Following a personal invitation from Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky, U2’s Bono and the Edge visited Kyiv Sunday to perform an acoustic concert in one of the city’s subway stations-turned-bomb shelters.
“The people in Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you are fighting for all of us who love freedom,” Bono told the audience, which included soldiers. “We pray that you will enjoy some of that peace soon.”
According to the Irish Times, the set included performances of U2 hits like “With or Without You,” “Desire,” “Angel of Harlem,” “Vertigo” and a rendition of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” that replaced the titular “Me” with “Ukraine.”
Throughout the intimate set, the U2 duo were joined on their makeshift stage by Ukrainian musicians thrust into military duty due to Russia’s invasion; singer Taras Topolya from the Ukrainian band Antytila were among those singing alongside Bono.
“President @ZelenskyyUa invited us to perform in Kyiv as a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people and so that’s what we’ve come to do,” Bono and the Edge tweeted Sunday.
Bono and the Edge previously took part in Global Citizen’s “Stand Up for Ukraine” livestream, where the duo played a rendition of “Walk On” that addressed the invasion.
“The brave people of Ukraine are fighting for their freedom — and for ours — in the face of unspeakable violence and an unjust invasion,” the U2 duo said in April. “More than 4 million people, mostly women and children, have had to flee for their lives — a population nearly the size of Ireland. World leaders must stand up and stand by Ukrainians now … those who are fighting and those who have fled … and stand with refugees everywhere who have been forced from their homes and their lands.”
Bono also penned a poem about the Ukraine invasion that was read aloud by Nancy Pelosi.