U2’s Joshua Tree 2019 tour touched down at Seoul, South Korea’s Gocheok Sky Dome on December 8th. It was the group’s first concert in South Korea, and it happened to also be the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Early in the show, Bono paused “Pride (In the Name of Love)” to pay tribute to Lennon.
“Let’s turn this concrete sky arena into a cathedral,” Bono said. “We think about a great peacemaker we lost December 8th, 39 years ago tonight: John Lennon. We lost John Lennon, great peacemaker, great soul. This band were right outside of New York City when we heard the news. We still feel it.” (To be more exact, the band was in Buffalo, New York, playing a gig at Stage One when it happened. They’d just played their first American show two days earlier at the Ritz in New York City to about 25 people.)
“Pride (In the Name of Love)” was written about Martin Luther King Jr., but at the Seoul show Bono altered some of the lyrics so they applied to Lennon. “Late in the evening December 8th,” Bono sang. “Shot rings out in the New York sky/Free at last/They took your life/They could not take your pride.”
Later in the show, Bono sprinkled in snippets of “She Loves You,” “Love Me Do” and “All You Need Is Love” in tribute to Lennon. He also spoke about the delicate political situation in Korea. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” he said. “The peacemakers in this great country, north and south, we pray for the peacemakers.”
U2 have spent the past month taking the Joshua Tree to territories they missed when they first revived the album in 2017. It heads to the Philippine Arena in Manila, Philippines, December 11th before wrapping up in Mumbai, India, at the DY Patil Stadium on December 15th. It will be their first time playing in either country.