by Adam Gold
During U2’s unforgettable, fiery 2011 Nashville spectacular at Vanderbilt Stadium, Bono — accompanied by The Edge’s campfire chords and a comically semi-committal-gravel-voiced-Johnny Cash-impression — crooned the first two verses and choruses of “The Wanderer,” U2’s 1993 Zooropa-closing, Brian Eno-meets-Cowboy Jack Clement duet with Johnny Cash, a top-shelf deep cut the band had never before played live.
The sparse, minute-and-40-second performance fostered a debate in the U2 fan community: Was the truncated rendition of “The Wanderer” long enough to consider it the song’s live debut, or was it merely an extended snippet?
A long-running hallmark of U2’s stage show, Bono routinely (and often comically awkwardly) shoehorns vocal snippets of other tunes — mostly by other artists — into the intros, outros and instrumental sections of live performances. Over the years, such snippets have run the gamut from “Amazing Grace” and “Send in the Clowns” to Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet With Butterfly Wings.”
Snippet or not (and however brief), for U2 fans, the band’s Nashville nod to “The Wanderer” — which came early in the set, as an intro to the live staple “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” — ranked pretty high on The BFD Scale.
Check out the magical moment, captured in multi-cam black and white, in the golden nugget embedded above.