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"We love this idea, especially in rock 'n' roll, of good guys and bad guys. We're the good guys; they that wear the suits are the bad guys. But in fact they're just the busy guys." — Bono

Achtung Stations (Part 1)

Uncut Magazine
With Achtung Baby and their Zoo TV world tour, they went from earnest stadium puritans to hedonistic postmodern cyber-rockers. In this Uncut special, we celebrate U2 -- the brothers of reinvention.

Tokyo, late 1993, somewhere in the fast-forward blur of the dying 20th century. As the biggest, loudest, most expensive and technically ambitious rock tour in history hurtles towards its grand finale, Bono slips his usual entourage of minders and managers.

Cartwheeling through the "world capital of Zoo TV" with long-time U2 stylist "Fighting" Fintan Fitzgerald, the singer is hammered, scrambled and more than a little lost in translation. After an all-night drinking session in subterranean techno clubs and after-hours hostess bars, Bono and Fitzgerald greet the dawn in an apartment full of semi-naked Japanese girls. One offers the singer sex and heroin, in no particular order. He declines both, curls up and falls asleep. When he wakes up, a full-sized python is coiled around his leg. He bolts upright, shakes himself and heads out to find a taxi.

"This has got to stop," Bono groans back at his hotel. "I've pushed it too far. I could have been arrested, surrounded by prostitutes and heroin in some Yakuza crack den!" So he goes to bed. But his dreams are multi-channel nightmares full of Nazis and devils, Bill Clinton and Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Naomi Campbell. To steal a phrase from cyberpunk novelist William Gibson, Bono's latest literary hero, it's like freebasing television. Stranger still, it's all true.

U2 have been on this trip for three years. When it began, they were painfully sincere Christian rockers saving mankind from sinful temptation. Now they are wealth-flaunting, model-shagging, leather-clad space lizards drunk on their own narcissism and hypocrisy.

Bono tries to change the channel but it makes no difference. On every station, across a million TV screens, he finds only his own demonically grinning face. Satan's very own spin doctor, cackling insanely as the flames rise up to consume him...

The area around Hansa Ton studios is unrecognisable today from the wasteland it was just a decade ago. The former Nazi ballroom and birthplace of Bowie's legendary 1977 album Heroes now looks out onto the glitzy new metropolis of skyscrapers, cinemas and shopping malls that is Potsdamer Platz.

A gigantic fuck-off message from the capitalist West: we won; you lost. Tough luck.

But in November 1990, when U2 checked in, Hansa sat on the edge of the rubble-strewn no-man's-land that once divided East and West Berlin. The street was still lined with Trabants, those boxy little East German runabouts made from reinforced cardboard that would become a U2 mascot. Where the Wall had stood just 12 months before was now a Mad Max panorama of scrap metal and mud inhabited by a ragged band of techno-tribal travellers. A "surreal junkyard," as Bono called it. Back then, U2 were in a no-man's-land of their own. As ever, they were trying to throw their arms around the New World Order, aiming to zap the zeitgeist on their new album. They just didn't know where to start.

But with the Cold War crumbling and Germany on the verge of reunification, Berlin seemed like a stimulating location. Arriving on the last ever flight into the vanishing West Berlin, U2 threw themselves into a rowdy street demonstration. From the dour faces around them, it seemed nobody was too happy about the fall of the Wall. Only then did the band realise they had joined a march of hardline communists demonstrating against reunion. "We could just see the headlines," Bono joked later. "U2 Arrive to Protest the Destruction Of the Wall."

The levity did not last long. Bono and the Edge were reaching towards some nebulous new U2 that would somehow incorporate drum machines, house rhythms and industrial guitars. Both had whetted their appetites earlier in 1990 with a crunchy, loop-driven soundtrack to the RSC's stage production of A Clockwork Orange and U2's velvet-dark, futuristic overhaul of Cole Porter's "Night and Day" for the AIDS charity album Red, Hot and Blue. Their new listening habits included cutting-edge noise merchants My Bloody Valentine, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails -- plus the young pretenders of Seattle, Detroit and Madchester.

But Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. just weren't hearing it. Literally in Mullen's case -- so uninvolved was he in the early sessions that, at one point, after days of hanging around, he was forced to call the band's Dublin office from his Berlin hotel to get the studio's address. Once there, he vented his frustration.

