U2 at the Apollo Pre-Show Songs

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2018-06-17)

On June 11, 2018, U2 performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. The concert was sponsored by SiriusXM as part of their The U2 Experience broadcast. Attendees to the show were invited through a variety of contests including:

  • A contest through U2.Com where you signed up through the website for admission
  • A contest through U2.Com where you posted a photo of yourself in a vintage T-shirt on Facebook or Twitter
  • A contest on Sirius where you had to be the 10th caller when you heard Angel of Harlem
  • A contest on Sirius where any subscriber could sign up for a chance to win

The venue holds 1506 people. For the event, the chairs in the lower bowl of the theatre were removed, which hasn’t been done for other acts in the past. The Apollo is the theatre featured in U2’s video for “Angel of Harlem” filmed in 1988. This was the first time U2 performed as a group in the building.

As we like to do, we kept track of the music that was heard over the PA prior to the show starting. Once again we have a playlist available on Spotify if you would like to hear these songs. The songs played were by three different artists, Amy Winehouse, Kendrick Lamar, and Gil Scott-Heron. Gil Scott-Heron is joined by Jamie XX on a couple of tracks, and Kendrick Lamar is joined by U2 on one track, and Rihanna on another.

The full pre-show list is as follows:

  • Humble – Kendrick Lamar
  • Rehab – Amy Winehouse
  • I’m New Here – Gil Scott-Heron
  • XXX – Kendrick Lamar featuring U2
  • Me & Mr Jones – Amy Winehouse
  • NY Is Killing Me – Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX
  • Loyalty – Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna
  • DNA – Kendrick Lamar
  • Tears Dry On Their Own – Amy Winehouse
  • The Crutch – Gil Scott-Heron
  • Love – Kendrick Lamar
  • Piano Player – Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX
  • Fear – Kendrick Lamar

Attendees were let into the theater at 7:30, and the pre-show music ran for approximately an hour before U2 took the stage. U2 took the stage with little fan fare and it was a few seconds after Larry and Adam were on the stage that the majority of people realized they had even come to the stage.

A line up for the concert started early in the afternoon, with Apollo Security setting up around 4pm to keep the line organized. Fans in line were asked to show their ID in line, at which point they would receive a lanyard and pass, and a stamp that said “APOLLO” on the hand if of drinking age. Some fans, winners of contests through U2.Com were also given a playing card, that was later traded in for a ticket stub and red wristband. The wristbands were red, white, or black, and denoted different access to the venue (the black included the after party for instance). Those who received the card were also able to get into a line that entered the venue earlier than the line without the cards. One could also take the ticket stub to a merchandise desk and get it punched, and in return one would get a special event T-Shirt.

If you have interest in other pre-show music, we have articles going back to 1997’s PopMart tour, which are available on our Tour Songs special feature. Each includes a playlist on Spotify.

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