From the Fontana Herald News
By RUSSELL INGOLD
Excited about the single "Vertigo," U2 fans from all around the world are eagerly looking forward to the popular rock band's upcoming new album, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," and an accompanying world tour in 2005.
But while they're waiting, what do these devoted U2 followers do in the meantime?
Well, many of them attended the first-ever U2 Los Angeles Fan Celebration at the Ontario Convention Center last Sunday, reveling in the sights and sounds of all things U2 (except for the actual band itself).
"We are brought together by the band's spirit, fellowship, and the love of good music," said Allegra Calkins, who came all the way from Texas with her friend Lizzie Ernst to enjoy the festivities.
They were among several U2 admirers from across the country who were able to finally meet in person with others they have been regularly chatting with online at www.interference.com, the largest U2 fan-based website.
The fans also had a chance to meet BP Fallon (the author of the book "Faraway So Close"), look at a wide array of merchandise, and take part in trivia contests.
The highlight of the day was a performance by ElevationUSA, a U2 tribute band featuring a lead singer (Daniel Burrow) who energized the crowd with a remarkable impression of Bono.
ElevationUSA delivered close to three hours worth of U2 classic songs. For long-time fans, in one respect the performance was even better than the real thing, because it included numerous tunes from the early 1980s (such as "Gloria" and "The Electric Co.") that U2 rarely performs anymore.
FOR MANY DEVOTEES, U2's greatness stems as much from the group's spiritual insights and involvement in social causes as it does to its widely-heralded musical style.
"I like the fact that their music has a spiritual aspect - it's Christian faith-based, which manifests itself in humanitarian concerns," said a fan named Pavel from San Diego who could have won a Bono look-alike contest with his black jacket and sunglasses.
Because Bono has actively promoted such causes as human rights, African debt relief, and helping people with HIV/AIDS, many U2 fans have become engaged in similar worthwhile endeavors.
Julie Cook of Redondo Beach set up a booth at the celebration to distribute information about the organization she chairs, African Well Fund, which seeks to provide clean water to African people through the building of wells and other safe water projects.
Cook said the African Well Fund was formed in late 2002 by U2 supporters and is hoping to receive additional support from the general public.
"U2 fans are dedicated to ensuring that every individual has access to water, one of the basic human rights," Cook said.
For more information about this project, visit www.africanwellfund.org.
-- Fontana Herald News