IT IS not every day you stumble upon a live performance being staged by one of the world’s greatest rock bands in one of the greatest cities.

But that is exactly what happened to sixth-formers at Rivington and Blackrod High School when they took a school trip to the Big Apple.

The teenagers were visiting the Rockefeller Center on a school trip to New York as part of their enrichment activities at the same time U2 were staging a concert at “Top of the Rock”, the upper observation deck on top of NBC’s Rockefeller Center.

U2 were showcasing their recently released single Invisible which was being filmed for the American magazine programme The Tonight Show.

Paul Canning, director of sixth form at Rivington and Blackrod High School, said: “The group was visiting the centre and U2 were rehearsing and singing their new single.

“There were only 100 in the audience and it only involved one song.

“The students braved the bitterly cold conditions to listen to the performance, and were able to see Bono, who spent a few minutes meeting the audience.”

He added: “Some of the sixth formers were familiar with the band although others were less so, saying that their dads knew the band.”

But Mr Canning said all the students were impressed by the music of the rock band, billed as one of the biggest in the world, and their performance at Top of the Rock is now on YouTube.

Some students even managed to get their autographs.

Student Luke Skelly, aged 17, said: “U2 — did they used to be big in the 80s?

“I think my dad likes them.”

The trip to New York is one of a number of enrichment activities the school provides for pupils to complement their studies.

They visited all the major attractions, including the Empire State Building, and had a taste of life in the city.

The group also had a moving tour of the 9/11 memorial, which was led by a survivor who told of his recollections of the tragic day.