Friday 27 February 2009

Spring's Nearly Here!

After the worst winter for two decades I'm ready for the spring and a sunny and warm summer (U2 is touring so it will be a good summer!). Today I was out walking my dogs and spring was definitely in the air. In northern countries like mine there is a day when nature definitely turns the corner from winter to spring and today I felt that in the air. The lovely birdsong was everywhere, daffodils were blooming, the tree buds fat, ready to burst open and the sun had a slight warmth about it once more. The spring rebirth amazes me every year, nature waking up once more always fills me with wonder and joy.

Sunday 22 February 2009

Caught In The Act

Now who could it be that had such fun disemboweling the cushion?!

U2 At The Echo Awards In Germany

U2 played at the Echo Awards in Germany last night and as usual with the various award ceremonies they performed at they were first on. Bono was pulling some Fly moves from the past, I think he needs to work on something new on that score, we don't want Zoo Part II. I must say though I think that the band nailed the song at this gig, Bono took charge of the vocals in the "sound" part, voice strong and didn't lose track of it. I felt that Bono lacked some of the energy he had at the Brits though and there was no revealing of the satanic eyes this time. Interesting to see how the song and performance are developing.

Watch the performance here

Friday 20 February 2009

The Brit Awards 2009

We arrived in London in the early afternoon and made our way to our hotel which turned out to be really nice and only a short walk from Earl's Court, perfect!

We went round to Earl's Court and there were already lots of people waiting by the red carpet artist's entrance. We found a place over the road from there which wasn't ideal but we could see who was arriving and all the cars passed by us. It was interesting to watch this whole celebrity "thing", I'd never been to a red carpet event before. Fans screaming, swanky cars with blacked out windows, some egocentric celebs, some down to earth celebs, micro skirts, massive high heels, designer clothes. All a bit of madness really, and I was part of it. Reality stepped in a regular intervals when a cleaner would whizz over the red carpet with a carpet sweeper! Also, at times when there was a lull in arrivals and the screaming stopped a bird's song, which was more beautiful than many of these people's music, rang out from somewhere close by.

We saw all kinds of celebs, singers, bands, comedians, actors, presenters, Tom Jones, Alan Carr, Girls Aloud, David Hasselhoff to name a few. Most didn't come over to our side of the road. Girls Aloud spent a lot of time with the fans and did come over to our side, they were very beautiful girls. For the males reading here's a photo I got of Kimberley Walsh.

The only member of U2 who we saw arrive was Edge, he looked great and spent quite a lot of time with fans close to the red carpet. He was too far away to get a good photo of but here's one I found on the Net.

At 7pm we went inside to pick up our tickets. We thought it would take ages but it was very well organised and within minutes we had our tickets and made our way inside. It had been six hours since we'd either had something to eat or drink so our first priority was to find sustenance.

We then found our seats which were in the top tier, but close to the stage. Debbi spotted Dallas on the stage so we realised that u2 were going to be on first. The hosts were James Corden, Matt Horne and Kylie Minogue - I thought Kylie in particular was very good and she wore some beautiful dresses.

U2's performance at The Brits was much better than at the Grammys, for a start the sound was better (and I noticed even better still on TV than live) and the band seemed more relaxed. Lots of energy and that Bono can still strike the rock poses! He had the famous eyeliner on, along with eye shadow this time, must say I prefer just the eyeliner myself . Once he took off the glasses he kind of went into a character that looks so evil. Wouldn't like to meet this guy on a dark night! Wonder if he's going to stay and become part of the tour like MacPhisto.

I don't think they have quite nailed the song, again I felt that during the "the Sound" part Bono lost track of it towards the end. But that's my only criticism of the performance. Whether it works as an all-round rocker I'm not sure. The standing crowd at the front were going crazy at first when U2 came on but the dancing around stopped as the changes in pace during the song happened. (Both photos in this article taken off the Net I do not know who took them).

All too soon U2's performance was over, but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the show. I thought Coldplay were really good, the sound of those huge drums resonated around the arena and the and the multi-coloured "confetti" effect was brilliant to see. Chris Martin's vocals were great. Take That appeared in a flying saucer like set that came down from above the stage, with flashing lights and much smoke, very effective. Duffy, who was the big award winner that night, gave an excellent performance, she's one hell of an singer. Kings Of Leon also gave a very strong performance and were very popular with the audience.

The outstanding achievement award went to The Pet Shop Boys and they performed a medley of their hits accompanied by inventive graphics on a screen behind them. Brandon Flowers (who had announced and given them the award) joined them onstage towards the end of their set - what a wonderful voice he has!

And that was it, the end of a really brilliant show. We went back outside and waited for a while where the artists were leaving, hoping to catch U2. As we waited we were entertained by an amusing Cockney security guard who chatted away. When one guest in five inch high heels nearly fell into the road as she was coming out he said. "Careful I don't want to do all the paperwork at this hour!"

We didn't see U2 but we did meet Dermot O'Leary who we both like. He was so sweet and kind, very down to earth. I got my photo taken with him, not the best of me but nice to have anyway!

So that was our Brits experience, well worth coming to London for. Lovely to see U2 live on stage once more, roll on later this year when we see whole U2 shows!