"When we came to Berlin we were suddenly, musically, on different levels and that affected everything," Mullen admitted to Bill Flanagan in his book U2 At the End of the World. "Some people in the band were quicker at finding the route than others, and it caused immense strain. No one knew what the fuck anyone else was talking about."

Producer Daniel Lanois shared Mullen's misgivings. One of his feuds with Bono lasted two days and almost ended in fisticuffs. "I really thought they were going to have a fight," studio engineer Flood later told Hot Press magazine. "But this was just a product of the fact that this was such a hard record to make."

Dropping in sporadically to the same studio where he had worked on Bowie's Heroes 14 years before, co-producer Brian Eno helped loosen the musical gridlock. He proposed a grammatical system to give shape and momentum to U2's new direction.

"Trashy," "throwaway," "dark," "sexy" and "industrial" were their new guiding principles. "Earnest," "polite," "sweet," "righteous" and "rockist" were all negative labels. Sounding like '80s U2 was verboten.

The city's shabby, scrambled, bohemian ambience also proved crucial to the mood of the album that eventually became Achtung Baby. "Berlin itself," Eno wrote in Rolling Stone, "became a conceptual hackdrop for the record. The Berlin of the '30s -- decadent, sensual and dark -- resonating against the Berlin of the '90s-reborn, chaotic and optimistic -- suggested an image of culture at a crossroads."

Lyrically, the songs Bono hatched in Berlin were informed by the collapse of the Edge's marriage to Aislinn O'Sullivan. After seven years together, the pair separated immediately after the Berlin sessions. Later, when asked to pinpoint the album's key themes, the guitarist began with "betrayal."

"That was one of the saddest things," Bono told Hot Press. "I was their best man, and we all went through that. But that was only part of it. There were lots of things going on internally within the band and outside it, and I was working through all of that." Adam Clayton agreed that one broken marriage was not the album's sole source of tension: "Everything started to disintegrate with that record."

Of course, U2 are masters at dramatising their own myth, of blowing up mini dramas into grand soap operas of media-friendly hype and blarney. But according to the Daily Telegraph music columnist Neil McCormick, a long-time friend of the band and author of a book titled I Was Bono's Doppelganger, the birth of Achtung Baby was more fraught than most.

"I think the process was genuinely torturous," McCormick tells Uncut. "But to be honest it's not that unusual. Making a U2 record is not a bundle of laughs, it's more like a war of attrition. Recently, on their new album, Chris Thomas, that great produce of the Sex Pistols, walked out after a year! A year! They wear people out, and they wear each other out because they demand a lot of each other."

But by painstaking degrees, Achtung Baby came together. Ironically, the turning point of the Berlin sessions was a semi-improvised ballad that came together in less than half an hour. Even now, "One" remains the most achingly beautiful song in U2's canon, beloved of everyone from Axl Rose to Noel Gallagher. Over a softly glowing ember of mournful guitar, Bono plays the spurned lover, crawling through the ashes of love with bitter sarcasm as his only defence: "Did you come here to play Jesus/To the lepers in your head?"

Building into a ravaged gospel lament, "One" is a masterclass in spent fury. It has been variously interpreted as a postmortem on Edge's marriage, a commentary on the troubled love life of Bono's Dublin painter pal Guggi, a metaphor for German reunification and a tense dialogue between a father and a son with AIDS. Bono has also claimed it is about the band finally pulling together in the bitter Berlin winter.

Perhaps all these readings are true. But in March 1991, as U2 headed home to Dublin with barely two finished songs to show for five months of work, it was a flickering beacon of hope.

Completed in Dublin during the spring and summer of 1991, Achtung Baby marked the first and greatest of the ironic, postmodern, Dadaist reinventions that would propel U2 through a decade of confusion. It may contain the band's most personal and introverted lyrics to date, but it also tapped into the seismic social, political and musical shifts that were shaking the world at the end of the Thatcher-Reagan era.

During the record's long gestation, Nelson Mandela was released, the first Gulf War began and ended, and the World Wide Web made its low-key debut in Switzerland. On the eve of its release, the Soviet Union collapsed, revolution shook the Eastern Bloc and civil war boiled over in the Balkans. Meanwhile, Primal Scream released Screamadelica, Nirvana unleashed Nevermind, and Ecstasy culture went mainstream. Times were clearly a-changin'.

