Bono at the Orpheum Theatre, Boston
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2022-11-05)
Tonight was the second stop on Bono’s book tour, “Stories of Surrender“, which is playing in theatres in North America and Europe. The show tonight is at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston, MA. Bono first played the Orpheum theatre 41 years ago this month, on November 14, 1981. U2 would also play there twice in 1983, one of the performances supplying “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” for the Under A Blood Red Sky album. The venue has a capacity of 2700 people, making it the seventh largest venue in use for the tour.
Bono arrived at the venue in the late afternoon. He did not stop to greet fans upon entering, but later came out to say a quick hello to those gathered near the stage entrance. There are no reports yet that Bono stopped to sign books in Boston today. There were long line ups later for people to enter the theatre.
Bono’s band for this tour includes former U2 producer, Jacknife Lee on keyboards and percussion, as well as Kate Ellis on cello and Gemma Doherty on harp, backing vocals and keyboards. Bono and the other performers are on a bare stage, with little for props (table and chairs in one area, an arm chair and a table in another area.) The stage does have writing from Bono’s hand which can be seen at various points in the show. Accompanying Bono are images that he has created, animated behind him, including his drawings and text. The show is a mix of music and stories from his book, and features a mix of full length songs and shortened versions of songs. Others from U2’s past collaborators have been involved in the show, including Willie Williams and Gavin Friday. Joe O’Herlihy is providing sound for the tour.
The set list and performance is very similar to what was performed two nights previously in New York. One additional song was identified as part of the transitions, “Into the Heart”. The team are still working out the bugs in places, and at one point Bono had to ask Willie Williams to adjust the lighting to better see the teleprompter, leading to a few moments of humour. When talking about America, and mentioning various ethnicities, there was a huge roar of support when Bono mentioned Ukrainians. The show was also scattered with mentions of local references to Boston and the local area throughout. He mentioned how U2 had played the Orpheum when they were starting out in the 1980s, and later when speaking of the One and (RED) campaigns he said he needed a bigger brain and he hadn’t gone to “that fancy school” in Boston.
Ahead of the show the music played was mostly from Bono’s “60 Songs that Saved My Life” playlist including songs by This Mortal Coil, Prince, The Clash, Patti Smith, The Rolling Stones, Madonna and others. The playlist ended after “Bittersweet Symphony” played, and Bono took the stage to “Empire State Human” for the second night in a row.
Thanks to Alison, Christopher, Kristal, Suzanne and Antonio for their assistance with the set list.
Tickets went on sale on Friday, October 7 at 10am local time. A presale opportunity through U2.Com for subscribers was available a day earlier at the same time. Each ticket came complete with a copy of Bono’s new memoir, Surrender, delivered the night of the show. Face value for tickets was $55 – $250, and dynamic pricing was not in use for the event. There was a two ticket per person maximum in effect for the event. The event was presented by Live Nation and the Orpheum Theatre Boston.
The tour is being held “phones free”. As ticket holders enter the venue, they show their mobile ticket on the phone, and then are asked to put their phone into a pouch which is then locked for the duration of the show. Pouches are unlocked as people exit the show at the end of the night, and there is a special area inside the venue where you can go to use your phone while in the building.For the full show details, including set list, please check the following show listing: