Bono under the knife, U2 tour postponed until 2011

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The entire second leg of U2’s “360-Degree” tour has been canceled after lead singer Bono received emergency spinal surgery on May 21 in Munich, Germany. Bono is under doctor’s orders to begin a rehabilitation program lasting at least eight weeks.

The band’s first stop on the second leg of the tour was supposed to be at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on June 3, appearing with Lenny Kravitz. According to band manager Paul McGuinness, the band and crew were scheduled to begin rehearsals in Salt Lake City only four days after Bono was admitted to the hospital. Over 400 people were hired to come to Salt Lake to work on the tour; many had already left and were sent back home to wait for new dates to be announced.

Sixteen concerts that were to be held between June 3 and July 19 have been ambiguously postponed until 2011, with no specific dates rescheduled at press time. Those who have already bought tickets are encouraged to hold on to them, as they will still be valid for the new concert dates. Rescheduling the dates is the responsibility of tour promoters Live Nation, who just this year have organized tours for heavy-hitters such as James Taylor, John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Rush, the Lilith Fair and the Vans Warped Tour.

Bono was admitted to Ludwig Maximilians-University Hospital after injuring his back during preparatory training for the tour. He originally went to Dr. Hans-Wilhlm Muller-Wohlfahrt, who diagnosed Bono with “a serious tear in the ligament and a herniated disc.” Bono was experiencing severe sciatic pain, with partial paralysis in one of his legs. Mueller-Wohlfahrt recommended that Bono receive emergency spinal surgery to repair the tear. During surgery it was discovered that fragments of the herniated disc had travelled into Bono’s spinal canal, as reported by his neurosurgeon Dr. Joerg Tonn in a Live Nation press release.

Bono, well-known and respected for his philanthropy in addition to his music, celebrated his fiftieth birthday just 11 days before the emergency surgery.

McGuinness said at the hospital, “Our biggest and I believe best tour has been interrupted and we’re all devastated. For a performer who lives to be on stage, this is more than a blow. He feels robbed of the chance to do what he does best and feels like he has badly let down the band and their audience. Which is of course nonsense. His concerns about more than a million ticket buyers whose plans have been turned upside down, we all share, but the most important thing right now is that Bono make a full recovery.”

U2’s current tour began in June of 2009 in Barcelona; during the next 4 months they traveled through Europe, the U.S. and Canada performing 44 concerts in 31 cities. The first leg of the tour was a massive success that inspired the band to begin a second leg in 2010, adding changes and new material.

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