U2 Rocks Mattopia: The Goal Is Soul

“And if the comic takes the stage
And no one laughs
And does a dance on his own grave
For a photograph
This is not a curtain call
This is the greatest act of all
A stand up for freedom”
Walk On (Ukraine)
from Songs of Surrender
Album released 17 March U2023

Songs of Surrender

“And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it’s a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh, no, be strong“
Walk On
from All That You Can’t Leave Behind
Album released 31 October U2000

Walk On. A great song now with two strikingly different — yet equally vital — versions. The latest, a stripped down acoustic rendition with dramatically revised lyrics, is dedicated to the besieged people of Ukraine. The original, featuring U2’s soaring accroutrements, became an anthem for Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now once again under house arrest in Myanmar. Both are intended to lift up the downtrodden. Both speak to this writer’s soul. Both exemplify why I've spent so much time, money and energy following this band all over the world. They constantly inspire me to push the envelope and crush the barriers.

And so it is Mattopia Jones has followed what Bono has described as the world's loudest folk band:

5 continents • 19 countries • 39 cities • 47 venues
11 tours • 1 Sphere • 77 shows • 3 special appearances
6 boys dreaming out loud, in high volume

Not a bad way to live for a kid who graduated from a high school class of nine. Granted, I was the class valedictorian. But when you're in a class of nine, everybody graduates in the top 10. And back then, in those days before I appreciated U2's work, I had no inkling of the awesome life awaiting me when I get out of my own way and walk on.

U2 at the Sphere, Las Vegas, Nevada U2 at the Sphere, Las Vegas, Nevada U2: Bono and Adam Clayton U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: Bono and Edge U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: Edge U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: Bono and Larry Mullen, Jr. U2: Bono U2: Bono with a pint of Guinness, celebrating Amnesty International in Winnipeg U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: Adam Clayton U2: Bono and Edge U2: Bono and Edge U2 in Buenos Aires Mothers of the Disappeared in Buenos Aires Bono in Miami Where the Streets Have No Name in Miami Bono, frontman in front Larry Mullen, Jr. Bono in Denver U2: Edge at the piano Bono Bono with heart Adam Clayton: preshow autographs in Denver Bono dials into the audience U2: Bono U2: Bono U2: The Edge, Bono and Adam Clayton U2: The Edge, Bono and Adam Clayton U2: Larry Mullen, Jr. The Edge and Gwen Stefani One more gratuitous photo of Gwen Stefani Bono in San Sebastian U2 in San Sebastian U2 in San Sebastian U2: Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
A few photo highlights from the tours and other events
Photos taken with various consumer-grade cameras; I had a different camera (or cameras) on each tour
Photos on the Elevation tour were shot on film - with limited ISO options (like 200, 400 or 800) and limited exposure control
A couple Elevation photos were taken with higher-grade gear

We Get to Carry Each Other

I like to say we've been through a lot together. Literally and figuratively. Even though I can't sing and I can't play any instruments (at least not very well), I've got soul. Lots and lots of soul — and that makes me qualified to be the "fifth member" of this Irish folk quartet. (C'mon on now. That's tongue-in-cheek craic — and I'm one of millions who share that sentiment.)


  1. ZOO-TV (2 shows)
  2. Popmart (3 shows)
  3. Elevation (12 shows)
  4. Vertigo (6 shows)
  5. 360° (13 shows)
  6. iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE (8 shows)
  7. The Joshua Tree 2017 (5 shows)
  8. eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE (7 shows)
  9. The Joshua Tree 2019 (5 shows)
  10. Stories of Surrender (4 shows)
  11. U2:UV Achtung Baby (12 shows)

Special Appearances

  1. U2: Total Request Live, MTV (U2000)
  2. U2: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (U2004)
  3. Bono & Edge: Toronto International Film Festival (U2011)


  1. Denver, Colorado, USA
  2. Dublin, Ireland*
  3. East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA
  4. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada*
  5. Montreal, Quebec, Canada*
  6. New York City, New York, USA
  7. London, England
  8. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
  9. Slane, Ireland*
  10. Nice, France
  11. San Sebastian, Spain*
  12. Charlotte, North Carolina, USA*
  13. Portland, Oregon, USA*
  14. Gothenburg, Sweden*
  15. Gelsenkirchen, Germany*
  16. Chorzow, Poland*
  17. Zagreb, Croatia*
  18. Landover, Maryland, USA*
  19. Athens, Greece*
  20. Istanbul, Turkey*


  1. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada*
  2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA*
  3. Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada*
  4. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  6. Stockholm, Sweden*
  7. Miami, Florida, USA*
  8. Tampa, Florida, USA*
  9. San Diego, California, USA
  10. Buenos Aires, Argentina*
  11. Nashville, Tennessee, USA*
  12. Lisbon, Portugal*
  13. Madrid, Spain
  14. Perth, Australia*
  15. Tokyo, Japan*
  16. Seoul, South Korea*
  17. Mumbai, India*
  18. San Francisco, California, USA
  19. Manchester, England*

* denotes first time visiting the city


  • My first show — it was truly life altering
  • Bono autographing his autobiography, Stories of Surrender tour in Manchester, England
  • Getting Bono’s autograph on my Elevation T-shirt, i+e tour in Denver
  • Saying “hey” to Bono after Total Request Live, at the top of the Viacom building in Times Square
  • Shaking Bono’s hand ahead of the premiere of From the Sky Down at TIFF
  • Bono posing for me — a pit photographer — in the Meadowlands on the Elevation tour
  • Attending U2’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony as a member of the press
  • Performance of Electrical Storm during 360° in Gothenburg, Sweden

Favorite Shows

  1. Elevation, Slane - Night 2 (a stark contrast to Night 1)
  2. ZOO-TV, Denver
  3. Joshua Tree 2019, Mumbai
  4. Joshua Tree 2017, Buenos Aires - Night 2
  5. Elevation, East Rutherford - Night 1
  6. 360°, Gothenburg - Night 2
  7. 360°, Istanbul
  8. 360°, Denver
  9. i+e, Amsterdam - My Night 2
  10. i+e, Denver - Night 2

Opening Acts

It might be easier to list who hasn't opened for U2, but here's a partial list of the acts I've seen open for the biggest band in the land.

  • Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
  • OneRepublic
  • Beck
  • Keane
  • The Zutons
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Moby
  • Coldplay
  • Nelly Furtado
  • No Doubt
  • Arcade Fire
  • Carney
  • The Fray
  • Snow Patrol
  • Public Enemy
  • Kanye West
  • Smash Mouth
  • PJ Harvey
  • Foo Fighters
  • Muse

But I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

The above is an overview, a snapshot from outer space. There's much, much more to tell and it's (mostly) documented in the Mattsonian's U2 archives.