"It's really a record of that moment in time," says McCormick. "The end of the brash, bright, over-confident '80s and the start of something darker and more ambiguous. This is almost too grand, but it's the end of the Soviet era, the Berlin connection, the sense of breakdown and new possibilities -- and not necessarily shining possibilities."

In August 1991, an ugly spat between U2's label Island and the situationist sample band Negativland almost threatened to overshadow the new album. But when they topped the charts with "The Fly" just weeks later, U2 drowned out any negative headlines. Hatched in the subterranean grime of some dystopian future metropolis, the album's first single signalled a bold trash-funk rebirth, with Bono's Kafka-esque metamorphosis explicitly mocking his pious public image. In black leather and insectoid shades, he became a kind of anti-Bono, protesting that his famous conscience was now "a pest."

With a lyric partly inspired by the sardonic slogans of artist Jenny Holzer, "The Fly" was both a confession and a celebration of fame's Faustian pact with sin and excess. "It was written like a phone call from Hell, but the guy liked it there," Bono later explained in Rolling Stone. "People thought we were just mocking rock 'n' roll stardom and all that, but actually I was just owning up to it. I was owning up to the side of yourself that is a megalomaniac."

The Edge likened the singer's new alter ego to taproom conspiracy theorists with their secret, paranoid knowledge of dirty deeds in high places. Bono called him a hybrid of Jerry Lee Lewis, Jim Morrison and disgraced televangelist Jimmy Swaggart. "When I put on these glasses, anything goes," he told Rolling Stone. "I've learnt to be insincere. I've learnt to lie. I've never felt better." "The Fly" taught Bono the importance of not being earnest.

Released in November 1991, Achtung Baby opens with a lascivious snarl of industrial guitar that instantly places it far from the sepia-toned moodscapes of its predecessors. "Zoo Station," a headlong rush into the future which later became the opening fanfare for the band's live Zoo TV concept, sounds metallic, urban and nocturnal. It's named after West Berlin's main transport hub, where U2's underground line begins.

Although trailed as U2's response to club culture, the album's disco credentials seem a little spurious 13 years later. "I told somebody I thought it was a dense record," Bono quipped to Flanagan, "and word got around that we were making a dance record."

A smart one-liner, but Achtung Baby certainly contains more programmed drum loops and liquid grooves than its predecessors, reaching out to clubland with rhythm-friendly tracks like "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?". Superstar plate-spinner Paul Oakenfold was soon drafted in as a remixer and, later, as tour DJ.

"U2 came to a club I was DJing at in Ireland, and we got on," Oakey tells Uncut. "I became a fan of U2 through the album The Joshua Tree. 'Where the Streets Have No Name' and 'With or Without You' were actually two songs that were played in Ibiza during the summer after the album came out, and they were both very popular. So I got into U2 through that experience. I certainly don't want to take any credit for lightening them up in the '90s.I Just think they're very passionate and they had something to say. I respect that."

But for all its surface hedonism, Achtung Baby did not abandon the agonised Christian soul-searching of U2's past; it simply adapted it to a fast-forward world of technology and temptation. A fallen world, perhaps. This difference is most evident on "Until the End of the World," the album's most straightforward and muscular rocker, where Bono is no longer role-playing Jesus but Judas. Revisiting the Last Supper and the betrayal of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, the song's narrator regards a world-changing act of treachery with bored disdain: "In my dream I was drowning my sorrows/But my sorrows, they learnt to swim." Partly inspired by Brendan Kennelly's Book of Judas, the song appeared in the 1991 sci-fi movie of the same name by the German film director Wim Wenders, a friend to and key influence for the band.

Achtung Baby is full of veiled sexual metaphor mostly sadomasochism, bondage and oral sex. Bono argues the record was made in the shadow of the '80s AIDS epidemic, documenting grown-up desires rather than adolescent fantasies. For the best known of the three videos made for "One," director Mark Pellington used slow-motion footage of dying buffalo based on the work of artist David Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS just months after the album's release. Likewise the late Keith Haring, whose designs were adopted to customise one of the Zoo TV tour's Trabants. U2 would later cause outrage in Ireland by handing out Zoo condoms at the shows.

Marital breakdown is a key theme of the album and the trip-hop torch songs "So Cruel" and "Love is Blindness" (originally written for Nina Simone) bleed loveless desolation. The hypnotic "Mysterious Ways" is more playful and upbeat, a woozy serenade to belly-dancing moon goddess, while "Acrobat" addresses the narrator guilt-ridden hypocrisy as an artist and a lover: "I must be an acrobat to talk like this and act like that."

