share

'What do you have to lose?'
 
Cathleen Falsani was in Las Vegas to see the band in a year of election. (Were you at the show or did you hear it on the radio or online? Add your reviews in the comments below)
 
'Some friends know us better than we know ourselves. They're our biggest fans, the ones who see us as we are, and, more importantly, who we are meant to be. And when we miss the mark or sell ourselves short, those friends—the very best kind—call us on it.
 
For America, U2 is that friend. 
 
As the band took the stage at the T Mobile Center in Las Vegas Friday night and launched into a barn-burning rendition of "Desire," its decades-long fidelity and friendship with America was on vivid display in (literally) red, white, and blue. 
 

Vegas is the perfect reflection of "Desire," that paean to excesses that aren't, of course, a purely American provenance, but which are celebrated without apology in this city where Main Street is "the Strip," and landmarks are casinos that bear the names of oligarchs. 
 
Trump, for instance.
 
Friday night, where the band headlined the first day of the iHeartRadio Festival, as Bono sang about the "preachers stealing hearts in a traveling show" and "promises in the year of election" huge American flags adorned the jumbo screens behind the band, and then the face of Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president of the United States, appeared, while fake "Trump dollar" bills dropped from the ceiling onto the sold-out 20,000-strong crowd.
 
"The American dream is dead," Trump said in a video clip. "What do you have to lose?" 
 
Bono answered: "EVERYTHING!"
 
Throughout the band's eight-song set—"Desire", "Vertigo", "Elevation", "Beautiful Day", "Pride", "One", "Every Breaking Wave", and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"— Bono reminded the audience of the critical moment in the world history in which it stood. 
"More than ever, we need the spirit of Dr. King. More than ever, we need the spirit of nonviolence. Not just across this land, but across the world," he said during the band's performance of "One," which featured a clip of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1968 "mountaintop" speech where the great Civil Rights leader says, "I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!"
"We remember that peace is not just the absence of violence," Bono told the crowd. "Peace is love organized. So get out and vote, whoever you're voting for."

Not everyone—including the woman standing behind me at Friday night's show who yelled "Shut up and sing!"— wants to hear a rock star talk about politics (or anything else of substance). It's a fact not lost on the band, least of all its lead vocalist.

"Look, we're Irish people—we can't tell you who to vote for," Bono said during a pre-show interview with Adam and iHeartRadio's Elvis Duran. "But we can say that it is very important to the whole world who sits in the Oval Office. We can say, look, it just might be going too far in a really difficult moment in the world's history, to have someone with zero experience and capable of — we all, I mean, I am certainly capable of putting my mouth in it, but I haven't got my finger on the nuclear arsenal. 
 
"Or anyone's arsenal," Adam deadpanned. 
 
On Sunday U2 celebrated its 40th birthday as a band—birthed in Larry Mullen Jr.'s kitchen on September 25, 1976. Not everyone will recall where they were on that historic day, but I do because it was my 6th birthday. While I was in America digging into a Holly Hobby-themed birthday cake, Bono, Edge, Adam, and Larry were teenagers beginning to dream about what their musical future might hold. For them. For us. 

For most of my very American life, U2 has not only been the soundtrack, it has been one of the most important and consistent conscience-raising, educating, and prophetic voices along the way. From the environment, human rights, apartheid in South Africa, the disappeared in El Salvador, and the Troubles in Ireland, to the wrongfully imprisoned, quiet heroes of justice, the tyranny of AIDS and extreme poverty, or the plight of refugees—U2 calls us to be our best selves. 

"Vote for someone that holds sacred the idea that a man or a woman is not defined by his or her ethnicity or religion," he said, thanking the audience for "listening to some Irish guys who may be stretching your tolerance for freedom of speech."

Nearing midnight on the Strip in Vegas, as the band began to play "One," Bono reminded us again about who and what America is: "The best idea the world has ever had."

 
Cathleen Falsani is an American journalist, author, and longtime ally of the ONE Campaign, where she serves on the organization's advisory board for girls and women. 

