From the Archives: Riverbend 25 Years Ago

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Updated: 6/11 7:42 pm
   We continue our look back at Riverbend 25 years ago with a nod to Festival rumors.
   For awhile, we couldn't get through a Riverbend week without some kind of rumor popping up about a surprise act.
   It would usually start with a morning radio program.  
   Riverbend officials might play along by acting coy.
   And the public was willing to go along for the ride.
   The biggest rumor of all cropped up in 1989.
   U2 had recorded a song with B.B King that was a hit.
   So would they join him for the song on the Coca Cola stage?          

On Thursday night, the Sovereign Bank Fountain shown brightly in the raging Tennessee River. Heavy rain forced the early acts off their stages.  But by ten o'clock the weather was perfect for B.B. King.
B.B. King sings "the Thrill is Gone"
King performed without U2.  All day long there had been rumors that this super group would join him on stage.  Newscenter 12's Beth McKay checked it all out.

"have you seen any long haired hippies yet, and limos yet?"
"Nah."
"okay, just checking."
The rumors started early in the morning on KZ 106.  The radio station got a call from someone who said they saw U2 here in Chattanooga. 
Jay Scott/KZ 106:
"it's just something that happened on the spur of the moment.  We thought about it and talked about it and said, well you know, they do these kinds of things and B.B. King is in town and they've jumped up on stage with B-B a couple of times in the last 4 months, and so why not in Chattanooga Tennessee?"
"welcome to the Chattanooga Choo-Choo.  How may I help you?"
Later in the day, people spread the word that the band was staying at the Choo Choo.
"we've been having calls every five minutes, whether U2 has been staying with us. We've been called by TV stations in Atlanta, Nashville, contacted by the New York Times... Yeah, I've never seen anything like it before."
The rumors were so convincing, that loyal U2 fans showed up at four o'clock to get  front row seats at the Coca Cola stage.
"oh, we love them.  That's the main reason we are here is U2.. That's why we like coming here."
"it's fantastic, They just play from the heart and the spontaneity is something they live for.  I'm confident that they will come out and play with B.B.  But if not, I'll look like a fool."
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