In less guarded moments, Bono admitted the album's subtext of sexual betrayal may also have reflected his own bumpy marriage to wife Ali. "I've had my problems in my relationship," he told Flanagan. "It's tough for everybody. I think fidelity is just against human nature...I may or may not be writing from my own experience."

The album's colourful sleeve collage by Anton Corbijn, with its brash juxtaposition of images and infamous full-frontal shot of Adam Clayton, seemed to signal a new mood of playfulness and flippancy in U2. Likewise the role-playing of Bono's Fly persona overdosing on shiny, shallow celebrity -- "Let's slide down the surface of things." Then there was that apparently throwaway title, borrowed from the 1968 Mel Brooks comedy The Producers.

"It's quite an exciting package, but it's also false," argues McCormick. "The album is a dark examination of our times. It's not ironic, it's not postured, it's not remotely affected. All the irony is in the packaging. There's black humour in there but it's actually making a really dark statement about temptation and the nature of the human soul."

"It's probably the heaviest record we've ever made," Bono told Rolling Stone.

"There is a lot of blood and guts on that record...there is a lot of soul. I think it shines even brighter amidst the trash and the junk." Memorably, the singer also calls the album "the sound of four men chopping down The Joshua Tree."

Bono halts mid-song, turns round and drinks in the blinding blur of video images standing 30 feet tall behind him. "Heyyyy!!!" he leers in his reptilian Rat Pack growl. "Some of this bullshit is pretty cool!"

It's a classic piece of well-rehearsed U2 spontaneity, but the crowd go apeshit. Not only has Bono finally got the joke about his own absurdity, he will share it with three million people in 1992 alone.

Achtung Baby may have been ambivalent and bittersweet, but the planet-straddling mega-tour it spawned was a Godzilla-sized orgy of superstar excess and multimedia overload. With a vast techno-future cityscape set inspired by William Gibson, the show featured 36 TV screens and gigantic video walls blasting out live news bulletins, satirical loops and messages from the crowd. Canadian video-art terrorists Emergency Broadcast Network were enlisted to supply a splurge of images. Radical rappers Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy played support and provided the show's signature tune, "Television - Drug Of The Nation." Bono began calling up politicians and pizza joints from the stage, sucking the real world into U2's hyperreal media meltdown. With lizard leathers and wraparound shades, drag queen make-up and karaoke Elvis moves, U2 finally learnt to embrace and subvert their own ridiculous image. "Rock 'n' roll is ridiculous," Bono told NME. "It's absurd. In the past, U2 was trying to duck that. Now we're wrapping our arms around it and giving it a big kiss...You have to accept the bold type and caricaturing that goes on when you become a big band, and have fun with it."

U2's appropriation of sleazy, superficial sci-fi glamour was seen by some hardcore fans-especially in the U.S. -- as a brazen sell-out to commercial razzle-dazzle. But in reality it was a complex performance-art commentary on fame and its high-tech temptations in the multi-channel postmodern world. The Zoo TV tour that chugged into action in Florida in February 1992 exploded these themes with a machine-gun barrage of video screens, blipvert slogans and customised Trabants hanging from the sky. East Berlin meets Vegas on Planet Trash.

However clumsy and confused, the new U2 were trying to smuggle soulful sincerity inside smirking irony. "I don't think in the '80s we were rock 'n' roll," Bono conceded to NME. "I think we were the loudest folk band. And now we're a rock 'n' roll band and I know that the best way to make the same point is to be a bit smarter."

With its own private jet, which was christened Zoo Airlines, a touring staff of almost 200 and a mammoth haul of high-tech gear, the Zoo TV extravaganza only cleared a tiny profit -- barely four or five percent on capacity shows. For all their deluxe swagger and cigar-chomping excess, U2 were turning money into art, cash into chaos. "We have a responsibility to abuse our position," Bono argued in Rolling Stone. "Because we had been spoiled by success financially, we had what Groucho Marx called 'fuck-off money.' If you waste that you're just a wanker, you don't deserve anything."

In an interview with tour DJ B.P. Fallon in the Zoo TV programme, Adam Clayton is asked what one thing he wants that he does not have. "Naomi Campbell," he replies. Instant supermodel dial-a-date.

