Bono's back: U2 singer 'feeling strong' after surgery

U2 frontman says he will be 'fighting fit' for the band's live return in three weeks' time

Two months after undergoing emergency back surgery, Bono is able to sit, stand and "move around a bit", he said yesterday. With just three weeks until U2's next scheduled gig, the U2 frontman made his return to the public eye in a video for the band's website. "Feeling strong, feeling confident," Bono said. "I'm going to be fighting fit."

In May, U2 cancelled their 16-date North American tour due to what German doctors called Bono's "sudden partial paralysis". Speaking in the band's new, informal video, the Edge joked about auditioning replacements for the frontman. "There are some great singers out there," he said, alluding to his Glastonbury cameo with Muse. "But ... it just wasn't the same."

After U2's drummer Larry Mullen Jr warned that "no one's indispensable", the camera panned to Bono, sitting coyly in wraparound shades. "I'm ready," he claimed. "Rebuilt by German engineering – better design, I'm told." The 50-year-old is seen standing and taking a few steps, but it's not clear whether he is yet at full mobility.

The injury was "quite serious", Bono said, "and not a lot of fun". "But staring at the ceiling has some advantages." In this state of "forced indolence", Bono has written some "great" new songs, which U2 have already begun recording, and which they may perform at concerts later this summer. The band resume their 360º tour in Turin, Italy on 6 August, and have rescheduled their US and Canadian dates for the summer of 2011.

"[I] wanted to apologise for the trouble that this injury has [caused] for ... [those] that bought tickets, and organised hotels and travel plans," Bono said. "It's a very big deal. People go to a lot of trouble to get U2 tickets and we don't take it for granted."

These cancellations are not cheap for the band either. According to manager Paul McGuinness, the 360º tour costs $500,000 (£328,000) per day, whether or not U2 are playing. Although they are insured, the cancelled dates have reportedly pushed the group into debt.

Somehow, we have a feeling U2 will land on their feet.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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