The U2 Conference met April 26-27, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio.

* To download a web-res quality PDF of the 16-page printed program with all events, maps, and presenter information, click here..


4:00 — 5:00 p.m.: Registration table open at the Marriott Key Center hotel, 2nd floor registration booth.

6:00 p.m. — ??: Welcome Night Gathering at Flannery’s Pub, 323 E. Prospect Ave.  Join us for a casual gathering at downtown Cleveland’s landmark Irish pub, just a short walk from the Marriott Key Center hotel.  We will have a registration table set in a private room from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. where you can pick up your conference name badge. Flannery’s will give you a 15% discount on your food and beverage bill when you show them your U2 Conference name badge. Starting at 7:00, Cleveland-based Irish folk-rock band Mary’s Lane will play a show out in the main restaurant. Sláinte!


FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013

All items from 8:45 a.m. –  3:00 p.m. are on the 2nd floor of the Marriott Key Center hotel. Breakfast for Friday only is in The Club at Key Center room on the 4th floor.

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.: Continental breakfast of muffins, pastries, fresh sliced fruit, coffee & tea, provided for attendees in the 4th floor Key Club room. Our registration table will be setup in The Club at Key Center to pick up your badge and program.

8:30 – 1:00 p.m.: Registration center open on the 2nd floor.

8:45 – 10:00 a.m.: SESSION 1 / OPEN TO ALL ATTENDEES

Session 1A (Academic): Cannibals and Thieves: Transforming Sound and Sense

Chair: Christopher Endrinal

    1. “From the Ground Up: A Post-Structuralist Account of U2’s Transformation in the Achtung Baby Era.” Veldon Coburn
    2. “Transmogrification and Transfiguration in ‘Another Time, Another Place’ and ‘Gloria.’” Paul Harris
    3. “Transcending Rock, Translating Dance, and Transforming Pop: U2 and Electronic Dance Music Aesthetics in the 1990s.” Ed Montano

Session 1B (Academic):  “Stateless”: U2’s Public and Private Spaces

Chair: Sam Lovato

    1. “’I Go There With You’: The Dimension of Place in U2’s Studio Recordings, Videos, and Concert Sites.” Joel Deichmann
    2. “Moment of Surrender: Shared Creation in the U2 Live Experience.” Matthew Hamilton
    3. “U2’s Transformation of the Daily Into the Sublime.” Carol Burg

Session 1C (Mainstream – Presented by @U2):  “Curating ‘The Next Big Thing’ – A Conversation with Jim Henke.” Moderated by Tassoula Kokkoris.

Cleveland native Jim Henke met U2 in 1981 on tour in England and wrote the first Rolling Stone magazine article about them, “U2 – Here Comes the ‘Next Big Thing.’” As a writer and editor at Rolling Stone for 16 years, he continued covering the band in the 80s before he became a vice president and chief curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum for 18 years. While at the Rock Hall, Henke worked with U2 to contribute to the museum’s collection, and curated the 2003 major exhibition “In The Name of Love: Two Decades of U2.” In this session, Henke will talk about curating the 2003 exhibition and show images from this collection. He will also talk from his unique perspective and share personal stories about U2′s rise to international success and his work documenting it.

10:00 — 10:30 a.m.: Open time – U2 Conference t-shirts will be on sale at the registration center. A full-service Starbucks is on the first floor, just outside the hotel’s north lobby doors and in the lobby of the Key Center building.

