Three Songs Live, BBC1, UK, Tonight
'Ireland's biggest boy band' performing on 'Friday Night With Jonathan Ross' tonight.
U2.Com sneaked into the studio audience at BBC TV Centre last night to watch the band perform 'Vertigo', 'Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own' and 'our first single' 'I Will Follow'. Ross, the no-holds barred host of one of the most popular UK weekly chat shows, introduced U2 as 'Ireland's biggest boy band', claiming they were not so great now that Brian McFadden had left. (McFadden was the singer with teen heart-throbs Westlife.)
And the three scintillating live songs, which had the studio audience out of their seats, were not the only U2 numbers performed on the night. Watch out for unique four-part harmony renditions of 'Even Better than the Real Thing' and 'Angel of Harlem' by the house band 'Four Poofs and A Piano' - each member sporting an iconic image of a band member on their chests.
It's rare for U2 to take part in chat-show TV interviews, but they were persuaded to do this one after meeting Ross when he hosted the recent Q Awards in London. In between the songs, Ross grilled them on everything from mullets and the ageing process to Live Aid, political campaigning and the new album.
Bono revealed that the album was originally going to be called 'How To Build An Atomic Bomb', based on a story he had read in The Guardian newspaper about two students who had worked out how to do it from the internet. 'But it ended up being just much more personal when things get dangerous in the world it is not unusual to draw closer to the people that you love.... and it became that kidn of an album.' When pushed on how the band have managed to stay together for so long, Larry explained that they don't believe all the publicity.
'We work for the betterment of the band and like all relationship there are ups and downs... you get applause for what you do and I think one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to believe that that applause is for you. It's for how people relate to your music and relate to what it means to them at that particular moment, that's a lesson we learnt early on.'
Adam talked about how much the band were looking forward to getting back out on the road and Ross, who has never seen the band live, was keen to learn about the 'Spinal Tap' aspect of PopMart - lemon, olive et al. 'It was Spinal Tap,' said Edge. 'Rock 'n' roll sometimes has to do that, because it can take itself a little too seriously.'
Edge reminded viewers that the Lemon is still for sale! For Ross, who hosts a BBC Radio 2 music show on Saturdays, the best track on the new album is 'Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own' - a track Bono introduced by recalling his father's love of opera - and that his death had left him with a gift. 'With my voice I've been hitting notes that I haven't hit for ten years'
And naturally, no U2 interview is complete without asking about Bono's 'day job' - with Bush, Blair and company. Live Aid, explained Bono, simply changed my life. 'It sent me on this incredible adventure, the possibility that our generation - and now it has fallen to this generation - could actually be the first generaation to eradicate extreme poverty, to make poverty history.'
Jonathan Ross on Friday Night, BBC 1, 10:35