Rock stars doing book promotion tours used to be so simple. If you were lucky the artist in question might turn up at a few bookshops around the country, sit behind a table and deal with the orderly queue which formed signing the book or even posing for a selfie.

If you were really lucky, the artist in question might do a few 'evening with' appearances in local theatres where a tame journalist would ask a series of scripted questions and the artist would reel off a few well rehearsed anecdotes.

When the artist in question is Bono you know that none of the above is ever going to apply.

The Bolton News:  Bono performs Stories of  Surrender (Picture Ross Andrew Stewart)

The charismatic frontman of U2 is the latest major name - Bruce Springsteen did it on Broadway - to use the publication of a memoir to create a full blown show.

And with Stories of Surrender, what a show!

Anyone who can have a stadium in the palm of their hands as Bono has done on so many occasions over the years must have an ego. Bono admitted at the outset that an autobiography was the ultimate example of navel gazing but he wanted to share "mi little book which I wrote miself" with the fans. I think we're all rather pleased that he did as he has created something very special indeed

Having had our phones 'secured' for the evening no-one quite knew what to expect but the anticipation in the air at the Apollo was electric.

The Bolton News:  Bono performs Stories of Surrender (Picture: Ross Andrew Stewart)

This show plays to the barest stage Bono must have appeared on for years. A couple of tables, some chairs were the sum total of the 'props'. A cello and harp were silhouetted against the backdrop; the only other instruments visible a piano, a laptop and various percussion instruments which looked like a collection of pots and pans.

Stories of Surrender brings to life various episodes of Bono's career. It is also a stripped down Greatest Hits show with songs being woven into the narrative to brilliant effect.

Part theatrical experience, part performance art show, part confessional and part gig, this was Bono at his most vulnerable, at his most human and arguably at his very best.

His relationship with his father, his band mates and his wife Ali are at the centre of the performance. In a sense the show is also a love story to this triumvirate who Bono credits for making him the person he is.

As he points out his whole life was shaped in a single week when he met both the woman to whom he has been married for 40 years and the three very different personalities who have been his bandmates for a similar time period.

The Bolton News:  Bono performs Stories of  Surrender (Picture Ross Andrew Stewart)

He's not afraid to shy away from some of the harsh realities of his life. His mother collapsed at her own father's funeral and died when Bono was just 14. "Her name was never spoken in the house again" he recalls.

And it is the relationship with his father which provides some of the most poignant and funniest moments of the night.

There's actually much laughter in the whole show particularly in his descriptions of life in U2. The Edge is described buying his first guitar "in the shape of his own head" as the large Etch-a-Sketch backdrops show caricatures of his bandmates.

The three musicians he shares this stage with - cellist Kate Ellis; harpist, keyboard player and vocalist Gemma Doherty and longtime U2 producer Jacknife Lee on keyboards and percussion - provide a beautiful soundtrack into which Bono leaps with gusto serving up powerful and moving versions of many U2 classics ranging from early hits Out of Control and I Will Follow to the stadium fillers of Pride and Where The Streets Have No Name.

And that voice, it has surely never sounded better, full of power and emotion. The show ending, spine-tingling acapella operatic version of Torna a Surriento was worth the price of admission alone.

Critics have loved to take a pop at Bono over the years seizing on his tendency to lecture, to be verbose and to go over the top. But that's just to miss the point.

The Bolton News:  Bono performs Stories of  Surrender (Picture Ross Andrew Stewart)

Songs of Surrender reveals a man all too aware of his own frailties but also aware of his purpose in life. Without the passion, without the extremes there would be no Bono.

Whether you are a fan or not, this is an astonishing, moving show from one of the most charismatic performers of our time.

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono published by Hutchinson Heinemann is out now