Talking exclusively to Hot Press, Edge has confirmed that ‘Raised By Wolves’ will definitely be in the set-list when U2’s Songs of iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour hits Belfast this month.
He was responding to comments made by Ulster Unionist politician and former Lord Mayor of Belfast, Jim Rodgers, who’s troubled by the fact that the track refers to the UVF’s May 1974 bombings of Monaghan and Dublin.
Describing it as "very one-sided", Rodgers proffered: "It's a very bad idea and it's most disappointing because they quite clearly haven't thought this one through. There isn't a hierarchy of victims. Those bombs were absolutely horrendous and at the time I totally and utterly condemned them.
"Families are still in mourning and they are still suffering through losing their loved ones. But you have to remember that so many people in Northern Ireland have lost those close to them over 40 years of continuous violence."
At recent shows, the sounds of explosions have preceded Bono launching into the song’s opening couplets: "Face down on a broken street/ There’s a man in the corner in a pool of misery/ I’m in a white van as a red sea covers the ground/ Metal crash I can’t tell what it is/ But I take a look and now I’m sorry I did/ 5.30 on a Friday night 33 good people cut down."
Asked by Hot Press’ Olaf Tyaransen whether U2 would be performing ‘Raised By Wolves’ in Belfast’s SSE Arena, Edge responded: "I think the answer is that we will, but we will be taking account of sensitivities, for sure, in the way that we stage the show. That is something we do wherever we are. The show is always presented with a sense of the audience we're going to be presenting to. Changes get made if things just don’t seem to be right or if we don’t know how things are going to work or play. People understand that the content varies a lot. We haven’t finalised that, so I don’t want to start saying how it will be different. We’re still working on it."
Edge revealed that U2 had given thought to how ‘Raised By Wolves’ would be presented in Belfast before Jim Rodgers expressed his concerns.
"This is something I started talking to our designers about months ago. This is not in response to comments in the media; we always had this in mind, because we’re aware that sensitivities exist in Belfast. The reason it’s in the show, and will stay in the show, is that ‘Raised By Wolves’, like a lot of the songs on the album, is about personal experience, about an event that we ourselves felt, acutely at the time, the impact of. Larry lost a neighbour in the bombing on Talbot Street. That street is where my bus stop was. We’d have been in town often, trying to get the bus home, and Bono just saying, you know, ‘Literally, right there.’ We’re not drawing from it as simply reflecting a moment in history: it’s part of our personal narrative.
"It’s going to be very interesting, not only playing Belfast, but playing in Dublin because, of course, the album is very personal."