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 News Rock 21/08/2001

Bono Flies Back to Dying Father After Each U2 Gig

LONDON (Reuters) - Bono, lead singer of the Irish rock supergroup U2, is flying back to Dublin every night after the band's concerts to be with his father, who is dying of cancer.

At their weekend concert in London, the singer dedicated the song "Kite" from their latest album to his father, Bob Hewson.

The song was originally written for his children but the singer said it now feels "like my father wrote it about me. It's funny how things work out."

He then used the band's private jet to fly back to Dublin to be at his bedside.

Another new song, "In a Little While," was played in memory of Joey Ramone, lead singer of New York punk group the Ramones who died from cancer while listening to the song. Bono admitted the Ramones were a huge influence on U2.

"We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them," he said. "This was a good song, now it's been made great because of him."

London is the latest stop on their Elevation 2001 Tour, which has thrilled fans with its back-to-basics approach.

At Saturday's well-paced show, "Sunday Bloody Sunday" was dedicated to the people of Omagh, the town in Northern Ireland where 29 people died in a car bomb explosion in 1998.

In February at a pre-tour warm-up gig at London's Astoria Theater, Bono announced the band were "Re-applying for the job. You know what that job is? Best band in the world." The comments came after the excess of 1997's PopMart Tour, held in cavernous stadiums with giant props such as an enormous lemon and an olive on a 100-foot-high toothpick.

The tour left many fans bewildered and empty seats pointed to a slump. The latest shows in smaller indoors venues have brought the focus back to the music, featuring a simple stage set with a heart-shaped catwalk protruding into the audience.

After two more shows in London, the band will finish the European leg of the tour with two shows at Slane Castle in Ireland.

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