IT was a childhood dream come true for Mickey Joe Harte recently when he got to jam with U2’s Larry Mullen.
The Lifford singer hooked up with rock and roll royalty when performing in Dublin’s K Club as part of a reunion for the Ireland football squad of 1988.
The event, organised by Niall Quinn, saw Jack Charlton reunite with his players three decades on from their heroics in Stuttgart when, to quote Christy Moore, “Ray Houghton got the ball and stuck it in the net” to beat England.
Following the concert, Mickey Joe joined a host of other stars backstage where he was asked to play a few tunes.
As he was winding down towards the end of his impromptu performance, Larry Mullen stepped up and asked him to keep going.
Mullen’s involvement in the evening of celebration stemmed from the fact that he produced what has become the Republic of Ireland’s theme tune, ‘Put Em Under Pressure’. Regarded as one of the great soccer anthems, the song and particularly its infectious chorus of ‘We’re all part of Jackie’s army’, still gets aired regularly almost 30 years after its initial release.
Mickey Joe told the Chronicle that his brief performance with Mullen was a career highlight and a boyhood dream realised.
“I had spoken to him earlier in the evening and we had a really good conversation about Germany because I’ve been doing a lot of work over there.
“He chatted away about how U2 have played there and about how they initially broke Germany. It was good to hear it from him and he was just a really nice guy.
“There’s a small bar in the K Club and after the gig myself, the players and a few others went back there.
“We were having a bit of a sing song when Larry appeared out of the crowd and sat down beside me and started beating out a bit of percussion on my guitar. It was a very cool thing for him to do.”
To kick the mini-concert off, Mickey Joe selected the U2 track ‘Running to Stand Still’, a song he recorded for the 2005 ‘Even Better than the Real Thing’ charity album.
The album saw artists including Paddy Casey, BellX1 and the Divine Comedy cover U2 tracks with all proceeds going to the UNICEF Tsunami relief fund.
“I asked him would he mind before I sang it and he said of course. So I sang it and it went down really well,” revealed Mickey Joe.
The 45-year-old also managed to work excerpts from other U2 classics including Sunday Bloody Sunday and With or Without You into his repertoire.
“U2 were my heroes when I was growing up and I got up afterwards thinking that a very special thing had just happened. One of Larry’s friends said to me that he doesn’t do that sort of thing very often and that just made it all the more special.
“It was one of those things where you think to yourself, if I died tonight, I would die happy. It really was that amazing.
“There was another night a few years ago where Ronnie Wood came and jammed with us but Larry Mullen, that was the absolute top for me.
“You can be blasé about these things but everyone in the room felt it.”
• Keep up to date with Mickey Joe Harte’s music and details of his upcoming album at wwwmickeyjoeharte.com, insta@mickeyjoeharte or Facebook.com/mjharte’