Vertigo USA isn't just a U2 tribute band; it is, as guitarist and founder Greg Flamm notes, "the closest any U2 tribute band is going to get to being endorsed by U2 themselves."
That comes courtesy of Ovation Travel Xperience (OTX), which puts together fan tour packages for U2 as well as several other major acts. After the company sampled a number of other U2 tribute acts, it signed the Chicago-based Vertigo USA to play parties at 15 stops during the real U2's last world tour.
"It means a lot to us, 'cause (U2) are involved in everything about their career," says Flamm, 43, who formed Vertigo USA -- his third U2 tribute band -- in August of 2005. "They sign off on everything from T-shirt quality to VIP trips. I'm sure they know about us from talking to the people at OTX." But, Flamm adds, he's never mentioned it on the two occasions he's met U2 frontman Bono.
The irony here is that Flamm was a slow convert to U2. "The bass player in my high school band wanted to play a U2 song," he recalls. "He gave me the 'October' album, and I brought it back and was like, 'Man, they're not really that good.'
"But then I saw 'Live at Red Rocks' on MTV and was just blown away. They were such a different band live than they were in the studio, especially in the '80s. I went and got everything and I've been a huge U2 fan ever since."
Flamm says Vertigo USA is planning to do a Coldplay tribute act soon and play joint shows with the two groups.
Vertigo USA performs Saturday (Oct. 4) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.