminent rock influence in the music industry for decades.

Forgive me, Steve - but I don't see where NLOTH was a failure at all. It was one of the TOP money grossing albums of 2009 ( #7 biggest selling album around the world that year) and spurred the TOP grossing music tour of that same year! To me, that seems like something to CONGRATULATE U2 for - not disparage them about.

If there was a drawback at all about NLOTH, it was in the lukewarm reception that it received from some in the media and from some"purist" U2 fans. You know the ones - the people that want to see U2 boxed into a corner and playing their "greatest hits" when they are 70 years old; those who think that U2 can not grow or should not expand their musical horizons - THOSE ones.

Let me remind them, and Mr. Lilywhite too if necessary, that what makes U2 the band that they are today is exactly their willingness to expand their musical horizons, to "f*ck up the mainstream" as Bono says in order to find something new, something true, to themselves and their fans. This aspect of U2 is what makes their music so special and so beloved by millions of fans around the world.

It also sells millions of albums too, Steve.

Lilywhite is sadly correct about NLOTH in one respect - its North African flavor and Islamic overtones probably did not sit well with some narrow-minded fans within the international U2 community. Bigotry is a hard concept to root out of people's psyches.

But the day that U2 begins to worry about what will "sell" with the public over what sort of music will redeem their souls is the day that U2 will begin to lose its relevance to our lives. For what makes U2 great is their ability to OPEN our hearts and minds - and NOT to close them.

Those who could not accept the exquisite beauty of NLOTH because of its connections to Morocco are NOT the sort of people who reflect the BEST of what the U2 community can be and thus their lack of support of NLOTH is NOT missed by the rest of us.

It is simply antithetical to all that U2 have stood for for over thirty years as a band and as individuals to grovel in the dirt of bigotry and small-mindedness. We are better off without them!

In my opinion, NLOTH will go down as one of U2's BEST albums. At least it will to those who search for music that has an eternal spirit that soars in it. ~ MAGNIFICENT, U2!!

NLOTH was not the first time that U2 visited Morocco

by Deborah Kreuser ♫

Friday, 24 September 2010

Update - August 24, 2010

FOR BONO - "Vison Over Visibility"

This past week I had a real "Bono" moment....or at least that's what it felt like.
I lost my mother to a twenty year old battle with diabetes in the early hours of 17 August - the birthday of Bono's oldest son Eli. She was 82 years old and had spent the last thirteen years of her life in a nursing home due to the fact that she had suffered two diabetic strokes which left her completely paralyzed from the neck down except for the use of her right hand.

My mother passed away at 4:00 am (the same hour I was born at) as she battled to stay alive in a hospital bed. She had degenerative diabetes for years & the disease compromised her kidney function so bad that she couldn't filter out the toxins & excess liquid out of her body sufficiently which led to continual UTI's (Urinary Tract Infections) and congested heart failures - which finally took her life.

My only solace in all this is that I had gone back home to spend a week with her last month. My mother lived in a nursing home over 1,000 miles away from me so I only got the chance to see her once a year.

I gave my mother the BEST week that we've had together in many years. Something inside of me KNEW that her time on earth was almost up & I wanted to give her the chance, from her wheelchair, to experience as many of the pleasures of her life as she could before the end.

We went out to eat several times so that she could have the chance to sample her favorite foods again - potato salad, fried shrimp, fresh fruit & CHEESECAKE. I took her for a few walks outside so that she could feel the warmth of the sun and the wind in her face, smell the flowers and freshly cut grass and listen to the sounds of everyday life on this planet - children playing, dogs barking, birds singing.

During this entire process, I kept the memory of Bono spending the last few weeks of his father's life together with him inside me. I knew that no matter what I was feeling inside, no matter how much I felt like crying or screaming, I had to be strong for my mother and to show her how much she meant to me. She was buried on 21 August - the 28th wedding anniversary of Bono & Ali and the ninth anniversary of the passing of Bob Hewson.

While I mourn my mother's passing (my father died years ago), there is a part of me which is happy that she is no longer in pain and is resting now. She made mistakes in life but she was a WONDERFUL woman - and a part of her will live on in me.

So, I leave you with several videos which should be familiar to every U2 fan and ask you to EMBRACE EACH MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE. Don't let it pass you by.

