U2 Holds Pop-Up Concert In War-Torn Ukraine - Playing In A Kyiv Subway Station

By Rachel Morris | Thursday, 12 May 2022 20:30
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Sunday, U2’s Bono and The Edge threw a surprise concert in a Kyiv subway station at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Irish rock star praised Ukraine's fight for "freedom" during the performance, and the U2 frontman also delivered his own "peace" prayer.

The superstars performed U2 classics such as “With or Without You” and “Angel of Harlem” along with a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” — though they revised the lyrics to “Stand by Ukraine.” "People in Ukraine are not only fighting for your own freedom, but you are also fighting for all of us who love freedom," Bono,61, said during a break.

“President Zelensky invited us to perform in Kyiv as a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and so that’s what we’ve come to do,” the band tweeted from its official account in a message signed by Bono and The Edge — who played acoustic guitar for the makeshift subway concert.

The U2 frontmen performed on the central Kyiv subway platform as Ukraine’s transit stations have morphed into makeshift bomb shelters for residents to hide from the Russian attacks.

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The singer also referred to past conflicts in the band's native Ireland and its troubles with a more powerful neighbor.

"We pray that you will soon be able to enjoy some of that peace," Bono said.

The moving event in the Eastern European country’s capital city was captured by videos and later posted to social media.

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Bono and The Edge were accompanied for part of the performance by the Ukrainian band Antytila, whose member Taras Topolia joined the country’s military to fight off the Russians and can be seen singing in his military fatigues.

Antytila recently collaborated with Ed Sheehan to raise money for the Ukrainian war effort.

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The surprise appearance by Bono -- a longtime humanitarian activist who frequently lends his voice to a variety of causes, including the fight against poverty and AIDS -- came as air raid sirens sounded in the Ukrainian capital and fighting raged in the country's east.

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The performance notably comes one month after Zelensky made a special address at the Grammys urging US musicians to utilize their platforms and talents to “tell the truth about” the war.

“Fill the silence with your music!” Zelensky begged at the time. “Fill it today to tell our story. Tell the truth about this war on your social networks, on TV. Support us in any way you can. Any — but not silence. And then peace will come.

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“Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos,” he said. “They sing to the wounded in hospitals. Even to those who can’t hear them. But the music will break through anyway.”

In March, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi drew mild eyes rolls after reading a St. Patrick’s Day poem by Irish musician Bono that declared Zelensky a modern-day version of Ireland’s patron saint. “Ireland’s sorrow and pain is now Ukraine, and St. Patrick’s name is now Zelensky,” the poem concluded, equating the legendary Christian missionary with the wartime leader.

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