Showtime for The Showman

8 Nov 202256

As promised, it was a night of 'words, music and some mischief' when Bono took the stage in New York for the opening date on the Stories of Surrender tour.

Here's some very early reaction from those who were at the Beacon Theatre. ( Been at one of the shows? Add your own reviews below.)

'It was such a beautiful evening of stories, songs, fans.' wrote Beth Talisman. 'It flew by because nobody knew what time it was! Phones in pouches meant everyone was either chatting or reading the book before the show (genius but again no photos!) Just enough of the U2 crew to make you feel like you were at a show...
'The musicians and Jacknife Lee give us some of the best known songs in new beautiful ways. The visuals featured Bono's art and touch back on some of what was seen on screens during Cedarwood Road on tour. Very sparse set that gets used perfectly to tell the stories from the book….'

'As with every U2 tour,' said dmway on Zootopia.'There was a LOT of thought and pre-planning behind this endeavor, and it showed! The show was part-concert, part-role play (with props!), part-stand-up comedy, part-tear-inducing narrative. It was all great! Bono may have invented the genre "Performance Autobiography" with these shows. I was expecting a lot, and, as always with anything U2-related, this show delivered and then some….'

Kay, from German U2 fan site, put it like this: 'After all the articles about Bono's memoirs… the time had come… to the sounds of City of Blinding Lights Bono entered the stage and the entire auditorium rose and sang along. Bono thanked his band members for allowing him to perform solo. Only after Vertigo was played, the audience began to sit down and slowly Bono started to recite from his book, which was amazingly fluent… the whole set was very entertaining and many of us had tears in our eyes from laughing, because Bono was, is and remains simply a good storyteller.'

The 14 date tour travels through North America and Europe this month, in support of Bono's memoir Surrender published this week.

'Surrender is characteristically expansive, but it whizzes by… generous, energetic book.' Read some of the first reviews of the book here.

The audio book edition is also proving a hit and you can take a listen to extracts of Bono's reading - and order your copy - here.

