BOSTON — “It was an unwieldy event,” Bono told MTV News’ Sway Calloway just seconds after stepping off the tiny club stage at Wednesday’s surprise performance. “But that’s the way we like ’em.”
No strangers to spectacle, U2 wrapped up their 10-day, four-city campaign for Biggest Band in the World — and celebrated No Line on the Horizon’s #1 status in 30 countries — with the global broadcast of a jet-fueled performance and Q&A from Boston’s Somerville Theatre.
And what a spectacle.
Bono and Co. played the intimate, one-time vaudeville theater like it was an arena, tearing through five incendiary tunes in just 20 minutes. Backlit by strands of bright white lightbulbs against a naked brick wall, Bono stomped and strutted during “Get on Your Boots,” tossing dual, syncopated peace signs to the crowd.
And when he crooned, “I was born to sing for you,” in “Magnificent,” and the 900-strong audience of radio contest winners and über-fans cheered wildly, it was clear that Bono’s lyrics and The Edge’s shimmering arpeggiation are writ large for a reason. Likewise, on “Breathe” and “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” the audience fed the frontman his every word.
Still, even as bassist Adam Clayton leaned into the crowd with a smile, the band’s rapture wasn’t enough for Bono. He lunged and leapt at the opening strains of “Vertigo,” pumping his fists like a boxer, muttering, “C’mon!” under his breath while taunting the fans to get out of their heads.
“Gimme what I want,” he sang, “and no one gets hurt!”
After a quick break, the band returned to the stage for a lively, mostly hilarious Q&A moderated by Sway. Of their David Letterman-inspired beef with Sting, The Edge said, “I love Sting; he’s everything anyone wants to be in a band. He’s good-looking. And he plays really complicated bass parts while singing. Sting’s only problem is he’s too cool to be cool.”
When asked when he lost his virginity, Bono answered slyly, “Times like this, I’m inclined to think of Madonna and tell you that I feel like a virgin touched for the very first time.”
And when asked how the band knows when an album is done, The Edge joked, “They’re never done, they’re just released.”
“We treat every album like it’s our first one,” Bono told Sway afterward. “So getting to meet our people again is a real thrill — just to find out they’re still there!”
Even the typically reserved Larry Mullen Jr. was giddy as he eyed his salutary Guinness.
“In the early days [of] playing clubs, we always wanted to move onto the next place because we thought that the music should be in bigger,” he said. “But it’s just that we weren’t very good back then. We really enjoyed tonight’s show ’cause we were rehearsed! So we may go back to the clubs permanently.”
“Though it’s nice not to have to,” Bono cracked.
The Irish quartet kicks off its U2 360 tour at the 99,000 seat Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain on June 30.
This article first appeared on MTVNews.com.