U2 have spent the past few weeks focusing on the launch of their SiriusXM channel U2 X-Radio, but Bono and the Edge took a break to honor their long-time road crew with an acoustic rendition of “Stairway to Heaven,” which they posted on YouTube.
“There’s one annoying aspect of an Irish crew that has to be said,” Bono says. “Wherever you go in the world, whatever venue you’re playing — whether it’s the Olympia or 3 Arena or Madison Square Garden — you walk into the venue and it’s a big moment, and you’ll hear a song that we said, ‘We’ll never, ever play this.’ And that’s right, ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ These professionals believe they play this better than the band. And you know, it might be true.”
The video features a truncated rendition of the song — the first time they’ve performed it outside of tiny snippets during their live shows. Robert Plant hasn’t touched the song since Led Zeppelin’s 2007 reunion concert. He played numerous Zeppelin classics when he toured with Jimmy Page in the Nineties, but “Stairway to Heaven” never entered the set outside of a shortened rendition on Japanese television in 1994.
U2, meanwhile, are in the early stages of creating their follow-up to 2018’s Songs of Experience. “There’s an album ready to completed,” Adam Clayton told Rolling Stone earlier this month. “It’s very, very fresh. We’ve cut everything quite quickly. We’re coming to things in a shorthand way. The feedback we get from that is pretty good. We want to be quick, down and dirty with the next one.”