Why don't we celebrate U2 more? - 'Bono-bashing is a past time'

The band is performing 25 shows up to December 16th at The Sphere in Las Vegas to a crowd of nearly 20,000 people
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.52 2 Oct 2023

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Why don't we celebrate U2 more...

Why don't we celebrate U2 more? - 'Bono-bashing is a past time'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.52 2 Oct 2023

Share this article

U2 have opened their residency at a brand-new auditorium in Las Vegas to much international fanfare.

The band is performing 25 shows at ‘The Sphere’ up to December 16th - with crowds of nearly 20,000 people due each night.

They launched the new state-of-the-art concert venue on Friday.


It features 4D multi-sensory technologies and its exterior screen is the largest LED screen on earth.

So why are some Irish people not celebrating one of our biggest ever bands?

Mail on Sunday Music Journalist Danny McElhinney told Lunchtime Live he believes they'd get more praise if they weren't from here.

"I don't think we celebrate U2 half enough," he said.

"Culturally, is there a bigger export than U2?

"I have this pet theory that if U2 were not Irish - if they were Belgian, French or American - they might be more loved.

"I think it's something about someone getting too big for their boots.

"As Bono once said, 'When crabs are in a bucket, they'll help the crab to get to the top of the bucket, but when he gets to the top, they'll pull it down again'".

U2 perform at The Sphere in Las Vegas. Image: Rich Fury/Sphere Entertainment/@SphereVegas on X

Mr McElhinney said Irish people don't like those who aren't afraid to be big.

"If you remember back to when Bob Geldof was going helping to save the planet with Band Aid and Live Aid, many people thought he was also too big for his boots," he said.

"'Who did he think he was? He was just a musician, just a rock star, going to try to save the world?'

"There was as much begridery with Bob Geldof.

"Even before he saved the world, a lot of people thought he should shut his mouth when he was taking down Ireland for being old-fashioned.

"We have a bit of a problem with people becoming too big - especially people who get too big and aren't afraid to display a big personality.

"Irish people tend to like people who are a bit more self-deprecating.

"Someone saying they're the best - and unashamedly so - Irish people tend not to like that after a while."

Stuart, who is a big U2 fan, told the show people tend to bash the band as a talking point.

"It's become a bit of a past time to U2-bash or Bono-bash," he said.

"What they've achieved has been absolutely sensational over the years.

"The way they've evolved over the decades as well - the way they've changed their music - has been influential for other people as well.

To end up doing what they're doing this month in Las Vegas, it just shows that they can sell out a brand-new venue like that... just shows you how everybody else views them.

"I think if they were sports stars at the best of their game, we would do nothing but praise them."

He said Irish people "kind of throw our eyes up to heaven a little bit at them" because they are in the arts and entertainment industry.

"They still chose to live here, they still chose this as their home," he said.

"They've always been supportive of Ireland as well... I just don't get why people have this kind of resentment?"

Caller Peter told the show we'd be the first to celebrate them if anything were to happen.

"They're doing this thing in Las Vegas; if they were announce a huge show over here, I think the adulation and praise would majorly come back this way," he said.

"God forbid, if something were to ever happen to Bono, all the begrudgers would be saying, 'No he was ours, he was Irish, he did the best'", he added.

Listen back here:

Main image: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Bram van den Berg of U2 perform during opening night of U2: Achtung Baby, 29/09/2023. Image: Sipa USA / Alamy Stock Photo 

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Bob Geldof Bono Danny McElhinney Las Vegas MSG Sphere Self-deprecating U2

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