It’s Good to See U2 Boyz; Stars Help Bono Serenade Ali in Mardi Gras Style

The Mirror by Mark Oliver (1998-09-21)

U2 SINGER Bono serenaded his wife Ali yesterday in spectacular “Mardi Gras” style helped by Boyzone, Riverdance, boxer Steve Collins, male strippers and an elephant.

A fantastic hundred-strong parade completely took over Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Square for an extravagant carnival video shoot.

In the centre of the madness was Bono strutting his stuff on a horse- drawn cart, belting out a new version of a song he wrote Ali as an apology for missing her birthday.

She is, he told her “The Sweetest Thing” – and boy does he know how to show it.

Laughing and play-acting, the darkhaired beauty listened as her husband energetically sang his apologies and showered her with gifts.

Bono explained: “I don’t like love songs, so I put a bit of sourness into it.”

Dressed in a dark suit and leather hat, the singer was supported by a star-studded cast.

A huge elephant led by a troupe of clowns had the word “sorry” emblazoned in big letters across it’s head and banners of apologies lined the streets.

As the carnival made it’s breath-taking way from Leeson Street to Holles Street, bass player Larry Mullen drove a vintage silver Mercedes carrying the rest of the band.

Larry said: “You need to have a bit of glamour.”

Celtic Warrior Steve Collins popped up in one scene to mop Bono’s brow.

He said: “I’m supposed to be Bono’s boxing trainer, and I give him advice and a gumshield.”

Riverdance star Jean Butler led a troupe of dancers from the hit show – but the moves owed more to Latin America than the Emerald Isle.

The Celtic Knights male strippers were half-dressed as firemen posing and preening on top of fire engines.

Boyzone – who have recorded guest vocals on the song – flew in from London to help out their boyhood idols.

Singer Ronan Keating said: “We know the lads and they asked us to come along and lend a hand and we were happy to do it.”

He said that U2 were still “up there” compared to Boyzone, but added: “We’ve moved on and got some respect.”

Even the sun seemed to be under Bono’s command, as the hot weather boosted the Samba party atmosphere.

The band were decked out in cowboy gear, echoing their eighties image from when the song was originally recorded as a B-side for a single from their hit Joshua Tree album 11 years ago.

One onlooker said: “It was amazing, I’m not sure what on earth was going on but I think that was the point. It looked a bit like an Irish Mardi Gras.”

The streets were blocked off to traffic, but several hundred passersby were allowed to make up the crowd and join in.

One said: “There was a great atmosphere, it’s not everyday you get to be in a video.”

A U2 spokeswoman said: “I don’t know what it will look like when it’s all finished, but everybody seemed to really enjoy it.”

The track is the only new song on the first of a U2 “Greatest Hits” trilogy of albums, which will hit the shops at Christmas.

The band received a pounds 30 million advance for the deal from record label Polydor.

Larry Mullen said: “We’ve never had a greatest hits album before and we were not contracted to do one, so this is a way of clearing the decks for the new millennium.”

He added that the band would be recording a new album but had no other firm plans.

The Sweetest Thing was originally a B-side on the Where The Streets Have No Name single which was released in 1987.

U2 manager Paul McGuinness, said: “We released it a decade ago as B-side but we all realised it wasn’t properly finished at the time. It’s a complete reworking of the original track.”

The proceeds of the single, which is out on October 19, will go to the Chernobyl Children Project, one of the charities which Ali supports.

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