Bono Remembers Mandela

‘He has been a forceful presence in my life going back to 1979, when U2 made our first anti-apartheid effort’


Bono writes that he could charm the birds off the trees.  As Bono remembered Mandela in such a way that friends and family often remember love ones that pass on. The deepest respect and love which extends beyond the work his done.

Bono has a deep respect for Mandela’s fight to bring freedom to South Africa's people of color.  Bono responded during a time when apartheid spoke loudest in a country that offered no hope or future for African people of color.

In 1985, U2 along with other bands responded to Steve Van Zandt’s call to lend a voice to speak up against apartheid. Sun City was born.  Artists in years past performed at the casino earning massive paydays, before the awakening of the people to the issues within South Africa. Most bands stopped performing in South Africa others donated their pay to causes to fight apartheid.

Bono continues to be out spoken on human right issues some might say that a rocker has no place in such matters.  Mandela like Bono believes in the human spirit that lives within each of us.

Mandela’s work lives on in each of us. Bono will continue to speak out against those issues that keep the human spirit down. This is not a time of sadness, we shall rejoice that within our life time we have seen that one man can make a difference and maybe that difference can inspire us to achieve that what seems impossible.  

Cape Town Fans !

CAPE TOWN’S fan walk will be opened again on Friday for U2’s 360° Tour concert.

The concert is due to start at 7.30pm with gates opening at Cape Town Stadium at 4.30pm. The fan walk will be opened at 3.30pm.

City of Cape Town spokeswoman Kylie Hatton said the city saw the fan walk as an important access point for people using public transport to get to the stadium.

“It is a good way of moving people safely from Cape Town Station, where a lot of people will be getting off, to the stadium. The fans will get to walk in a cordoned-off area past murals and other attractions.”

The fan walk will feature large print murals depicting the Irish band’s history as well as iconic elements from some of their best-selling albums.

Marc Le Chat, from Celebrity Service Africa, which is in charge of organising events along the fan walk, said Cape Town band Almost Famous would perform from the roof of a building on Somerset Road in Green Point and would also perform a repertoire of U2 hits.

He said there would be an LED screen at St Andrews Square that would display the band’s music.

Le Chat said they would also place sky search beams at Exchange Place, St Andrews Square and along Main Road towards the stadium and beam through the night. Fire dancers would perform after the concert on the route.



Meanwhile, fans still desperate to get their hands on tickets can win some with Kfm.


Since yesterday, stages have been set up and will be moved to locations across the city where fans who know the lyrics off by heart can sing their way to the tickets up for grabs.

Kfm programme manager Ian Bredenkamp said:

“If Kfm crosses live from the studio to the U2 activation site, the person currently singing on stage will win eight tickets. You don’t need to be good, you just need to be there.”

Tomorrow the Kfm stages will be at the Edgemead Spar Centre (Letchworth Drive) from 9am to 10am and Thibault Square between noon and 1pm; on Thursday at Tyger Valley Mall and the V&A Waterfront between noon and 1pm; and on Friday outside Cape Town Stadium between 8am and 9am and noon to 1pm.


For more information visit

Full details of road closures are obtainable at or at 0800 65 64 63.

U2 wows crowd in Joburg

With a roar that could rival the one seen last week in Tahrir square, Cairo, fans at the FNB Stadium last night gave U2 a rousing welcome.

But unlike the relief of Egyptians at President Hosni Mubarak’s exit from his position, fans here were celebrating seeing their favourite band playing in their own back yard.

And as lead singer Bono led the band up a stairway to the stage milking the applause and waving to all corners of the dimly lit cauldron, you knew why they’d sold over 150 million albums worldwide.

After the deafening welcoming screams, Bono wasted no time in belting out one of their biggest hits, Beautiful Day.

For another hit, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, legendary trumpeter Hugh Masekela was called on stage - to yet another massive cheer.

Former president Nelson Mandela also got a special mention, and even a video of his speech calling for “a united South Africa” was played on the big screen. Bishop Desmond Tutu sent a video message.

In between songs, Bono said: “We told you in 1998 that we’d be back … never trust a rock star. Anyway, we’re not finished yet … we’re happy to be back.”

Fans marvelled at the massive cylindrical big screen, as it expanded and contracted to create a kaleidoscopic mosaic.

Earlier in the evening, two unruly fans who got involved in a scuffle with security, were kicked out before U2’s roadies were done with sound checks. By the time the Malian duo of Amadou and Mariam, said their “merci beaucoup”, the stadium was rocking.

Local outfit the Springbok Nude Girls, led by the energetic Arno Carstens, played an impressive and compact set, which included the songs Gang Gang, I Love You, Genie and Bubblegum.

Almost an hour and a half before the Irish rock band hit the stage, thousands of fans, some in wheelchairs, others heavily pregnant and others drunk, took pictures and danced under the imposing “Claw” - the name given to the band’s 360-degree stage.

There were scores of fans in their U2 attire, standing in queues for refreshments and for toilet breaks.

Eyewitness News was inundated with calls about long queues, traffic problems and a lack of water at the concert. Jack Longford, CEO of organisers Big Concerts, denied there was a shortage of water or food and said people needed to be patient.

The band will play at the Cape Town Stadium on February 18 before heading to South America. The tour ends in July.

Stage Set, Band Arrived, Ready 2 Rock !

The band is touring South Africa as part of its 360 Degrees Tour that was launched in 2009.

After the Sunday gig at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg the 22-time Grammy Award-winning band will move to Cape Town to perform on February 18.

Tickets went on sale in October and by yesterday 101,000 had been snapped up. The stage will allow all fans at the 11,0000-seater stadium to have a clear view of the group.

