U2 have paid tribute to Shane MacGowan by playing a cover of The Pogues’ ‘A Rainy Night in Soho’ at Las Vegas’ Sphere.
On November 30, it was announced that MacGowan, lead singer of The Pogues, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and friends.
U2 were playing the latest show of their residence at the venue on Friday (December 1) when they decided to perform a stripped-back, acoustic guitar-led version of the song.
“Sing with us, for Shane MacGowan,” said Bono as he introduced the song.
The singer then adapted the lyrics to the song, singing: “MacGowan’s song is never over, but we may never find out what it means / You’re the measure of my dreams”.
‘A Rainy Night in Soho’ was first released on The Pogues’ 1986 EP ‘Poguetry in Motion’. It is not the first time that Bono has performed the song in public, having sung it with Johnny Depp on guitar at MacGowan’s 60th birthday concert in 2018.
U2 also posted on Instagram shortly after MacGowan’s passing, writing: “Shane MacGowan’s songs were perfect so he or we his fans didn’t have to be…”
Since the news of MacGowan’s passing broke, a number of high-profile artists have been paying tribute to his influence on their work.
Bruce Springsteen wrote on social media: “Shane was one of my all-time favorite writers. The passion and deep intensity of his music and lyrics is unmatched by all but the very best in the rock and roll canon.”
Tom Waits posted: “Ah, the blessings of the cursed. Shane MacGowan’s torrid and mighty voice is mud and roses punched out with swaggering stagger, ancient longing that is blasted all to hell. A Bard’s bard, may he cast his spell upon us all forevermore.”
Nick Cave, meanwhile, described him as the “best songwriter of his generation”, adding: “Shane was not revered just for his manifold talents but also loved for himself alone. A beautiful and damaged man, who embodied a kind of purity and innocence and generosity and spiritual intelligence unlike any other.”
Pete Doherty called MacGowan “up there in the top three or four lyricists in the last 30 or 40 years,” describing him as “an old romantic who told tales, told stories in songs, strong characters. He painted a lot of pictures and fairytales” and had a “gift for melody”.
A number of other tributes from the entertainment world can be found here.
Pogues fans are rallying to get ‘Fairytale of New York’ to the Christmas Number One spot this year, and this week, the song re-entered the Top 20.
MacGowan’s sister Siobhan has also shared how the song “captured what Christmas was like” for a lot of people, adding: “I was very impressed that, finally, there was a Christmas song that portrayed real life more than the other Christmas songs did.”