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Old 10-07-2005, 11:44 AM   #1
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(10-07-2005) Bono Hits All the Right Notes - Business Week*

Bono Hits All the Right Notes

By Amey Stone


The U2 singer's duet with economist Jeffrey Sachs left the cheering crowd to supply an encore: Doing something concrete about Third World poverty


A crowd of about 50 students was waiting eagerly near the entrance of New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts the evening of Oct. 5, when a shiny black SUV pulled up. Out stepped Bono, the lead singer of rock band U2 and arguably the world's most accomplished celebrity advocate for the poor, sick, and hungry.

Dubbed "the statesman" in a hagiographic New York Times Magazine cover story in September, Bono was rumored to be on the short list to win this year's Nobel Peace Prize, which was announced Oct. 7. (He didn't win. The honor went to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its Egyptian head, Mohamed ElBaradei.)

Wearing a tan cowboy hat and his customary black jeans and tinted sunglasses, the rock star was greeted with cheers. He graciously took a few minutes to joke with the crowd and sign autographs. Fans attempted to scale the building's walls to catch a glimpse of the short, smiling Irishman before security ushered him inside. College students eager to snare tickets asked every passerby if there was one to spare -- a hallmark of any U2 concert.

"WARM-UP ACT." Only this wasn't a rock concert. It was an economics lecture. And Bono wasn't even the main attraction. He was invited merely to introduce global poverty-fighter and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, who was night's main attraction.

"We're back to being a warm-up act, Edge," Bono called out from the stage to U2's knit cap-wearing guitarist, The Edge, who was sitting sedately in the audience.

Bono, introduced by NYU President John Sexton as "Ireland's ambassador to the globe," clearly enjoyed playing second fiddle to Sachs for the evening. "I'm a groupie," he said, relating how he engaged Sachs to teach him "Rock star remedial economics."

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