COMMENTS

24
anne060663
20 January, 2017
Music
Hope that the U2 tour won t become a political tour !!! Differents people love U2 music, they don t have to be hurt during concert. Hope that Bono will sing and won t talk too much in Paris. We come to forget all the problems, not to hear them again. Please, Bono, help us dreaming and living by singing with your unique voice
mooner
16 November, 2016
"Love Over Gold"
So much chaos and wars in the world: 1.) Brexit, 2.) Polarizing 2016 US election, 3.) embolden "dictators" in Russia, Turkey, and other parts. I pray that the rhetoric (coming at us from all parts of the world) from all this negative energy can be diffused by the hearts of good people. Hopefully we have crossed through the darkest days, and that love starts streaming back in through these cracks. If history is repeating itself, and humanity must (once again) endure the rise of evil tyranny, God please show mercy, grace, and compassion on all our souls. Humanity, like each human being always has a choice in each "moment" to evolve through fear or love. I pray for communion and dialog to begin between the most diametrically opposed forces in our world. I choose love, everyone please find the love in your heart and show it to everyone you meet, especially "your enemies".
bignewfy
17 October, 2016
Fan Since 80!!!
Bono, I have been a fan since 1980 and the show at the Astoria in NYC in December. Over 50 concerts since then, and so I have given more than the required 500 pounds!! Unfortunately, you have this one wrong. Trump has a bigger heart than Clinton, who is a self-serving and careless person. You know you always get more out of republicans and Trump will not disappoint. Read the last chapter in Half the Sky about who donates what. You'll be able to deal with Trump...he knows how to get things done and not everything will be up for sale.
mooner
30 September, 2016
For U2 the music and the message are "on
For U2 the music and the message are "one" ! So how can "U2 fans" profess liking the music when they hate the message? Bono's / the group's courage to honestly profess their unwavering world view is so right on. Trump stands in direct opposition to U2's message of love, oneness, acceptance, peace, and all that is Godly. When U2 posted my Chicago "rainbow" picture on their site, I saw the same line of arguments from this world's "seperatists". It was in reaction to the annoucement of the US supreme court's marriage equality decision (June 26th, 2016). When people tell Bono and the band to "stick to the music", they show that they have never really understood what they have been listening to all these years. Also it is really silly when people try to chide U2 for being so successful. Don't these people know that good also prevails in the end? Like darkest before the dawn... It's a beautiful day. Go on for 40 more years my brothers in this spiritual war! Thanks U2 for staying true to yourselves. There is no end to love. Peace Out "Rainbow Moon Man"
bonovx
30 September, 2016
Love and Peace for ALL
U2 have always been a band with a voice...a voice of equality and peace for all. America and its people need to be aware of people like Donald Trump who could possibly tear the world apart and cause alot of unrest within alot of nations. America and the World needs people who are not sexist or racist.....before our race and before who we are...male or female....we are ONE. One people on this earth and ALL who feel pain and deserve a safe place to live. Thank you Bono
gianchino
28 September, 2016
Love it!
Thank you Bono for your artistic message to voters in the U.S. This election is critical! I love U2, not only for your music, but for your voice for love and peace and justice.
S French (Roko)
28 September, 2016
Bono for President of the world!
Amazing then, amazing now, U2 know how to stay current. I'd love to see the whole performance at iHeart... can you stream this on U2.com ? Still got it when it comes to anything political! Rock n Roll, Rattle and Hum!
leteyer
28 September, 2016
Sad
It's really sad that many people does not yet realise how dangerous Trump is...Only if they were aware that we are all at risk with this clown, even those of us that don't live in North America.
28 September, 2016
Love and Peace !
I believe in Love. I think this "love" comes from the neighborly love Jesus had said. Although I'm a Buddhist, I can understand its meaning and the real intention. I strongly believe love is what we need and has more power than hates. Why can I agree to this opinion? Because it's universal. No matter how religions teach us, the goal is one. Peace. However U2 teach us this universal way of how to think and how to live. By music. Thank-you too. U2
27 September, 2016
Stay in your Lane
U
Sam B
27 September, 2016
Awesome! Bring that rage to the new albu
That was a great version of Desire! WOW!! Can we see the full version? Its sad that many spectators at the Iheart music fest had no idea what they were witnessing. Always speak your mind, even if some people can't understand it. Bring the Rage!!! Bring the Fire!! F**K the mainstream!
lucricbono
27 September, 2016
I am an American
