A day-by-day history of U2, now in its second edition.

Book Sample: Three Days in February, 2002

By on September 26, 2008 in Book Samples with 3 Comments

Time to share another book sample, don’t you think? I was just browsing through the Book Sample category to see what I’ve previously shared, and realized that almost all of my earlier samples are from the 1980s. So, here’s a look at the diary entries for three days in February, 2002 — an important trio of days for U2 and Bono.

February 1
Still at the World Economic Forum, Bono meets with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who promises that Africa will be the main topic of discussion at the upcoming G8 Summit in Canada. Later, Bono offers comments to delegates gathered for an evening concert. There are reports that Bono also sings during the concert, but these reports are never confirmed.

Meanwhile, U2 lose some of its musical gear when a pipe bursts, causing an eight-foot tidal wave to rage through the Crosbie Business Centre in Dublin. U2 and the Corrs both use the facility for storage. Fortunately, much of U2’s most important equipment is with them in New Orleans.

Edge Counts His Blessings After the Dublin Flood

“We lost an awful lot of instruments…. The storage area where we had all our equipment was completely flooded. But luckily my main guitars were with us in New Orleans … the Gibson Explorer that I’ve had since I was 17-years-old, and the amplifier I’ve used on every album for every show since we got a record deal.”

February 2
On day three of the World Economic Forum in New York, Bono sits on a panel and debates foreign aid with US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. Many summit participants crowd the stage afterward to get Bono’s autograph.

Later in the day he joins Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates to announce the creation of a new organization, DATA, whose purpose will be on eliminating extreme poverty and AIDS in Africa. The name is an acronym for “Debt AIDS Trade Africa.” Gates announces that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will pledge $50 million to support the DATA agenda. The formation of DATA shifts the burden of scheduling and promoting Bono’s humanitarian activities away from Principle Management.

Meanwhile, the rest of the band attend a Super Bowl party at the House of Blues in New Orleans.

February 3
Superdome, New Orleans. U2 performs at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVI. Bono walks through the crowd to take the stage as ‘Beautiful Day’ begins. A larger version of the Elevation Tour’s heart is used for the stage, surrounded by people on the field and in the heart. As ‘MLK’ starts, a screen rises from the back of the stage, which scrolls the names of the people who lost their lives on 9/11. The scrolling continues through most of ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’, before dropping to the ground. As the band’s performance comes to an end, Bono reveals the US flag-like lining of his jacket. Unconfirmed reports later say that only Bono and Edge perform live and Adam and Larry are pre-recorded.

An Almost-Super Disaster

Bono explains how U2’s Super Bowl performance almost ended before it began.

“Our idea was to have a music crowd on the pitch and then walk through that crowd to get up on the stage. I had on these earphones that were wireless. The band are walking through the crowd [sic; only Bono walked through the crowd] and there’s a camera right in front of me, and the punters start slapping me on the back. I realise that the tiny wires of my earplugs are vulnerable. All one person has to do is pull the wire, and I’m off air. I would hear nothing. Off the air in front of a billion people! And this is going out live, and there’s nothing you could do. So because this wire had been left exposed, I just started to quietly panic. But if you look at the film of that, you’ll see me swaggering with the most annoying smirk ever seen. You just think: That guy is such a prat!”

U2’s performance is well received by both football fans and the media, as well as by other musicians who performed prior to the game including Paul McCartney and Mariah Carey. Many call it the best Super Bowl halftime performance ever. All That You Can’t Leave Behind reaches number 25 on the charts after the Super Bowl. As for the game, the New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17 on a field goal on the game’s last play.

After the game, U2 and friends enjoy a celebratory dinner in the French Quarter. Though he’s allergic to red wine, Bono has a glass and later passes out on the floor in the restaurant’s bathroom.

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There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Val says:


    Great job! I look forward to reading it.

    Good luck!

  2. rihannsu says:

    Hey Matt,
    Are you sure the heart stage was larger for the superbowl? I had read it was smaller because they had to be able to set up the stage in just 6 minutes.

  3. Tom says:

    If only I had known about U2 back when this super bowl was played.. Now I love U2 and I am a big Pats fan.

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