Within months, the couple are an item, and marriage openly discussed. As further evidence of U2's world-conquering fame, Clayton is thrust into the tabloid spotlight on a level beyond even Bono. In Stockholm in June, events turned even more surreal when Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson joined U2 live on stage for a cover of ABBA's all-time hen party classic "Dancing Queen."

A week later, on June 19, a scaled-down version of the Zoo TV show made its U.K. debut at Manchester's G-Mex arena, where U2 headlined the Greenpeace-backed Stop Sellafield concert. Britain's notorious nuclear reprocessing plant is a pet hate for the band, who live just the other side of the Irish Sea, reportedly the most radioactive stretch of water on earth. Among the support acts were the German electro godfathers Kraftwerk, who angered British Nuclear Fuels with their new Sellafield-bashing intro to "Radio-Activity." Public Enemy and BAD II also played, while Lou Reed performed a surprise live duet with Bono on "Satellite of Love."

Greenpeace originally planned a demonstration at Sellafield itself, 120 miles away on the Cumbrian coast, but a court injunction was hastily imposed ("They've cancelled a peaceful demonstration on the grounds of public safety?" Bono fumed). So U2 staged a dawn raid on Sellafield the next morning on board the Greenpeace ship, Solo. When Bono insisted on wading ashore in his biker boots, one organiser quipped: "It's all right, Bono, I understand you can walk on water."

After symbolically dumping irradiated sand from Irish beaches on the Cumbrian shoreline, the boiler-suited superstars formed themselves into the semaphore message H-E-L-P for the attendant press cameras. Very Beatles. Mullen's alternative suggestion was F-O-A-D: Fuck Off and Die.

U2 would return to play a full European tour in 1993. But for now they had more important matters to address. Ahead lay America's Zoo TV stadium shows, a bust-up with George Bush and a summit meeting with Bill Clinton. Plus, on the far horizon, a whole heap of trouble.

May 10, 1993. The Zooropa roadshow has just opened in drama and violence. Support act Einsturzende Neubauten are kicked off the tour after throwing an iron bar into the jeering Rotterdam crowd. Bono arrives in his bedroom to find a 10-foot crucifix waiting, a birthday present from his friend Gavin Friday. The singer turns 33 today, and the message on the cross reads: "Hail Bono, King of the Zoos." Christ, you know it ain't easy...

The European leg of the Zoo TV tour coincided with Clayton and Naomi Campbell officially announcing their engagement. Rechristened Zooropa, the revamped tour came with more conceptual fireworks and Dadaist costume changes. The Galway theatre troupe Manass was recruited to spoof U2 in grotesque caricature outfits. Nightly news bulletins were beamed in from war-torn Bosnia by a Californian TV reporter called Bill Carter. Burning crosses became flaming swastikas, Leni Riefenstahl's notorious Nazi films were sampled and looped. Stadium surrealism with a dark European twist.

"We wanted to point out, before anyone else did, the similarities between rock gigs and Nazi rallies," Bono told Hot Press. Well, the Who's Tommy David Bowie's Thin White Duke period and Pink Floyd's The Wall may all have got there first, but U2 were still using provocative, taboo imagery. Dissenters accused them of flirting with fascism, and bloating their own egos with political postures they could not quite sustain. A cheap holiday in someone else's misery, even.

The Zooropa show was unquestionably a technical marvel, raising the game for '90s stadium rock. Meanwhile, Bono was reborn as the glitter-suited Faustian cabaret crooner MacPhisto -- half cabaret Satan, half postmodern Elvis. The singer called him the Fly in his Vegas period, and began closing the shows with Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love." As the show ended, a PA announcer boomed: "Elvis is still in the building!"

"If you study those films of Elvis," Bono told Rolling Stone, "there were some very powerful moments as he was in decline. Maybe more powerful than when he was a svelte pop hero."

A new EP was planned to herald the tour, but somehow it ballooned into a 10-track album. Zooropa was largely recorded on the hoof, often in flying visits home between European shows. "It was mad," Bono told Hot Press. "We'd get back to Dublin at four o'clock in the morning, work till eight, sleep till noon, then go back on tour. So a few things suffered, but the record has a nice kinetic energy to it."