Thanks mom - you did the best that you could. You won't be forgotten. And THANK YOU, BONO, for helping me get from the darkness to the half-light - the light is almost here. ~

Video - Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own

by Deborah Kreuser ♫

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Update - August 3, 2010

FOR BONO: "Vision Over Visibility"

A Sort of Homecoming (for the 360 Tour)

This Friday, 6 August, sees the resumption of the 360 tour after almost a year's hiatus, due to Bono's back injury earlier this year. There is a lot of speculation about the changes that we will see onstage with U2 – new songs, new versions of familiar songs....and most importantly, how Bono's back will hold up under the pressure of constant touring.

As one of those who were greatly disappointed at the cancellation of the North American part of this year's 360 tour, I have mixed emotions about the return of the tour. The time away from the daily bombardment of U2 news has been very beneficial to me. It gave me time to reconnect with other forms of music that I love (like Reggae) and lead me to a love of my favorite album of this year - “Distant Relatives” by Nas and Damien Marley.

It also provided me with time to re-evaluate my personal life and the direction it should take after I lost a job in March. I went back to school for a bit of retraining and found a job within two weeks of my “graduation”. I now have the BEST job that I have had in several years!

In essence, the delay of the 360 tour gave me room in my life to “breathe” - to grow and develop who I am as a person and to take better control over my future. Hopefully, BONO WOULD BE PROUD of me....or at least I hope so.


So what does this all mean? I'm not sure. But I do think that we all have to begin to take a look at our priorities in life. Yes – U2 is the GREATEST Rock band of all time and I'm sure that they have another ten years or so left in them to perform and make magical music.

But one day it will all end – and we have to start preparing ourselves for that ending now so that when it comes, it is not overwhelming for us to deal with. I think that this attitude also helps the band members to accept the inevitable and to make the transitions in their life smoothly when the time comes.

So – WELCOME BACK, U2!! We missed you and we're glad that you're back. We'll enjoy the new songs and the new versions of familiar songs of yours that you'll perform.

But most importantly, we're simply glad to have you back with us. Let us all enjoy our time together but let us be aware that life is change and that one day we'll have to live our lives without you up onstage.

Instead of fighting the inevitable, let's all welcome the changes in front of us – and celebrate the fact that we witnessed “the last of the rock stars”. There will never be anyone quite like you, U2.


by Deborah Kreuser

Friday, 16 July 2010

July 16 (Update July 13)

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility


This Tuesday, 13 July 2010, is the 25th anniversary of an event which changed my life for good & forever - the 1985 Live Aid concert. If you don't really remember that historic day & the concerts which were a part of Live Aid, here is a Wikipedia refresher for you:

There were two musical performances at the Live Aid concert in Wembly Stadium (London) which I still carry in my heart to this day. Both are captu(red) in the videos below. The first one was the amazing performance of Queen, especially the mesmerizing presence of their lead singer, the late Freddie Mercury. From "Bohemian Rhapsody" to "Radio GaGa" to "We are the Champions" - Freddie Mercury took firm control of the audience that day and showed us the POWER inherent inside of us when we come together AS ONE to make a positive change in the world - whether we are inside a stadium or in the voting booth.

The second performance of that day which will always stay with me is the absolutely BRILLIANT performance of a young U2, headed by a 25 yr old Bono. The band just finishing up their "Unforgettable Fire" world tour was excited about being a part of this important day. They originally were scheduled to perform three songs: "Sunday, Bloody Sunday", "Bad" and "Pride: In the Name of Love". But, as is often the case with U2, things changed once they were up onstage.

After a rousing performance of "Sunday, Bloody Sunday", the band started to perform "Bad". Midway through the song, something changed. Perhaps in an attempt to get a more enthusiastic response from the tens of thousands of people in the stadium, Bono began to come down off the main stage and closer to the audience. This attempt by Bono to "reach out" to those assembled in Wembly Stadium was met by an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the audience and they began to surge forward to "reach out" to him in response.

