U2 Features Smriti Irani, Gauri Lankesh As Female Icons During Maiden Indian Performance
Mumbai: Irish rock band U2 paid tribute to women icons of the country during their maiden performance here, putting the spotlight on Union minister Smriti Irani, author Arundhati Roy and journalist Gauri Lankesh among others.
The Irish rockers closed ‘The Joshua Tree Tour 2019’ their final show of the tour after Seoul, Auckland, Brisbane and Melbourne in honour of their 1987 album at the DY Patil Stadium on Sunday.
Frontman Bono, guitarist The Edge, drummer Larry Mullen and bassist Adam Clayton opened the concert with their classic “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and ended with a visual montage of women icons across the world, including India.
The night also saw a performance by academy award winner composer A R Rahman.
Rahman, along with his children, joined U2 to sing for the first time their new song, “Ahimsa”, which Bono described as “India’s greatest gift to the world.”
In their special segment, called ‘Herstory’, the musicians featured photos of women projected on a giant screen at the backdrop of the stage as the band played their track “Ultraviolet”.
The names were of Women and Child Development Minister Irani, Roy, Kalpana Chawla, Karuna Nandy, Lankesh and Rana Ayyub among others. U2 also acknowledged the contribution of Greta Thunberg.
To highlight the security concern women face the world over, the band also included pictures from the recent protest march in Hyderabad after a young vet was raped and killed.
“When women feel safe at homes or walking on the street, that’s a beautiful day. When sisters around the world are in school like their brothers, that’s a beautiful day.
“When women of the world unite to rewrite history as their story, that’s a beautiful day. To rewrite history as her story- that’s a beautiful day,” Bono said as the crowd erupted in applause.
The tour celebrated U2’s fifth album, The Joshua Tree. Their playlist included songs from the seminal record including “With or Without You”, “Where The Streets Have No Name” and “Bullet The Blue Sky”.
Bono, in his greeting to the audience which began with “namaste Mumbai!”, acknowledged that it took them a while to visit the country.
“It took us only four decades to come here! India, what a country! Tonight it’s going to be the best ever show. We have fallen head over heels in love with India.
“Our prayer for the evening is for an epic night of rock and roll which transcends beyond. We come to India as pilgrims. We are students, you are our teachers,” Bono said.
The singer-songwriter said the band was honoured to close their tour in the country.
“We have been here for a few days but it already looks to me that we just have to come back,” Larry said.
The Edge said though it has taken the band quite some time to come to the country, “It’s such a thrill. This feels something special”.
“We are grateful that our journey has brought us to India. I’m so glad these companions have come here tonight,” Adam added.
“We say thank you for your patience. Tonight is the last night for ‘The Joshua Tree’ tour… when women and men, left and right work together for change, that’s how we change the world,” he said.
The concert was brought to India by Bookmyshow.