June 14, 2011

Bono's Birthday Bash in Mexico City

Irish supergroup, U2, were in Mexico last month, as part of their 360° Tour. If the notion of seeing them in concert was enough to excite fans, then what happened next drove them into a frenzy.

Lead singer, Bono, was celebrating his 51st birthday, with crowds gathered at his restaurant to catch a glimpse of the band. That was all the excuse he needed to step out onto the streets. The champagne cork was popped right in the middle of his over-joyed fans.

Bono had already been establishing his Mexican credentials. On stage, he donned a sombrero offered by a fan; wearing it for a chorus of 'The Real Thing' before handing it back. Later, he declared, 'we are Irish Latinos'. The crowd appreciated it. They apparently had adopted Mexican pseudonyms for the event.

Adam was introduced as Rafa Marquez, while 'behind me, he never changes, he still looks 24, the chicharito of the band, Larry Mullen' and Edge was christened Hugo Sanchez.
'Where's Frank?' www.u2.com

Mexico City's Aztec Stadium was packed out for the three nights that they played. Each concert had sold out to its capacity of 105,000 tickets, but a good view was assured by the staging. The 360° Tour refers to the circular platform upon which U2 were playing. Huge screens relayed images of the band above their heads.

U2 in Mexico

The 300k plus crowds in Mexico were just a drop in the ocean for this tour. It has already become the high-grossing tour, by any artist, in history. An estimated $558 million has been made from it.

Since forming, in 1976, U2's activism and promotion of social issues have been as famous as their music. Their trip to Mexico was no exception. From the Aztec Stadium's stage, on the final night, Bono highlighted the plight of victims of drug violence in northern Mexico; and castigated the unchecked flow of arms from the USA. His speech led to a rendering of 'Pride (In the Name of Love)', with slightly altered lyrics to create a Mexican context. (Footage of the event can be found here.)

Bono and Calderon

Mexican president, Felipe Calderon, was in the audience that night. Bono, who seems to have had a private audience with just about every world leader, prominent peace activist and religious representative of the past two decades, was invited to meet with President Calderon.

Their discussions took place behind closed doors, in the presidential offices at Los Pinos, in Bosque de Chapultepec. It is believed that they covered the issues caused by arms and drugs trade, poverty, global warming and Mexico's role as host of the G-20 meeting in 2012.

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