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Off To The Brit Awards!

Well I'm off to The Brits Awards early tomorrow morning - I can hardly believe that I'll be seeing u2 play live tomorrow, I'm so excited! I'll be writing all about it here so come back later in the week to get the details.

Friday 13 February 2009

U2 Action In The UK

U2 are going to be doing/appearing in a few things in the UK over the next couple of weeks.

This Sunday they will be featured in The Observer's Monthly Music magazine.

They will also be on the cover of the NME due out on the 18th February, inside there will be an interview with the band on the making of NLOTH.

On Friday 27th February U2 will be appearing on the Jonathan Ross Show - this is according to The Guardian newspaper.

And finally, from the BBC website:

U2 have announced they will be playing a special live set for Radio 1 on Friday 27 February. The band, whose new album is out in March, are due to perform a three-track Live Lounge session. Jo Whiley will host the band in her first week back on Radio 1 after maternity leave. She said: "It's always a bit nerve-racking going back after having a baby. But having U2 playing in the Live Lounge is especially thrilling."

Fans of the Irish rockers will also get the chance to witness the special performance. Details of how to apply for tickets will be announced during Jo Whiley's show on 23 February.

Thursday 12 February 2009

A Heartwarming Video

I think we have all seen the news and pictures of the terrible destruction and loss of life in Australian bush fires and our thoughts are with those people. But amidst all the devastation it's lovely to hear of a heartwarming story of firefighters giving help to a distressed koala bear they came upon in the burnt out bush.

Monday 9 February 2009

U2 At The Grammys.....And Afterwards

Nice. shame about the sound though.

On stage.....

Is that himself from Zoo days on Bono's tee shirt?

And at the aftershow party.....

Someone managed to catch Larry even though he's hiding behind his hand! Love Edges expression on the last one.

Sunday 8 February 2009

Phew It's Hot Out There!

A friend recently sent me this., I'm a softie when it comes to cute animal stories so I thought I'd share.

It has been so hot in SA for over a week…40+ degrees Celsius everyday, and very dry. A guy at work lives at Maude. His wife sent him these photos of a little Koala which just walked into the back porch looking for a bit of heat relief. She filled up a bucket and this is what happened!

Friday 6 February 2009

Strange Goings On.....

I've been thinking about NLOTH and it strikes me that it is having a painful and messy birth (well I wrote about my U2 marriage, so now I'm writing about a U2 birth!).

First working for a year or so with Rick Rubin, then binning all that work to start from scratch again with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois.

Then the rumoured release date is put back to March.

The proposed album cover is released to the public only for it to come out that the same cover picture, by Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, has already been used for Deupree and Chartier's Specification.Fifteen, released in 2006. How come U2 or their people did not know that? It certainly takes the edge off it (forgive the pun!).

Then the first single from the album Get On Your Boots is released for airplay 19th January with the accompanying video due to be premiered January 30th. The video is pulled at the last minute. Then a rough cut of the video appears all over the Internet, complete with Getty Images watermarks that were the reason the video was pulled in the first place. Someone messed up big time and we all saw it. Now, seven days later says the video will be premiered on their website before 5pm GMT. It's 4pm now so they've got an hour to get it on there!

The final mess (hopefully!) is that the single release of GOYB has been put back in some European countries. No explanation has been given for this so far. There are rumours that the single will be available for free download, what, after all that Paul McGuinness said about people stealing music from the Internet??? But that is just a rumour so maybe there's nothing in it.

So, No Line On The Horizon has had a difficult, almost chaotic birthing process. For a band like U2, who are very controlling, that's quite worrying. Let's hope the birth goes smoothly and new life of this album makes it all worthwhile.

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Rumour - Dublin U2 Tour Dates?

I know I shouldn't bite when it isn't official, but I can't resist this rumour! On the @U2 Forum they are saying that an Irish newspaper and 2fm have said that the Irish dates for the next U2 tour in Dublin are 24, 25 and 26 July at Croke Park. They are also saying that the tour opens in Barcelona and will also play Paris, Nice, London and Manchester. I wish the band would announce the tour dates, so I can get my travels sorted for this year!

First Snowdrop!

The UK has been hit by snow straight from Russia, there have been heavy snowfalls especially in the south of the country, where the wintry weather caused absolute chaos. Here in Cumbria in the far north of England we are used to quite severe weather at this time of year but we escaped the worst of this icy blast. Yesterday we woke up to about three inches of snow (which is a lot for us, we rarely get snow). My neighbour built a snowman and my dog Max barked at it for about ten minutes thinking it was a real person (he's not very bright). My puppy Pepsi ignored the snowman (he's bright) and almost disappeared in the three inches of snow, but he thought it was great fun to leap through it with boundless energy through the first snow he'd ever seen!

My snowy front garden

It rained overnight and so today most of the snow has gone, and then I saw that the first snowdrop had blossomed in my garden! It's always a special day for me when I see the first snowdrop, it's the sign that spring is not too far off. By time I get to the end of January the days are starting to get longer and I'm ready to say goodbye to the winter, so the that snowdrop has a special significance for me. such a delicate yet tough flower. So here's to the spring, and, hopefully, a warm summer!