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Perfect personal performance in Paris
Great night in great venue by a great man in "The city of blinding lights"! After a life with the whole band U2 and many live shows attended, I was very curious and enthousiastic on this book tour from Bono. I was very fortunate to get tickets for his show in Le Grand Rex. What a great venue and how pleasant it was with no mobile phones during the show. It was a very balanced performance with great told stories, excellent (other) musicians and vocals and well chosen songs arranged differently but just perfect. From all shows seen in the past, this one will be one of the most rememberable. Afterwards the streets, restaurants, and pubs were filled with books of Surrender which I was really looking forward to read immediately. Unfortunately only French copies were distributed. at the venue. It suprised me a little bit because U2 fans are well known as to travel from other countries too especially for rare shows. So if anyone would trade my French copy with an English (or Dutch) one it would be great:-)
Felt unreal.
I'm still processing the magic of a show in Berlin, because that's how surreal and amazing it felt for me. I simply couldn't believe I'm a part of this unique opportunity to hear Bono singing his best lines, watching him perform this solo act and basically witnessing him in his element. I absolutely adored the storytelling, the insights from the band's life and the fabulous accompaniment of the supporting musicians. What a night! I will cherish this memory forever and I still have a lot to unpack. Thank you Bono and the crew! PS. The fact that it was forbidden to use phones in the audience and record anything was a benefit for me, as it made the show even more special.
Surrender performance & audio book - bey
Surrender is literally spellbinding; couldn't stop listening to Bono's "Song of 40 to One." In his quest to surrender, he delivered such wonderful impersonations of so many who influenced him and crossed his path... bundled with sincerity, honesty, humbleness, a lot of (self-) humor - he truly succeeded in writing a very special opera : - ) I was also lucky enough to experience Bono's Surrender Performance in L.A. - it was incredible to be there. Thank you for uplifting us!
London Palladium calling
I was haggling to get the book in the name of the secondary seller that was locked away with my mobile phone when I was tapped on the shoulder and asked if I was on my own. Upon replying I was I was offered a seat in one of the boxes and my fight or flight instinct collided to agreeing to go with security through various walls to reach a box by the stage. OMFG. The view of the Palladium was awesome as we watched the last gaps being filled by the likes of Bob Geldof and Noel Gallagher. Bono’s show should maintain a managed mystery but the closeness was felt most when he did his trademark geneflective pose while singing. VVIP life experience [and we probably shared the same bus back in the late 70s]
Una noche muy especial
Los que pudimos asistir a “SURRENDER” en Madrid, salimos con una gran sensación de agradecimiento por haber podido asistir a un evento tan especial. Especial por reducido. Por íntimo. Por elaborado. Por emocional. Por sensible en las palabras y también en la música. Y también especial por único. Algunos pensaron que habría estado mejor con traducción. Otros, que las canciones fueron algo lentas. Otros, que hubo demasiado protocolo para entrar (móviles en bolsas). Pero TODOS salimos contentos, y nos fuimos con una sensación de haber vivido algo muy especial. Probablemente irrepetible. Gracias por haber venido a Madrid!
Surrender in Madrid - last night of the
I returned to Paris on Sunday afternoon from Brooklyn and hopped on a plane Monday aft to Madrid, Spain to see Bono's "Surrender" show that night. This was the last show of the little 14 city book tour that was basically the live show of the memoir he just put out. I think maybe the smallest venue of the tour? Teatro Coliseum holds 1,387 seats. The best show, I think,too as all the kinks were ironed out and Bono, of course, as you know, if you've been to a U2 show, was determined to go out with a bang. There are no photos and no videos anywhere because Bono did the David Chappelle thing and took away your phone and locked it up in a pouch so you would PAY FULL ATTENTION. I LOVE THAT SO MUCH. Bono was part Broadway musical, part interpretive / remix U2 show, part stand-up, part George Bernard Shaw play, part spoken word, totally Bono. Art installation, performance art. Church, really. 1,387 people from all over the world singing I Will Follow together. Strangers coming together. A couple in from Amsterdam, another one, John and Andrea - John produced the City of Blinding Lights video and Magnificent video - were in from Austin. They were just in Madrid for vacation, didn't know about the Bono show, saw a poster, got tickets, and it was the night of their lives. I met the President of the Barcelona U2 Fan Club and I told him I may have filmed his club when I shot A little video from the 360 Tour Opener in Barcelona back in the summer of 2009. I had totally forgotten how passionate the Spanish are for U2. Everyone was buzzing, hanging out in front of the theatre for at least 40 minutes, passing each other the post-show breakdown. If you've been to a few shows, you know Bono loves to engage the audience and tell stories. Well tonight, he was able to talk for 2 hours. He'd tell a story, let's say of Ali, his wife, and being married to her two years in, role playing that he's freaking out. He doesn't