If you were at U2’s show at the LA Forum on Wednesday night (May 27), you’d be forgiven for assuming you’d had more to drink than you thought. But you weren’t seeing double – that was Joe Hier, singer in tribute band Hollywood U2, who joined the real Bono on stage to perform their single ‘The Sweetest Thing’, footage of which can be seen below.
Bono II isn’t the only bizarre doppelgänger to grace pop’s stages over time. Here are the best of the rest…
Fake Faris at the NME Awards 2015
At this year’s NME Awards, Faris Badwan of The Horrors used a lookalike to present the Best Video Award to Jamie T for ‘Zombie’. The impersonator walked on stage with Badwan’s Cat’s Eyes bandmate Rachel Zeffira to hand over the award. As soon as Jamie T finished, the lookalike stripped to his boxers and ran off stage, leaving the real Badwan laughing at the back of the O2 Brixton Academy.
Elton John’s mum hiring a fake Elton John
Elton John’s mother hired tribute act ‘Ultimate Elton’ act to play her 90th birthday party in March 2015. The real Elton was busy touring the US but still managed to show his affection by sending flowers. Fake Elton, meanwhile, performed 1993 hit ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ with the real Kiki Dee at the birthday bash.
The Australian Pink Floyd Show play to one of the real Pink Floyd
Essentially the gold standard of tribute acts, the Australian Pink Floyd Show have played in over 35 countries and sold millions of tickets since they were set up in 1988. They’re so good, in fact, that Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour hired them to play his band’s classic back catalogue at his own 50th birthday party.
Pseudo-David Lee Roth’s police altercation
Canadian police thought that they’d caught Van Halen’s David Lee Roth driving erratically, caused by an allergic reaction to peanuts. Newspaper readers, however, recognised the man as noted Lee Roth impersonator David Kuntz. Kuntz had posed as the hair metal icon several times, including at a local bar where he performed with the house band. In response, the real Lee Roth confirmed that he’s not allergic to peanuts but is “allergic to criticism”.
Jimmy Fallon and Neil Young
TV talk show host Jimmy Fallon brings out his on-point Neil Young impression regularly, but nothing will top the time when Young himself joined Fallon on stage for a run through of ‘Harvest’ track ‘Old Man’. The likeness is uncanny.
UB40 join UB42
Back in 2013, UB40 saxophonist Brian Travers joined tribute act UB42 onstage at a pub in Ipswich. Travers said “I know of about 20 UB40 tribute bands around the world and it’s my ambition to play with all of them. I can’t think of a better way of thanking them for celebrating the music of UB40.” Or… we could just not celebrate the music of UB40?
Words by David James Pollit and Lisa Wright