Sunday, October 16, 2011

VIDEO: Watch full U2 set at Bill Clinton salute

President Bill Clinton was feted Saturday at the Hollywood Bowl, a salute to his philanthropy and his birthday (belatedly; he turned 65 on Aug. 19).

USA Today reports Clinton, flanked by wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea, sat in the front row as U2's Bono and Edge, Lady Gaga, Usher and surprise performer Stevie Wonder sang before a packed house at "A Decade of Difference: A Concert Celebrating 10 Years of the William J. Clinton Foundation."

Some tickets were sold to the public for $50 to $550, and premium seats went for $1,000 to $5,000 on the Foundation website. Yahoo! also streamed the three-hour show.

"I wanted people here from all over the world," Clinton said of the wide-ranging roster of activist musicians. The sounds ranged from the caliente zest of Colombian star Juanes' Latin rock to the laidback acoustics of Kenny Chesney's country hits. Usher offered a faithful rendition of the Joe Cocker take on The Beatles' “With a Little Help from My Friends.”

When Clinton finally took the microphone near the end of the star-studded revue, he quipped, "First, I have to put on my glasses. There's got to be someone on stage tonight who's not cool."

Between rehearsals a day earlier, Bono spoke about his admiration for Clinton, particularly for his efforts toward debt cancellation and "his extraordinary work negotiating down the price of antiretroviral drugs for HIV sufferers in the poorest parts of the world." He also praised Clinton's intervention in Bosnia "while Europe was prevaricating and couldn't move."

Clinton played a pivotal role in the Irish peace process, said Bono, recalling how his administration called the band for advice.

“He made a very difficult choice to give Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness visas when it was presumed they were the political wing of a terrorist organization, the provisional IRA. He was canvassing their friends. Did we think it was a good idea? We thought it was a bad idea. It turned out Clinton was right. All sides made great compromises to make peace."

Bono and The Edge closed out the night with a 40-minute acoustic set of U2 songs, including the live debut of “A Man and a Woman.” The pair were joined by a string section for “Staring At The Sun” and “One,” before a finale of “Miss Sarajevo.”

With an arm slung around each of them, Clinton praised the pair's philanthropic work and commitment to Saturday's benefit. "We've been friends a long time," Clinton said. "They really had to go to a lot of trouble to be here."

U2 – Bono & The Edge
Clinton Foundation event
Hollywood Bowl, CA – October 15, 2011

01- Desire
02- I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (4:00)
03- A Man And A Woman (8:40)
04- Sunday Bloody Sunday (15:00)
05- Staring At The Sun (20:30)
06- One (25:55)
07- Miss Sarajevo (34:00)

U2 U2

U2: Bono & The Edge - acoustic set
Clinton Foundation event – Hollywood Bowl, CA – October 15, 2011

See also:

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Super Bowl Flashback: U2 (2002)