Fans who showed up Wednesday night in New York to see U2 tribute band Unforgettable Fire got more than their money’s worth when members of the real U2 — guitarist the Edge and bassist Adam Clayton — joined the performance.
They took the stage with the tribute group for “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “Out of Control” as an audience of 450 at the Cutting Room club likely felt they'd won some sort of lottery.
The show was part of a 20th anniversary celebration for the U2 fan website @U2, whose operators had previously invited the group to the event, never imagining they would accept the invitation.
“It was mind-boggling,” @U2 founder Matt McGee told Rolling Stone. “Our whole crew has been trading texts all morning saying ‘Did that really happen?’”
It almost didn’t.
McGee said when the U2 entourage arrived, Edge’s guitar tech Dallas Schoo was having trouble getting in through the main entrance.
"I saw they weren't letting him in,” McGee said. “I ran over and said, 'He's on the list! Let him in!'"
When the Edge and Clayton slipped onstage, after being escorted by stealth into the Cutting Room’s VIP area, McGee said, "Everyone erupted. It was unforgettable and just insane. I was just numb.
“Tribute Edge was standing right behind Real Edge and Tribute Adam was standing right behind Real Adam,” McGee told Rolling Stone. “There was such joy in their faces. I'm almost in tears watching how happy they were.”
Wednesday was an off night from the group’s eight-night stand at Madison Square Garden on the current Innocence + Experience tour, which ends after Friday night’s performance. McGee said that as late as Tuesday afternoon, U2’s representatives were saying they had other commitments and would not be able to attend.