U2 took a break during its sold-out show at The Forum in Los Angeles on Wednesday night to honor a loss of “family”: the band’s longtime tour manager, Dennis Sheehan, who died earlier in the day.
What a privilege to share the stage with these brothers of mine and to share this evening with you, who have given us everything. U2 is kind of family. It’s a brotherhood with a lot of sisters too. But our extended family is very important to us. We look after each other and it takes a lot to put on a show like tonight.
Last night, we lost a member of our family. Dennis Sheehan was his name. He was U2’s tour manager for 33 years. He loved Los Angeles, and he called the Sunset Marquis his home away from home. In the ’70s, working for Led Zeppelin, he always thought U2 could be the next Led Zeppelin, which, of course, is impossible. We tried once at one of his last big birthdays, when we turned up dressed as Led Zeppelin. And I must say, The Edge looked pretty good with a twin-neck guitar … Adam was quite something — he had the professorial Jon Paul Jones look. The biggest problem was, I couldn’t fill Robert plants pants.
A lot of U2 songs over the years have been written to fill a void, an absence, a hole of a heart left by a loved one. This next one is one of those. It’s for my mother, Iris, who taught me through the wound that there’s an opening to something fantastic.
We made a live album way back when; it was set in Colorado at Red Rocks. It was called Under a Blood Red Sky. We used to end the show with ‘40.’ And whatever happened that night, nobody was singing the refrain. So we were backstage just trying to figure out what the hell was going on and trying to make it happen. We just heard this lone voice, this single voice, singing ‘How long to sing this song’ — a light voice, beautiful tremolo. And it was the voice of Dennis Sheehan, trying to get everyone to sing, which they did. So we dedicate this song… in fact we dedicate the night… in fact we dedicate our whole tour to the very vivid memory of Dennis Sheehan, St. Dennis of Dublin, as he’s known around here.