In early 1987, U2 embarked on a tour in support of “The Joshua Tree”, an album that was inspired by the band’s earlier trips around America. Almost instantly, both album and tour were commercial and critical successes, and by end of that year, U2 was bigger than ever, with the album topping charts around the world and receiving near universal acclaim. To say The Joshua Tree was pivotal to the band’s success would be an understatement; the album signaled the arrival of U2 on the global stage and, for better or worse, defined many of the band’s creative decisions since.
Thirty years later, the band is revisiting that iconic album on the road with the ‘The Joshua Tree Tour 2017’. Packing AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Friday night with the most enthusiastic fans from different generations, cities and cultures, its was an awe-inspiring night that shows how timeless the album is, how its message resonates as strongly as ever, especially in this fractured time in America.
As the band’s first tour in support of a back catalog, ‘The Joshua Tree Tour 2017’ reminds us that U2 is now entering a different phase in their career. It has been awhile since the band charted a hit single and album. But like the all-time greats, U2’s impact is measured by their live performances and concert tours, and as such ‘The Joshua Tree Tour 2017’ did not disappoint; it was visual and auditory spectacle and a great treat to nostalgic fans who wants to see the album fully come to life… from start to finish.
Yes, the band played the album sequentially, from beginning to end, including “Red Hill Mining Town” which the band has never played live before. Surrounded by a breathtakingly gigantic widescreen behind the stage which showcased various landscapes in America, the band played every song with passion and purpose. Bono, The Edge, and bassist Adam Clayton moved around and covered the stage like pros that they are, while drummer Larry Mullen Jr. held his ground. It was a spectacular sight to behold.
That album set was book-ended by pre-Joshua Tree songs (the anthemic “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, tour staples “New Year’s Day”, “Bad”, “Pride (In the Name of Love)”), an encore that is both emotional and stirring (“Miss Sarajevo”, “Ultraviolet”, “One”), and a celebratory finale that sent the stadium on it’s feet (“Beautiful Day”, “Elevation”, “I Will Follow”).
As one might expect, Bono came with socio-political commentary on his back-pocket: at one point thanking George Bush for his commitment to AIDS activism, then later reminding that they are guests in the country, among others. During one of his speeches, Bono made a fleeting mention of their humbling 1981 Dallas debut at the now defunct Club Bijou, a name Bono struggled to remember but somehow reminds us again how ‘The Joshua Tree’ transformed and catapulted the band from clubs to the world’s biggest stage.
The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 will bring U2 to various cities in North America including headlining Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, and with a second leg across Europe starting in London in July 8. Armando
Photos from ‘The Joshua Tree Tour 2017’
By Armando – aiphotoimaging.com