I am a patriot. I am a Veteran. It is our civic duty to have our voices heard in this matter; not since Hitler had such an outrageous individual put so many people at odds with each other. Thank you Bono for using your voice.
lisalh
27 September, 2016
If your opinion hurt anyone, they need t
Trump will not do anything for anyone except himself. He's said as much over this campaign and in his books. He does nothing unless it is to his benefit. Think about what he will get out of the situation if elected. Maybe he'll get Putin or other Russian lenders off his back, or maybe he has a "deal" brewing that will require someone to push it through in some way. Rest assured, there is something. And he has disdain for us "little people". He's been so bold as to say to a rally, "I love the uneducated". Why is that? Because the uneducated are more likely to get zealous because of slogans, and less likely to look deeply at what he is really saying.
Boy1970
27 September, 2016
Wow
Kaboum, I'm blown away. Best live version of Desire EVER !! What a perfermormance. What a STATEMENT !!!! Once again, U2 has proved to be the best band in the world.
tvlobojag
27 September, 2016
America is still Great!
Loved the music, showmanship, and the political Bono. U2 at it's Best!
GeorgeZambra
27 September, 2016
it's true
unfortunately, like it or not, U2 is doing the Right thing, Donald Trump is going to be a Disaster for the USA and other parts of the World, I really hope that True Americans don't vote for him. with Trump in the white house the Possibilities of a Disaster will be Tremendous.
soey
27 September, 2016
Thank you U2
...for raising your voice. I'm European myself and I am worried a lot about what will come in case Donald Trump gets elected.
jerry_campitiello
26 September, 2016
Trump
U2 go back to France or Ireland. You made all your money from America. How dare You Blast Mr Trump who is from New York and has beautiful family . New York where we had the worst attack from terrorism in History. All he wants to do is not only make America great again but the whole world Great and Safe again. Casino you run your band like a Casino with thos stupid looking Elvis impersonator glasses. Bono go crawl back in your Palace in France that you built with the almighty American dollar not Money from Ireland. How dare you blast Mr Trump!
DawnRosario
26 September, 2016
Stand Up!
As a long time fan since their first tour where I have seen them perform in multiple cities around the US and around the world since 1982, One thing I feel that true fans will understand; Bono and U2 have always expressed their involvement in world peace, politics, war, religious conflict, human rights, etc. Seriously? if it hasn't been apparent yet, the messages conveyed through music, speech or any other medium is everywhere! Regardless of your political views, religion, race, age or gender, the point is to express your voice and exhibit kindness, peace and compassion to all of mankind. I was fortunate enough to have traveled to Las Vegas for this event and there were people who got up and left, yelled obscenities and expressed their views as they have a right too. Drake, whom i don't particularly care for due to his colorful choice of lyrics, did in fact used his freedom of speech by expressing his views. U2 still fills my soul with the best music and have connected with every word they have ever spoken or sang. I am and always be a #1 U2 Fan and look forward to more! #NO1U2FN
WordsBestRockBand_U2
26 September, 2016
Time for a CHANGE!
Time for someone outside of the corrupt Washington cartel to lead our nation. Obama has been a failure on almost every level. A vote for Hillary is a vote for more of the same. Bono, come out of your ivory tower bro and stick to doing what you do best - making music! Hillary for prison 2016! GO TRUMP!
dmway
26 September, 2016
Thank you!
Never apologize, Bono. You're right on the nose with your comments on this topic.
valerieann
26 September, 2016
amen
thank you bono for injecting your opinion of the candidate from hell who is running for president. I am blown away that ANY americans can possibly think that this guy would be good for anyone except himself and his cronies. I applaud you for making the Desire song and visuals about the most horrible choice of candidate for president that anyone could make. Please keep speaking up...I will never get tired of hearing what you have to say musically and politically.
RayJoiner
26 September, 2016
Me2!
I whole-heartedly agree! We have so much to lose. I'd rather throw the doors wide open, risk it all, and let perfect love drive out fear. My own history is written out on someone else's open arms...how can we not do the same?
EBMlovesU2
26 September, 2016
Thank you U2
God bless U2 for their courage, conviction, and wisdom. I hope that Bono NEVER "shuts up"!
Newer comments    1 - 24 of 24    Older comments

Recent News all news

15 Aug, 2017

Backstage, under the stage… offstage. Part IV in our new series for subscribers.

1
11 Aug, 2017

Backstage, under the stage… offstage. Part III in our new series for subscribers.

5
01 Aug, 2017

Stade Roi-Baudouin, Brussels for the final night of the European leg of #TheJoshuaTree2017.

30 Jul, 2017

Caroline van Oosten de Boer on 'the gift' that is this tour.

Related Topics