Watch U2 perform Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) live for the first time since 1987

U2 in Vegas
(Image credit: John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Getty Images)

U2 gave fans at their December 15 show at the Las Vegas Sphere a special Christmas gift by delivering their cover of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) for the first time in 36 years. 

The Dublin band last performed their cover of Darlene Love's 1963 Christmas classic, first released on A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, on the final date of their epic Joshua Tree tour, on December 20, 1987, at Tempe, Arizona’s Sun Devil Stadium. The song featured in the subsequent tour documentary Rattle and Hum, but did not appear on the film soundtrack album. However an official video for the festive hit was filmed in November 1987 at the Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana before the band's gig, and emerged in conjunction with the charity compilation album A Very Special Christmas.

Watch the group - with stand-in Dutch drummer Bram van den Berg - perform the song below:

The group's show at the Las Vegas venue on Saturday night was originally scheduled as their final appearance of their residency at the Sphere, but new dates - February 23 and 24, and March 1 and 2 - were added to extend their stay into 2024.

"Sphere is more than just a venue, it’s a gallery and U2’s music is going to be all over the walls,” said guitarist The Edge when the original batch of dates were announced. "The beauty of Sphere is not only the ground-breaking technology that will make it so unique, with the world’s most advanced audio system, integrated into a structure which is designed with sound quality as a priority; it’s also the possibilities around immersive experience in real and imaginary landscapes. 

"In short, it’s a canvas of an unparalleled scale and image resolution and a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We all thought about it and decided we’d be mad not to accept the invitation."

Meanwhile, bassist Adam Clayton has suggested that an apt title for the Irish band's next record might be Songs For Fighting.

“We are turning the amps on,” Adam Clayton told MOJO magazine. “I certainly think the rock that we all grew up with as 16 and 17-year-olds, that rawness of those Patti Smith, Iggy Pop records… that kind of power is something we would love to connect back into. Songs Of Ascent is a much more meditative, spiritual record. This will be Songs For Fighting, I’d say!”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.