U2’s Bono and The Edge amazed a tiny audience of music fans after playing a secret gig as part of Mencap’s Little Noise Sessions.
Just 250 people saw the superstar pair perform a low-key acoustic set in London’s Union Chapel last night.
The crowd had been told about some “very special guests” by organisers, but had no idea who it would be until they walked out on stage.
Event curator and BBC Radio 1 DJ Jo Whiley introduced the band, joking that Dave – The Edge’s real name – was nervous because he had only been playing the guitar for a couple of weeks.
“The singer, Paul, is a shy guy, so please be gentle with him,” said Whiley to the puzzled crowd, before Bono and The Edge – real names Paul Hewson and Dave Evans – walked out on stage, drawing gasps of amazement from the audience.
They began their four-song set with 'Stay', followed by 'Desire' and 'Angel Of Harlem'.
To finish, they performed 'Wave Of Sorrow' for the first time ever – a song originally written to appear on their 1987 masterpiece Joshua Tree.
“Don’t tell Larry (Mullen) and Adam (Clayton) we’ve done this,” joked Bono to the crowd, before realising Clayton was watching from the gallery above.
Leaving the stage to a standing ovation and rapturous applause, the duo thanked the crowd, later admitting to being humbled by the crowd’s reaction.
Whiley said after the performance: “They were actually nervous beforehand, and after they came off stage, Bono was asking me if they’d been okay, and they were also wondering whether the ’new’ song had gone down well.
“I told him they were okay.
“I might have told them they were brilliant. Seeing them in a situation like this, in a tiny chapel, makes people realise just how great they are – worthy of all the praise they get. As for the new song, tonight was the perfect place to play it.”
Whiley has been involved with Mencap, a UK charity working with people suffering from learning disabilities, for around six years, and has helped curate a series of eight shows to raise funds and awareness for the cause.
“My sister has special needs, so I wanted to help Mencap. I started off doing readings at carol services, but eventually wanted to do something involving bands,” she said.
“We did the first set of concerts last year, so wanted to try to repeat that success this year. Bono and The Edge rearranged a lot to come down to play tonight, but it was about as special as things get.”
Bono and The Edge were the first band to play for last night’s gig. They were followed on stage by Liam Fray of The Courteeners, We Are Scientists and Biffy Clyro.