10:30 — 11:45 a.m.: SESSION 2 / OPEN TO ALL ATTENDEES

Session 2A (Academic): “We’re One, but We’re Not the Same”: Individuality In (and Beyond) the Band

Chair: Stephanie Heriger

    1. “The Edge as a Trans-Media Character in the Films of Davis Guggenheim.” Fred Johnson
    2. “I Just Keep the Bottom End Moving: Adam Clayton’s Minimalist Bass Aesthetic.” Brian Wright
    3. “Bono & U2’s Transformation of Celebrity Social Activism Into Social Entrepreneurship and Social Justice.” Jennifer Schaefer

Session 2B (Academic): “Lift Me Up Out Of These Blues”: Elevation In Two Musical Traditions

Chair: Ann Spinney

    1. “From ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ to ‘Angel of Harlem’: Irishness, American Blackness, and U2’s Authentic Performativity.” Kimberly Mack
    2. “Race and Rattle and Hum 25 Years On.” Lauren Onkey
    3. “Tearing Down the Walls: U2 and the Irish Desire for Transcendence.” Arlan Hess

Session 2C (Mainstream – Presented by @U2): “Transition: Marketing U2 in the 1990s – A Conversation with Brian O’Neal.” Moderated by Matt McGee.

U2 reinvented itself in the 1990s, starting the decade with a new attitude, a new look, and new sounds. They went from a monochrome earnestness to the bright lights of Zoo TV, the vivid colors of Pop, and a decade-long mission to “f***-up the mainstream.” Brian O’Neal was along for the ride, creating promotional strategies for Achtung Baby, Zooropa, Pop and their respective tours, as well as side projects like Passengers, “The Theme From Mission: Impossible,” and more. We’ll talk to O’Neal about how he helped U2 transition and transform in the 1990s, and there’ll be plenty of time for audience Q&A too.

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Lunch buffet in the East Foyer, provided for attendees

1:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Screening of Meet Me In The Sound (83 minutes). Australian first-time filmmaker Natalie Baker explores the U2 fan community around the world and how music can have have a positive influence across a diverse range of cultures and people. This premiere screening will also be a fundraising event for the African Well Fund. Donations accepted at the time of the screening. Both Natalie Baker and the African Well Fund directors will be present.

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.: Bill Carter, “Transcending Borders: The Power of U2,” in the Rock Hall’s Foster Theater.

5:00 — 6:00 p.m.: Book and DVD sales and signing event with Bill Carter outside the Foster Theater

5:00 — 6:00 p.m.: The Rock Hall’s Cafe on the third floor will be open selling snacks, sandwiches, salads, and beverages.

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.: U23D – Private Screening for U2 Conference Attendees in the Rock Hall’s Foster Theater. (Free with conference registration.)

9:30 p.m. – ??: (Extra Event) ONE performs at The Blind Pig. Details at our Extra Events Guide 2013.



All items from 8:45 a.m. –  3:00 p.m. are on the 2nd floor of the Marriott Key Center hotel.

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.: Continental breakfast of muffins, pastries, fresh sliced fruit, coffee & tea, provided for attendees in Salon E.

8:45 – 10:00 a.m.: SESSION 3 / OPEN TO ALL ATTENDEES

Session 3A (Academic): “It’s No Secret”: The Process of Representation

Chair: Carol Burg

    1. “What You Don’t Have You Don’t Need It Now: How the World’s Most Iconic Band Got There Without a Logo.” Beth Nabi
    2. “She Cats and The Fly on the Wall: Transforming the Boy/Girls from Dublin in U2’s Achtung Baby.” William R. Upchurch
    3. “‘A Dangerous Idea That Almost Makes Sense’: Conceiving (Achtung) Baby When ‘Sensemaking’ Made Sense.’” Chris Wales

Session 3B (Academic): “Take This Soul and Make it Sing”: Constructing Community

Chair: Tim Neufeld

    1. “Transgressing Theology: Locating Jesus in a ‘F—ed-Up World.’” Theodore Trost
    2. “A Communion of Transcendence: U2 and The Eucharist.” Kristen Pungitore and James Menkhaus
    3. “Have I Finally Found What I Was Looking For?: Charitably Reading U2 for Grace, Love, and Transcendence.” Christopher E. Garrett

Session 3C (Mainstream – Presented by @U2): “U2’s Sound Explained for Non-Musicians: Featuring Unforgettable Fire.” Moderated by Christopher Endrinal.

