Over 45,000 fans braved over six hours of traffic to the north of Manila, walked several kilometers and scaled highway barriers to see four legendary lads from Dublin perform for the first time in the Philippines.
The Philippine Arena – the largest indoor arena in the world – was pulsating with anticipation and excitement as U2’s Dave Evans a.k.a. Edge, Larry Mullen, Jr., Adam Clayton and frontman Paul David Hewson a.k.a. Bono kicked off the evening with “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “New Year’s Day” and “Pride (In the Name of Love).” Fans were livid – crying, dancing and belting hits, including “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “With or Without You,” “Red Hill Mining Town,” “Trip Through Your Wires,” “One Tree Hill,” “Exit” “Elevation,” “Vertigo,” among the many other unforgettable creations that moved generations at the much-anticipated “Joshua Tree Tour 2019” made possible by Smart.
To a lot of their Filipino fans, they were their lives’ anthems made even more special by the band’s milestone 2,050th performance.
This was the first concert of U2 in the Philippines – and to those who saw the December 11 show, the forty-three-year wait was worth it.
“Don’t know why we waited, no good excuse,” said Bono, contrite. “We should have been here every year.
“From our single island to your thousand islands, thank you for making us feel welcome,” added the 59-year-old Irish superstar.
The band’s number, “Ultraviolet,” was made more touching with Bono talking about championing free speech and female freedom fighters. As the giant screen was flashing photos of Filipinas of note, including former President Corazon Aquino, journalist Maria Ressa, Senator Pia Cayetano, superstar Lea Salonga, Filipina recording artist Maria Carpena, human rights and environmental activists Liddy Nacpil, Joan Carling, and Marinel Ubaldo, Bono paid tribute to women with these words: “Human rights drown out human wrongs, that’s a beautiful day. When sisters around the world go to school with their brothers, that’s a beautiful day. When journalists don’t have to worry about what they write, that’s a beautiful day. When women of the world unite to rewrite history as her-story, that is a beautiful day.”
Bono is famous for his many advocacies, including human rights and health care. A day before the concert, he launched a delivery service of blood using drones with the Philippine Red Cross and Zipline, an American delivery company.
Smart subscribers had the opportunity to exclusively celebrate with celebrity U2 fans and local rock legends Rico Blanco, Francis Reyes, Basti Artadi, Raimund Marasigan, Buddy Zabala, and Barbie Almalbis at the Smart Experiential Lounge.
Several lucky Smart Subscribers were also treated to a VIP experience. They rode a special Smart Music Live Bus where U2 songs played non-stop and were taken to the Experiential Lounge where they enjoyed unlimited food and drinks alongside Instagram worthy shots with U2-inspired elements in the background. It was a beautiful day indeed for these U2 fans who also lined up to have their photos taken by celebrity photographer Shaira Luna.
With Smart’s fastest LTE network, subscribers were able to share and immortalize their experiences at the concert real-time. Photos, videos, and stories flooded social media throughout the evening.