Bono and The Edge appear on the Piano Room (BBC)

Original Story (2023-03-06)

On February 27, 2023, Bono and The Edge recorded an episode of the “Piano Room”, which will air on BBC Radio 2 on March 16. The show is named for a piano that Elton John donated to BBC Radio 2. A show was developed around the piano, where artists come in and perform on the piano, doing one of their own old songs, a newer song, and also a cover version. Bono and The Edge’s cover version will be a cover of an ABBA song.

This appearance on the Piano Room was recorded at the Maida Vale Studios with the BBC Concert Orchestra. The show airs on Radio 2 and is also available on demand. The Piano Room will air on March 16, and an hour long special will include the full performance plus an extended interview with them, which will be able to heard on BBC Sounds.

Bono starts by reading from his memoir for “Vertigo” followed by Bono and The Edge performing the song with the orchestra. They then sit and talk about the origin of the album Songs of Surrender, why the lyrics were changed, how it ties to Bono’s memoir, the recording process, and how the sides were chosen. Bono shared that the split of songs into “band albums” was a marketing gimmick. Bono and The Edge then perform “S.O.S.” by ABBA. Edge speaks about being a fan of ABBA ahead of the performance, Bono admits at the height of the 70s, he didn’t want to own up to being a fan, but he’s willing to admit it now. Although they have played ABBA songs before, this is the first time they play “S.O.S.” After the ABBA cover, they return to talk to the presenter, Gary Davies. They speak about what they were doing in the late-70s when ABBA was big, and Bono talks about how they were in school at Mount Temple. A final song is performed, “One” with Edge on piano. They explain it is the first song on the album because it is the song’s name, like “40” is the last song on the album for a similar reason. They also speak about how the song helped to save the band in Berlin ahead of the performance, and how the song now has meaning to many people including the LGBTQ community, divided people, divided souls.

Video and audio from the performance is now available:

Speaking of this recent performance, The Edge shares, “We’ve been seen wandering the corridors of BBC Maida Vale on more than one occasion. The first time we performed here was a radio session recording of Sunday Bloody Sunday and a song called Surrender, back in 1983…” Bono is quoted as saying, “We have played music in this room many times over the years… In fact, it was 40 years ago – almost to the day – that we first met our longtime Creative Director Willie Williams right here… in the hallowed halls of the BBC Maida Vale… You have to be at your best here.”

The performance, recorded earlier in the month, was recorded and filmed, and will be broadcast in audio on Gary Davies’ show (9:30am-12noon). The performance will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer and hear on BBC Sounds, available for 30 days after it intially airs. Host Gary Davies shares, “U2 are quite simply my favourite band ever so to interview Bono and The Edge and see their Piano Room performance was a dream come true for me.”

Jeff Smith, head of music for BBC Radio 2 shared with Music Week, “Bono and The Edge have come into Maida Vale and will play out with three songs. With them, their new recording is actually a new version of an old song [as part of the Songs Of Surrender campaign], that’s what you’ll get there. So there was a slight change on things, and it’s tremendous to have them working with a section of the BBC Concert Orchestra.” and “When we talked to Bono and The Edge about doing the U2 one, they knew what sort of thing they wanted. We worked with the orchestra to deliver just five cellos and the piano, and there’s a beauty and power to that.”

In 2017, U2 performing “Every Breaking Wave” was included on a compilation titled BBC Radio 2: The Piano Room, collecting performances from the show. U2’s track, recorded during the Songs of Innocence tour, was not aired as a Piano Room session at the time, but was part of a full band appearance on Jo Whiley’s show at the time.

This show is underway now and is being updated live.

Photo courtesy of the BBC.

For the full show details, including set list, please check the following show listing:

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