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Bono Busking on Grafton Street, Christmas Eve 2012 (up close and personal)

27 December 2012

BonoAround 3/4pm this Christmas Eve I learnt from my brother in Law that it has become a little tradition for Bono & Glen Hansard and a few other celebrities to get together on one of the main shopping/busking streets of Dublin, Grafton Street, to busk amidst the last minute shoppers in order to raise money for homeless charities.

Around 4.30pm I learned on Twitter that Glen Hansard, Sinead O’Connor & Lisa Hannighan were already drawing quite a crowd…but no-one had yet seen Bono! Being a lifelong U2/Bono fan I thought I’d forever regret it if he did turn up and I wasn’t there to see it, so Jacob and I jumped on the Luas and headed in to try our luck and, at at the very least, soak up the atmosphere.

When we turned up (around 5pm) Sinead O’Connor was sitting on someone’s shoulders singing her famous anthem “Nothing Compares” but we were quite a distance away. Then the group of buskers decided to move up to St Stephens Green (I presume to accommodate for the growing crowd and in expectation for Bono to join). And then suddenly (around 5.30pm) there was a rush of noise, people, excitement, shouts of “there he is” & “Bono” and before I knew it there he was stood next to me in the crowd as we listened to Glen Hansard and Lisa Hannighan singing Christmas Carols. Here are 2 videos of him waiting to get on, including him cracking a joke (sorry for wonky camera angles…my left arm was getting very tired from holding Jacob who for the whole episode  was more interested in the trams than Bono…good lad!).

*Waiting to Get on

*Cracking a Joke

As I later tweeted

“For a grief moment of my life I was standing next to Bono watching Glen Hansard sing Christmas Carols on Grafton Street…surreal!”

So Jacob and I had a prime spot just behind where he was performing. The police managed to get a lot of the crowd to sit down and he sang 3 songs; Christmas (please come home), Silent Night & Desire. I have always had an affection for Desire as it consists of only 3 chords and was the first song I ever learnt to play on the guitar.

(1) Christmas (please come home)

(2) Silent Night

(3) Desire

Anyway, holding Jacob in my left arm I took as many photos and videos as I could, uploaded them to YouTube and then started to tweet them to anyone who wanted. To my surprise I was contacted by a journalist and my 20 second video ended up being on the front page of (around 7.40pm) which is “Ireland’s fastest growing news and entertainment website.” Last time I looked it had been viewed over 40 000. I also got a mention on one of U2’s top fan websites – @U2. Anyway, it made for a memorable 3-4 hours and a first Christmas in Dublin. However Bono did leave without saying goodbye to my boy Jacob which I felt was poor Christmas Spirit!

*Poor Christmas Spirit

A Couple of things struck me about the whole episode.

  1. Stuff like this would never have happened in the UK.
  2. Twitter is incredibly instant (no-one was tweeting 2-3 hours later but it went like wildfire for 1-2 hours)
  3. This tells you something about Bono and his desire to get amongst it with his home people.
  4. The mix of views on Bono is amazing – some Irish people love him, some hate him (just look at the 100+ comments below the article above). Some think he is full of hypocrisy and doing nothing to help his own country in a time of recession, others think he is the best thing to ever come out of Ireland.
  5. The biggest star to ever enter history did not get this amount of excitement or create any kind of hype – he was left alone with a few shepherds and wise men. By the end of his life, some hated him and others thought he was the best thing to ever appear on planet earth.
  6. Nicky Gumbel had tweeted (and subsequently retweeted around 250 times) a day earlier what Bono himself thought of the Christmas event

I believe in the poetic genius of a Creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in straw poverty (Bono)

Amen to that. I think Bono is a legend. What are you thoughts?

P.S Here are two of the songs that Glen, Sinead & Lisa sang before Bono turned up and stole the show (the first is actually my favourite)

*O Holy Night

*Take a Load off Annie


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Beth permalink
    30 December 2012 7:42 pm

    Hello Steve! I just finished watching U2’s Slane Castle concert on youtube, and decided to see what else was out there for them. I came across “Bono singing Christmas Eve” – wow!!! Belated Christmas present to me!! I jumped on the internet to find out more, and found your link. I really enjoyed reading about your experience! What fun! Thank you for sharing !! Wishing you a Happy New Year!
    Mary Beth
    PS Bono is a legend!

    • 1 January 2013 4:35 pm

      Hi Mary Beth,

      Glad you enjoyed it. It was a nice early christmas present for me.

      Happy New Year

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