Bono noticed one petite girl in the crowd getting crushed by the onslaught of concert goers and motioned from the stage for the security personnel to rescue you from the crowd and to bring her to him. In the ensuing pandemonium that followed, the security personnel were having difficulty reaching the girl so, in what would become a giant LEAP OF FAITH in rock music history, Bono jumped down off the gigantic stage and onto the dirt of Wembly Stadium where he passionately embraced the young woman and danced with her for a minute before the cameras and TV sets of the world before giving her a kiss and returning to the stage to finish the song.

Bono has often mentioned in interviews throughout the following years that he & the band left the stage that day after their Live Aid appearance at Wembly Stadium feeling as if their appearance there had been a failure as they never got the chance to finish their original set and perform "Pride: In the Name of Love". The band was surprised when they learned the next day that their performance at Live Aid was being hailed as one of the highlights of the entire day-long, continent-spanning concert.

What will always be memorable about U2's performance at Live Aid, and especially of Bono's performance of "Bad", is his entire lack of pretense in front of the world as he attempted to reach out to one girl in a crowd of thousands to embrace her and to affirm her humanity - and, in so doing, embracing and affirming the humanity of the entire world through the power of the TV screen.

Bono may have held only one person in his arms for a brief minute but his willingness to give all of his heart to that moment in selfless compassion and kindness to her epitomized the spirit of the Live Aid concert.

It is a moment that I will never forget. It has changed me in ways that is hard to describe but it has made me a better person. ~ This is the power of U2 to change the world through changing our Hearts. ~ THANK YOU, BONO, for everything.

by Deborah Kreuser

Sunday, 27 June 2010

June 27, 2010

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility

Over the last month of Bono's recuperation and rehabilitation from his back surgery on 21 May, I have had a reprieve of daily U2 news. Personally, I have found this U2 "downtime" to be quite liberating, giving me the time and space to fill my days and light up my nights with other music.

Where I went on my musical journey is back to my roots - reggae music. This is the music which has been MOST INFLUENTIAL in my life. It was brought to me by Bob Marley, whom I was fortunate enough to see THREE times in concert in the 1970's before his passing. Bob brought me an awareness of Africa as a spiritual and cultural entity, whose presence continues in those living in the African diaspora around the world.

Brother Bob also brought me a sense of personal liberation in such songs as "Get Up, Stand Up", "Exodus", "I Know" and "Could You be Loved?". His exhortations to a world lost in a "sleepless slumber" resonated in my Heart and Soul and woke me up to the issues and troubles of poor people around the world.

Because no matter where you were in the world then, as now, people in the remotest places in the world know Bob Marley's music, sing Bob Marley's music and revere Bob Marley's music.


Since Bob's passing in 1981, I have followed his musical legacy as it has lived on through his children. All of them, to varying degrees, are involved with the music industry. Yet, three of Bob's sons - David (Ziggy), Stephen and Damien - have been the main forces keeping the Marley name and legacy alive musically.

Having seen the Marley brothers (David and Stephen) perform as "Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers" in the 1980's and 1990's and then having seen the Marley brothers, including Damien, perform as the opening act for several U2 concerts in 2005, I knew what magic their appearance onstage brings.

Thus, when I heard that Damien Marley would be performing with hip-hop master, Nas, in my city on their "Distant Relatives" tour, I was excited. I had just heard this new release of theirs and their conscious lyrics of African pride and social justice reminded me so much of Bob's music, that I knew I had to go.

The opportunity was given to me and another person to volunteer at the concert that night for (RED) - - as Damien & Nas had agreed to make their Austin concert a (RED)NIGHTS concert. This meant that a certain percentage of their profits from this show would be donated through (RED) to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa (


The concert was extraordinary. The music was loud and booming. Yet, the Marley presence was everywhere onstage as the young lion, the "Junior Gong" (Damien), sang lyrics which chastised & challenged the status quo yet left you with a feeling that things could be better. Damien's singing was completely complimented by Nas' adept rapping and dancing onstage. Together, the two of them gave a memorable performance and really bonded with their audience, which was GREAT to see.

We signed up a lot of people for (RED) and explained to them the connection of (RED) to Africa, especially with the current FIFA World Cup games in South Africa, and everybody was excited about the fact that they would be a part of saving people's lives in Africa from HIV/AIDS simply by attending this concert!

