U2 are one of the few bands of their generation who are still intact with the original lineup, and still touring. In fact, they are one of the very huge bands in that rarified club now. But even they have their moments.
“The fact that bands can stay together at all is a kind of miracle,” The Edge told the Telegraph (opens in new tab) in a new interview. “I think we’ve been bound by common goals: the sense that you are here to serve, and make the world a better place.”
But surely he and the band's larger-than-life frontman Bono must have had a few creative (and non-creative) tussles over the years?
“Of course Bono gets too much for me sometimes!” he admitted, laughing – and possibly remembering the incident detailed in the video below. “I’m sure I drive him mad, as well. If that wasn’t the case, I think we would be doing a disservice to each other, because it’s in the realm where we push each other, challenge each other, annoy the hell out of each other, that you know there’s something going on. If you never get to that place, dude, you don’t really have a proper creative relationship.”
One thing that isn't a laughing matter is the news that for the first time (apart from one 1993 ZOO TV tour show in Australia when Adam Clayton couldn't make it) U2 will have had to replace a member onstage; drummer and founding linchpin Larry Mullen Jr will not be playing their Las Vegas Achtung Baby residency this Autumn.
“No one is more disappointed than us that Larry won’t be joining us in Vegas,” says Edge of the dates that have already been delayed since 2021 to open the Nevada city's ambitious new Sphere venue. “We made a commitment,” says Edge. “In the history of U2, you can count the shows we’ve missed on the fingers of one hand.”
Mullen is sitting out the dates as he recovers from surgery required after the years of touring with the band have taken their toll. His temporary replacement will be Dutch band Krezip's Bram van den Berg.
“We’re lucky to have him. He’s a powerhouse,” says Edge. “The people who are going to miss Larry the most, I think, will be Bono, Adam and myself. It’ll be strange to turn around and not see him behind us after all these years. But the shows will be amazing.”
The band are also looking ahead beyond their new mellow collection of reworked songs, Songs Of Surrender. “I’m not sure U2 are going to turn into AC/DC exactly," Edge warns, tempering expectations fuelled by Bono recently that he might pull an Angus Young on the next album.
"I’ll still be trying to find ways to use the instrument that are new and unfamiliar. But I’m absolutely convinced that the guitar is going to be front and centre within mainstream music culture in a year or two, and I want to be part of that revival.”