Why does Edge change guitars after almost every song in concert? How has Adam and Larry’s playing changed over the years? How has Bono’s voice and singing changed over the years? If you’ve ever wondered how U2 gets its unmistakable sound, this is the session for you. The band members of Unforgettable Fire will demystify the U2 sound and, since actions speak louder than words, they will not only talk about U2′s sounds, but to also play examples for us, too. And be sure to hear them live in concert Saturday night at the Hard Rock Cafe Cleveland at the U2 Conference’s official after-program party. Details at our Extra Events Guide 2013.

10:00 — 10:30 a.m.: Open time. A full-service Starbucks is on the first floor, just outside the hotel’s north lobby doors and in the lobby of the Key Center building.

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.: SESSION 4 / OPEN TO ALL ATTENDEES

Session 4A (Academic): “Got To Stand Up and Take a Step”: U2 in Praxis

Chair: William R. Upchurch

    1. “More Than Shopping Our Way to a Cure? The (Perceived) Transgressive Nature of the RED Campaign and Its Affect on U2’s Ethos as Justice Advocates.” Laurie Ann Britt-Smith
    2. “Headphone Devotionals (Bono’s Psalter): Praying the U2 Catalog.” Andrew Smith
    3.  “Rock Star Realpolitik: U2’s Transgression?” Stuart Krusell

Session 4B (Academic): “Showtime: When U2 Takes Us Higher.”

Chair:  Brian Wright

    1. “Out of the Transitory and Into the Transcendent: Finding Continued Relevancy for U2 and Its Fans.” Brigitte Harmon-Porter and Brian Porter
    2. “Power, Politics, and Rock Concerts: U2’s 360 Tour as a Contemporary Spectacle.” Michael Williams
    3. “‘Let Me In The Sound’: The Role of One Liners in U2’s Live Concert Experience.” Steve Taylor

Session 4C (Mainstream – Presented by @U2): “Stories for Boys & Girls.” Moderated by Angela Pancella and Tim Neufeld.

U2 fandom is a very tribal experience. U2′s music touches our hearts, stirs our souls and challenges our minds. These songs and this band have changed some of us, saved some of us and become part of the fabric of our life. In this session, listen to your fellow fans tell remarkable stories of U2′s impact in their lives and join in what’s sure to be a U2 fan tribal experience.

Session 4D (Mainstream – Presented by @U2): “Transmission: U2 on the Radio Past, Present and Beyond – A Conversation with John Gorman.” Moderated by Matt McGee and Mary Cipriani.

Cleveland radio legend John Gorman met U2 on the band’s first tour of the U.S., and has followed them throughout his storied career in the radio industry, which included 13 years at FM powerhouse WMMS. He’s seen how radio has handled U2 over the years, and how it handles U2 today. Join us for a conversation about U2 and the band’s changing relationship with the radio industry.

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Lunch buffet in Salon E, provided for attendees

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.: Showing of Unforgettable Fire: The Story of a U2 Tribute Band (53 minutes). Director Michelle Regina Iacobelli and the band members of Unforgettable Fire will be present for this showing and for discussion after the film. This new documentary, completed in late 2012, is just beginning to make the rounds. Unforgettable Fire will also appear in today’s 8:45 a.m. session “U2’s Sound Explained for Non-Musicians” and will play at the post-conference party tonight at 9:00 p.m. at the Hard Rock Cafe.)

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.: Steve Averill, Senior Art Director, AMP Visual. “Translating Sound To Vision: The Art of U2 – A Conversation With Steve Averill, ” in the Rock Hall’s Foster Theater.

5:00 p.m.: End of Program

9:00 p.m. – ??: (Extra Event) After-Party at the Hard Rock Cafe Cleveland Featuring Unforgettable Fire. Details at our Extra Events Guide 2013.


SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 2013

9:00 — 10:00 a.m.: (Extra Event) U2charist Service at Trinity Cathedral, followed by a U2charist Discussion with Rev. Kurt Wiesner. Details at our Extra Events Guide 2013.

The U2 Conference logo and site design by Beth Nabi.