At the end of the evening, as people were exiting out of the venue, I got the chance to be backstage with Damien & Nas as they were taking photos with (RED)NIGHTS ticket holders.

I didn't know if I was going to be given an opportunity to say hello to the artists and to briefly share with Damien the TREMENDOUS impact that his father has had on my life (which was responsible for bringing me to his concert) or not.

After all the other photos were taken, one of Damien's entourage ( a man whom I had spoken with earlier in the evening about Bob Marley & his influence on my life) looked at me and called me to take a picture with the artists!

I briefly checked with everybody to make sure that this was alright and then stepped up next to Damien and Nas for a quick conversation and photo. It was a surreal moment for me - a moment blessed by the Almighty - and I will always be grateful for the chance to reconnect with the "Word, Sound, Power" of the music of my youth - given to me by the next generation of the Marley family.

by Deborah Kreuser -

Sunday, 11 April 2010

February 8, 2010

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility - Update February 8, 2010

In my last column, I talked a bit about why it's so great to be a U2 fan or follower. I detailed a bit about the memorable music and awesome stage tours that U2 have given us over the last thirty years.

I went on to describe the great sense of community that exists within the U2 fanbase and of how that sense of community leads many U2 fans/followers into social activism that often is endorsed by the band.

As an example of this, I would like to share my memories of a VERY SPECIAL event that took place two years ago this weekend - the (AUCTION) RED fundraiser for the Global Fund ( spearheaded by Bono and Damien Hirst.


When I first heard of a proposed art auction to take place at Sotheby's in NYC to benefit the Global Fund through (RED), the consumer oriented idea of Bono's to use the marketplace as a vehicle to raise much-needed funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa, I thought that it was a brilliant idea and something that could only come from the creative imagination of Bono.

At the time, I was employed in an Art Museum and thus knew a lot about the artists that were a part of (AUCTION) RED from Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons to Murakawa and Damien Hirst. So the idea of combining what I did for a living with my social activism for Africa was just too good to pass up - I had to go to NYC to be a part of this historic event. So I prepared for this trip which I would take with a close friend and went to NYC arriving there on 12 February - two days before the Valentine's Day auction for (RED).

The next day we went to see the (Auction) RED art exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery. We would later find out that we missed Bono and Damien Hirst at the Gagosian for a TV interview by just two hours. At least we knew that they were close by.

The next day was Valentine's Day - the day of the art auction at Sotheby's. It was a bitterly cold day with temperatures falling to near zero degrees but everyone's hearts at Sotheby's were warm with the spirit of excitement for what good would come out of (AUCTION) RED.

There were about a hundred of us as we stood outside the Gagosian watching the celebrities and artists walk into Sotheby's. Guggi and Gavin Friday were there as well as Michael Stipe and Helena Christensen. But it was the arrival of Bono and Ali Hewson which sent a ripple of electricity through the crowd and ignited our enthusiasm.

As the auction was ending, I was desperate to know how much money was raised by (AUCTION) RED. A Sotheby's employee came outside long enough to let us know that $42 MILLION had been raised that night to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa! I was ecstatic and could not hold back my gratitude for all the artists who had donated their art work to benefit the Global Fund.

I expressed this gratitude directly to Damien Hirst as he came out of Sotheby's, virtually unknown by the majority of people gathered there to catch a glimpse of Bono. He was so moved by my sincere expression of gratitude for all that he had done to make (AUCTION) RED the success that it was that he took my Sotheby's bag and drew one of his infamous skulls on it! Then he signed my bag "With Love, Damien Hirst" and quickly escaped the cold night in the warm comfort of his vehicle.

Other notable people that I met that night included Prof. Jeff Sachs who actually was quite personable and friendly and, of course, Bono, who was in a particularly good mood after the tremendous success of (AUCTION) RED.

We would leave NYC the following day after a chance meeting with Bono as he was leaving his place at the San Remo. We knew something good would happen that day as we were walking in Central Park and three little birds flew right in front of us.


