“Sunday Bloody Sunday” found itself placed in the middle of a political trio of songs on the Vertigo Tour. All three songs, but mostly “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, centered on the theme of coexisting. The song was played immediately after “Love and Peace or Else” and segued into “Bullet the Blue Sky.” As it started, the word “coexist” was displayed on the video curtain with the Islamic crescent, the Star of David, and a Christian cross making up letters in the word. After Edge’s solo, Bono would usually drive the point home by saying, “Jesus, Jew, Mohammed, it’s true. All sons of Abraham.” This version of the song focused on the growing religious conflict around the world and was a call for all faiths to realize that they’re much more similar than they think.
Recently, this past year, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” became re-contextualized yet again as a tribute to the 2009 Iranian election protests. The song was also a focal part of the transition between the two parts of the main set. Bono has mentioned in interview that the first half is a personal journey, up until a techno version of “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.” The backing beats and looped vocals fade out as “Sunday Bloody Sunday” kicks off the political half of the set. As the band played through the song, Iranian writing and footage from the protest appeared on the screen, tinted in a shade of green.
The live history of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” has shown how versatile it is as a song. A track originally written as a call for peace in Ireland has spread throughout the years to a call to the end of all conflicts. Its message is backed by the power of the lyrics and music that it contains. It’s a number that fans love to hear played live. However, every time they do, there’s one line that comes through over and over. “How long must we sing this song?”
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