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

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Update My 25, 2011

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility

I first learned about Bono & Edge's involvement with a musical version of “Spider-Man” several years ago. At first, I wasn't sure about this idea until I heard them speak so passionately about this project. It was then that other “side projects” that Bono & Edge had been involved with in the past came to mind (like “Peter and the Wolf” or MusicRising) that I began to warm up to this idea. As a U2 follower of over thirty years, I know that often U2 does its BEST work as a group when members of the band have had the chance to creatively express themselves OUTSIDE the group – so why wouldn't this be a good idea? Besides, I thought that it would be interesting to see just what the two of them would come up with for a “Spider-Man” musical!

So when tickets went on sale last September, I immediately bought a ticket for “closing day” - 17 April. Perhaps because I only needed one ticket, I was able to score the ticket of a lifetime for this production – Balcony Row A, Seat 113. I was virtually in the middle of the first row of the balcony section and could see everything in the production, from the stage to the flying, unencumbered by any obstacle. It was PERFECT!

I found a great price on a plane ticket & a decent place to stay for a few days near Central Park West and began my preparation for my date with Spiderman. I arrived in NYC on a very rainy Saturday afternoon. The following day (the day of my Spider-Man matinee), I rose early - full of excitement – and started my MAGNIFICENT day by walking to Strawberry Fields in Central Park to visit the “IMAGINE” mosaic in honor of John Lennon.

Taking the subway to Times Square, I spent several hours walking around the area & enjoying the pace of NYC. Soon enough, it was time to get in line and keep that date with Spiderman!

Once inside and in my seat, I eagerly awaited the start of the production. Seated next to me was a young boy & his grandmother who had seen a lot of Broadway shows (including “The Lion King” also by Julie Taymor) but he REALLY loved this production. Maybe it was the flying, maybe it was the music & the choreography but something about “Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark” had captured this little boy's heart....and I wanted to find out if it would capture mine.

As the curtain raised & the lights dimmed, I began beaming like a child. THIS WAS IT – I was finally going to see Bono & Edge's special project that they had been so excited about for so long!

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the upbeat nature of the music (pure rock n roll) and the EXCELLENT choreography which accompanied it. You could see the long hours of practice that went into the making of this show – it certainly deserved more credit than it had gotten from the NYC theater critics.

By the third musical number “Bullying by Numbers”, I was hooked. I could barely stay in my seat – I wanted so much to get up & dance! I had to remember that this was not a U2 concert but a Broadway show (although Edge was purportedly sitting in the “U2 section” directly in my view, albeit in a bit of a disguise).

The set designs were bright in color and very modern. The set changes often came quickly (sometimes too quickly). In all, the first half of the show progressed quite well, especially a BEAUTIFUL rendition of “Rise Above” which almost brought tears to my eyes, and I really couldn't understand what the negative reviews of “Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark” were all about.

The second act proceeded a bit more slowly than the first act & seemed to get a bit lost in its story-telling. Still. It was “saved” by such GREAT performances during the songs “Walk Away”, “If the World Should End” and my favorite “The Boy Falls From the Sky”.

The flying scenes in “Spider-Man” were AMAZING and worth every penny of the admission price to see. The flying fight scene between Spiderman and the Green Goblin was a combination of Cirque du Soleil & Marvel Comics – simply BREATH-TAKING. I was beginning to understand what kept the young boy sitting next to me coming back to see this production.

The show ended with a rousing standing ovation for the cast and crew of “Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark” and an invitation from onstage for all of us to come back and see “Spider-Man 2.0”. From the audience's enthusiastic response, I'm sure that all of us will do just that at some point in the future.

About a hundred people gathered outside the Foxwoods Theater after the show was over to watch the performers come out. It was interesting to watch the NYC media all compete with each other to interview the cast members as they came out of the building. Weren't these some of the same reporters & news media outlets who had dissed this production so much? Why would they be interested in talking to them now?

I was quite impressed with the calm & very professional manner in which the “star” of this production, Reeve Carney (aka Spiderman), interacted with the press & with the screaming young female fans waiting for him to sign their Spiderman programs. ( Even I had a “moment” with Reeve but that will stay private.)

In all, I would agree with the critics that some revision of the production was necessary. The story line needed improvement, the segueway between musical numbers made more smooth, the musical input of Bono & Edge made more emphatic. These revisions amd more have since been made to this production, now comically named “Spider-Man 2.0” by Bono, and from the reviews of it so far, it is a much improved show, worthy of any Broadway opening. (It will finally open on Broadway next month.) I WISH IT WELL....

This concludes my brief review of “Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark”. In my next post, I'll begin to explore some of the reasons WHY I think that this production, including Bono himself, have received such a negative response from the critics and U2 fans themselves.

