SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) - Irish rock group U2 gave a lesson in human rights and urged Brazilians to help end poverty in their country in a spectacular concert on Monday night at a Sao Paulo soccer stadium.
About 70,000 fans packed the Morumbi Stadium for the eagerly awaited show and the band delivered with a two-hour performance that mixed hard-edged rock with high emotion.
In a sequence of songs, lead singer Bono brought a political message to the crowd of mostly middle-class and wealthy Brazilians.
During "Miss Sarajevo," a song inspired by the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, clauses of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were scrolled down in Portuguese on the huge digital screen behind the band.
They then launched into "Pride," their tribute to Martin Luther King, the slain U.S. civil rights champion of the 1960s.
Bono told the crowd: "Martin Luther King didn't just have an American dream, but an Irish dream, a Latin American dream ... sing for Peru, for Chile, for Argentina, for Brazil."
The screen then lit up with a display of the flags of all Latin American nations.
At the show's pre-encore climax with the song "One," an appeal for peace, Bono spoke over the music saying: "I love Brazil, I love Carnival, because everyone crams together -- rich and poor, young and old, left and right. But to beat poverty, all of us have to work together, to act together."
Brazil suffers from a range of human rights problems from police brutality to sexual exploitation and has one of the biggest gaps between rich and poor in the world.
President Luiz Inacio Lula, a former factory worker whose grassroots support lies with the poor, has launched programs to wipe out poverty and hunger and has promised social reform in the country of 185 million people.
How much the message of peace and brotherhood got through was open to question. Mention of Argentina brought boos from the crowd. Some also jeered when pictures of Lula and U.S. President George W. Bush appeared on the screen.
Bono ended the show with the appeal: "Pobreza Zero" (Zero Poverty), and thanked Lula for his hospitality.
The singer, a high-profile social activist who has met frequently with world leaders to plead the case of disadvantaged nations, had flown to the capital Brasilia on Sunday to talk to Lula. He praised him then as a hero for his social stands.
Bono will donate a guitar for auction to benefit Lula's Zero Hunger campaign, which aims to give all Brazilians three meals a day, the government's Agencia Brasil agency said on Monday.
U2 will play a second show at Morumbi on Tuesday night before taking the "Vertigo" tour to Santiago, Chile, on February 26 and Buenos Aires on March 1 and 2.