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Over 250 people were glad they braved the freezing London weather last week to attend one of the Mencap Little Noise Sessions charity concerts. Those who traipsed through the drizzle on Friday, November 23, were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime show when two members of U2 played unannounced as a warm up act at the gig.

Bono and The Edge played a set of four songs when they surprised concert-goers at the Union Chapel in North London, including “Stay (Faraway So Close)”, “Desire”, “Angel of Harlem”, and “Wave of Sorrow”, a song originally written in 1987 for the Joshua Tree album, but never released or played live before.

“Don’t tell Larry (Mullen Jr) and Adam (Clayton) we’ve done this,” joked Bono, referring to his absent band mates.

Rumors had reverberated around the music industry for a week that some special guests would appear at the gig, which also featured Scottish group Biffy Clyro. But no one in the audience had any idea who it would be until the duo walked on stage.

“They were actually really nervous beforehand,” said event host and BBC Radio 1 DJ Jo Whiley. “After they came off stage, Bono asked me if they’d been OK, and they were also wondering whether the ‘new’ song had gone down well.”

The Mencap Little Noise Sessions are a series of concerts being held at the Union Chapel on 8 consecutive nights from November 20-27. Other artists to be involved in the acoustic gigs include Will Young, Snow Patrol, and Keane, and proceeds from the shows will go to help Mencap with running arts programs to help people with learning disabilities grow in confidence and ability.

Mencap, a non-profit organization founded in 1946, works with adults and children affected by learning disabilities, and fights to end discrimination and provide a wide range of services. Over 1.5 million people in the UK suffer from learning disabilities, which can cause difficulties in communication and doing everyday things. However, Mencap maintains that a learning disability will not prevent someone from achieving their dreams if they are given the right support.

More information on how to donate to Mencap or attend one of the remaining Little Noise Sessions can be found at www.mencap.org.uk.

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