As Bono stood onstage last weekend in Berlin, presumably horrified as he felt his voice go, did the irony of his nickname pass through his mind? “Bono Vox” came from the name of a Dublin hearing-aid shop, Bonavox, whose name comes from the Latin for “good voice”.
It seems the U2’s singer’s vocal setback is temporary and not serious, and U2 will complete their tour. But a singer’s vital instrument is deep in their body, and vulnerable – increasingly so as they grow older.
“It’s terrifying for that to happen in the middle of a concert. It’s one of the worst things that can happen to a singer of any calibre or profile, a huge shock,” says Kathleen Tynan, soprano and head of vocal studies and opera at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She says she feels sorry for Bono, who she observes is “known for strong high