Oprah: So would you stop first?

Bono: Yes. Our idea in the band is this: Two crap albums in a row and you're out. That gives us two to go. One crap album is fine, because you can pull back and try again. But after two, you're forever "interesting."

Oprah: I was watching you up onstage last night, and I said, God, this just makes me want to go put on a pair of sunglasses and a leather jacket. Is there anything better than being on that stage in that moment and being you?

Bono: Wow—I don't remember feeling that good. You certainly have moments when the music dwarfs you, brings you to your knees, and you're only a tiny part of it. But most of the time, unfortunately, you're a very large part of it. And you're self-conscious, or something's irritating you, or you're under-rehearsed. So, yes, there are moments like last night when we're standing out there singing a melody—"It's a long, long walk to freedom"—and the crowd starts singing with us, though they've never heard the song before. I had just watched this extraordinary man, Nelson Mandela, who taught us all a lesson, take that long walk to the podium. As everyone sang, I realized we were guests of the nation of South Africa. They were singing the hymn, he was smiling to the crowd—and we were in between.

Oprah: I felt that, too.

Bono: It was even more poignant because it was a predominantly white audience singing to him. I'm standing there thinking, This might be a big miracle we're witnessing.

Oprah: The sea of white faces, singing that song to him.

Bono: And there was no patronizing from either side.

Oprah: I agree. I was happy to be a witness to it.

Bono: I was pretty knocked out. I wished my entire band were there. With the band, we would have pulled that house down, because there was a lot of energy in that crowd.

Oprah: So when do you really have a good time?

Bono: When I'm playing with the band. As a soloist, I'm average at best. But with the band? There's nothing better, I promise you. I'm sorry, but I can say that. Two weekends ago, I was in New York with my wife, and we had a great time. My wife and I surfed our jet lag.

Oprah: What does that mean?

Bono: When you have kids, you have to go to bed and get up at a certain time. But if you don't have the kids with you—which we didn't—you can go to bed when you're sleepy and stay up when you're not. That means you can stay out until 4 in the morning.

Oprah: I've got to learn how to surf my jet lag. How old are the kids now?

Bono: The two girls are 14 and 12; the two boys are 4 and 2. They're great. I don't know why I have the life I have. I don't deserve it. I think the family is as strong as it is because of my wife, Ali. She is just really so cool.

Oprah: How long have you been married?

Bono: Longer than I haven't been. We married when we were kids. We couldn't have known what we were getting involved in.