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U2’s opening act at The Sphere ‘a big person’

Updated September 25, 2023 - 9:56 am

We have long reported U2 is opening The Sphere. Technically, that is not the case.

Pauli “The PSM” Lovejoy has been announced as the opener for “U2 UV: Achtung Baby.” This was made public Saturday by U2’s creative director Gavin Friday on the U2 X-Radio SiriusXM channel.

As reported by the U2Songs.com website, the U.K.-based Pauli is a drummer, multi-instrumentalist and model. His participation in the U2 shows reinforces speculation Harry Styles is also planning to headline The Sphere. Lovejoy was on Styles’ “Love On Tour” as a percussionist and music director.

Bono met the artist through his Bono’s son Elijah Hewson of the band Inhaler (which just played Life is Beautiful this weekend) in June before Styles’ show at Slane Castle in Ireland. Bono and Lovejoy two hugged, and two months later Friday sought Styles’ management to locate Lovejoy to open shows at The Sphere.

“Gavin is a punk legend in Ireland,” Lovejoy said in an interview posted on U2’s IG account. “It went from Bono and Gavin feeling like family, to me calling Gavin, ‘Uncle Gav.’”

The 34-year-old artist began working with Gorillaz in 2009, and played live with the Gorillaz Sound System. The “PSM” moniker is for his legal name, Paul Stanley McKenzie.

Friday says of the opening performer, “He’s a big person. He’s got all this love, this vibe.” The creative director called him, “The Atomic MC” and suggested fans should “bring out your UV paint!”

It is expected Lovejoy will be the opening act for all 25 U2 shows.

Dropping ‘Atomic’

Look for the video of “Atomic City” to debut at 9 p.m. Pacific time Thursday. This is preliminary intel, not yet confirmed. But the single is officially premiering Friday, just ahead of U2’s opening night.

No line on the horizon

Friday told U2 X-Radio’s “Dan Hegarty Show” host Jenny Huston the show will be “quite overwhelming.”

“We’ve paced the set musically and visually so you actually need your (expletive) breather because it’s so overwhelming in parts,” but also steps back to remember “We know that the most important thing at a U2 show is a U2 audience, that connection, and that’s not going away. We know that.”

Mullen’s Vegas sojourn

Friday said of drummer Larry Mullen Jr.’s recent work in the studio and in Las Vegas to film the video for “Atomic City,” “It was a lot of work for him. He’s had surgeries and he has some more coming. But he went in and recorded for a weekend, and went out and did a video, went ‘full-Monty-Larry-Mullen’ played like that mofo plays. That energy! But could not do that for 2.5 hours, just could not. Just physically couldn’t. But he was there in spirit, and will be there in spirit. And I think it was sort of, how else could Larry not give his blessing?”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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