While the New Clark City Athletics Stadium was rocking to the rhythm of numerous Southeast Asian athletes singing and dancing to the songs of the Black Eyed Peas in the official closing ceremony of the 2019 SEA Games, a similar and more dedicated musical performance was happening at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, where said SEA Games opened back in November 30. Legendary Irish rock band U2 would hold a concert there as part of their world tour celebrating 30 years of their album “The Joshua Tree.” And during one of their songs, they also paid tribute to world-famous Filipinas.
The Philippine Star has it that international rock stars U2 gave a nice tribute to a selection of notable Filipino women during their “Joshua Tree” anniversary tour stop in the Philippines, as promoted by MMI Live. It was of course at their concert at the Philippine Arena during the evening of December 11. During the band’s performance of the song “Ultraviolet,” the stage backdrop screens displayed a presentation montage featuring women who became famous around the world, from ordinary people figuring in historic moments to famous female individuals who shaped history themselves. The latter include talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, environment activist Greta Thunberg, and Irish academic writer Sinead Burke.
But the big surprise for the Filipino audience was the inclusion of several famous Filipinas in the photo montage. They range in prominence from elderly Philippine Revolution supporter Melchora Aquino, late former President Corazon Aquino, Senator Pia Cayetano and journalist Maria Ressa among many others. Before starting to sing “Ultraviolet,” U2 vocalist Bono gave a short foreword on women, and how they can rewrite history into “her story.” But the sentiment is not wholly feminist in tone as he quickly adds, “It’s not about individuals. It’s about collective action. It’s about social movement, so that all of you will grow up to be the President.”
Aside from “Ultraviolet,” U2 also performed many of their signature songs like “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “With or Without You,” and the “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” movie theme song “Elevation.” Among the local celebrities known to have been in the audience during the concert were Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, all of whom shared photos of the event on social media.
The activist tone of the “Ultraviolet” performance is typical for U2, especially Paul “Bono” Hewson, who earlier this week oversaw a partnership between the Philippine Red Cross and blood and medical supply drone delivery service Zipline, to begin operations in the country by next year.
Image courtesy of Yahoo! News