(Note: Links are in bold text.) The annual A Very U2 Christmas series was born out of an interest in curating all things U2 for the holiday season — mostly, their Christmas and winter-inspired songs. But over time, it’s evolved into a “where U2 has been this Christmas/year’s end” project.
Unfortunately, there’s one problem with that this year: U2 is both everywhere and nowhere right now.
The reality is, Bono has quite literally been everywhere lately (except Italy. Ouch…sorry, Italy). But the band has only been seen in one place together this season, and we don’t know for sure when we’ll see them together again. Let’s break it down.
Bono Stories of Surrender Tour
Bono spent all of November traveling North America and Europe to present Stories of Surrender, the incredible stage show based on Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story (in his words, “me buuk that I wrote me-self”). Here’s a seasonal sidebar on the book: Bono explains the ironies of Do They Know It’s Christmas on page 204.
If you were fortunate enough to see our Showman in one of the 14 cities he visited, you probably have your own favorite part of the show. Here’s mine. It’s the original poem Bono incorporates as a spoken word verse of Beautiful Day:
The dead are always with us
They won’t leave us alone
Blowing through our memories, racking in our bones
The dead are always with us
There’s more of them than us
The valley of dry bones
Dust turns to dust
Parched and abandoned, filled with doubt
But after the flood, all the colors came out
Bono Surrender Media Appearances
Fortunately, Bono’s holiday appearances were not limited to the tour. The other piece of his whirlwind book promotion involved nonstop media appearances. From the days before Surrender dropped until this very week, Bono has shown up on virtually every interview platform imaginable. Here are quick links to some of those appearances, although this is by no means a comprehensive list:
- October 27 – NPR Morning Edition
- October 28 – The Graham Norton Show (in which he is in the company of Taylor Swift)
- October 30 – CBS Sunday Morning with Norah O’Donnell
- November 1 – Good Morning America
- November 1 – PBS News Hour (in which he makes fun of the way Americans say the word “awesome”)
- November 3 – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (in which he chooses dogs over cats)
- November 16 – The Brene Brown Unlocking Us Podcast
- December 5 – An Evening in Conversation with John Meacham at the National Cathedral (in which he channels AC/DC)
- December 19 – The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky
U2 Kennedy Center Honors
As a unit, the band has only been seen in one place together this holiday season (or for that matter, throughout most of 2022). That place is Washington, D.C., where they were recognized for the Kennedy Center Honors on December 4. After the emotional journey the band took us on this last half of the year (intentionally or not) – with Vegas residency rumors, multiple Ticketmaster fiascos and an uncharacteristically loose-lipped Larry Mullen Jr. – it was truly a tiding of comfort and joy to see the four of them together (amid strong impulses to decipher Bono’s body language). The afternoon of the ceremony, all four members were hosted at a White House reception, where they were recognized by President Joe Biden.
The Kennedy Center Honors ceremony will air December 28 on CBS.
Bono Christmas Eve Busking 2022
Adam may have headed to the seaside to talk about painter Francis Bacon — but after a mere 10 days off, Bono and Edge held a secret gig at the Ambassador Hotel in Dublin on December 14, attended by some lucky Irish fans who were invited via their U2.com subscriber emails. This was followed by some pre-Christmas Eve busking at McDaid’s Pub in Dublin on December 15. Reportedly, both gigs were filmed for My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, which will air on Netflix in March. What happens in connection with the annual busking on December 24 remains to be seen; as you’ll recall, last year’s Bono at The Busk was pre-taped.
What does the new year hold for U2? Will they be with us again in 2023? At the moment, no one seems to know for sure. But the last half of 2022 has given us more of the band than we’ve had since before the pandemic, and that’s something to be grateful for.