Earlier today (May 8), U2’s Bono and the Edge performed a surprise acoustic concert at a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, as Rolling Stone and The Irish Times point out. The set was held in a subway station, one of the many structures converted into a shelter following Russia’s violent invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invited U2 to perform in the capital city “as a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people,” as the band revealed in a tweet this morning. Bono and the Edge performed the U2 classic “With or Without You,” as well as a version of Ben E King’s “Stand By Me.” Bono invited Ukrainian singer Taras Topolya and his bandmates from Antytila—who are serving as soldiers amid the invasion—to join in on the latter song. During the performance, they replaced the traditional chorus with “Stand by Ukraine.” Watch clips from the performance below.
According to The Irish Times, Bono and the Edge also played “Desire,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Angel of Harlem,” and “Vertigo” during their set. “The people in Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you are fighting for all of us who love freedom,” Bono reportedly told the audience, which included soldiers. “We pray that you will enjoy some of that peace soon.”
Antytila recently collaborated with Ed Sheeran for the song “2step.” Proceeds from the YouTube streams of the single are being donated to Music Saves UA, a project by the Ukrainian Association of the Music Events.