Jason Reynolds Commentary: U2 Turns Nashville Concert Into Political Rally

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There is no question U2 is one of the most talented bands in our time. They also have done some great work in terms of social justice.

Their work has included relief efforts for HIV-positive people in Africa. (RED) was created by Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2006 to fight to end AIDS in Africa.

U2 is currently campaigning for global women’s rights such as an estimated 130 million girls who are not getting to attend school.

I applaud them for that work.

Then there is the right to life — but U2 is not campaigning for people’s rights to live, but rather, for women to have the right to murder their babies.

On Friday, the people of Ireland voted to legalize abortion. The nation’s Eighth Amendment had protected preborn babies since 1983. Five previous votes on the repeal had failed.

Earlier in May, U2 stepped into the debate by tweeting their support of ending the protection of preborn babies.

Breitbart reports, “After U2 tweeted a photo endorsing the ‘Repeal the 8th; campaign… fans erupted with a barrage of more than 800 overwhelmingly negative replies, with many voicing their decision to stop supporting the band or attending its concerts.”

The band’s longtime voicing of their Christian faith makes the abortion stance puzzling and disappointing, even though the band is far from conservative.

And the band brought its brand of activism to Nashville on Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday, the day after Ireland’s shameful vote, U2 performed their Innocence + Experience Tour at Bridgestone Arena.

I took my wife because U2 is her favorite band. I did not know much about U2, but the concert was eye-opening.

I had not been aware of U2’s stance on abortion. I am now, after researching the band for this column.

While waiting for the concert, I was struck by the display of slogans with graphics on the video monitors. Some of it was innocent enough, such as calls for equal rights. Then there was this: “#enoughisenough.”

That phrase sounded familiar, so I pulled out my phone and was disgusted to realize the Irish band was using its concert platform — for which customers paid good money — to push for gun control in America. The phrase is being used by people vehemently fighting to abolish gun rights.

And here I thought I was taking my wife to see her favorite band perform, only the third time in her life she has had the experience. It felt like a political rally.

It’s appropriate this took place in Bridgestone Arena, home of the Predators. The team’s President/CEO Sean Henry endorsed David Briley for Nashville mayor and supported the transit initiative.

This being my first U2 experience, I will give the band its due for being good entertainers. They have a sense for the dramatic and have a good instinct for putting on a show.

This great atmosphere was spoiled, at least for me, when the band played footage from the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” racist rally, including a nice closeup of a racist flipping the bird. I appreciate the effort to denounce racism, but I don’t believe a musical concert is the time or place. It made for a jarring, unpleasant experience.

Then there was Bono’s verbal salute to celebrity guest Oprah Winfrey and former politicians Al Gore Jr. and Bill Frist, all of whom he has worked with in charitable work. I was concerned Bono would start pulling them on stage and taking time from the concert, but thankfully that did not happen. (Frist, by the way, stays active in politics; last month he endorsed the $9 billion transit plan.)

I bit my tongue and did not say anything to my wife about my unease; this was her night. I will not attend another U2 concert, however. I am not alone; a friend of a friend, who was upset about the politics, walked out on the concert. He and I are only two out of millions in the grand scheme of U2’s potential customers, but after U2’s abortion stance, I have the feeling we will not be alone.






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24 Thoughts to “Jason Reynolds Commentary: U2 Turns Nashville Concert Into Political Rally”

  1. Brian McMurphy


    There’s no getting anything by you.

  2. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” isn’t about abortion, moron. It’s an anthem berating religious violence in Ireland when IRA bombs were almost daily. The peace accord of 1998 helped to cease the Catholic vs Protestant violence in Ireland. There ARE people who don’t focus all of their energy on one issue, unlike those who refuse to respect the right to choose.

  3. C B Thorp

    Sunday Bloody Sunday for someone who knows little about history is about the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland in which the Protestants were killing Catholics and vise versa….has nothing to do with abortion…but a whole lot to do about equality..

