Bono — not Sonny — hit the Beacon Theater Wednesday night for the launch of his book, “Surrender.” It was not a concert, per se, with U2 although The Edge was in the house. It was a spiel, part talk, part music a la Bruce Springsteen on Broadway. It could be Bono, who can talk til the cows come home, is planning a similar show at some point.
Royalty turned up, of course. According to U2songs.com, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tom Hanks, Woody Harrelson, were all in the house, as was Bono’s wife, Ali, and their daughters Eve (the actress) and Jordan. U2songs.com also noted the presence of U2’s longtime former manager, Paul McGuiness, who is written about very kindly and warmly in “Surrender.” There is no mention by the site of U2’s current manager, Guy Oseary, who famously handles Madonna. (He may have been there but went unnoticed.)
Bono gave a shout-out to Nancy and Paul Pelosi. Also there: Irish singer-songwriter and bon vivant, Gavin Friday, and supermodel Helena Christensen. Helena is very much featured in the book as she was the girlfriend of late INXS singer, Michael Hutchence, Bono’s good friend. (Bono calls her the “H Bomb” in the book.)
Bono reviewed the high points of “Surrender” and mixed in some songs including “Vertigo” — which he writes in the book is his current favorite (I think it used to be “Stay”), plus With or Without You,” “I Will Follow,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Pride (In the Name of Love”), “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and “Beautiful Day.” I’m actually shocked he didn’t play “One,” his best song. But there you go.
There are no pictures because it was a phone free event. They locked up the phones and when you got it back, you also received a copy of the book, which you already paid for. Some people coughed up thousands, hundreds, and millions for their tickets.
“Surrender” is a good read, although it’s dense, since Bono has a lot to say, and is often not economic. But after 40 plus years of fitting his thoughts into concise, superb 3 or 4 minute songs, he has every right to be as florid as he likes. I particularly enjoyed his remembrances of Luciano Pavarotti and, of course, the mistake he made forcing Apple to put out a U2 album no one wanted on iTunes and the iPod. No one, even Bono, who comes close, is perfect.
Tonight’s show was the first of 14 stops across the country. I don’t think the Clintons or Tom Hanks will be at the others, but Gavin Friday should be. I have no idea who published the book but someone did, I’m sure.