U2 Play Set for Fans

Band invites Vancouver fans to new video, plays mini-set

U2 invited thousands of Canadian fans onto the set of their latest video, for the upcoming single "City of Blinding Lights," last night in Vancouver. Those who arrived in time were treated to an impromptu performance of tracks off the band's blockbuster album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb -- and some surprising antics from frontman Bono.

The band's official Web site announced yesterday morning that the first 4,000 fans to show up to Vancouver's GM Place at 3 p.m. would be given a chance to attend the "exclusive filming." At entry time yesterday evening, an incredibly enthusiastic group of approximately 3,000 to 3,500 people was ushered into the venue and set up stage-side for the shoot. The new video was being directed by Alex and Martin, who won a Grammy for their work on U2's "Vertigo" and who produced the White Stripes' acclaimed video for "Seven Nation Army."

Once onstage, U2 launched immediately into "City of Blinding Lights," playing it through a few times for the cameras. Things then grew sillier than expected, with Bono joking to guitarist the Edge that the performance must be their audition for "Pop Idol." The band then launched into the "Hokey Pokey," encouraging the crowd to join in.

The mega-band then decided to treat the audience to impromptu but passionate renditions of "Vertigo" and "All Because of You" before leaving the stage. With the small but vocal crowd calling out for an encore, U2 came back to perform "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own", which Bono dedicated to his father.

This same week, Bono publicly chastised Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin for failing to meet a commitment to increase the country's foreign aid. He vowed to be "the biggest pain in his ass" until the commitment was met, asking listeners to call Martin's phone number (which he announced on-air) and complain.

U2 will play a pair of sold-out shows at GM Place in Vancouver tonight and tomorrow.