This is a grim celebration.
Over five years ago, I joined Matthias in running this website, back then known as U2-Vertigo-Tour.com. It had not long been launched as the successor to Elevation-Tour.com, and when I first published an article here, there were less than 80 in the database. It was the 77th article, in fact. 77. A pure and wholesome number.
Not this article. Oh no. This article celebrates a particularly dark and sinister milestone - this is article 666.
What better way to celebrate this macabre occasion than to dedicate this article to the 666th song added to our database? No, U2 have never snippeted Iron Maiden's The Number Of The Beast. Our 666th song is much more terrifying. It is a song of pure evil. A song that has made many tremble in fear; a song that has caused nightmares; a song that will make you wake in a cold sweat; a song that will haunt civilisation until the end of days.
That's right ... it's the one, the only Come On Eileen
. Or as some know it, Come On Evileen
, the magnum opus of those masters of darkness and apostrophe-neglect, Dexys Midnight Runners.
This traumatising composition has been snippeted on three very grim occasions by Bono - one of those few people with a sufficiently sturdy countenance to handle its evilness. The first occasion was on 28 November 2005
in Montreal, near the end of the Vertigo Tour's third leg. The concert began like many others, with the audience completely unaware of what was to come. Suddenly, late in the main set, Bono unleashed Come On Eileen upon the audience as a snippet during Sunday Bloody Sunday
. You read that correctly. Sunday Bloody Sunday
. Before most of the audience could even grasp the magnitude of what had happened, Bono spared them and moved on to a snippet of Get Up Stand Up
. However, Miracle Drug
was so traumatised by the experience of being in the same setlist as Come On Eileen that it has not appeared in public since.
Come On Eileen did not return for the remainder of the Vertigo Tour, but in 2009, Bono saw fit to unleash it again. This time, he fiendishly chose to spring it on Crazy Tonight
on the night of its debut, and what's more, this meant springing it on an unsuspecting public viewing the Late Show With David Letterman on 4 March 2009
. Bono had the kindness to spare Crazy Tonight at its second performance, but at its third on 11 March 2009
in Somerville, Come On Eileen returned in all its fury. This was too much for poor, young Crazy Tonight. Since this occasion, it has almost always refused to appear in public without the cunning disguise of a remix. It made one undisguised appearance in its original form on 2 July 2009
, but perhaps fearing that Come On Eileen caught its scent, it has otherwise stayed in disguise right up to the present.
If you are brave enough, I invite you to join me in this grim celebration and listen to all three appearances of this most evil of snippets.
It is in fact so evil, just the briefest of references to its existence is sufficient, lest it overwhelm the band entirely and they bust out the eighties fashion, a banjo, and an accordion. Witness all eight seconds of it in Montreal from the 2:45 mark of this video, bravely shot by a member of the audience:
Realising that even this much was too much, Bono in 2009 referenced so little of it that most would not notice it; only the bravest and most meticulous would note it as a snippet. But a snippet it is, a conscious reference to the title lyric, and brave and meticulous is your setlistorian. Brace yourself for the nod to Come On Eileen on Letterman just after the three minute mark:
And here is when it skulked into the Somerville performance, again just after the three minute mark:
And if you really want to test your mettle, pit yourself against the original song in all its glory:
Hail, Come On Evileen!