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