Wham Bam Thank You Bram!

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2024-03-02)

Ahead of the announcement of the Sphere performances last year, U2 found themselves in a bind. Contracts were signed to play shows launching Sphere in Las Vegas, and Larry Mullen found himself finally able to get surgeries to fix ailments built up over many years of drumming. Did he put his health on hold and play the shows? Or did U2 find another answer. As Bono puts it, in came Dutch drummer, Bram van den Berg, “to save our arses”.

Bram was introduced to U2 by Martin Garrix. Garrix, another Dutchman, had worked with Bono and the Edge on “We Are the People”. The Edge was impressed with what he heard of Bram via Garrix and flew to the Netherlands to interview Bram. Upon talking to Bram, found out that Bram was indeed a big fan of U2. Bram got his U2 start with the Pop album. Bram had bought the album in March 1997 on a school trip to London. “While everyone else blows their pocket money on candy and beer, I spend mine at the HMV record store to buy U2’s Pop album.” The Edge spent the afternoon playing U2 songs with Bram, sharing “He remembered some of the parts better than I did.”

Bram’s own social media have been silent since the announcement save for one final post on Instagram: “VERY excited about this opportunity to join Bono, The Edge and Adam on stage in Las Vegas. It’s big shoes to fill but Larry and the band have been so supportive, I can’t wait!!”

After the initial meeting with Edge, Bram later met with Adam, Larry and Bono as well, and agreed to join the band for the 40 shows in Las Vegas. Bram’s own band, Krezip, found their own replacement drummer while U2 tied up their own regular drummer. Larry Mullen worked with Bram in studio in advance of the shows, and was a participant in various aspects of the tour from the program, to set list choices, and working with the band on the arrangements of songs.

In the program for the Sphere shows Larry shares “I can’t tell you how very grateful I am to Bram for deputising. Just remember not to get too comfy up there!” Mullen also assured fans “I’m busy dealing with all things physical and making progress towards hopefully getting back and seeing everyone soon.” In the program Bram shares, “Being in the U2 Sphere rehearsals makes me incredibly proud and sometimes shit-scared. They, too, are teenage friends who have gone an amazing distance together. To find myself a temporary member of this gang of Irish friends, to be trusted with the legacy of a legendary drummer who was a huge influence on me…Talk about wildest dreams!”

Tonight Bram is playing his 40th show with U2. He’s done an incredible job. We cannot begin to think what this experience has been like for him, playing with a band he’s admired since he was 14. The first show of the Sphere residency fell on his 41st birthday. Last night he sat in Larry Mullen’s spot, and was watched by Mullen during the show. This whole experience has had to be a wild ride for Bram, and he’s filled the role with grace.

Mullen after the show last night took to U2’s socials to share, “What an incredible night at Sphere-So Grateful to Bono Edge and Adam and of course Bram for an amazing job-very emotional night for me personally.”

Throughout these shows, Bram has become loved by the U2 community, and while we are all looking forward to the return of Larry Mullen to U2, we wanted to take a moment to thank Bram for all he has contributed these last few months.

We invite you to leave a photo or a message on social media with the hashtag #WhamBamThankYouBram to thank this incredible musician. We also suggest checking out the “Wham! Bam! Thank you Bram!” thread at the Zootopia forum and sharing your images and appreciation for Bram there as well. The phrase “Wham Bam Thank You Bram” was first heard from Bono in response to a fan created sign held up from the audience. He’s been using it nightly of late. Lets use the hashtag, and share our best memories of the man Larry Mullen deputised to fill his seat.

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