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Bono and The Edge: Tiny Desk Concert

It's hard to overstate the kindness and good-natured humor Bono and The Edge brought to the Tiny Desk. When they first arrived at the NPR Music offices, Bono spoke on an imaginary phone, "The talent's here! The talent's coming through," poking fun at their own fame, while carrying The Edge's guitar. (The Edge called Bono the best roadie he's ever had.) The two never stopped beaming, like two overjoyed newcomers thrilled at the chance to play for someone.

The performance was a preview of U2's new album, Songs Of Surrender, featuring stripped-down versions of songs from across the band's catalog. To help pull off several reimagined songs from the 2000 album All That You Can't Leave Behind, Bono and The Edge invited a teen choir from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., to join them. During rehearsals, Bono told the students to think of "Beautiful Day" as the kind of "post-drinking" singalong you'd bellow with friends after leaving a bar. He then quickly realized none of them are old enough to drink, before feigning a heart attack.

Traveling without bassist Adam Clayton or drummer Larry Mullen Jr., Bono and The Edge made the trip from Ireland to the States specifically for the Tiny Desk, arriving in D.C. after five days of rehearsals at Bono's New York apartment. When they settled in for the performance, they treated the office to four songs, including a deeply emotional version of "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," written for the late INXS singer Michael Hutchence, and a reworked version of "Walk On," which Bono said was inspired by and dedicated to the people of Ukraine.

SET LIST

  • "Beautiful Day"
  • "In a Little While"
  • "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of"
  • "Walk On"
  • MUSICIANS

  • Bono: vocals
  • The Edge: guitar, vocals
  • Duke Ellington School of the Arts Choir: Petra Munter, Ayan Yacob, Kirsten Holmes, Jayla Norwood, Dyor Taylor, Jaylyn Pickney, Jevon Skipper, Joshua Jennings, Jordan Freeman
  • Patrick Lundy: choir director
  • Special thanks to: Sandi Logan (principal/HOS), Isaac Daniel (assistant principal)
  • TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Director: Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Editor: Maia Stern
  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame, Sofia Seidel, Michael Zamora 
  • Audio Assistant: Alex Drewenskus
  • Production Assistant: Jill Britton
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer, Pilar Galván
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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    Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.