U2’s Secret Night

U2 played an announced “secret show” in Somerville, Mass., last night, giving fans a short-but-sweet taste of the band’s upcoming tour.

Photo: AP Photo
A man holds a ticket to get into a U2 concert outside the Somerville Theatre.

“This is a vaudeville theater, it’s not for shy people like myself,” Bono told the Somerville Theatre audience of 800 radio station contest winners along with as many VIPs who had enough clout to snag tickets, according to the Boston Herald.

“This is where it all began,” Bono told the crowd in a Q&A after the five-song set, referencing the early days when U2 caught on in the Boston area before the rest of the nation.  The band played Beantown’s Paradise during its first tour of America in 1980.

Rumors that the Somerville Theatre would host the show started circulating almost as soon as the band’s record label announced the event last week. Fans traveled to the New England town from all over the nation, and by yesterday afternoon, the theatre’s Davis Square location was sealed off from traffic.

The set consisted of four songs from U2’s new album, No Line On The Horizon – “Get On Your Boots,” “Magnificent,” “Breathe” and “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” – and “Vertigo” from the band’s 2005 album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.

Wrote the Herald’s Jed Gottlieb:

“Approaching 50, the guys don’t look as pretty up close as they did on the glossy, high-def stadium Jumbotrons of the Zoo TV Tour, but the punk-rock energy that launched the band is intact. Even in the ancient theater, even while debuting material never played live, the sound was crystal clear, the quartet was tight and Bono’s voice was a brilliant bell heard up into the rafters.”

Although U2 played for only an hour, the band got up-close-and-personal with the crowd after the set when the four members conducted a question and answer session with the audience.

Photo: AP Photo
A woman holds up the required wristband to get into a U2 concert as a crowd gathers outside the Somerville Theatre.

The Boston Globe reports:

“One of the night’s treats was hearing from less-quoted members like Mullen and bassist Adam Clayton. Mullen in particular thoughtfully responded to a question about advice for aspiring bands. He spoke of good songs and even better arguments but stressed democracy ‘where everybody feels a stake in what they do. The idea of hired hands in bands just doesn’t work, it’s about respect for the individual.’”

Local radio stations distributed tickets to the show, prompting a phone frenzy Wednesday afternoon. Joann and Steve Lagasse, of Haverhill, Mass., told reporters they each picked a radio station and started calling.

“I bawled, I started crying, in fact, I couldn’t even speak for a while when (Steve) told me we won, it was the very top,” said Joann Lagasse.

The show capped three days of promo with the band hitting Los Angeles and Chicago before landing in Boston. U2 will return to New England on September 20 when it plays Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium.

Read the Boston Herald’s account here.

Read The Boston Globe article here.