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U2 pay tribute to Supernova festival victims

"Sing with us… and those beautiful kids at that music festival," said Bono during the band's Sphere performance on Sunday

By James Hanley on 10 Oct 2023

Opening Night of U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere

The opening night of U2's Sphere residency

image © Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation

U2 frontman Bono has paid tribute to the victims of the Supernova festival massacre in Israel while on stage in Las Vegas.

At least 260 people were killed in Saturday’s attack by Hamas militants at the festival, held in the desert near Kibbutz Re’im, in what is believed to be the deadliest-ever assault on a music event.

Before performing the band’s 1984 single Pride (In the Name of Love) on Sunday (8 October) in the latest show of their 25-date residency at MSG’s Sphere at The Venetian, Bono told the audience: “In the light of what’s happened in Israel and Gaza, a song about non-violence seems somewhat ridiculous, even laughable, but our prayers have always been for peace and for non-violence.

“But our hearts and our anger, you know where that’s pointed. So sing with us… and those beautiful kids at that music festival.”

He continued: “Sing for our brothers and sisters – who they themselves were singing at the Supernova Sukkot festival in Israel. We sing for those. Our people, our kind of people, music people. Playful, experimental people. Our kind of people. We sing for them.”

U2 last played in Israel in 1997, when they performed at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park

The Guardian reports the singer then altered the song’s opening lyrics, singing: “Early morning, October 7, the sun is rising in the desert sky. Stars of David, they took your life but they could not take your pride.”

U2 last played in Israel in 1997, when they performed at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park.

Held under the Universo Paralello brand launched in Brazil 23 years ago, The Tribe of Nova presents Supernova made its debut in Israel from 6-7 October – coinciding with the Jewish festival of Sukkot.  The psy-trance music festival, which was attended by around 3,000 people, was stormed by Palestinian militants on Saturday morning and opened fire as part of a wider coordinated attack on Israel.

Festival organiser Tribe of Nova said it was “stunned” by the attack, adding: “We strengthen and share the grief of the missing and murdered families. We are doing everything we can to assist the security forces, stand with them in constant contact and are located in the area in scans and searches in order to locate the missing.”

Jonathan Lipitz, founder of local promoter Yellow Brick and owner of Tel Aviv-based club Kuli Alma, told IQ: “This is the biggest tragedy my country has ever faced. I’m more shocked than scared and I’m more enraged than sad. I’m not really digesting what my eyes and brain are seeing. This will take a lot of time.”

“Entertainment can wait,” he added. “First, we need to be focused on people’s lives”

Lipitz said Kuli Alma has closed indefinitely, while Yellow Brick’s scheduled shows at the Barby Club before the end of the year are likely to be postponed.

“Entertainment can wait,” he added. “First, we need to be focused on people’s lives.”

A 60,000-cap Bruno Mars concert scheduled for Saturday (7 October) at Hayarkon Park was cancelled amid the escalation of the conflict. The US star had played his first ever show in Israel just three days earlier.

Sources told Billboard that the decision to cancel was made a few hours after the attacks began, as securing the venue would present unnecessary risks to attendees. Mars’ scheduled performance at the Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix in Doha on Sunday was also pulled “due to circumstances out of [organisers’] control”.

The singer was reportedly unable to pack up and transport his production gear out of Israel in time for the show, with French artist DJ Snake stepping in to take his place.


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