Until then, WELCOME BACK TO THE USA, U2! We've waited two years to see you so - MAKE IT GOOD. (I know that you will)

ONLY LOVE, debbie:)

by Deborah Kreuser ♫

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Update May 8, 2011

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility

This is my first entry in a series of essays regarding my impressions of Spiderman TOTD (which I was fortunate enough to see in NYC on 17 April - Regina, Edge was there! I saw him!) and & of why I think the reaction to it has been so negative from those outside of the U2 community & from those INSIDE the U2 community. It's going to be a hard-hitting commentary and I'm prepared to get some flak for it. But those who speak truth are never appreciated immediately. It's only with time that the correctness of their observations are realized.

To highlight the fact that Bono has been doing side projects outside of U2 for many years (going back to the 1980's), I've picked a favorite of mine to share in this post . In 2002-2003, Bono was a major part of a remake of "Peter and the Wolf" done to benefit the Irish Hospice Foundation, the organization which took care of Bono's da, Bob, in his waning weeks of life in the Summer of 2001.

Bono's part was to try his hand at illustrating the text of the book which he pursued with relish. To help him with this project was his two daughters, Jordan & Eve, who worked with their father to make the intricate floral decoration on the pages of the book. The three of them worked as a team on this project & probably helped each other to heal emotionally from the loss of Bob Hewson.

Here is a video showing some of the work behind the scenes of "Peter and the Wolf". It's one of the most delightful videos of Bono that I've ever seen. It shows him as he is offstage - with his children & his friends. This project took almost two years to complete & may very well have been part of the reason why the U2 album HTDAAB took so long to be released.

Why the flak for Bono now over Spiderman TOTD & NOT the flak several years ago over this side project? I'll start exploring that issue in my next post.

ONLY LOVE, debbie:)

PS: WELCOME BACK 360 TOUR! We are eager to see you again in North America. Have a GREAT opening in Mexico this week!

For more info on on this project, please visit:

Deborah Kreuser ♫ worldview_14@yahoo.c​om

Monday, 11 April 2011

When Dreams Meet Reality: Bob Geldof in Austin

Bob Geldof was in Austin last month to attend the SXSW Music Conference as its Keynote Speaker and to perform two concerts while here in promotion of his newest CD "How to Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell". Yes, this is the Bob Geldof of Live Aid fame - the same Bob Geldof who was one of the organizers of the now classic Christmas charity song "Do They Know It's Christmastime At All?". The same Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats fame & that same Bob Geldof who has been making himself a pest of world leaders in defense of the world's poor (Thank God) - THAT Bob Geldof.

As I always loved Bob Geldof, especially his honesty & his integrity, and had never seen him in concert - I was THRILLED that Bob was playing a FREE concert the day after St. Patrick's Day in Austin. I knew that I HAD to be there. This may very well be a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to see (and hopefully meet) one of the men whom I most admire in life and whom has always been a sort of mentor to me in my social activism for Africa.

I won't provide all the details of that day but here is the best recollection of some of my experiences of that day at Jovitas in Austin. It is to give you some of my thoughts of that day & to paint an accurate picture of what transpired there.

Dancing in the Moonlight

Bob & his band were the headline act at an event entitled "Dancing in the Moonlight" at Jovitas in Austin which featured at least a dozen other Irish bands, including The Mighty Steph & BP Fallon (a personal favorite of mine). This was SXSW's 25th anniversary year & it is also the 25th anniversary year of the passing of legendary Thin Lizzy frontman, Phil Lynnott - thus the event was entitled "Dancing in the Moonlight" after one of Thin Lizzy's seminal songs.

It was a warm, humid yet beautiful night when Bob & band took the stage about 7:30 pm for this outdoor concert. Several hundred people were in attendance, ranging in various ages. I was there with several other Bob Geldof fans & was able to get a spot right in front of the stage slightly to the left of Bob's mic. With me was the eight year old daughter of one of my friends who was completely enthralled by attending her first big concert.

Bob came out wearing a really stunning ensemble - a black shirt with white polka dots over which he wore a green iridescent suit. For Bob Geldof, this was a very good look. Bob would sing songs from throughout his 35 year old musical career with a band composed of several longtime musical associates & former Boomtown Rats. The significance of this was not lost to me - as I remembered how U2 have stuck together as a band & as friends through their career which has paralleled the same virtual length of time as Bob & his band. (There is something good to be said about the Irish sense of loyalty.)

The concert lasted a full ninety minutes. Crowd favorites were several songs which evoked a TRUE Irish feel to them (replete with Bob dancing!) and several songs from his newest CD "How to Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell" (even Bob joked about the title of the CD and of how he came to use it for his latest CD). He was very open to the audience onstage - speaking effortlessly about the pains in his past, especially regarding his ex-wife Paula Yates, and of how he has mellowed a bit through the years.