know if he'll be a good father or if he'll be a good husband. He weaves this story about Ali telling him "whatever happens, don't let that boy who has the grand ideas ever die. I fell in love with that boy." I lost my shit. With a lovely lady on the harp, keyboard and back-up vocals, another woman playing cello ( think an interpretive Edge sound bw the cello and the harp) and Jackknife Lee doing percussion and an array of cool sounds...'s a fresh arrangement of those opening dramatic bass riff and Edge's intro riff, and then Bono breaks out With Or Without You, a natural extension of his personal story into the song. I, of course, lose my fucking shit. Tears coming down, singing along...feeling that same feeling I have all my life...would I ever be a good father? A good partner? Maybe I just don't fucking have it. Maybe I'm destined to just be alone all my life...." And now, like in every U2 show I've ever been, I'm in the music now. I am in my church. And now as he Bono sing, the lyrics, "And you give yourself away, and you give yourself away, and you give...and you give..: EVERY SINGLE of the 1,367 sing With Or Without You. I've always loved singing that song along with the band. There's nothing like it. And now I've sung this song alongside U2 36 times in 13 different cities. It's a unique experience every time. I had always some context to the song, but the lead up story to the song gave it new oxygen. New lift-off, as Bono likes to say. By the way - to the serious U2 listeners, if I recall correctly, Jacknife was a producer on the Pop record, right? Can someone set me straight, down in the comments? That's how the whole night goes - story, laughs, a play, poetry recital (his lyrics), break out into song, and a stripped down version of the video installation from the Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience tour. The illustrations of the chairs and table in those installation now physical manifestations on stage — four chairs a table and the truth. Probably lighting directed by Willie Williams himself. A splash of the video projection stuff we saw during the Elevation Tour. And a couple pints of Guinness. I have had the obnoxiously prodigious privilege, due to the occupational hazard of what I do to keep the lights on and my stomach happy, to work in the trenches with so many artists who move the needle in the zeitgeist we are all swimming in. I LOVE being around the creative process all day. It's also scientifically fascinating to me. But the one person I have been studying for so long, the man who is the torch light to my own evolving creative voice, the man who has eluded me for decades is Bono. For decades, I have always looked for an opportunity to sit and meet with him and just hear him chat about the band. There was some near misses. Like the time I missed him at Edge's wife's art gallery exhibition of Matt Mahurin's work (who directed the With or Without You video and has done some excellent art of Tom Waits album covers)when Bono surprised Matt with an appearance. I had come the Saturday the week previously and missed Bono entirely). Or the time I was asked my availability to work on Wim Wenders' Million Dollar Hotel with Bono as the co-writer, but ultimately couldn't because I was on Party of Five. There have been many a fan who came to me giddy about getting Bono to sign their tits or their album cover or Irish flag. I didn't want that. I wanted to have his attention for two hours. Well tonight, I got it. And he told us the whole story about him and the band. The theme of this show is about surrendering, which is also the name of Bono's memoir. The night is about his experience with surrendering. With finally letting go. It was about his dad who didn't hear him or didn't ever think — even through so much world success and Grammys – that Bono ever had a good voice: "You're a baritone who THINKS he's a tenor." He told a story about either going to God or being Godly - I mean, he did this bit about the band struggling with their faith and wanting to quit the band. Then Bono rearranges the chairs around and now, through pitch perfect impressions of his mates, we are back in time, watching a young Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam in their seats like they're in the principal's office while Bono also does an impression of their manager Paul McGuinness , as school principal, pacing in front of them like Ned Beatty telling Howard Beale that Bono and and Edge are..."MEDDLING WITH THE FORCES OF NATURE!" Bono plays all the roles to nuanced perfection and you see it all play out now how this band came to be and the struggles and then, again... I lose my shit. Bono's mom died when he was 14 and for a long while never spoke her name or thought of her, like they needed for her to disappear to avoid the immense pain of a gaping hole of losing a mother and wife. The whole thing truly resonated with me — I'm feeling a similar experience about my mom. From the horse's mouth, it's a confirmation why they are my creative inspiration. I mean, it's the song Salman Rushdie wrote for U2 (Ground Beneath Your Feet) that inspired me to finally read his work. My first one, Shalimar The Clown. Holy cow, what a phenomenal writer. I've read and researched these U2 stories over and over and over in books, articles, interviews, extended interviews, documentaries, even stories from people and friends who've been directly associated with the band. I've met the Edge before, a couple times, sure but I would have wanted a lot more. And tonight, I got it. I got the story from the horse's mouth. Bono ended the show singing opera and his voice sounds