U2 tribute band performing at MGM Springfield this September

Unforgettable Fire, a U2 tribute band, will be headlining at the plaza during the first weekend of September.
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 2:44 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 4:48 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - MGM Springfield’s Free Music Friday’s are in full swing and Unforgettable Fire, a U2 tribute band, will be headlining at the plaza during the first weekend of September.

“It was for the love of the music. We love U2 and we said let’s give this a try,” said Unforgettable Fire drummer George Levesanos

Levesanos said that prior to college, he was playing live music for about 12 years, but once he got there, his music career would change forever.

“That’s where I really started the U2 band. I was in a jazz band there and I met a guitar player there, who was also passionate about U2,” Levesanos added.

Now, 27 years later, the band Unforgettable Fire has become one of the most prominent U2 tribute shows across the country.

The band’s singer, Anthony Russo, said his parents inspired his passion for music.

“My parents, for a living, played live five or six days a week. That’s what they did,” Russo said.

When he was 16 years old, he would then be inspired by U2 while watching them on MTV.

“In one of those concerts, Under a Blood Red Sky video they had filmed in Red Rocks in Denver, I was mesmerized ever since then. I was caught up in it,” Russo added.

After the band members officially teamed up in 1995, one of their core values is to make sure they are always doing right by the original band.

“We emulate them. Not only their sound, but their look. You can’t trick the real U2 fans. That’s why they come down. They come down because of what we are doing and hopefully, we are doing them justice,” Levesanos noted.

After paying tribute to U2 for years, in 2015, they got the surprise of a lifetime.

“They showed up at the cutting room. We got to interact with them. George and I were the ones who got to play with them because obviously, Bono and Larry Mullen were not there…There were hugs and handshakes going on,” Russo explained.

Russo said they are grateful to have the support of U2.

“We are fans as well and they knew that event was a fan event. That’s what it really was. To show up to that event and to support fans and tributes of them spoke volumes,” Russo added.

They described what it means to be a tribute band.

“It’s no different than being in an original band really. You are out there playing to fans who love what you are doing and there is no difference,” Levesanos said.

“I always say we are not the real thing. We are just like a substitute and that’s all we should be and you have to respect that.”

Their guitar player, Mick Mormoyle, is from Springfield, so the tribute band is no stranger to western Massachusetts.

“We usually do the May Fest in May and the Octoberfest in October…always a blast. Springfield is like another home for us,” Russo added.

“Sometimes, we play a show and people are watching and sitting sometimes. They are enjoying it in their own way, but in Springfield, people get wild and that’s exciting for us,” Levesanos said.