Bono is always an interesting hot-button discussion for any group of music fans, but even the haters have to admit that live, there’s no touching the U2 frontman.
Born Paul Hewson 57 years ago today (May 10), U2 have a lot to celebrate besides their singer’s birthday this week. This Friday (May 12) marks the kickoff of their 2017 Joshua Tree tour honoring the 30th anniversary of the album that launched them to superstardom.
With U2 tours of the past, we’re sure there will be plenty of incredible live moments that will undoubtedly go viral, so in the spirit of what this upcoming tour will likely bring out of the birthday boy, we look back at seven incredible live Bono moments.
“Bad” – Live Aid (1985)
U2 are able to make a stadium show feel like a club show. They proved that during their now legendary set at Live Aid in 1985 where Bono jumped from the massive stage to dance with one lucky audience member.
Uploaded by MUSIC LIVE HIGH DEFINITION on 2016-12-31.
“Where The Streets Have No Name” – 1987 Joshua Tree Tour
This performance from the first Joshua Tree tour was prominently featured in U2 concert/documentary film Rattle & Hum. Bono’s vocal are perfection. Fingers crossed that the band brings the red background back for their 30th anniversary tour.
U2 Live - Where The Streets Have No Name (Rattle And Hum)! Bono, The Edge, Adam and Lary - the best ever
“Even Better Than The Real Thing” – 1992 MTV Video Music Awards
In the thick of their ZooTV tour, U2 performed live via satellite with Dana Carvey as Garth Algar during the 1992 MTV VMAs. It was both comically and technologically awesome. Anyone else kinda miss “The Fly?”
U2 performs Even Better Than the Real Thing on the MTV Video Music Awards shoe, broadcast September 9, 1992. They perfromed via satellite from the Pontiac Silverdome, in Detroit MI, on their ZOOTV Tour.
“Lemon” – ZooTV (1993)
If you’re making a list about live Bono and you don’t bring up any of the personas from the ZooTV tour, frankly, your list is incomplete. This writer’s personal favorite was MacPhisto, a gold-clad demon of sorts that liked to prank call the White House. Here he is performing “Lemon.”
“With Or Without You” – Elevation Tour (2001)
Remember how we said U2 has a way of making big concert settings feel intimate? For this one fan picked from the crowd, Bono made this performance of “With Or Without You” really intimate.
“Beautiful Day/MLK/Where The Streets Have No Name” – 2002 Super Bowl Halftime Show
With 9/11 still fresh in the minds of all Americans, U2 took to the Super Bowl Halftime Show and gave one of the most moving performances of their career. From Bono emerging from the crowd to him running laps on the heart stage, it’s a moment fans certainly haven’t forgotten over the past 15 years.
U2 Superbowl Half time show 03/02/2002 New Orleans
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For/Desire” – NYC Subway (2015)
If only more bands busked on subway platforms! In perhaps one of the coziest sets U2 performed in recent years, Bono has no shame in mugging for all the cell phones out capturing this once-in-a-lifetime performance.
Jimmy and U2 put on disguises and give a surprise performance in the 42nd St. subway station.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock reporter. The first man she ever loved was Jack Daniel. (True story.)