better than ever. He finally was able to reach the level of a tenor. A shame that his da died before that, but as Bono says in the show, "when someone goes away from your world into the next, something happens. A release. Your voice becomes bigger." I totally feel that with my mom's passing last year. And somewhat with my grandma passing this year. And for sure, with Maddey. my cat, who also just passed. What a great story of Bono's journey. The show turned out to be a story of a boy who all his professional life wanted to prove to his da that he was the tenor he thought he needed to be for his dad to give him some love and affection. As he finishes the story of being able to let that go, I didn't notice that ever familiar red glow of the screen in the background that always precedes... ....When The Streets Have No Name when he broke out with it, I lost it. I probably cried the whole show, actually.
Though I unfortunately couldn't get a ticket for the Toronto show, it was a real treat to hear and later watch the conversation (moreso than an interview) between Bono and Tom Power on the CBC's q. So many things resonated -- too many to comment on here. But I'll share one thought heard in a rabbi's Zoom class on the idea of surrender: We were given free will, and so we're not to surrender our will but rather to freely choose to align it ... with God, with others, even with ourselves. Hope that helps in the "daily struggle." Shalom!
Bono in Berlin
Awesome, incredible, I can't find words. What a man, what a life, what a show. Never heard Bono with a such strong voice. All I can say, bring it out. Bring it out on TV, pay per view or what else. It is unbelievable. Show this to the people who haven't got a ticket. Love it, love it, love it♥️
stevo b
Glasgow show
The show in Glasgow was out of this world. We were lucky enough to have 2nd row seats and it felt like Bono was singing to me in my livingroom. The show was amazing. His voice was incredible also.
Crying in Paris
I was at the show ( if we can use this word ) in Paris tonight, what can I say? I've been surprised, I laughed, I sang, I cried . I've never, ever seen this kind of performance in all my life. I feel lucky, because it has been a GREAT privilege to see this ''big little man '' on stage this way. The final aria blew me away... Congratulations to the musicians, and thank you Bono, because thanks to you, I felt...alive. Love.
What a gift in Paris
After reading the book i have the chance to attend the live in Paris and Share an increadible show! What a night! Bono is a heart on his hand, How generous ! Thanks so much for these Words and songs. Bono is indeniably a genuine heart, a great soûl and a real tenor !!!
One night only in Berlin
This performance was magic, the stories made me laugh and think, the songs made me cry. What a beautiful evening - 4 people on stage, not the usual 4, performed a show, that I will never forget. Thank you!
WOW, A fantastic show. We couldn't get Dublin tickets and were delighted to get some for Glasgow. An intimate setting with Stories and songs spent in the company of Bono. From the opening "City of Blinding Lights" to the closing & very moving "Torna a Surriento" it was like nothing we experienced before. Completely blown away.... Hoping it will be released soon for all to enjoy.
Manchester Apollo
Thank you Bono for a fantastic experience in Manchester on Saturday. From start to finish it was a 5-star experience. And by some coincidence my name was mentioned twice onstage by Bono.
Bono 17/11
Loved it, was singing and crying the entire time. I particularly loved the stories of ‘the da’ and the live opera. So very funny too! Saw you first in 1987 at Murrayfield in Edinburgh as a 12 year old. I also adored every word and second at age 47, 35 years later.
O2 Apollo, Manchester
Bono, thank you so very much for an awe-inspiring show last night in Manchester. It was a joy from start to end. Your stories were a delight and the songs were too.
Manchester Apollo
Went to see surrender Brilliant loved it & a Bonus Bono signed my Book
Bono at his finest
Glasgow 17th Nov 22, just a simply awesome night, felt such an intimate gig compared to the years of amazing stadium gigs we’ve seen over the years. Bono you were funny, emotional and absolutely did not disappoint. A beautiful evening of story and song. Thankyou for sharing with your U2 family. Anyone still to see this show you’re in for an absolute treat, enjoy every minute.
San Francisco - Orpheus at the Orpheum
Bono F--ks with our hearts in so many perfect ways! I'm still not over Saturday night. For the first time in 3 years I felt a whiff of ... hope? U2 is the soundtrack of my life (and my three best mates), and to hear the stories behind so many of those tracks, not only triggered images of Bono's life, it stirred up all the feelings about our own lives. Struggles with our own Da's. The mad drama of faith. Hearts beating as one with the women we love. In any case, if Bono singing opera to his parents, possessed by someone we've never heard, is any indication of the upcoming tour ... it's going to be LOUD!
Simply amazing
What a great show. It was funny, it was moving, it was new interpretations of old songs. Just a fantastic show at a small, intimate theatre (Chicago Theatre).
Stories of Surrender in Toronto
After reading some early reviews of the Surrender tour, I couldn’t wait to see the performance for myself. I can honestly say it was unlike anything I have ever witnessed, with Bono delivering an unforgettable performance. Bono’s story telling kept the audience riveted right from the opening, and provided some tears, some laughter and so much love! Part play, part concert, this is a must see for anyone looking for inspiration through stories of Hope, Perseverance and Triumph.
