On September 27, 2012, U2′s The Edge was seen on stage performing with Bryan Ferry at the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital Friendship Ball in London, England. They played the Irish folk song “Carrickfergus”, named after the town of Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Surprise celebrities added their applause to a rapturous standing ovation for the world premiere of Finding Neverland.
Hundreds of people packed out Curve to see the opening night of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s production.
The show premiered on Saturday night and included two unexpected star guests – U2 frontman Bono and guitarist The Edge – who had been invited by Mr Weinstein.
Mr Weinstein said:”We were so honoured that Bono and Edge came to see our first preview of Finding Neverland in Leicester. There was real excitement amongst the cast to meet them backstage after the show. I came to see Bono’s show Spiderman in New York during previews, and he was a really good friend to come and see my first show here in Leicester.”
Speaking to the cast on stage after the show, Bono said: “Can I just say how nauseating it is to see it go so well. That was amazing.”
The musical, about Peter Pan author JM Barrie, received whistles and cheers as the curtain fell and the Irish superstars got to their feet with the rest of the audience to give the cast a standing ovation.
Joss Paine, 18, from Thurnby, had to take a second after finding himself in the same row as Bono.
He said: “It was a bit surreal. I spotted him quite early on and had to look twice.”
The show is inspired by the 2004 film Finding Neverland, based on the Scottish writer JM Barrie.
It tells the story of his platonic relationship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and friendship with her four young sons, who inspire the magical world of Peter Pan.
Maggie Friswell, 63, from Burbage, said: “It was absolutely fantastic. The singing was superb – in fact, everything was fantastic.
“I’ve been to London, to the West End to see shows, but this was just amazing – the technical bits were really impressive.”
Stephen Smith, 61, from Stoke Golding, near Hinckley, said: “Brilliant. It was really good.
“For the show to premiere here in Leicester really says something about the city and the theatre.”
Pam Hillyard, 74, from Thurmaston, was sat in front of the show’s producer Harvey Weinstein but didn’t know until her daughter told her.
She said: “I had no idea who he was, but I thought the whole show was fantastic.
“It really captured the essence of the story and the time in which it was set.
“The set and music was amazing.”
The musical attracted audience members from all over the world.
American Bill Rummer had travelled from London to see the opening night of the show.
The 40-year-old said: “I thought it was beautiful and moving, it was fantastic.
“I’m originally from Los Angeles and I’m in London at the minute, but I had to come up here when I heard it was a Harvey Weinstein premiere.”
Bill was not the only overseas admirer of the production.
Australian Craig Rohlf, 39, had also made his way up from London for the show.
He said: “It’s my first time here and I am really impressed.
“It’s not every day you see a world premiere of a big show like this.”
British stage and screen actor Julian Ovenden plays JM Barrie, while West End actress Rosalie Craig takes the role of Sylvia.
The show, directed and choreographed by Olivier Award-winner Rob Ashford, runs until October 13.
For information and tickets, visit:
Copyright © 2012 Northcliffe Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.
By Ken Sweeney, Independent.ie Entertainment Editor
BONO was a surprise addition to the Electric Picnic festival when it kicked off in brilliant sunshine yesterday.
Arriving by helicopter at 6.15pm, the U2 frontman wasn’t performing but turned up to catch a set by his long-time friend Gavin Friday on the first day of the music and arts event.
For decades Friday has jetted around the globe as U2′s ‘special adviser’, giving them notes about their live shows.
But last night the roles were reversed as Bono sized up the former Virgin Prune’s performance on the main stage just after 7pm.
The only problem with having a superstar pal watching your show is that photographers’ lenses were all trained on Bono watching from the mixing desk rather than on the stage.
Nevertheless, Gavin dedicated his song ‘Angel’ to Bono and his wife Ali who are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this month.
It was Bono’s first visit to the Electric Picnic, which is now in its ninth year.
Take That’s Gary Barlow admitted on the ‘X Factor’ last weekend that he had never heard of the Electric Picnic, but for the 32,500 Irish music fans in Stradbally, Co Laois, this weekend it’s the highlight of their music year.