  4. Lisa Libtard

    Regarding the “political rants” not being appropriate….this is U2’s own commercial tour. They can play or talk about anything they want on THEIR tour. They can be political, say hello to whoever they want, play whatever songs they want. If you did not like it or do not like it, don’t spend money on their tour or go again. No one is required to lay out money to go. Same as if you do not like their music, don’t go. Some food for thought….if you are uncomfortable seeing “your own” on the big screen, perhaps you know your beliefs are a bit questionable. I was not offended seeing the civil rights protesters.

  5. Brian McMurphy

    That is a solid point. If you’re going to tell white people to quit being racist, a U2 concert is probably the best time since they are all gathered in one place.

  6. Bill

    I’m sorry but my idealology or thoughts aren’t derived from weak minded liberal entertainers such as bozo. Enoughisenough is true. Stop putting your faith in these nut job entertainers and Hollyweird actors and form your own idea right or wrong. At the very least we’ll know you’re an adult, even if you’ve chosen wrong. Who knows, maybe if you think on your own, youll come to realize that abortion is murder as the conscious normal people do. Bozo knows how to make money. He preys on the weak minded. He’s definitely not the standard of what’s right. Merely a liberal propagandist. But go ahead and drink the koolaide groupies.

  7. Terry Kesner

    You don’t think a concert is the time or place to denounce racism.

    When the hell is the time and place

  8. davy jones

    the real Bono died and has been replaced by this satanic piece of human garbage

    and watch how fast Bono ignores all the crimes of hillary clnton and the democracy Bono is pure scum

  9. Ralph

    When a culture takes its direction from minstrels and jesters, it’s dead – just as it should be.

  10. Saysvsdoes

    I was at the concert and thought U2 tried to appease both sides of the political spectrum; my problem is that both sides are pretty much the same now exemplifying greed and avarice toward those who are either less fortunate, immigrant or otherwise “other” than t

  11. Reed Morrow

    Mr. Reynolds, you didn’t know U2’s political leanings? What planet have been living on? Your knowledge of U2 is as backwards as your who-cares-what-you say conservative opinion.

  12. Brian McMurphy

    They said they supported abortion then they play Sunday Bloody Sunday. I thought that was tasteless.

    I don’t agree with their pro-abortion stance but agree with their beliefs on evading taxes through a Maltan dummy corp.

  13. Danny

    It’s no less offensive than having to read your gun loving, bible toteing, oppressive rant about taking away a women’s right to choose. Zip it.

    1. Angela Pike


  14. Angela Pike

    U2 has ALWAYS been political. And it’s always been part of their shows. I was at the Bridgestone show and didn’t think it was any more political than their other shows. What’s different now is everybody else has become political due to the climate in our dysfunctional country. If u2 is your wife’s favorite band and you didn’t know any of this you have bigger problems than a disappointing concert

  15. Dan Johnson

    I was at the concert too and was struck by Bono deriding the right and literally a minute later saying the the left and the right had to “talk” to make things better. I’m not exactly sure how someone reconciles that level of cognitive dissonance.

  16. They are not nearly as caustic as Roger Waters.

    1. Saysvsdoes

      The truth can be caustic if you’re not used to it…

  17. David Helton

    Glad you will not be at anymore U2 shows. If you know of any living human being or group of human beings that has more positively affected the earth and humanity than Bono and U2 please let me know I’d like to read about them, versus you inserting your own political agenda into a rant about a rock and roll show.

    1. Todd Bulgarino

      The writer makes some good points regarding the U2 concert. It was my 8th time seeing U2 and unfortunately I ranked the concert the 8th best. The one-sided preaching, which has become so commonplace at concerts, is much easier to overlook when the band puts on a great show with great material – this was far from the case. I Will Follow and Gloria highlighted an anemic pre-ecore setlist. This is the only U2 concert where my posterior found occasion to find my seat. Unlike previous concerts this setlist was all about them and not about the audience…very disappointing. Add in the elitist lecturing and and video and I would rather have skipped this tour. My hope is the take a break from the road, recharge, and gain perspective. Then come back full force with the type of charismatic excellence and showmanship for which they are know and loved.

    2. Herman Peaquist

      You’ve just inserted your own rant and done the leftist cry of being happy that someone who disagrees with U2’s abortion funding will not attend their shows. You don’t seem to like humanity very much if you want significant chunks of it aborted.

    3. Liberals are ruining the world

      U2 SUCKS.