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18th Mar 2023

Bono and The Edge’s Tiny Desk choir admit they weren’t aware of U2

Simon Kelly

Bono and The Edge Tiny Desk Concert

NPR’s famous Tiny Desk has seen many stars grace its tiny stage.

For the first time, the two legendary musicians Bono and The Edge popped by the studio to perform some stripped-down classics to celebrate their new album Songs of Surrender.

“Popped by” is probably not the phrase to use however, as it turns out the duo flew over, without bassist Adam Clayton or drummer Larry Mullen Jr., specifically for Tiny Desk, arriving in Washington D.C. after five days of rehearsals at Bono’s New York apartment.

The Tiny Desk series, which you can watch on NPR’s YouTube channel, has become an online sensation over the last few years, with huge acts performing live in the cramped office surroundings.

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.

Some of the young choir, however, weren’t too familiar with the older rockers. “My dad was like, ‘Look them up!’ So I look them up, and I see they performed at the Super Bowl. I’m like, ‘Oh, they must be like big news if they’re performing at the Super Bowl,'” said one of the backing singers.

“I had found out prior… but [because] my parents [know],” said another

Playing four songs, including Beautiful Day, Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, In a Little While and a reworked version of Walk On, which Bono said was inspired by and dedicated to the people of Ukraine.

“All these years I’ve been trying to avoid a desk job,” joked The Edge. “But actually I’m getting into it.”

U2’s new album Songs of Surrender released Friday, March 17. The collection features re-recording of 40 songs in more stripped-down format, mostly with Bono and the Edge.

An accompanying documentary, A Sort of Homecoming with David Letterman released on Disney+ this week featuring the likes of Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, Imelda May, Loah, Saint Sister, Grian Chatten of Fontaines D.C. and Dermot Kennedy.

Watch U2’s Tiny Desk Concert performance below.

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