'Ahimsa' in Mumbai
AR Rahman and vocalists Ria, Raheema and Khatija joined the band onstage in Mumbai tonight for a beautiful debut live performance of 'Ahimsa'.
In another surprise at the DY Patil Stadium, Noel Gallagher, whose High Flying Birds have joined U2 on so many of the Joshua Tree dates in 2017 and 2019, was back on stage for 'Desire'.
And everyone joined the band on stage for One, the final song on the final night of a tour that opened up in Vancouver in May 2017 and, nearly seventy stadiums later, a fitting way to close a remarkable journey.
'We come to India as pilgrims,' Bono had explained early in the show. 'Like so many over centuries… we come in search of the great soul Gandhi…. We are students… you are our teachers…'.
The spirit of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and John Lennon was in the house, as 'Give Peace A Chance' emerged from a spine-tingling version of 'Bad'.
'India, India, India what a story you're writing! You're just getting started aren't you?
The other day we were at the house of Mahatma Gandhi… the latest pilgrims on that journey
Martin Luther King came and slept there. John and Yoko came to this city as students of peaceful protest, taught us this prayer: All we are saying is give peace a chance…
'You know what I'm talking about… women know what I'm talking about… some minorities know what I'm talking about… the next door neighborhood knows what I'm talking about...
So let's sing it loud
All we are saying is give peace a chance.
In every corner of this great country and around the world …sing it with us… India taught us this song…
Then with your votes, turn this meditation into legislation.
All we are saying... is give peace a chance…'
IN THE PRESS
Nilanjana Basu for NDTV
'U2's The Joshua Tree Concert in Mumbai turned into an even more magical affair when celebrated musician AR Rahman joined band members Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr on stage. AR Rahman, who took the stage with his daughters Khatija and Raheema, performed the much celebrated single Ahimsa, which is composed in collaboration with the Irish rock band and released in November. Speaking to NDTV in an exclusive interview in September, U2 frontman Bono had said "India gave the word greatest gift - Ahimsa (non-violence). "The humongous sea of fans at Mumbai's DY Patil Stadium was left mesmerised as dramatic lighting, paired with Bono's vocals and the Rahman trio's chant-like wordings cast a musical spell". …U2 made sure that their first ever Mumbai concert was nothing less than legendary. The Irish rock band set the audience grooving to their popular tracks such as With Or Without You, Where The Streets Have No Name and I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For from their 1987 album The Joshua Tree'.
Deborah Cornelious for The Hindu
'After acknowledging the fact that it took the band four decades to come to India, Bono said, "Let's make this prayer in the dark: all we are saying is give peace a chance," before proceeding to sample The Plastic Ono Band's 'Give Peace a Chance'. He went as far as to say the audience should use their votes to turn this meditation into a "legislation." The band performed against an LED screen spanning the massive stage… Ending the second act for The Joshua Tree, U2 skipped ahead to the '90s with a special appearance from Noel Gallagher (ex-Oasis and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds). Stepping off the stage, Bono, dressed in a black suit with glittered lapels and a top hat, and the band returned a few minutes later to start the 'rock show' with 'Elevation'. The final act of the evening included a particularly inspiring rendition of 'Ultra Violet' asking for equal rights for women and the plea for them to be safe in their own homes and the streets. The song accompanied visuals of strong women who have "rewritten history," including Karuna Nundy, the Gulabi gang, Arundhati Roy, Gauri Lankesh, Amrita Shergill, and Smriti Irani alongside Rana Ayyub. The show ended with 'One'. For the Indian audiences, Bono heavily alluded to peace, Mahatma Gandhi, Satyagraha and a light dose of Hindi including, "Kaise ho? (How are you?)." Finally, the band walked off the stage to the Tricolour lighting up the screen. Two years, an iconic album and U2 went out with a bang.'
IN THE SETLIST
'Ahimsa' Tour debut performance, in fact world live premiere this evening in Mumbai! At the other end of the scale, as well as every single song from 'The Joshua Tree' album making the setlist tonight AND every other Joshua Tree date this decade, only 6 other songs end up claiming that status too : 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', New Year's Day', 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)', 'Elevation', 'Beautiful Day' and finally, 'One'.
WHAT DID A.R. RAHMAN SAY
"Performing with U2 in Mumbai, in a way, was celebrating Mahatma Gandhi and his world revered faith, Ahimsa. We are touched by U2's stand against Injustice, for women empowerment and for goodness in this world. The collaboration with U2 on 'Ahimsa', comes at a very appropriate time, while the whole world celebrates 150 years of the Mahatma, the message of Ahimsa needs to reach every nook and corner. This is also a debut performance for my daughters, Khatija and Raheema, singing in a rock concert. I hope the people who came for the concert enjoyed the performance!"
WHAT ELSE DID BONO SAY
'Namaste Mumbai… thank you for your patience… what a country… what a welcome. One thing's for sure - tonight is gonna be the BEST show we ever played in India! It's early days… and we have fallen head over heels in love with this EPIC, miraculous story that is India'.
'This is our Irish flag - green, white and orange - you may recognise some similarities with your own flag… we've got a few other connections : our big boss, our Prime Minister,… Leo Varadkar, was born in Dublin, BUT his father was from right around here… and Leo, our Taoiseach trained as a Doctor here in this city of Mumbai'.
The singer then handed over the microphone to his bandmates to ask them what they thought about being here in India for the first time as a band :
Larry : 'Only been here for a few days, it looks to me like we all are gonna just have to come back.'
The Edge : 'It's taken us a long time to get here… it's been such a thrill. It's the end of The Joshua Tree Tour tonight, but we're here for the first time playing so it feels like the very beginning of something special.'
Adam : 'I'm so grateful that the journey we're on has brought us to India, and I'm also so grateful that these companions have come with us all the way.'
ON THE SOCIALS
@dwipenacharya : Absolutely STUNNING Graphics Amazing Energy Pure Music No Alcohol No Riff Raffs The BEST Concert Of My Life Thank You @U2 & @NoelGallagher for making my dream come true
@Forestmoss : #Ahimsa in #Mumbai What a finale for #TheJoshuaTreeTour2019 @U2 Thankyou #U2 for such a great tour, consistently reminding us of our core values, healthy ethics and humane responsibilities!!
@chin80 : The claps, the roar, the encore, the energy and emotions throughout. Insane gig. You performed all our fav tracks. You left us asking for more. Overwhelmed.
ON THE FANSITES
@u2gigs : 'Waving bye bye JT2019. This was a trip to never forget starting earlier in Singapore and ending today in Mumbai!'
@U2start : 'Give Peace A Chance snippet in Bad in Mumbai, amazing!'
@madfl3a : 'Thank you @U2 for the thrill, the joy, the dreams come true and the hopes fulfilled. This tour has been a thing of wonder, even from a distance. Forever grateful for the light you bring to me, now go, take your time, we'll be here. Much love guys'
@U2ThreeChords : For sale: 2,418 inch flat screen 8K TV. 11.4 million pixels. 196 x 45 feet. One careful owner. PS Buyer must collect.
Here's the complete set listand if you were at the show in Mumbai tonight, tell us all about it.