30 Years Ago: U2 Rocks Live Aid, Achieves Super Star Status [Video]
Thirty years ago this week, U2 went from a good rock band to a great one, thanks to a performance they hated at Bob Geldof's massive Live Aid show. In fact, they thought it was so 'bad', they almost broke up over it.
It also is the best document remaining of Bono's strange, complicated mullet hairstyle.
Scheduled to play three songs during a 15 minute set from Wembley Stadium in London, the band went off script and launched into an 11-minute version of the song "Bad" off their just released Unforgettable Fire CD.
The performance featured Bono jumping off the stage and pulling up several girls from the audience to dance. The following day, reviews cemented their performance as one of the highlights of the concerts, which raised money for famine relief in Africa.
The strange thing was, the group thought they stunk that day. Rolling Stone reported that the band members chastised Bono for his theatrics:
U2 had a huge argument backstage. Mullen, Clayton, and the Edge were unhappy with Bono's venture into the crowd, which hung them out to dry and denied the band a chance to play their biggest hit, "Pride (In the Name of Love)." The consensus among the four band members was that their performance had been clumsy and earthbound. "We felt like we'd blown an opportunity to be great," Mullen said.
Critics reporting on the big show, thought otherwise, putting the Irish band's set up there with Queen's as the highlight of the day from the London stage. The rest, as Rolling Stone says, is history:
Far from being a blown opportunity, it was a career-making moment that returned all their albums to the U.K. charts, established them in the U.S.A., and transformed them into worldwide stars. The band begrudgingly had to admit that Bono's instinct as a performer trumped their sensible show-biz plans.
I'd like to think it was because of Bono's complicated, larger than life mullet, which to this day is, in my humble opinion, the best mullet since Joe Dirt's.