Wayne Stuart (30) spoke for many. Originally from Co Clare but now working in Glasgow, Wayne had returned to Ireland specially for the three-day event.
“It’s not just the music. There are so many other attractions to the Electric Picnic like Mindfield and Body & Soul,” he said.
“I’d describe it as an adult playground. I went to Oxegen for the first eight years but I’m not 18 any more and the age range at Electric Picnic goes from kids to senior citizens.
“I love the atmosphere so much that it got me back from Scotland.”
The biggest drawback to any Irish music festival is the unpredictable weather, but by teatime last night the meadows of the 600-acre Stradbally estate were bathed in balmy sunshine.
There’s more good news, with Met Eireann promising today will start off dry and bright, and tomorrow will be even warmer and sunnier, with temperatures hitting 20C or 21C.
Tailbacks didn’t prove a problem either, with heavy but steadily-moving traffic around Stradbally last night.
That left one genuine problem for festival-goers — the clash of top names on different stages with Ed Sheeran, Christy Moore and Icelandic band Sigur Ros all performing between 11pm and midnight last night.
Even a three-hour set from Goth doom merchants The Cure tonight seems unlikely to dampen spirits.
One of the more unusual performers on the many stages over the weekend will be celeb agent Noel Kelly. (See The Diary — Review Section).
More used to representing Ryan Tubridy and Grainne Seoige, the 49-year-old will be fronting the Transformation Blues Band on the Salty Dog stage at 7pm this evening.
However, the NK management boss said his “singing the blues” had nothing to do with salary cuts for his stars in RTE.
Rather, he’s doing a favour for the band whose singer had been unavailable for the festival and looking forward to a return to his former role as frontman with Dublin blues band The Leadbellies.
Weekend festival tickets are still available for €230. Sunday day tickets are €99.50.
- Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor
Stars follow $270m Facebook stake with backing for internet storage service
Lisa O’Carroll, The Guardian
His investment firm is looking forward to potential profits of about $1bn (£620m) from Facebook. Now U2 front man Bono appears to have developed a thirst for web technology, giving his personal backing to internet storage service Dropbox alongside bandmate the Edge.
The U2 pair were announced as individual investors by Dropbox in a picture posted on Twitter showing the musicians posing with founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi.
The service, which is still in its formative stages, has more than 50m users and was described as “tech’s hottest startup” by Forbes in a cover story last November. The company did not specify how much the musicians invested.
“Dropbox is excited to welcome Bono & The Edge as investors. Thanks for the support and look forward to great things!” the company tweeted.
According to Forbes, revenue is expected to hit $240m in 2011 even though 96% of users only use its free service.
Dropbox is a web service that allows users to store documents, photos and video in the cloud with the first 2Gb free. Heavy users then pay $10 a month for up to $50Gb and $20 a month for 100Gb in storage.
Houston told Forbes that even if he didn’t sign up a single new customer in 2012 his sales would double because of the growth trajectory in storage usage.
The investment by Bono is the latest in a string of tech investments for the U2 frontman.
As cofounder of Elevation Partners he has invested in Palm, Yelp and Facebook, with investment in the latter two companies inspiring the company to start building a new $1bn investment fund.
The first fund, launched in 2004, was worth $1.9bn with $270m of that ploughed into Facebook in three instalments between 2009 and 2010.
The imminent IPO could now value the company at about $100bn, which could net the firm about $1bn, according to sources.
Elevation also committed $100m in an investment in consumer review website Yelp in 2010 on the basis of a valuation of $500m, the source said. Yelp completed its stock market flotation earlier this month and currently has a market capitalisation of $1.4bn.
“They did their IPO in March and based on how it is trading today, they have tripled their investment,” said a source.
According to TechCrunch, Bono and the Edge got to know the Dropbox founders after they developed a music app on Facebook, iLike. They approached U2 to help them with the launch of a new feature which would help them promote videos to fans and ended up with an interview and a previously unreleased track.