U2‘s Bono and The Edge made the “Songs From an Empty Room” benefit for unemployed crew members a bit more special this weekend when they dipped into a Led Zeppelin classic during the all-star telecast. With so many non-musician support crew out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bono said he and Edge chose to play a snippet of “Stairway to Heaven” on the broadcast as a tribute to their roadies, who frequently run through the Zeppelin nugget while setting up the band’s gear.
“Irish road crew — best in the world, that is for sure,” Bono says. “We can say that — and the U2 group, we’ve been all over the world and that is well known. There is one annoying aspect of Irish crew, though, that has to be said. Wherever you go in the world, whatever venue you’re playing — whether it’s the Olympia or 3 Arena or Madison Square Garden — you walk into the venue, it’s a big moment, and you’ll hear a song that we said, ‘We’ll never, ever play this.’ And that’s right: ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ These professionals believe they play this better than the band. And you know, it might be true.”
With The Edge plinking out the song’s iconic opening notes on an acoustic guitar, Bono then sings the first few verses of the song before losing his way, only to have The Edge bail him out. “It makes me wonder … if they’re not right,” Bono laughs. “They can play the tune better. We love you.” Saturday night’s “Songs From an Empty Room” took place in five iconic Irish venues and benefitted Minding Creative Minds and the Association of Irish Stage Technicians.
Earlier this month, U2 debuted their own limited-edition SiriusXM channel, U2 X-Radio, which features a mix of the band’s most beloved hits, rarities, live tracks, as well as shows hosted by Bono and The Edge and U2 fans.
Watch the performance below.