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After Paris attacks, U2 takes the stage — and a stand against ISIS

After being forced to cancel two shows in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, U2 returned to the city to pay tribute to the victims. (Video: Reuters)

After being forced to cancel two shows in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris last month, U2 will perform in the French capital tonight, this time broadcasting their music beyond city lines in what they call an “act of defiance” against the Islamic State militant group.

“We think of music as the sound of freedom,” U2 guitarist The Edge told CNN. “We think that rock-and-roll has a part to play. And so going back to Paris to us is not just symbolic, we’re actually starting the process of resistance.”

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, has asserted responsibility for the Nov. 13 attacks, which killed at least 130 people.

The second of the two rescheduled concerts will be shown on HBO at 9 p.m. Monday. The band will be joined by a special guest. Per a statement from U2, that guest will not be Eagles of Death Metal, the band that was performing at the Bataclan theater when it was attacked by gunmen. Several other sites in the city also were targeted.

U2 was in Paris the night of the attacks because the band was scheduled to perform the next day. Bono told CNN he is working on a song in response, called “Streets of “Surrender.”

“It was obviously awful and chaotic,” Bono said in the same interview. “And you immediately think of who you know, your crew, who’s out in the city, that kind of mentality. And, then, of course we thought about our fellow troubadours, the Eagles of Death Metal.”

U2 tried to use its clout to help Eagles of Death Metal get flights out of Paris, but what the members of that band needed most was cellphones.

“It turned out the best way we could help them was finding them phones, because their phones had been left in the venue and the venue had been sealed off,” Bono said.

For a band with an album titled “War,” the discussion of terrorism and major world issues is commonplace. Bono has spoken and written extensively about violence in his home of Ireland and how it shaped his view of the world.

“Paris is a very romantic city,” Bono said. “And you know, the essence of romance is defiance. And defiant joy, we think, is the mark of our band, and of rock-and-roll. They’re a death cult. We’re a life cult.”

Though he often speaks of peace in the abstract, this time Bono directly addressed a policy issue: America’s reluctance to accept Syrian refugees.

“I understand the overreaction, I understand fear, I understand nervousness and security concerns. But particularly on refugees, I think there’s 12, maybe even 15 state agencies involved in a 24-month check,” he said. “Think of your great refugees. Think of Madeline Albright, think of Einstein. Steve Jobs’s dad was a Syrian — not a refugee, but an immigrant.”

Eagles of Death Metal has not scheduled another show but told Vice that when the Bataclan reopens, they hope to be the first band back on stage.

Correction: This story previously stated that the strong “Streets of Surrender” will be played at the Paris concert. Bono has said he is working on the song, but has not yet said whether it is finished.  

Catch up: 

What we know about the Paris attacks and the hunt for the attackers

These are the victims of the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris

Stabbing at a London subway called a ‘terrorist incident’

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