The stage, designed by Willie Williams, who has worked on 10 productions with the band, was built by Belgian company Stageco. It is 24,7metres high and can support up to 180tons.

The steel stage also includes a cylindrical video screen, that weighs 54 tonnes.

Launched in support of the group’s 2009 album, No Line on the Horizon, the tour won the Billboard Touring Award for highest grossing tour in 2009 and last year.

The group, which is led by Bono, was formed in Dublin (Ireland) in 1976 and has sold more than 150 million records.

Big Concerts Big Trouble

The South African Roadies’ Association says it will picket U2’s show at Johannesburg FNB Stadium Feb. 13 because it claims that several firms associated with the gig are employing racist policies.

E-mail correspondence seen by Pollstar indicates SARA chief Freddie Nyathela believes a picket may be the only way his members can draw attention to their cause.

Nyathela sent an open letter Feb. 4 to the numerous sponsors and service providers associated with U2’s South African shows.

It named promoter Big Concerts, production house Mushroom Productions, labour broker Running Crew and numerous companies in the Gearhouse Group as being companies that have failed to involve black production staff when top acts visit the country.

“The South African Roadies Association intends to mount a picket backstage at the U2 Johannesburg concert venue during U2’s visit to South Africa, to highlight the travesty and affront that such sponsorship and service use support of untransformed companies represents,” the open letter said.

It also attacked telecoms company 8ta, a major sponsor of the U2 dates, and hospitality service provider Warwick Events for being involved with the shows. Both companies are otherwise said to have strong commitments to skills transformation and employment equality.

It wasn’t possible to get comment from U2 manager Paul McGuinness or agent John Giddings at press time.

The threat of a picket is just the latest turn in what The Sowetan called Nyathela’s “silent but raging war.” Copies of the correspondence between the SARA chief and most of the rest of the South African live music business suggests he’s been anything but silent.

Big Concerts chief Attie van Wyk, whose company is promoting the U2 shows with Live Nation, has already had to take legal action because Nyathela openly accused the firm of racism.

Van Wyk and Gearhouse managing director Ofer Lapid deny that their decision not to use SARA crew is based on racist grounds, pointing out that at least half of their workers on any given show day are non-white.

In the last four months, Nyathela’s outbursts have also angered Technical Production Services Association chairman Robbie Blake, after he’d offered to mediate between SARA and the various live music companies.

Blake offered to set up a meeting between all sides and would have scheduled it for January, but that wasn’t soon enough for Nyathela and their correspondence appears to have come to a vitriolic end just before Christmas.

Nyathela looks to have failed in his attempt to set up a skills session between his members and U2’s crew.

The act, which hasn’t played South Africa since 1998, is also playing Cape Town Stadium Feb. 18.

The Johannesburg venue has already had its own production hiccup as last week it was discovered that thieves made off with all its power cables. The FNB released a statement assuring punters that the problem would be rectified long before show day.

Big Concerts has also rescheduled the Kings Of Leon shows that were postponed because drummer Nathan Followill needed surgery on a torn shoulder. The act will play Johannesburg and Cape Town in October.

South Africa More Tickets

Additional tickets now available for next month’s shows in Johannesburg  on February 13th and Cape Town on February 18th.

‘The U2 360° Tour is ready to roll into South Africa, and now that the production has been set, promoters Big Concerts and Live Nation have announced that the sight-lines in both venues are even better than anticipated and as such a selection of excellent tickets starting at R401 have now just been released.

Tickets in both cities are still available through Computicket ( or 083915800).  In addition a few select hospitality packages are still available through Warwick Hospitality on 011.385.9879. 

U2 break Computicket record

U2’s ticket sales have broken ticketing agency Computicket’s record for the number one selling show in South Africa.

Sales for the 22-time Grammy award-winning band, who are expected to perform their 360 Degrees tour on February 13 in Johannesburg and on February 18 in Cape Town, started at the weekend.

By yesterday, they managed to sell 114000 tickets.

Concert promoters Big Concerts’ financial officer, Justin van Wyk, said: “U2’s ticket sales smashed the record that UK singer Robbie Williams held at 98000 from November 2005.”

“This is the biggest event since the Fifa World Cup to happen in our country,” he said. – The Times, Avusa Group News

U2 Returning to South Africa

U2 are believed to be returning to South Africa for two shows in February, has learned from a reliable source in the UK.

The Irish supergroup, currently on their 360 Degree Tour, are reportedly set to play stadium shows in Cape Town and Johannesburg - marking the first time the full band have performed in the country since 1998.

The official SA tour announcement is anticipated later in September. In the interim, the local branch of U2’s record company, Universal, has issued a statement saying that the tour “is not confirmed”.

The concert spectacle features a 360-degree stage - allowing the audience to sit on all sides - which makes use of a four-legged 50-metre tall structure called “The Claw”. Holding the record as the largest concert stage structure it holds the speaker system and a cylindrical video screen that hovers above the band, or can be lowered to behind the four performers.

Despite the tour being the most expensive ever to run - with 120 trucks needed to transport equipment and staging between shows - it helped U2 top Billboard magazine’s Top 40 Money Makers list with earnings of R872-million in 2009 from touring, record sales, and other royalties.

U2 have been out on the road since June 2009 in support of their most recent album, ‘No Line On The Horizon’.  They resumed their global tour in Turin, Italy on 6 August following emergency surgery on singer Bono’s back, which forced them to miss a headline performance at the Glastonbury Festival in England and postpone a series of North American dates.

The band last performed in South Africa on their Popmart tour 12 years ago with the typically over the top staging featuring a giant mirrorball lemon, a 30-metre golden arch, and a 3.8m olive on a 30-metre cocktail stick. Bono and guitarist The Edge performed at the 46664 concert in Cape Town in 2003.