The Edge, U2’s guitarist, has become the first contemporary musician in history to play a music concert inside Vatican City’s Sistine Chapel.
The Edge was asked to play a short acoustic set, as part of a conference on regenerative medicines, Cellular Horizons. The event focuses on angiogenesis, which refers to the body’s ability to grow new blood vessels, specifically in cancer tumours which require new blood vessels to grow and spread. The cause is one which is close to the guitarist’s heart; his father died of cancer, and his daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2006, prompting the artist to join the board of the Angiogenesis Foundation one year later in 2007.
During the short set, Edge – backed by an Irish choir – played the acoustic versions of U2’s Yahweh, Ordinary Love and Walk On, which he dedicated to Pope Francis who he described as “the people’s pope”. He also performed the cover of Leonard Cohen’s If It Be Your Will.
The Edge also remarked about his surprise when invited to do a gig at the Sistine Chapel.
“When I was asked to perform in the Sistine Chapel I didn’t know what to say, because usually there’s ‘this other guy’ who sings,” he explained. “So it took me at least, well, 30 seconds to agree to it.”
This, of course, is a light-hearted joke about the U2 frontman Bono, who as fans of the band know, is physically incapable of setting foot within a place of worship. The guitarist also remarked on how refreshing it was to be surrounded by an audience who were informed about angiogenesis, saying that, “I can tell this is a really cool audience, because normally when I mention angiogenesis people’s eyes glaze over,” he joked. “But you all understand what I am talking about.”
Check out the performance for yourself below, courtesy of ATU2.