The annual Very U2 Christmas blog series was put on hold for the last two years — but just like Adam’s Santa Claus beard, it’s back this year with an installment for U2 Christmas 2021. And fortunately, there’s plenty to talk about! Here we go (note: links are in bold text).
Sing 2 – Whether you watch it with or without kids, as long as you keep an open mind and an open box of Junior Mints, you’re bound to enjoy some of it. As someone who attended an early screening, I assure you that this whole thing is more than “Bono plays a cartoon lion.” Yes, there’s a heaping pile of pop songs sung by other celebrity-voiced animals around his scenes. And yes, it’s a lot. But his storyline makes it worthwhile; the thoughtful way four U2 songs were weaved into the film makes it worthwhile; and the way the new song was used (not in the ending credits, by the way) is the cherry on top. If their song(s) saved your life, then you’re not done giving them a great life back (wink). Seeing the movie and hoping they get some award recognition for the song is a great way to continue doing it.
I Believe in Father Christmas EP – It was a pretty cool surprise that befell us this December in the form of a tightly bundled holiday EP, but I have some questions. First, can you believe it’s been 13 years since they covered this song? Second, can you believe they’re finally classifying Angel of Harlem as a Christmas tune? Third, am I the only one who’s been mishearing lyrics for a good 70% of If God Will Send His Angels for the past 24 years? And finally, does anyone else wish Bono’s non-U2 Christmas projects, like this and this, could have been included? This release was quietly floated out there without a lot of fuss, but 2021 was the right year for it.
Bono shows up – It was like U2 fans told him, “Baby, please don’t come home; please stay right where we can see you.” And Bono said, “You got it,” and then…
- On December 8, he showed up at the Sing 2 industry screening and Edge showed up with him, because that’s what these two do for each other. He may have shown up for Edge at the Music Rising auction three days later, although I’m not entirely sure…tips welcome!
- On December 14, he showed up on Ellen (with Christmas trees behind them, so I’m clocking this as an official U2 Christmas event). He was too classy to correct her when she said Sing 2 was his “first real acting job” (evidently, she’s never heard of Across the Universe). There was a fun game and we heard Bono say “poop” for possibly the first time ever. Scrumptious.
- On December 16, he showed up on Sunset Boulevard (a photo likely taken the previous week).
- On December 20, he showed up at a Dublin Christmas market and bought a handmade wreath from the nonprofit My Lovely Horse Rescue. With the clanging chimes of doom we hear on the news every day, this appearance made my day and I hope it made yours.
- And on December 24, there’s at least one more place Bono will show up. His annual Christmas Eve busking will be televised on RTE (as was the case last year). I will avoid the song spoiler, but it’s out there if you want it. Here’s a quick glimpse of the filming at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, thanks to U2 South America and filmmaker Myles O’Reilly.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Here’s something special I had forgotten about until looking back at these posts from years past. For my last U2 Christmas blog three years ago, I spoke with the amazing “Biggest Little U2 Fan” Elsha Stockseth. As many know, we sadly lost Elsha just one month ago. In 2018, we wanted to help her spread the word about her beautiful hEArt Cards. In 2021, it’s all about carrying on her legacy of love and peace. Take a look at Elsha’s words here — and then, consider this directive from Bono’s Band Aid partner George Michael back in 1984 (someone who sadly passed himself on Christmas day five years ago). Thinking of her family, and the family of our friend Rob Giannotti, this holiday season.
“But say a prayer…pray for the other ones. At Christmastime, it’s hard.”
Prayers for all of us in the U2 family this Christmas.
We sing it to survive.