These are just a few of the reasons why being a U2 fan/follower is so great. In my next entry in two weeks, I'll share a bit about another way that I support Bono's activities for Africa. Until then, take good care of each other and please continue to remember Haiti with your prayers...and your pocketbooks.

by Deborah Kreuser -

January 31, 2010

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility- Update January 31, 2010

As I write this, the Grammy Awards show is on and U2 have so far won nothing. If they do not win for "Best Rock Album" of the year, it will be a shame. NLOTH is one of the most original & creative albums to come out in years and maybe U2's best "themed" album since "The Joshua Tree".

If U2 do not win this award - they should. They stand far above the dribble that I am seeing tonight at the Grammies parading itself as "music". U2 have NOTHING to apologize for or feel embarassed about in NLOTH.

True genius and real talent are often not appreciated at first but the test of time reveals which music is meaningful and eternal. Such it is with U2. KUDOS to them!


There are a lot of reasons why it's so GREAT to be a U2 "fan" but it's often hard to put these reasons into words. That's because much of what we love about U2 emanates from the FEELINGS that their music evokes in us - and feelings can be hard to put into words (just ask Bono).

First, there's their music. It's big, bold and beautiful, yet amazingly intimate and personal. Every song that U2 have ever written or performed have come out of a frame of experience for them, whether direct or indirect. Since "Boy", U2 have chosen to take on the "big ideas" of the human experience - love, loss, alienation, redemption, etc - and along the way found an international audience thirsting for music that was more than what they heard on the radio.

Along with their glorious music, U2 have also given us tremendous productions that will probably go down in rock music history as being some of the most elaborate and engaging uses of stage presence ever. From the "Boy" backdrop to the Zoo TV trabants, from the POP Lemon to the current "Claw", U2 in concert is as visual an experience as it is an audio one.

Next to their tremendous compendium of music over the last thirty years, U2 have given us who follow them a sense of community - of belonging to something greater than ourselves. U2 have always sought to break down the barriers between themselves and their audience as they also hoped that their music would break down the barriers that existed within their fanbase.

And in many respects, they have been successful in that endeavor. U2 have brought together their fans and followers from around the world into a truly international community of people who not only support the band but also support the band's social "causes". This has woven the U2 fanbase into a very unique phenomenon unlike any other that I can think of.

As an example of this, I will end this column with a video that I think completely demonstrates the uniqueness of the U2 experience. It is U2's performance of "New Year's Day" at their Chorzow concert in Poland last August. If this video doesn't send chills up your spine and put a smile on your face, then you probably are not the sort of U2 person that I'm speaking of in this column.

Green Day have just won the "Best Rock Album" of the Year which means no respect for NLOTH or U2 at this year's Grammies. Their loss, not U2's.

See y'all in two weeks to complete my ideas on why it's so GREAT to be a U2 fan.
Please continue to remember Haiti with your prayers....and your pocketbooks.

ONLY LOVE, debbie :)

Sunday, 17 January 2010

January 17, 2010


On Monday, 18 January, the U.S. will celebrate its national holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. U2 have a well-known association with the legacy of Dr. King which goes beyond their songs "PRIDE: In the Name of Love" and "MLK" or Bono's exhortations onstage during the Vertigo Tour alluding that Dr. King's Dream was also an "African Dream".

Last year during the MLK Holiday weekend, U2 performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the impending U.S. Presidency of Barack Obama.

One of my alltime favorite U2 stories comes out of U2's outspoken support for the establishment of a national holiday in the USA to honor Dr. King during their Joshua Tree tour.

Bono was especially vocerifous in his support of this idea and soon began to receive anonymous death threats because of it. One night, before a concert in Los Angeles, a threat was received by the band that if they performed the song "PRIDE" then Bono's life was in danger.

True to their beliefs, U2 decided to perform the song that night. While singing the song onstage, a strange spirit overtook Bono and he knelt down at the front of the stage, eyes closed. At that moment, Bono was not sure what would happen to him. When he opened his eyes, he saw Adam standing over him, protecting Bono from any potential threat to his life. This is how Bono recalled the incident:

"Now we get all kinds of racist jibes because we wrote a song for Martin Luther King, or pinko jibes because we did the Amnesty International Tour. Wherever you look we're a target for the loony fringe. So the second night, we're on stage and I'm singing "Pride" thinking 'If someone is going to do it it will be during this number.' So I crouched down on the stage, shut my eyes and for a moment the thought of death crossed my mind. When I looked up I just saw Adam standing over me, between me and the crowd. It was a good, good moment."

