Tuesday 24 April 2018

U2's Edge survived being thrown through windscreen in car crash before band's debut

The Edge playing in Paris in 2016. Picture: PA
The Edge playing in Paris in 2016. Picture: PA

Lynne Kelleher

U2 bassist Adam Clayton has revealed how the superstar band were terrified when they first played in front of massive crowds in American stadiums after breaking the US.

In a new BBC4 documentary, Hits, Hype & Hustle - An Insider's Guide to the Music Business, the Dubliner tells of the highs and lows of playing in front of millions of people over four decades.

And he recalls how he was driving when the Edge went through the windscreen of his car in a crash the day before they were due to play their first big UK gig in the famous rock music pub, The Hope and Anchor, in London in 1980.

"When we did the Hope and Anchor, Edge had his arm in a sling," he said.

"Very tough for a guitar player", the bassist added ruefully.

"I'd been driving us that morning to the car ferry in Dublin and I was going a bit fast as I went into a corner.

"I was only in a Citroen GS, so I went into a corner at about 45 miles an hour and poor Edge went through the windscreen. So, we started with his hand in an ice bucket."

Super-promoter John Giddings, who started working with U2 during their PopMart tour, tells the story of how live performance has become a billion-euro industry.

In the age of downloads and dwindling record sales, the live arena is a huge business and bigger than ever.

The cameras go behind the scenes at U2's Joshua Tree tour 2017 to get an insight into the scale and logistics of a modern mega-tour.

Adam Clayton said their introduction to huge American stadiums when they hit superstardom with The Joshua Tree in 1987 was daunting.

He said: "When we started to play the bigger places I think it was the most terrifying transition you could imagine.

"We were 27 years of age. We had been playing our instruments for basically seven years and we had this record that was a hit record in the US. It was our moment.

"It was very, very tough, particularly tough on Bono, to hold an audience for two hours with very little props.

"We were doing it pre-video enforcement. The tickets are sold, the people are there, you've got to go out on stage and play your songs."

Sunday Independent

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