Wait a minute.....I've SEEN Bono play the piano during concerts before. Granted, the piano part in Sweetest Thing isn't too hard, but I figured the guy at least knew what he was doing.
Or, perhaps he's just taking additional lessons to improve his musicianship. Anything that keeps him concentrated on music and not in meetings with Tony Blair and his ilk is fine with me. Saving the world is fine, but this 3-4 year wait between U2 albums is riddikulus.
Stories like these amuse me, since I've always had the impression that (even though U2 are my favourite band and I genuinely believe they're the best band since the Beatles) U2 aren't great musicians. They need loads of rehearsal time before each tour, Bono is notorious for forgetting lyrics, and they are (admittedly) "the world's worst cover band." And it's true, since U2's covers are usually inferior to the originals. I think it stems from the fact that none of them actually knew how to play their instruments when they first started the band back in the day, so their whole careers have been starting from scratch. Obviously, they've proceeded a long way in 30 years, but the lack of that formal musical training has struck me as very quaint.
They would surely lose the "Random Bar Experience" test. Imagine this scenario: you're sitting in a random bar in New York City, when the manager suddenly takes the stage and says an old friend of his dropped by and agreed to play a couple of songs. The friend gets on stage and (holy shit!) it's Keith Richards! Keef plays a few acoustic Stones tunes, makes a few wisecracks, tells a few stories, drinks a few beers and everyone in that club has the time of their life.
Now, imagine it was Bono. It would still be a great experience, due to Bono's carrying the evening through jokes and stories. As for the music....well, seeing Bono struggle with a guitar, piano and in remembering the words to "One" would be a mite troubling. This is why U2 so often plays the same setlists on tour, since it's a struggle for Bono to remember multiple lyrics.
But anyway, back to the piano. I have this image in my head of Bono sitting at a bench playing something like "Mary Had A Little Lamb" or playing his scales and getting his fingers slapped with a ruler by a stereotypically stern piano teacher with iron-rimmed grey glasses and her hair tied back into a bun.