U2’s 1997 PopMart stadium tour got off to an extremely rocky start. In a decision they now admit was absolute madness, they booked the thing long before their new album Pop was complete. When the sessions lasted far longer than expected they had little time to rehearse for the tour, and opening night in Las Vegas was a mini disaster. In front of a packed Sam Boyd Stadium on April 25 they were clearly off their game and even had to re-start “Staring at the Sun” after botching the initial attempt.
Things were running much smoother by the time the tour hit Los Angeles two months later. By that point they’d dropped new tracks “Do You Feel Loved” and “If God Will Send His Angels,” added in the oldie “All I Want Is You” and radically stripped down “Staring at the Sun.” One winning element they kept from opening night was a very un-U2 segment of the show called “Edge Karaoke.” Midway through every gig, everyone but the Edge would leave the stage and he’d lead the crowd in a singalong version of “Sweet Caroline” or “Daydream Believer.”
“Let’s cut the crap,” Edge said at the beginning of the segment in Los Angeles. “It’s time to rock and roll. What do you say?” With that he launched into the first verse of “Daydream Believer,” stopping just a bit prematurely. “I think I’m busted,” he said. “Hold on a second. It’s Davy Jones!” Appearing out of nowhere, Jones grabbed the mic and completely took over the show. It’s was his signature song and Edge literally bowed down before him as he belted it out. The Monkee even recreated his famous dance (later nicked by Axl Rose) near the end.
PopMart moved onto Europe later that summer and the Edge expanded his karaoke repertoire to include “Suspicious Minds,” “Sugar, Sugar,” “Born to Be Wild” and even “Macarena” one night. For whatever reason, the group grew tired of the bit and by September, the Edge began doing an acoustic rendition of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” in the spot instead.
U2 kick off the “Innocence + Experience” Tour on May 14th in Vancouver. Nobody knows their exact plans for the show, but we’re hoping the Edge gets at least one spotlight song per show. It would be nice to hear “Numb” or “Van Diemen’s Land” or even “Seconds,” but we won’t complain if he opts for “Daydream Believer.”