U2 sets December dates for Paris concerts postponed by attacks

Irish rock band U2 set early December dates for concerts in Paris on Monday, after cancelling two earlier performances following the attacks by Islamic State militants that took 130 lives.

U2 said they hoped to reflect the indomitable spirit of the city with their “iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE LIVE IN PARIS” special, which will be filmed live and broadcast by cable TV channel HBO.

The band was originally scheduled to perform in Paris on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15, immediately after the Nov. 13 attacks on bars, restaurants, a soccer stadium and the Bataclan concert hall. 

“So much that was taken from Paris on the tragic night of November 13th is irreplaceable. For one night, the killers took lives, took music, took peace of mind – but they couldn't steal the spirit of that city,” frontman Bono said in a statement.

“It's a spirit our band knows well and will try to serve when we return for the postponed shows on December 6th and 7th. We're going to put on our best for Paris,” he added.

The Dec. 7 concert will be filmed live at the Accorhotels Arena in Bercy and will air on HBO the same day.

No, Bono did not disguise himself as a Hasidic Jew

Bono has dressed up in many styles throughout his career, from a classic leather-jacketed rock star to his Mr. Macphisto alter ego in the early ’90s.

However, U2 guitarist The Edge recently gave the world a new outfit in which to imagine Bono: that of a Hasidic Jew.

Bono seriously injured himself while riding his bike through Central Park on Nov. 16, and when asked this week why no photos were taken of Bono right after his accident, The Edge gave an amusing answer.

“You know, when Bono goes cycling, he likes to dress up as a Hasidic Jew,” he told his interviewer at KROQ, a Los Angeles radio station.

Several media outlets pounced on the story without knowing that The Edge was joking. A spokesman for Bono had to confirm the joke to the Times of Israel.

There are several ironies here.

Firstly, Bono’s injury forced U2 to pull out of KROQ’s Christmas concert, “Almost Acoustic Christmas.” Maybe The Edge’s comments had more religious undertones than he thought.

Secondly, the Hasidic communities of Brooklyn have actually come out strongly against New York’s bike lanes in recent years. In 2009, Hasidic Jews successfully campaigned to remove a bike lane from Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, arguing that cyclists do not follow traffic laws and dress immodestly. In 2012, when the Citi Bike bike-share kiosks opened across the city, there was a glaring lack of them in South Williamsburg, something many Brooklyn residents saw as a deference to the Orthodox communities there.

Lastly, for many U2 fans, the fact that Bono’s accident happened on a Sunday holds an additional darkly ironic significance. (However, at least he was not riding his bike on Shabbat.)

It really has not been the best year for Bono. In addition to missing the KROQ concert, he was forced to miss Monday’s concert for AIDS in Times Square. U2’s last album was not reviewed favorably, and many criticized the band’s decision to insert their album into everyone’s iTunes libraries for free. On Nov. 12, a flight that Bono was on almost crashed.

On top of all of this, the cycling accident left him with a broken eye orbit and a shattered humerus bone, among other injuries. If it looks too bad, he may want to consider dressing up in disguise after all.


Aviv Geffen to open for U2

Israeli rock musician Aviv Geffen will be the opening act for U2.

Geffen will join SnowPatrol in warming up the crowd at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece on Sept. 3 for U2’s 360 Tour, Geffen announced on his website.

Geffen released his first album in English last year. In addition to being a solo artist, he performed with British musician Steven Wilson as the Blackfield Duo.