Dressed in black and wearing two gold earrings, Bono, star of the Irish rock group U2, took to the stage here Tuesday night beneath a giant "YES" banner and played buffer to two stiff middle-aged politicians.

One of Bono's handlers warned reporters not to question him on the Northern Ireland peace agreement, saying, "U2 are a rock band - they're not a political party." Yet Bono's role could not have been more political. It took him (and some worrisome poll numbers) to force the longtime Catholic and Protestant adversaries - John Hume and David Trimble - to appear together for the first time in the peace campaign.The appearance was for a special concert at the Belfast Waterfront Hall to put forth a message to young voters: Their support in the vote on Friday of the Northern Ireland agreement was the best chance to ensure that their future would be less blood-soaked than their parents' past.

Yet if the concertgoers read their local newspaper on Tuesday morning, they were warned not to be fooled by glitz - or by assurances of peace. From Dublin in the south to the village of Killybegs, far on the northwest coast, people who will vote on the 67-page agreement - hundreds of them - described the document as baffling, even intimidating.