B ono's back.
The 50-year-old frontman for Dublin supergroup U2 has announced he's fully recovered from emergency back surgery in Munich in May - and has apologized to ticket-holding North American fans who must wait an extra year to see the band return to action.
In a laid-back hand-held video posted Wednesday on U2's Web site, drummer Larry Mullen Jr., bassist Adam Clayton and guitarist The Edge playfully suggest they've been auditioning new singers - but can't quite replace the middle-aged lad who's been the face of U2 since 1976.
The camera then pans to a Bono in rose-tinted lenses.
"I can sit. I can stand. I can move around a bit. Feeling strong, feeling confident," Bono says as he walks about an unidentified recording studio. "And I'm ready - rebuilt by German engineering, better design I'm told - and I'm going to be fighting fit next summer in the U.S."
Bono sheds no light on how he hurt his back, which his German neurosurgeons in May described as sudden partial paralysis. The health scare forced U2 to cancel the entire sold-out, 16-city North American tour this summer. All those dates have been rescheduled for May-July 2011 with the original tickets still valid.
Bono said he "wanted to apologize for the trouble that this injury has put you all through, those of you that bought tickets, and organized hotels and travel plans. It's a very big deal. People go to a lot of trouble to get U2 tickets and we don't take it for granted. Thank you for standing by us in our hour of need."
The singer said his injury, surgery and convalescence "was not a lot of fun for me. The injury was quite serious ... but staring at the ceiling has some advantages - forced indolence." He said he used the time to write new lyrics and tunes.
The 2009 swing of U2's ongoing 360-degrees World Tour was the biggest financial earner of the year, grossing more than $300 million - but U2 manager Paul McGuinness says the colossal show struggles to break even because it costs $750,000 daily to keep on the road.
U2's next scheduled performance is Aug. 6 in Turin, Italy.
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