For me, I would find this refreshing coming from any artist but coming from Bob Geldof - a man who always seemed to need to be in complete control of every situation in his life - the ability now to be vunerable with his audience was an experience that I'll never forget. This wasn't faked intimacy that I sometimes see coming from others onstage - this was REAL INTIMACY & I was REJOICING inside, just a few centimeters away from him, that Bob has perhaps found what he was looking for in life.

The absolute highlights of the concert for me was Bob's rousing performance of "I Don't Like Mondays" & his somewhat tearful, sincere goodbye to us of "Here's to You" which closed out the performance.

I must give Bob a "thumbs up" on one other thing. As we all know, Bob is easy to use expletives in his conversations. That's a longtime trademark of his & perhaps an ingrained habit. So he started using the F word fairly regularly in his talks with us from onstage until he noticed the eight year old girl with me virtually right in front of him. After that, I noticed that he consciously watched his language & the expletives were normally replaced with less offensive terms. Such is the REAL Bob Geldof - a loving father and protector of children (truth be known).

Thanks Bob Geldof for an outstanding concert & for simply being you. ~

PS: Before the concert, I did get the chance to go inside the artist area where Bob & BP Fallon and band members were staying. I had the chance the previous day to meet BP Fallon and have a lovely talk with him so this time my hope was to meet Bob. I had no planned speech prepared for him - I just wanted to let the moment unfold as it would. As he was approaching, Bob saw me & my friend and stopped to say hello. My friend had met Bob before & really wanted this to be my moment. (yes - there still are some great music fans out here)

I was standing on a rock waiting for Bob to approach us so when he stopped to speak with me, I was his height & able to look him him right in the eyes, barely six inches away from him. What I saw in his eyes was a refreshing spirit of joy, of life and of a little flirtatiousness (Irish men are good at this - smile). His smile beamed on his face & he seemed to be truly "in the moment" with me.

He told how much he liked my green paper bead jewelry from Uganda (made by Bono's friend Agnes Nyamayarwo and the women of the MPWN) and smiled when he saw my ONE band on my wrist.

I could have gone on about Africa with him but I simply told him how much he has meant to me through the years & has emboldened me in my own social activism for Africa. I thanked him for all the years of musical memories that he has given us & told him that I was THRILLED that he is back doing something he truly loves - performing his music.

It will always be several minutes of my life that I will NEVER forget. ~

Deborah Kreuser ♫ worldview_14@yahoo.c​om

Thursday, 24 March 2011

UPDATE - February 19, 2011
FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility

In my last post, I posed the idea that we had GREAT things to look forward to from U2 in February - and was I correct! The U2 concerts in South Africa this past week were some of the most TRULY AMAZING concerts that I have ever heard or seen U2 do on the 360 tour, especially the 18 Feb. concert in Cape Town.

Maybe it was the fact that this concert was streamed live online for the whole world to hear that helped to make the Cape Town concert FEEL so special. I agree with those fans who think that EVERY U2 concert should be streamed live on the website for subscribers. It's a GREAT idea to win back some subscribers who have become disenchanted with the way that Live Nation runs the fansite and it shows U2 fans just how much the band & its management want to provide an extraordinary experience for them at the band's official website.

There were many special moments during the South African concerts. The appearances of Hugh Masekela, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, the Springbok Nude Girls and Amadou & Mariam gave the international U2 community a good introduction to the variety of African music today - an introduction that I hope U2 fans will continue to develope with these and other African musicians.

And then there was perhaps the strangest yet the most endearing introduction of the band by Bono before ISHFWILF in Cape Town when he introduced them as meerkats, lemurs & llamas and, in return, was quite appropriately introduced by Edge as a wildebeast!

But for me, perhaps the highlight of the Cape Town concert was when Bono publicly recognized an old ally of his in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa who was in attendance at the concert that night - Zackie Achmat.

For those who do not know who Zackie is, I'll post a link below where you can begin to find out more info on this TRUE HERO of the historic fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. Zackie actually won the public praise of Nelson Mandela for being willing to risk his own life to make sure that fellow South Africans had access to affordable antiretroviral drugs (ARV's)!

This recognition from the stage by Bono of an ICON of the struggle against HIV/AIDS in Africa reminds me of when Bono recognized my longtime friend & African AIDS activist, Agnes Nyamayarwo of Uganda, from the stage TWICE during the 360 tour in the USA in October 2009.

