U2 drops in for a chat with local radio

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Band in town for concert and film festival make surprise stop at 102.1 The Edge

Josh Wingrove, Globe and Mail Update

When The Edge calls The Edge, people listen.

A phone call by representatives of Irish rockers U2 on Thursday morning came as a surprise to staff at the Toronto rock radio station, 102.1 The Edge.

The band has been in town for much of the Toronto International Film Festival, and held a massive concert in front of about 60,000 fans at the Rogers Centre Wednesday evening. The next morning, they decided they'd enjoy an impromptu chat with the local station.

The only stipulation? Organizers couldn't publicize their appearance until five minutes before they got there.

"We got the call and then it was basically, yeah, okay, can we make it happen from a security standpoint?" said 102.1 The Edge host Dave (Bookie) Bookman, who had invited the band for a visit after bumping into them at a Boston pub in April.

The radio station pulled it off. The band showed up around 3 p.m., only minutes after word got out.

"You got the place looking great, thank you so much," front-man Bono joked in an interview with the station, before praising the light show on the CN Tower, which was visible to the crowd at the band's show Wednesday night because the Rogers Centre's retractable roof had been opened.

"Whoever's in charge of the lights on that tower just made it so beautiful [Wednesday] night."

By the time they left the station a half-hour later, a horde of fans was pressed against fencing set up outside the studio, which is located in the Eaton Centre building on Yonge Street at Shuter Street.

Drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bassist Adam Clayton were first and second out, to scattered cheering. Guitarist The Edge came next, giving the crowd a smile, wave and a "hi guys," before getting in a waiting vehicle.

Bono was the last to leave, and stopped to sign autographs and take photos as the crowd erupted in cheering.

"Thanks so much," he said. "How you doing?"

One woman screamed and kissed him as she took a photo with Bono, who was sporting his characteristic sunglasses.

"That's working, is it?" Bono asked a groupie as he held out his left arm, trying to take a photo of him, the woman and a man.

"Not even on," the groupie replied. (She fumbled her chance. They tried once more, before the groupie handed the camera back, saying: "It's not working, sister. Sorry.") Bono moved on. In a quick interview with local news station CP24 outside The Edge studio, Bono praised Toronto.

"I'm having the best time. The film festival's going off. There's parties in the street. Then you get out to the Rogers Centre and there's the biggest party of them all. Having a great time. Opened the roof, sun is shining, couldn't be better. Great to be Irish here this week," he said, before getting in a car and zipping off southward toward the stadium.

The spontaneous appearance and interview impressed Mr. Bookman.

"It was great. It was wonderful - everything that's right about rock and roll and everything that's right about U2," he said in an interview. "It's a sign that they haven't lost their minds."

The band's praise of Toronto wasn't pitch-perfect, however. Asked how Wednesday's show went, Mr. Clayton said it was "fantastic" - before adding he had a perfect view of the "CNN Tower" from the stage.

Hours later, the band took the stage again, for the second of two shows at the Rogers Centre.

© Copyright 2009 CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on September 18, 2009 10:30 AM.

Live Review: U2 in Toronto was the previous entry in this blog.

U2's really big show flies into Foxboro is the next entry in this blog.

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