Released in June, the album that Brian Eno dubbed "quick and dirty" includes a dedication to Charles Bukowski, sampled Soviet orchestras and recycled soundcheck jams. One song, "The First Time," had initially been intended for Al Green. Several of its stronger tunes become U2 standards, such as the Edge's deadpan techno-chant "Numb," adapted from an unused Achtung track called "Down All the Days." And the weightless disco shimmer "Lemon," featuring a falsetto Bono vocal and a title inspired by a vellow dress worn by the singer's late mother in newly unearthed home movie footage.

Originally called "Sinatra"; the achingly lovely "Stay (Faraway, So Close)" came with a Berlin-set video directed by Wim Wenders, who adopted it as the eponymous theme tune to his patchy 1993 sequel to Wings of Desire.

But the most gloriously incongruous track of all is "The Wanderer," a jaunty electro sermon initially titled "Johnny Cash on the Moon" and crooned by Cash himself in that unmistakable Mount Rushmore baritone. U2 cornered the Man in Black after a Dublin show, although Cash insisted on dropping one of the song's sillier verses about popping out for the papers and never coming home.

Overall, the Zooropa album sounds less calculated and coherent than Achtung Baby, but with inspired flashes of alt.pop brilliance. "It feels like a minor work," argues Neil McCormick, "and generallv U2 don't do minor. But if vou're not going to make the Big Statement, you're maybe going to come up with something that has the oxygen of pop music."

In a four star review, Rolling Stone described the record as "the sound of verities shattering, the moment when exhilaration and fear are indistinguishable as the slide into the abyss begins."

By 1993 U2 owned a hotel, a nightclub and the most glittering address book in rock. The celebrity guest list on the Zooropa tour included novelists and politicians, models and fashion designers, film makers and movie stars. Axl Rose, Mick Jagger, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Geldof, Jim Kerr, Patsy Kensit, Wim Wenders and William Gibson all dropped by -- Gibson taped an insert for an MTV "triple-cast" intended to close the tour, which was eventually aborted in favour of a more conventional live document of the show.

When the Zooropa tour arrived at London's Wembley Stadium in August 1993, MacPhisto introduced the fatwah-threatened author Salman Rushdie on stage.

"You've got to remember I was dressed as the Devil at the time, so The Satanic Verses did seem right," Bono told NME. "His dilemma is actually closer to rock 'n' roll than you think. I think he has behaved with enormous grace under pressure and with humour. It must have scared the shit out of him to be on-stage at Wembley Stadium with the Devil. But I like it when it's mixed up."

Rushdie repaid the compliment with a letter to the Irish Times. "I owe U2 a debt of gratitude for the gesture of solidarity and friendship they made by inviting me to join them on stage at Wembley," he wrote. "Not many novelists ever experience what it's like to face an audience of over 70,000 people -- and, fortunately for everyone, I didn't even have to sing."

Meanvhile, Naomi Campbell brought her own supermodel entourage to the Zoo travelling circus, including Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Christy Turlington. "The supermodels definitely added their glamour and helped disguise the dark sincerity that has always lurked at the heart of U2," argues Neil McCormick.

Bono draped himself across Turlington on the cover of Vogue and, according to tabloid rumours, in more private encounters too. "I had fun flirting with Christy but I never had an affair with her," the singer insisted to Bill Flanagan. "After introducing these beautiful women to my wife they all lost interest in me."

In early November, Bono flew to Palm Springs in California for a bizarre summit with Frank Sinatra, intending to shoot a video for their newly recorded duet update of "I've Got You Under My Skin." But the bewildered 77-year-old crooner bolted when a photographer tried to take an unauthorised snap, leaving just a few clips of him and Bono kerb-crawling in a stretch limo. Later that night, the U2 singer dropped in on Sinatra's house with the aim of pitching him a specially written tune, "Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad." Instead he got loaded, fell asleep and tipped his own drink into his lap. Waking up, he initially feared he had pissed himself. On Sinatra's sofa! Achtung, Blue Eyes!

As the tour hurtled towards its final run of Japanese and Australian shows in late 1993, much of the friction that had fuelled Achtung Baby appeared to have subsided. Now dating the tour belly dancer Morleigh Steinberg, the Edge told Rolling Stone he was feeling far more positive than during the album sessions, although "no closer to bringing my private life to a conclusion."

Looking forward to the end of the tour, Bono predicted the band's next nine months. "One of us has to die in a car accident. One of us has to book into the Betty Ford clinic. One of us should get married. And one of us has to become a monk."

[Continued in Part 2]