A clip of the four members of U2 talking about receiving their Kennedy Center Honor has been published on the Center’s official YouTube channel.
The Irish rock heroes were one of six names from the worlds of music and film to be recognized at the Center’s 45th annual event. It took place at the Kennedy Center Opera House on December 6 and was broadcast on Wednesday (28) on CBS and sister network Paramount +. Amy Grant, George Clooney, Amy Grant, Gladys Knight, and Tania León were also celebrated for their contributions to American culture.
Each award winner received unique and personal live tributes, with Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. receiving theirs from Eddie Vedder. The Pearl Jam frontman sang the band’s “Elevation” and “One.” The latter was a late switch after Mary J. Blige, who collaborated with U2 on a 2006 hit remake of the 1992 song from Achtung Baby, became unavailable for the ceremony because of illness.
Ukrainian singer Jamala also joined Brandi Carlile and others to perform another U2 hit, “Walk On.” Another friend of the band, actor and director Sean Penn, described them in his presentation speech as both “four scrappy Dublin punks” and “great musical poets for the ages.”
Said The Edge in the newly-published clip: “Well, I welled up a few times. Amazing, and particularly Jamala coming all the way from Kiev to be with us tonight, and all the singers. It was just mind-blowing.” Bono had praise for Carlile and Vedder, while Clayton added: “It’s amazing to be part of a culture that celebrates the arts in this way.”
Mullen noted: “It’s a big moment, because it’s an American honor for a band from Ireland, so it has a slightly different resonance than other awards. It’s very particular to the United States, so we’re very proud and pleased and honored to have received the award.”
Watch more highlights of the event at the official Kennedy Center YouTube channel.