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Novelist Salman Rushdie was in hiding for fear of his life for many years. Then he showed up onstage with U2. Then he wrote a song with them. In this extract from The Sunday Times in 2001 he recalls how it all came about.

'When the Zooropa tour arrived at Wembley Stadium, Bono called to ask if I'd like to come out on stage. U2 wanted to make a gesture of solidarity, and this was the biggest one they could think of. When I told my then 14-year-old son about the plan, he said: "Just don't sing, dad. If you sing, I'll have to kill myself." There was no question of my being allowed to sing - U2 aren't stupid people - but I did go out there and feel, for a moment, what it's like to have 80,000 fans cheering you on.

The audience at the average book reading is a little smaller. Girls tend not to climb onto their boyfriends' shoulders, and stage-diving is discouraged. Even at the very best book readings, there are only one or two supermodels dancing by the mixing desk. Anton Corbijn took a photograph that day for which he persuaded Bono and me to exchange glasses. There I am, looking godlike in Bono's wrapround Fly shades, while he peers benignly over my uncool literary specs. There could be no more graphic expression of the difference between our two worlds.

Read more here and check out our earlier archive highlights here.

COMMENTS

11
504jumper
09 April, 2010
ZOO TV still the best tour!
Granted, I've been to 360 degrees, Vertigo, Elevation, PopMart and Joshua Tree, I still believe ZOO TV was their best tour. Maybe it was because I was 22 and that was the best time to be at a U2 show, or maybe it was the whole spectacle of that show or maybe it was because I had really great seats; I'm guessing it was a combination of the three but I don't think I'll ever feel that way at at concert again. I came close when I made it into the Heart duing Elevation '01. But ZOO TV, that was the best concert I've ever been to.
gr8glens04
21 February, 2010
rem it well
At the time i was 18 and wasnt really sure who salman rushdie was,but looking back,it was one of those great moments in history.that was my first u2 show,since then been to dublin 3 times,nice and dublin last year and horsens and seville this year.and i just saw the movie killing bono getting made in belfast,its gonna be great.alan from belfast.it was crazy walking thru belfast last week seeing a gaint poster of the joshua tree due to be released.weird.check out google news for more,alan in belfast
gvanava
20 February, 2010
Mission of literature and music
U2 and Salman Rushdie have always been a symbol of courage to call attention to everything what the others blench. Bono´s lyrics as well as Salman´s books thus become the manifesto of all people who are not afraid to change unchangeable into changed. Isn´t it the greatest mission of literature and music?
atomicmax76
20 February, 2010
My first ever concert
It certainly set the bar for pure entertainment. Great night.
aussiegirl
19 February, 2010
an amazing show
I was at that show all those years ago - we were all so shocked to see him walk out onstage. An incredible moment!
Celticjohnny
19 February, 2010
Different poetry but the same music!
Nice story. I heard about that momnet when I was living in Perth, Austraila - which is now a long time ago. Looking forward to the boys when they come to my new "adopted" home of Seville in September (concert on the nite before my wife´s 40th! Needless to say, I hope that they play the classic "40"). Anyway, who knows, maybe my fellow Irishmen might do a spot of Flamenco - like a fellow Dub did many years ago - before any of us were born! He was the "King Of Ireland". That was the late, great Señor Ronnie Drew.
Yogic
18 February, 2010
Literary Specs
Literary specs are very cool...especially when Bono is sporting them : ).
18 February, 2010
COME TO LATIN AMERICAAAA
PLEASE COME TO LATIN AMERICAAAA WE JUST LOVE YOU
jujuman2
18 February, 2010
Stand Up Salman!
U2 has always stood up for what they belive in and encouraged their fans to do the same. When Salman Rushdie stood on stage that night, it was a message of hope to say the least. Stand up for your right, don't give up the fight!
autumntree25
18 February, 2010
gods in different spheres..
True, you can't get much different than rock-and-roll and bookish. But Rushdie is a favorite author (avid reader, here) and U2 are not only my favorite band, but one of my favorite things God made, period. While they're different, both of their writings color the way I see things. I've been in the inner circle at a U2 show, and I can't imagine a greater night. But I'd be pretty excited to be at a Rusdie reading, too. :)
roomerang
18 February, 2010
One of MacPhisto's Greatest
What a night, what a show! Remember it well.
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