During a politically-charged Grammy Awards ceremony on Sunday night, U2 gave a rousing performance on a barge in front of the Statue of Liberty. The band’s pre-recorded show featured their song “Get Out of Your Own Way,” and was a blunt response to anti-immigration policies that have been a focus of national debate over the past year.
The group was introduced by Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello, who read Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus,” which is engraved at the base of the statue. At the end of the song, Bono whipped out an American flag-themed megaphone, shouting, “Blessed are all the shithole countries, for they gave us the American dream,” a response to recent comments made by President Donald Trump.
The symbolism is hard to miss here, and it was far from the only instance that touched on the divided state of American politics and culture during the Grammys. Kendrick Lamar opened the show with a performance that was highly critical of the state of the country (Bono, The Edge and Dave Chappelle also joined him on stage). The #MeToo movement was front-and-center throughout the night, with presenters and musicians donning white roses and actively speaking out against sexual harassment and abuse of power in the music industry. A comedic bit even had celebrities read excerpts from Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, including a surprise cameo from Hillary Clinton.
Sunday’s event marked the first time that the Grammys were held in New York since 2003, and it will be the last time for the foreseeable future (the awards are slated for Los Angeles for the next four years).
Nevertheless, it might not be a bad idea for the city to host more barge shows on New York Harbor—it makes for a pretty incredible spectacle.