This article argues that the band U2 and lead singer Bono have been largely neglected in popular music studies. It aims to address this through a detailed consideration of the band’s negotiation of Irish identity, examining music press discourse about the band and offering an analysis of the band in performance. The article focuses mainly on Bono and seeks to consider the performer’s overall star-text, his prominent role as a global celebrity activist and the specificities of his performing style. The analysis is centred largely on the band’s Zoo TV period and their apparent embrace of postmodern ideas and strategies. The essay argues against too simple a correspondence between the group and the postmodern and suggests that post-colonial critical approaches sensitive to the nuances of popular musical practices are more useful in understanding the types of identity the band has articulated.