Entertainment

U2 pay tribute to Manchester Arena victims at Trafalgar Square gig

They were performing ahead of Sunday's MTV Awards.

Irish rockers U2 paid tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing as they brought a politically charged set to London’s Trafalgar Square.

Frontman Bono mentioned the city as the group opened the show with hit track Sunday Bloody Sunday, while the names of those who lost their lives in the terror attack earlier this year were lit up on tall display boards.

The group kicked off Saturday night’s concert, headlined by DJ David Guetta and organised by MTV in the lead-up to the channel’s Europe Music Awards (EMAs) set to be hosted by Rita Ora at the SSE Wembley Arena on Sunday.

U2 gig – London
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan welcomes the crowd before U2 perform (Nick Ansell/PA)

Hundreds of fans braved the November chill as they gathered for the performance, which saw the singer toss an Irish flag into the crowd and display the words from Martin Luther King’s famous speech.

He dedicated track In The Name Of Love to “the military”, telling the audience: “I was never expecting to learn that the people who most value peace are the ones who pay the price for peace.

“So we dedicate this song to the military who have lost their lives on all sides.”

The band played a mixture of classic favourites and new material as they celebrated more than 40 years in the business together and 21 years since the EMAs were last held in London.

The performers also slipped in two tributes to late music legend David Bowie, including the lyrics of Starman into Beautiful Day, followed by a statement of gender equality.

“When the women of the world unite to rewrite the story in her way, that’s a beautiful day,” Bono called.

U2 gig – London
U2 perform in Trafalgar Square, London, ahead of the MTV Europe Music Awards (Nick Ansell/PA)

Rounding off the show, he sent a message to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

He said: “I want to thank his Mayor-ness.

“This is the capital city of the world – coming from an Irish man this is the capital city of the world and this mayor understands that.

“300 different languages (spoken in the city) and we each think our way is the one way, our god is the true god.

“We need each other and we have much more in common than what divides us.”

As Bono closed the set, he invited the audience to hold up their poster placards on all subjects in front of the MTV event’s video cameras.

“Protesting in the end works – it gets things done, slowly but surely,” he said before playing Get Out Of Your Own Way.

Guetta then thrilled the crowd as he delivered a stunning set packed with lighting and pyrotechnic displays.

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