MyMusicalJourneyToday is April 4th, the 46th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee. U2 wrote a song in honor and celebration of Dr. King, called “Pride (in the name of love).” I am not sure if it is because “Pride” is the first U2 song I ever heard, or if it is because of Larry’s pounding drums, or if it is because it is about a hero of mine, or if it is because it is such an uplifting and spiritual song, but “Pride” has always been one of my top ten favorite U2 songs, if not the top five.

u2-pride-in-the-name-of-love-1984-7I am one of the few who never wants “Pride” left off of U2’s set list. This song is even better live than on the record. Both the band and the audience get truly excited when “Pride” is played in concert. The look on Bono’s face when the audience is singing back to him is priceless. And when 80,000 people are singing “oh oh oh oh in the n-a-m-e of Love” repeatedly, it is a magical experience. There is nothing like it. Luckily for me, “Pride” has been played at 60 of the 75 U2 shows I have attended over the past 22 years.

My favorite version of “Pride” was on the ZooTv Tour, which was my first U2 tour. Toward the end of the song while the audience is chanting “Oh oh oh oh,” Bono instructs, “Let the King sing.” Then part of Dr. King’s “Mountaintop” speech, which he gave in Memphis the night before he was killed, is played on the video screens. After, Bono would shout, “Amen!” then everyone would resume singing. This always gave me chills. “Pride” was played at all eight ZooTv shows I attended. At the rehearsal concert in Hershey, “Pride” was played twice – third, then again in its usual spot as the last song of the main set.

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“Pride” was played at all eight Popmart shows I attended. There was no video of MLK’s speech, but “Pride” was played in tandem with two of my favorite songs. On the first leg of Popmart, “Pride” was played after “Gone,” which is probably one of the best songs live as well as one of my favorites. On the third leg of Popmart, “Pride” was played eighth before “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” which is my absolute favorite U2 song. What an inspirational duo those two songs were together!

73-larry-and-mlk-at-the-gardenDr. King’s “Mountaintop” speech made its return during “Pride” on the Elevation Tour. Bono would make a heart with his hands and then throw out “Love” to the audience as they shouted back to him. “Pride” was played at 21 of the 27 Elevation shows I attended. On the first leg, “Pride” was played in the encore, sandwiched between “With or Without You” and “One.” On the final leg of Elevation, “Pride” ended the main set, right after “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

“Pride” was played at six of the eight Vertigo shows I attended. It was played near the end of the main set between “Running to Stand Still” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.” There was no “Mountaintop” speech, but Bono did talk about Dr. King’s dream that all people should be equal.

mlk prideI was excited when U2 played Atlanta in 2009 on the 360 Tour because I just knew the band would play “Pride,” since we were in the city where Dr. King was born and buried. I wore my MLK “Pride” U2 shirt, but I guess U2 forgot what city they were win because “Pride” was not played that night in Atlanta. In fact, “Pride” was only played once on that second leg of 360 in 2009 – at the U.S. opener in Chicago. But “Pride” was played at every show in the U.S. on the final leg of the 360 Tour in 2011. I heard my song at 17 of the 24 360 shows I attended. “Pride” was played in the middle of the main set before “Miss Sarajevo.”

1mlkI hope on the next U2 tour, I get to hear MLK’s “Mountaintop” speech during “Pride.” I know I am in the minority because most fans are tired of hearing “Pride” tour after tour, but I think it is an important song. Not only does “Pride” remind everyone of Dr. King’s work, but the song also brings an excitement and spirituality to the show leaving the audience with a sense of hope. The day after President Obama was elected, I visited the National Civil Rights Museum, which is at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis where Dr. King was killed. While looking through the glass into Dr. King’s room, a complete stranger turned to me and we started to cry and then hugged each other. No words were needed to realize in that moment, on that day, how far the world had come, all because of one man’s dream. Rest in Peace Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Thank you for all you did, and all you and your family sacrificed for the good of the world!

“Pride (in the name of love)”

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go.
One man come he to justify
One man to overthrow.

In the name of love
What more in the name of love.
In the name of love
What more in the name of love.

One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed up on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss.

In the name of love
What more in the name of love.
In the name of love
What more in the name of love.

Early morning, April four
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky.
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride.

In the name of love
What more in the name of love.
In the name of love
What more in the name of love.

In the name of love
What more in the name of love.
In the name of love
What more in the name of love.

 

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