U2 play a surprise London rooftop gig

Up on the roof with U2
Up on the roof with U2

U2 aren't afraid of heights. Since 1987, they've played a bunch of rooftop gigs, and last night in London they did it again, treating 5000 onlookers to an energetic 20-minute set.

The performance atop the BBC's Broadcasting House capped a day of promotion for the band's 12th album, No Line On The Horizon.

The mini show was supposed to be a secret, but rumors of the gig spread across Internet message boards throughout the day, and by the time the band took to the roof, the streets below were jammed.

"This is the first time we've played these songs to people, so we hope we don't screw it up" Bono

"This is a great honor," Bono told the crowd. "This is the first time we've played these songs to people, so we hope we don't screw it up."

Four songs, new and not-so-new

And with that, U2 launched into Get On Your Boots (see video below) and Magnificent, both from the new album.

U2 closed out the set with the recent hits Vertigo and Beautiful Day. After wrapping Vertigo, Bono sang a few lines from The Beatles' She Loves You - an unmistakable nod to the band who invented the rooftop gig. (See video below)

While his bandmates dressed in coats,The Edge braved the cold night air in a short-sleeved flannel shirt - the same 'lumberjack' look he's been rocking on awards shows.

Cheap ticket prices coming

During a radio interview earlier in the day, Bono talked about U2's upcoming summer tour. "We've got something very special planned, something we've been working on for many years, a whole way of trying to do shows outdoors and make them very intimate," he said.

"We're trying to work on some cheaper ticket prices because this is the recession," he said, before jokingly adding, "We're also going to have some very expensive ticket prices because rich people have feelings too."

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.