U2 are just five shows into their Innocence + Experience Tour, and they’re already taking fan requests and breaking out super rarities. At Friday night’s show in Phoenix, the group was all set to play “The Sweetest Thing” on the B stage until Bono stopped them. “This guy I met earlier asked us to try ‘In God’s Country,'” Bono said. “Let’s try a little of it.” As the Edge worked out the chords of a tune he hadn’t played in 14 years, Bono looked around the floor for the fan. “Are you the dude?” he said. “Do you know the chords?”
The fan then came onstage, jumped around manically and gave 3/4th of the band bear hugs. (Drummer Larry Mullen Jr. wasn’t having any of it, even holding up his drums sticks to block the dude.) He did know the chords to the song, though Bono stopped him after a second and instructed everyone to slow down so he could remember the lyrics. The song was done a handful of times in 2001, but hasn’t been part of the regular setlist since the Joshua Tree tour in 1987.
Bono seems to briefly regret his impulsive decision when they struggled to get it started and the guy keeps talking to him instead of playing (“would you just play this, please?”), but once they kicked into it he rose to the occasion and remembered most of the lyrics. When the somewhat ragged version came to an end the guy literally bowed down to the band, finally got his moment with Mullen and even tried to join in on “The Sweetest Thing,” seemingly thinking he was now the fifth member of the band. At this point Bono politely escorted him off, and that guy has a story to tell for the rest of his life.
The setlist changes will likely continue as the tour carries on. Before a recent show in San Jose, Bono told a fan they’d play the Songs of Innocence bonus track “The Crystal Ballroom” at some point. “It really is important to do that,” he said. “It’ll take us a few weeks to settle things in. It’s so great, that song.” Much of the show that takes place on the catwalk and and the main stage is pretty locked in setlist-wise, though during the encores and the B stage segment they have a lot of freedom to play around.
Hey guys, as long as you’re taking requests, how about “Red Hill Mining Town,” “Lady With The Spinning Head,” “Luminous Times (Hold on to Love),” “Please” or “Exit?” We don’t even have to play guitar. We can just watch.