Almost four decades since their formation, U2 is still one of the few 80s bands that withstood the test of time and proved that their music can transcend generations. This is why Filipinos have been ecstatic since it was announced that for their giant of a Joshua Tree Tour, was going to have a Philippine leg and that Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen will be gracing the Philippines with their presence for the first time ever.
They certainly rocked the stage of the Philippine Arena last December 11 where thousands of Filipinos braved the excruciating traffic just to see history. And history did not disappoint as U2 sang song after song and even included some political statements in the mix. Check out how the four-piece spent their time in our side of the world.
It took them a while but they’re finally here
“Thank you, Manila, for your patience. I know it took a while to get into the arena. It took us 4 decades but we feel very welcome. And this is for sure, this is gonna be the best show we play in Manila! It’ll be an epic night of rock n’ roll transcendence.” #U2Manila #U2inManila pic.twitter.com/mdGO34nD4j
— Neil 🌙☀️ (@neilenore) December 11, 2019
Fourteen studio albums, 8 extended plays, 67 singles, and 2,049 shows later, U2 finally found their way to the Philippines. Even frontman Bono admits that it took them quite a while but no matter, as he said during the concert, “It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get where you wanna go, as long as you get there in the end.”
They dined at Grace Park for their first meal in Manila
Bono and The Edge along with a few other people went straight from the airport to Grace Park, a restaurant owned by Chef Margarita Fores who was hailed as Asia’s Best Female Chef of 2016. The band sure knows how to pick good restaurants! They were served Philippine specials: lechon, adobo, and more. Afterward, Chef Fores had a legendary photo with Bono which she captioned “And he said, ‘dance with me!’”
Next stop: Poblacion and Taguig
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On the eve of December 10, The Edge along with his wife and American Chef Mario Batali, had their dinner at the Agimat Bar and Foraging Kitchen in Poblacion where they were reported to be “blown away by the food.”
Also on December 10, Bono was spotted in BGC dining at Donosti, a Spanish restaurant managed by Tippi Tambunting.
You can practically map out a “U2 Metro Manila Dining Experience” by now!
They unveiled a special drone blood delivery service for the Philippines
Philippine Red Cross is partnering with Zipline to bring national-scale drone delivery of blood across Philippines.
U2 frontman Bono, a Zipline board member, is also here for the band’s first-ever Manila show tomorrow. @gmanews pic.twitter.com/ZTrfY4fkfI
— Margaret Claire (@MClaireLayug) December 10, 2019
Bono introduced a national-scale drone blood supply delivery service in the country in a press conference a day ahead of their concert. The initiative was made in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross and California-based logistics company, Zipline, of which Bono is a board member. The delivery service is made to aid emergencies in far-flung areas where there is difficulty in medical privileges and is projected to launch in the summer of 2020.
Bono also had a “soft message” to PRRD
In the same press conference, Bono mentioned that as a member of Amnesty International, a UK-based NGO he thinks “human rights are critical” and that “you can’t compromise on human rights” in the name of progress for a country. His statement drew mixed reactions from Filipinos who think he shouldn’t meddle with Philippine politics seeing as he’s simply a visitor. But don’t you at least think he makes sense? He further defended journalists everywhere saying “the safety of journalists is very important, and I think democracy requires a free press.”
A song dedicated to the women of the world
Feminist collective Grrrl Gang, Melchora Aquino, #BabaeAko campaign were also included in U2’s tribute. @gmanews pic.twitter.com/ejyeIhoDu8
— lou albano (@louealbano) December 11, 2019
U2 has always been known as a band that isn’t afraid to speak about social and political issues, their concert last night was certainly not an exception. With the backdrop of their hit song “Ultra Violet (Light My Way),” the huge LED screen was lit up with feminist icons local and international. Rappler CEO Maria Ressa had three special mentions from Bono saying that “Your own Maria Ressa is an incredible woman.” We have to hand it over to Bono, though, that man has guts!
Divided U2 fans and government supporters
U2 fans who are irked at Bono’s message to Duterte are not real fans. You shouldn’t expect him to be mum on human rights. Don’t be mad if you got a ticket and found out he’s not fond of Digong. You got something without knowing what you paid for. Just like your vote. #U2Manila
— Maita Aquino (@MaitaAquino) December 10, 2019
oh baka may nagwalk out na dds haha easy #U2TheJoshuaTree2019 #U2Manila pic.twitter.com/zOsCWBvYPy
— Arvin Gabriel (@arvxgab) December 11, 2019
The past two days proved to be a difficult thing to be a staunch supporter of this government and be a U2 fan. A lot of Filipinos criticized Bono saying he should “just sing” and not give “unsolicited opinion” on how our country should be managed, and yet a lot of people also say that it’s good that he’s raising awareness for something that he stands for.
But at the end of it all, the show was still glorious
U2 rocks the Philippine Arena in #JoshuaTree concert, paid tribute to Red Cross Volunteers, Journalists and Filipino women in an almost two and a half hour spectacle. #U2TheJoshuaTree2019 #U2Manila pic.twitter.com/7y52MQfuPB
— Raffy Tima (@raffytima) December 11, 2019
It was still a rock concert and everyone was still there to have fun and forget their woes even for a little while. U2 ended their epic concert with their song “One” and flashed a huge Philippine flag in the background. The entire experience was one for the books, politics involved and all. We hope it won’t take the band another decade to come back, because by then, who knows what other worse things Bono could say about Philippine politics?
Did you get a chance to see U2 last night? What do you think about the concert?