U2 To Join Oprah Specials

U2 is tipped to join the A-list celebrities appearing on the Oprah Winfrey television specials downunder, according to The Australian newspaper.

The shows will be filmed at the Sydney Opera House Dec. 14, the first at 10 a.m. and the second at 5 p.m.

U2 is performing at ANZ Stadium in Sydney that night as part of a tour through Live Nation Australia and Michael Coppel Presents.

U2's Monster 2nd Downunder Show

Last night two of pop music’s superpowers came together for a pulsating night at Docklands.

Just over 60,000 fans crammed into an expanded-capacity Etihad Stadium to witness U2 360, the Irish superstar band’s bold achievement in stadium rock.

But before Bono and co landed, the American hip-hop superstar Jay-Z was entrusted with opening the monster double-bill.

He provided U2 with a winning mix of pop-cultural prestige and commercial supremacy few acts could, and he undoubtedly widened the night’s demographic. His wife, singer-actress Beyonce, however, was not to be seen.

Jay-Z also delivered pop hits, none better than last year’s epic Empire State of Mind, which drew the night’s first big singalong.

Still, much of his set was a little jarring for this rock-loving crowd and last night was unequivocally about U2.

It’s not difficult to get caught up in the logistics of the U2 production - the ”claw” is 50 metres high and carries 590 tonnes of equipment. But the stage, while vast, feels uncluttered and gives the band access to the crowd on all sides.

Almost miraculously, U2 delivers a sense of intimacy.

The sight of the four mates from Dublin, who have endured for more than 30 years together, entering the packed stadium by walking through the crowd as David Bowie’s Space Oddity blasts out is genuinely thrilling. It’s a nod of gratitude to fans, an acknowledgment that the quartet and their followers have stuck tight for so long.

Yet Bono was the irrepressible star last night. He used the elongated catwalks to strut, shadow box and spider dance through early parts of the set.

The U2 classics - With or Without You, I Will Follow, Where the Streets Have No Name, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Beautiful Day and One - were delivered in elaborate fashion.

Recent tracks Get On Your Boots and Magnificent were helped in part by Bono namechecking in the intro St Kilda, Richmond and Fitzroy. The gesture to Melbourne was lapped up.

City of Blinding Lights and Vertigo were also given fresh energy.

Songs regularly segued into others in almost mash-up style. Bad borrowed from All I Want Is You. And even the rain held off despite dire forecasts.

As for the sound, it was excellent to fair depending on where you were in the stadium.

”We’ve been doing this a while,” Bono said. ”But we’re still figuring out so much about music … Keep coming to see us, we’re still pilgrims.”

He then spoke of a strong connection the band has with Melbourne and launched into I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.

The band also played two new, unreleased tracks.

Both were strident efforts demonstrating that these rock veterans retain their hunger.

Bono says financial woes hurting AIDS fight

U2 TOUR FANS 360 Show SYDNEY (Reuters) - Financial tough times in developed economies are undercutting efforts to stop the global spread of AIDS, U2 lead singer Bono said on Tuesday.

“Times are hard in the Western world,” the Irish rock star and campaigner told Reuters after launching World Aids Day, marked around the world on December 1, at Sydney’s Opera House.

Bono said agencies established to arrest acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) “were fighting hard for funding” nearly three decades after the disease was first diagnosed.

He added that more money was needed to meet a target set by the Global Fund to eliminate the transmission of HIV from pregnant mothers to their unborn children by 2015.

According to the United Nations children’s fund UNICEF, over a thousand babies are born each day in Africa with HIV and about half of the HIV-positive women in Africa do not get the drugs they need to prevent transmission of the virus to their babies.

“In recessionary times, people have to tell their politicians this is important to them,” Bono said.

An estimated 33.3 million people worldwide had the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS in 2009, according to the latest figures issued by UNAIDS. There were 26.2 million in 1999.

There is no cure and no commercially available vaccine but combinations of drugs called antiretrovirals can keep patients healthy. However, the virus stays in the body forever and can reactivate if people stop taking the drugs.

“Some people think that the pandemic is on its way out and it’s job done,” Bono said. “It is really not so.”

(Reporting by James Regan, editing by Mike Collett-White and Paul Casciato)

Bono Comments on PM AU World Aids Day

THE rock singer and activist Bono took some time out from his tour schedule to meet the Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, at the Sydney Opera House yesterday.

The pair had a 45-minute meeting with the co-chairmen of Make Poverty History, Andrew Hewett and Tim Costello, where they discussed Australia’s aid program and the challenge of global development.

A spokesman for Mr Rudd said Bono praised Australia’s bipartisan support to reduce poverty globally.

U2 fans ticket warning

Fans may be refused entry or fined if they buy unauthorised tickets for the band’s upcoming Brisbane concerts.

Suncorp Stadium general manager Alan Graham said the venue was aware of people paying “excessively inflated prices” for tickets to the December shows.

Tickets purchased through unofficial outlets such as Red Circle, www.worldticketshop.com and www.ticketfinders.com.au could be cancelled, he said.

Ticket scalpers and their customers can risk fines of up to $2000.

“If people do deal with these unscrupulous operators there is a possibility that they may never receive tickets and there is no guarantees if they do that the tickets purchased will be valid entry into the venue,” Mr Graham said.

“The promoter is quite within their rights, if they believe scalping has been involved, to cancel the barcodes if they know which tickets are involved in any scalping.”

Mr Graham said fans should purchase their tickets through official venue Ticketek to avoid disappointment.

“[Offending] sites are offering prices way over the face value and we know from the Andre Rieu concert a couple of years that people purchased tickets through these outlets and the tickets never arrived,” he said.

U2’s Wednesday December 8 show rapidly sold out last Friday, prompting the announcement of a second show for December 9.