Belfast Telegraph

Remember all victims... U2's Bono strikes sombre note in plea to end horrors of terrorism

Bono in typically animated form as U2 perform at Belfast’s SSE Arena
Bono in typically animated form as U2 perform at Belfast’s SSE Arena
Bono in typically animated form as U2 perform at Belfast’s SSE Arena

By Andrew Johnston and Steven Alexander

U2 urged their fans to remember all victims of terror as they played their first concert since cancelling two gigs in Paris in the wake of last Friday's atrocity.

There had been fears that last night's concert would focus only on victims of loyalist terrorism after guitarist The Edge vowed the band would play Raised By Wolves.

Previous concerts on the Innocence + Experience tour had seen the song played against a backdrop of visuals of the 34 victims of the Dublin and Monaghan UVF bombings, and the sound of explosions going off.

That had prompted Ulster Unionist politician and former Lord Mayor of Belfast Jim Rodgers to criticise the tribute as "one-sided" for excluding many other victims of the Troubles.

He also said that he feared the performance could "cause a riot".

But the band appeared to sidestep any potential controversy as they paid tribute to all of those who suffered during the Troubles.

Sunday Bloody Sunday saw a procession of murals from both loyalist and republican areas, alternating with the slogan: "Remember the victims."

And despite the events of Paris last Friday, the band didn't flinch from using explosive sound effects and a striking car bomb graphic to introduce Raised by Wolves.

Nor did they drop the controversial video footage they have been using during the song itself.

But it was not a one-sided affair.

A roll call of notorious Northern Ireland terrorist atrocities played out on screen, from the Miami Showband Massacre to the Omagh bombing, ending with a dedication to all the victims of the Troubles - with a strong emphasis made on 'all'.

"What was happening up here made a big impact in our teenage years," Bono told almost 11,000 fans in the arena, including several Game of Thrones stars who flocked to the show last night.

There was no explicit commentary about Paris during the set, although the iconic Eiffel Tower peace logo was shown alongside the message, 'Stronger than fear'.

Many fans took part in the 'White Out Belfast' campaign which aimed to demonstrate peace and solidarity in light of the French attacks.

The last time that Bono and the gang were in Belfast, the Dublin singer held aloft the arms of David Trimble and John Hume as they appealed for a 'yes' vote in the Good Friday Agreement referendum.

Coincidentally, this time around they were playing the SSE Arena just a day after a fresh Stormont deal, this time to save powersharing.

Danish fan Connie Maria Westergaard travelled from Copenhagen.

"I have stopped counting how many U2 concerts I have been to," she said.

Brazilian native Rita Castelean lives in London and she had travelled to Belfast to see the tour after taking in shows in Antwerp and London.

U2 will next week make the journey to their home town of Dublin, where they will play four concerts at the 3 Arena.

Belfast Telegraph


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