U2 talked about many things in their appearance Thursday on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon”: Their forthcoming album “Songs of Experience” and the inspiration behind it; the new single from that album “You’re the Best Thing About Me” (which they also performed) and why it’s okay to issue a love song when the world is on fire; and not least their Music Rising foundation, established in 2005 to raise money to buy new instruments from musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina and revived for Houston residents in the wake of Hurricane Harvey last week (which is open for donations right here).
But, most strikingly, they discussed President Trump’s controversial decision to “wind down” DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) which protects approximately 800,000 “dreamers” — people who were brought into the country illegally as children.
“Every night [on the group’s ongoing 30th anniversary ‘Joshua Tree’ tour], we’re reminded why we fell in love with this country,” Bono said. “And it’s not just a country; it’s an idea. It’s a great idea, one of the best ideas ever. But you can feel in recent times that idea get a bit twisted. And then you have the ‘dreamers.’ I mean, we’re Irish! We’re the ‘dreamers.’ This country was built for and by ‘dreamers.’ … If there’s no room for ‘dreamers,’ where are we in America? It’s the American dream!”
The group then delivered a fiery version of the “Joshua Tree” show-stopper “Bullet the Blue Sky,” a song about America, with Bono altering the lyrics to address Trump and the present day. (He also wove in references to both Edwin Starr’s 1970 anti-war anthem “War” and “America,” the immigrant anthem from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s “West Side Story.”)
“Suit and tie comes up to me, face orange as the rose on a thorn bush/ Skin as thin as an Orange Crush/ He’s peeling off those dollar bills …
“Ground shakes, but the children can’t weep/ Vaporized in a single tweet/ The emperor rises from his golden throne/ Never knowing, never being known/ The lights are on the president’s home/ Oh my god, I’ve never felt so alone/ Outside it’s America, outside it’s America.”