Stories of Surrender Tour at Meridian Ha
What an amazing experience on November 6, 2022! I spoke to fans in line about our mutual admiration for U2 and how lucky we were to get tickets. The fans had travelled from Ottawa and Montreal. As I sat in my seat I spoke with a fan about Bono's son being part of a rock group. He laughed and said, "How do I not know that? If I had my phone I would google it." When I got home I ordered Inhaler's CD "It Won't Always Be Like This" and I love listening to it. The show by Bono and his fellow musicians was a wonderful journey. I laughed and I cried. My father had recently experienced heart health issues so when Bono shared his own experience it brought me to tears. The heart is truly a remarkable organ! As in the song "Beautiful Day": The heart is a bloom, shoots up through the stony ground......It's a beautiful day-Don't let it get away-It's a beautiful day-Ooh-hoo-hoo. Thank you so much!!!! Much love!!!!! X0XO J Mahal
My friend was able to get my ticket while I was away in Europe. Unfortunately only one ticket so I went by myself but that didn't matter as I was enthralled from the moment Bono entered the stage! Was hoping to hear City of Blinding Lights, glad I didn't know he opened with it as it was a great surprise! Highlights for me were the stories about his Da from the Sorrento Lounge, the brief description of his bandmates and relationship with Paul M and the absolutely wow factor of the final opera (does anyone know the name of that song)? So glad I got to experience this once in a lifetime show!
Heartfelt Stories
My daughter and I laughed, cried and cheered. What a life Bono has lead!
One of the most memorable nights of thea
Our expectations were pretty low. "A book he'll read some excerpts, maybe sing some songs." He could read the phone book and sell out an arena. We got so much more. The best word for it: theater. Live theater at its finest. Masterful storytelling. The songs carried so much weight as they were put into context by his stories. And the songs surprised us. A cello swell all of a sudden became With or Without You. Chords on a keyboard morphed into Beautiful Day. Mesmerizing. He could sell out a Broadway theater for 6 months doing 8 shows a week if he wanted to (I don't think he wants to). Those of us lucky enough to get a ticket were given such a gift. Thank you.
Chicago Theatre
Not knowing what to expect from this show we left knowing we had seen a great performance. The storytelling of how he met his wife, band and his interactions with his parents - especially his father mixed with some U2 songs made for a thoroughly enjoyable night and one we won't forget! Kudos to Bono and everyone associated with the show - fantastic!
What an incredible night.
Truly felt like going to church. Every emotion encompassed in 120ish minutes. Years and many U2 concerts have left me with an incredibly high bar for performances but this was an entirely new experience that I will probably never have again and I feel so blessed to have had it.
A Triumph of stories and song, *magicall
The intimacy of the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville was the perfect venue to bring the soul of a man even further into our hearts. The large stadiums and coliseum shows that I have witnessed over the years are a stark contrast to the personal journey he unveiled to us on November 9th. It was like a play, and he was the producer, actor and conductor all in one. In this recount of his life through testimony and music, he also ignited our own memories to our connection to the music. He brought us all along, with song. For my wife, this was the first time she was an eye witness to a live performance of his, and the depth of emotion we shared was deep. In 2016, my daughter and I were especially fortunate to meet Bono backstage in Denver. I was the the winner of a (RED) contest hosted by Omaze. I brought my daughter, and I witnessed a grace and humility and absolute attentiveness in the words he shared with her. On that night, he changed her life. On that night, he encouraged her to use her voice. On Nov 9th, 2022 I was reminded how lucky the world is to have this story told. Stories Build in strength with Re-telling. Turns out Bono did remember, and through the illustrations and drawings on stage, I was reminded of the drawing he sent my daughter before her TED talk, as visual act of kindness and encouragement. On it he wrote, "Fellow Comrade Chloe, Your Head and Heart are a Perfect Rhyme. Your Fan, Bono" Thank you Bono for Surrender! It is such a gift! Maybe you can convince Hamish Hamilton to direct a recorded version and share it with the world! Thank you for showing up in such an authentic way, regardless of the size of your audience. Your Fan, Dane
Saw the show in Nashville (drove from St Louis) and it was truly MAGNIFICENT!!! We laughed we cried and we sang. Heart is full!!!
Pure Magic
We had the good fortune of witnessing the magic that descended on The Beacon Theatre last week. Bono was in top form--a sorcerer of the best kind. He weaved history, humor, vulnerability and song into an impeccably crafted evening. He mesmerized for nearly 2 hours with a voice that sounded as amazing as it every did, a cheeky bit of theatre, accents and impressions and left us jaw-dropped with an Italian aria. Whaaaaat?!? It was such a special night, a treasured moment by a master showman. I will hold this memory dearly forever.
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