- D.A. Carson
The only U2 member to ever miss a show was bassist Adam Clayton. It was in 1993 during the ZOO TV tour. The story goes he was so hung over that he couldn't get out of bed.
Bono, Edge, and Larry were all sober minded musicians, but Adam was the stereotypical rock star: Boozer. Druggie. Philanderer. Insecure.
Adam cites that time in his life as his proverbial rock bottom. (He talks candidly about in this recent interview.)
I was in a successful band with great people whose lives were functional. They were in long-term relationships and raising families. I'd look at them and me and go, 'what's the difference here; what's wrong with this picture?' I hated not feeling good enough.
Reminds me of “Moment of Surrender” from U2's 2009 album, No Line On The Horizon. Ostensibly the song is about a drug addict searching for freedom, and I've always seen it as a song about repentance and redemption. Next to “One,” it's probably my favorite U2 song of all time.
People always see Bono and Edge as best friends, and maybe they are, but Bono and Adam have a deep connection in their own right. Back in the 80s Bono chose Adam to be his best man in his wedding; and during the live Chicago version of 2005's Vertigo tour, Bono can be seen touching Adam's arm as he walks by him during the introductory song. Heck, I've even seen Bono kiss Adam on the cheek (e.g. in U23D).
There was also a time in the 80s when Bono received a death threat from some apparent neo-Nazi group. The skinheads didn't like U2's popular "Pride (In The Name of Love)" because it featured Martin Luther King, Jr., and they sent a message saying if Bono showed up at a particular show they were going to shoot him while he sang a particular line in the song about the day MLK was shot. The threat was real and the FBI told Bono, "We have no way of stopping this if they really choose to do it." Bono decided to go through with the concert and during the critical moment of the song Bono closed his eyes and sang the line. "When I opened my eyes, Adam was standing in front of me," Bono said.
That's some friendship.