Many U2 fans will remember Agnes as the African woman who spoke alongside Bono from 2002-2007, travelling around the world with him to spread awareness of the AIDS crisis in Africa amd mobilizing thousands of people to petition their governments to spend more money on stopping AIDS around the world.

Agnes was with Bono at the start of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), at the founding of the ONE Campaign & even appeared in the (RED) edition of Vanity Fair magazine several years ago.

When Bono recognized Agnes from the stage during the performance of "One" at the Raleigh and Dallas concerts, I was there in attendance with her both nights as was my friend, Sue. Agnes was in the USA at the request of the U2 Conference where she was a main presenter.

If you have ever wanted to see/hear Agnes speak or to ask her a question - you're in luck!

This Saturday, 26 February, Agnes and the HIV+ women with whom she works, the Mulago Positive Women's Network (MPWN) will be hosting a LIVE, INTERACTIVE online forum where they will talk about their lives and demonstrate how they make some of the various African craft items that they sell to make a modest living and support their families.

If you would like to be a part of this online forum on Saturday, 26 February, then all you'll need to do is to click on the link below and enter the forum as a guest. Just make sure that you have a headset & webcam to maximize your participation in this forum.
The forum is scheduled between 2pm - 4pm GMT (9:00am - 11:00 am EST). We hope to see you there.

And THANK YOU, BONO, for never forgetting who the REAL HEROES of the struggle against HIV/AIDS in Africa truly are!

ONLY LOVE, debbie:)

Monday, 31 January 2011

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility

January is usually a very slow month for U2 news. Most years you will find the band keeping a low profile at the start of the year....but not this year! From Bono and Edge attending preview performances of their Broadway musical “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark” to revelations that Adam Clayton is now the father of a one year old son to Larry Mullen's appearance in an upcoming Canadian movie, this has been a January FULL of U2 news! So here are some of my thoughts on this month, January 2011, in U2 news.

The revelation about Adam Clayton's fatherhood for the last year really did not take me by surprise. Not that I knew that Adam had a son but I DO know that U2, like any other group of famous people, only allow the public to know what they WANT the public to know about their personal lives!

As a Rock band at the top of international popularity for over twenty-five years, U2 have seen many things and done many things that their fans will never know about. Some of these things U2 have alluded to in interviews through the years and some of this is just plain common sense.

For any U2 fan to think that all there has been of Adam's, Larry's, Edge's and Bono's personal lives is what the public knows about them is simply illusional. The band members have their public lives with their fans and their private lives with their families /friends.

We are not privy to the details of their private lives and neither should we think that we should be. The admission about Adam's private life as a father should be a “wake up call” for those fans in the U2 community who think that they know all there is to know about the band – you don't, and you never will. I accept this fact about U2 and highly encourage others to do the same.

Bono's appearance at Sargent Shriver's funeral on 22 January was especially poignant for me. I have met Bono and Bobby Shriver several times over the last ten years through my support and activism for ONE & (RED). As the founding members of these organizations, Bono and Bobby Shriver have worked well together, often behind the scenes, to keep ONE & (RED) the progressive and EFFECTIVE organizations that they are.

Bono has often mentioned about the TREMENDOUS influence that Bobby's father, Sargent Shriver, has had in the formation of Bono's philosophy in building a movement of support for Africa. Thus, it made perfect sense for Bono to attend the funeral and to be a part of the memorial service. Bono's musical rendition of “The Prayer of St. Francis” was one of the most heartfelt performances of his that I have seen in awhile.

THANK YOU, BONO, for sharing with all of us a very difficult personal moment for you. We will miss “Sarge” very much.

Lastly, I was very heartened to see the quick & fervent response by both Bono and Bobby Shriver to media criticism of The Global Fund, which ONE advocates for funding of by world governments and which benefits from the money raised by (RED).

Shriver was VERY EFFECTIVE in his editorial comments and during his appearance on the U.S. television program “The O'Reilly Factor” in answering the unfair media criticism of the Global Fund. Bobby did a GREAT job in advocating for the world's poor at a time when he was still in mourning for the loss of his father. The Global Fund has a great advocate in Bobby Shriver and we should all keep up our support of (RED) to benefit it!

At the same time as Shriver was advocating for the Global Fund in the U.S. media, Bono was making several EXCEPTIONAL appearances at the World Economic Forum in Davos and continuing his advocacy for the Millenium Development Goals (MDG's). Bono was especially eloquent in delivering his ideas this year at Davos and seemed more determined than ever to get across his message - which I think he truly succeeded at.

WOW - what a month in U2 news! Next up is February with the 360 Tour starting soon in South Africa – get ready for a GREAT U2 year. ~ ONLY LOVE, debbie ♥♥ Charity Issues Adressed

Deborah Kreuser ♫