Bono's personal relationship with Dr. King's legacy goes back all the way to his childhood. Dr King was one of Bono's earliest heroes and a main influence on his life. Dr King's philosophy of nonviolent resistance to injustice, gleamed from Mohandas Gandhi's ideas, captured Bono's imagination. Growing up in the time of the social turbulence known as "The Troubles" in Ireland, the ideas of nonviolence and compassion toward those who despised you as described by Dr. King greatly molded the person that Bono would become.


In January 2004, Bono was invited to The King Center in Atlanta to receive their "Salute to Greatness" Award for his lifelong commitment to Dr. King's Legacy and for his humanitarian activities, especially his advocacy for Africa. I was there that day in Atlanta and spent it following Bono's activities as a contributing reporter at the time for a U2 fansite.

Bono met in the morning with local community HIV/AIDS activists from the Atlanta area and then visited Dr. King's gravesite in the afternoon along with Rep. John Lewis, one of Dr. King's close personal friends and student activist during the Civil Rights Movement. Together, they would lay a big bouquet of white roses at the foot of Dr. King's grave.

Before the actual dinner and award presentation at night, Bono participated in a news conference with Coretta Scott King and otherswho would be present at the Awards ceremony that night. I was privileged to have attended that news conference and I will never forget it.

The closeness between Coretta Scott King and Bono was obvious. They were comfortable in each other's presence. They laughed and enjoyed each other. Coretta called Bono her "son" and Bono exclaimed how good it felt to have a mother again.
It was a TRULY memorable moment that few people got the chance to witness - and I was one of them.

The rest of the day and Bono's amazing speech at the Awards ceremony that evening are chronicled in the link below. It TRULY did feel like "A Sort of Homecoming" for Bono at The King Center that night:

In my next blog entry in two weeks, I'll share some of my ideas of why it's so great to be a U2 "fan". Until then, take good care of each other and please remember the People of Haiti with your prayers....and your pocketbook.

ONLY LOVE, debbie :)

January 2, 2010


Hello, hello! This is the first entry of many that I will write for this column in "Edge's Blog" devoted to all things U2 - their music, their spirituality and their social activism. It is entitled "FOR BONO: VISION OVER VISIBILITY" as I will endeavor to get to the heart of the subjects that I'll write about. I'll attempt to draw out into the light those aspects of U2 and of ourselves that are often invisible to our daily lives. Quite a lofty goal to aim for, I know, but if you don't aim high in life, how will you ever achieve your goals?

Let's start with an introduction: I have been a U2 follower for nearly thirty years. Being Bono's age, I have grown up parallel to U2, developing my own sense of spirituality and social activism very similarly to theirs. It has been a joyous journey so far with this band and I look forward to many more years of listening to and learning from their music.

Still, I am my own person and revolt against the idea of "fan worship". Having been able to meet several members of the band and having had the chance to spend some time in meetings talking with Bono, I have been able to get a much fuller appreciation of U2 as four individuals and less as one conglomerate whole....and I like it better that way.

I am also a social activist in my own right, starting out with African "causes" as far back as June 1976 - three months before Larry ever put up that infamous note on the Mt. Temple bulletin board for bandmates. So while I follow U2, I retain my own identity which is what I think they really like and respect in their fanbase.

While I love each member of U2 for their essential contributions to the band, Bono always has and always will be my favorite. From the first time that I saw him perform on the Tom Synder show in the USA in 1981, I knew that he was someone special. The optimism in his eyes, the hope in his words and the humility in the way that he lived his life offstage hooked me at an early age and has never let me go....And I hope it never will.

So this is me in several paragraphs. Not a complete introduction but enough for us to get started. I hope that you will feel free to leave your comments after each entry as I truly value what you have to say. Try to keep it positive, though. There's never a reason to be ugly with each other.

I'll be back in two weeks with a remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and of the wonderful day that Bono spent with Coretta Scott King at the King Center in Atlanta GA six years ago ....and I was there to report on it all. Until then, please enjoy this classic U2 video which gives us four essential words to live a peaceful and prosperous life by "I Will Begin Again". I will follow.

Living Positively, debbie :) -