Watch U2 deliver an emotional tribute to victims of the Manchester bombing on the opening night of UK tour

The band opened their UK tour in Manchester last night

U2 have paid tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack last night (October 19), during the opening night of their UK tour in Manchester.

Frontman Bono dedicated the set closer ’13 (There is a Light)’ to the 22 victims who lost their lives in the May 2017 terrorist attack. “This is a prayer for the safety of your children”, Bono said, before the song began.

Elsewhere in the show, U2 delivered a politically-tinged set in which Bono called for the UK to unite over Brexit. with Bono telling the audience: “We’ve been touring all across Europe and the resounding message is nobody wants you to leave.”

He added: “I don’t wanna break your heart or your balls but the band has been touring Europe. And whatever you think of it, people love you…People love this United Kingdom. For us it’s more than a gold star falling off the flag. Without it the rest of us are just less.”

You can watch footage from the gig and read fan reaction here:

The EU and their pro-EU stance was a recurrent theme throughout the 2 hr and 20 minute show with the band projecting a huge flag of the EU and the Union Jack on the giant stage in the middle of the audience during ‘Get Out Of Your Own Way’ alongside flags of different countries in Europe.
A huge backdrop of the EU flag with a heart around one of the stars representing the U.K. was projected on a screen behind Bono as the band then went into ‘New Years Day’. Ahead of that track Bono said: “Blessed is blue is the Europe we still share. Blessed is Manchester, still a great European city.”

The Edge and Bono of U2 perform at Manchester Arena on October 19, 2018 in Manchester, England. Credit: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

Elsewhere in the show, the band paid tribute to Noel Gallagher, saying “blessed is the baby Noel, born to this place.” The band also played Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds song ‘It’s a Beautiful World’ at the very start of the gig via a video.

Further political themes saw the band project images of refugees at sea during ‘Summer Of Love’ and images of extremist far right groups during ‘Pride’ on their giant stage screen. During the latter, Bono also paid tribute to artists from Manchester including The Stone Roses, Oasis, the late producer Martin Hannett and The Chemical Brothers adding: “thank you for what you have given us”.

Whilst the “Experience + Innocence” tour brings together the band’s albums from 2014 and 2017, this was a career-spanning set which saw the band performing songs from across their long career. The band released their latest album ‘Songs Of Experience’ in December 2017. It was the follow-up and companion record to the band’s 2014 release ‘Songs Of Innocence’.

Earlier on their current tour, U2 were forced to cancel a show in Berlin after Bono suffered a “complete loss of voice”.

Meanwhile, the frontman has revealed that his recent health scare was a “brush with mortality” in which he “nearly ceased to be”.

The band will continue with another performance in Manchester this evening (October 20), followed by further gigs in London, Belfast and Dublin. You can buy any remaining tickets for the events here.

You can read the full set list from the band’s performance here:

U2 Setlist, Manchester – October 20

It’s a Beautiful World (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds song)

Love Is All We Have Left / Zooropa

The Blackout

Lights of Home

I Will Follow

Gloria

Beautiful Day

Zoo Station

Stay (Faraway, So Close!)

Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses

The Fly

Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

Elevation

Vertigo (with “Rebel Rebel” snippet)

Even Better Than the Real Thing

Acrobat (with “Halls of Mirrors” snippet)

You’re the Best Thing About Me

Summer of Love

Pride (In the Name of Love)

Get Out of Your Own Way

New Year’s Day

City of Blinding Lights (with “Ode to Joy” intro)

Women of the World (Jim O’Rourke song)

One (with “Invisible” snippet)

Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way

13 (There Is a Light)