Many shows on U2’s ongoing Innocence + Experience Tour have kicked off with Patti Smith’s “People Have the Power” blasting out over the PA system as the lights dimmed. But on Thursday night at London’s 02 Arena, the high priestess of punk herself came onstage to perform her 1988 classic. “To take us home, as she took us here, let’s see if we can do something very special,” Bono told the audience. “Let’s try it.”
U2 have played brief snippets of “People Have the Power” at many shows during the past decade, but this is the first time they tackled the entire thing. Earlier in the evening, Bono teased the appearance by singing a bit of Them’s “Gloria” (which Smith famously reinvented on her 1975 LP Horses) at the end of their own “Gloria.” He returned to “Gloria” at the end of “Bad,” at which point Smith herself appeared onstage. “What a blessing that was,” Bono told the crowd at the end of “People Have the Power.” “We wouldn’t be in this band without Patti Smith.”
U2 have been on tour in Europe since early September and are currently in the middle of a six-night stand in London. (Noel Gallagher joined them on the second night for “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”) After London, they head to Paris, where they’ll tape an HBO concert special, and then Belfast and Dublin where they’ll wrap up their triumphant 2015 tour. There are no dates on the books for 2016, but the band is widely expected to return to America to hit cities they missed this year.