June 2, 2010

Mark Knopfler Solves Bono's Back Problems

Source: U2blog.com
Published: June 2nd, 2010

Mark Knopfler solves Bono’s back problems

2 JUNE 2010
By Neil McCormick
June 2nd, 2010
Bono's back problems pushed U2's tour into 2011 Photo: Eddie Mulholland
Bono isn’t the only aging rocker suffering for his art. As we all know by now, the U2 singer hurt his back during rehearsals and has had to pull out of their much heralded headline spot in Glastonbury and postpone the first half of U2’s north American tour. This is presumably what you get for leaping around like your 19-year-old self at the grand old age of 50. And I say that with some sympathy, cause I’m approaching the half century myself, although the only work related injury I am at risk of is bad posture from sitting at a computer all day typing blogs like this.
Rock and roll can be cruel. If you become famous performing with the energetic abandon of youth, your public will expect you to continue the same way when most of your contemporaries ideas of a physical work out is taking the dog for an arthritic stroll in the park. Last weekend, I watched 65-year-old Rod Stewart wiggling his behind and singing ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ To which the only sane answer is surely “put it away grandad, you’re frightening the kids.” Shouldn’t rockers be allowed (indeed encouraged) to age with dignity, like old jazz and blues players. No one ever expected Miles Davis to climb on top of a speaker stack and stage dive the front row at Ronnie Scott’s. Just think, Mick Jagger could stop spending Rolling Stones shows jogging from one side of the stage to the other just to prove he’s still got some puff, and actually stand still and sing a bit.
But it turns out there is one visionary rock star striking a blow for creaky oldies everywhere. Sixty year old Mark Knopfler, currently in the middle of a series of dates at the Albert Hall, has been performing from the comfort of an ergonomically-enhanced swivel chair. The former Dire Straits frontman explained to audiences that he had been having treatment for a trapped nerve in the back, and acquired the chair to aid his recovery. His doctor has apparently given him a clean bill of health, but Knopfler likes the chair and he’s decided to stick with it.
And I say congratulations to Mark, who has made a brave step towards accepting mortality, and rocking on into a golden old age. Henceforth, he shall be known as the Sultan Of Sitting, or the Brother In (an) Armchair.
Even with insurance, U2’s tour postponement is likely to prove very expensive for the band. According to an “Irish music tour insider” quoted in the Irish Times, “U2’s daily tour overhead spend is $750,000. Bono’s back has put them out of action for two months. They’re insured for show postponement, but that’s not the full story. The set-up costs of the three Claws they use was phenomenal. They don’t need this, their insurance company doesn’t need this and the global touring economy doesn’t need this. It’s not just the show day; it’s the three of four days before setting up the stadium, one day stripping it down after, the 200 trucks, the drivers, the security, the merchandising people, the drinks and food people, the programme sellers, costume, make-up and hundreds of other people. U2 would have over 100 permanent touring personnel and an extra 200-300 working personnel at each local venue. It’s the hotels, the flights, the food vouchers. It’s like a small country coming to a standstill.”
And to think, it could have all been saved by an ergonomically-designed stool. Of course, Bono has always been a bit more mobile than Mark Knopfler. But what about an electric wheel chair? Surely he could have rocked Glastonbury from a mobility scooter? Or even better, they could have built a hydraulic arm into the Claw, and whizzed him about over the heads of the flag waving faithful, singing “Stuck In A Moment That You Can’t Get Of’.
Or maybe not. Get well soon, old friend.

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