It’s hard to put into words just how amazing U2 are, especially at a sold-out stadium show. The band never missed a beat from beginning to end and kept the crowd completely captivated throughout their entire performance. Bono’s voice sounded amazing and The Edge, Larry and Adam were razor sharp.
It is hard to believe that it has been 30 years since the bands acclaimed album “The Joshua Tree” was released back in 1987. The songs that make up that album define a generation and still continue to speak volumes to listeners to this very day. When “The Joshua Tree” was first released it showcased the band’s fascination for the American landscape, its people, literature and myths. The band’s love affair with the continent still continues to ring true today. The band truly set out to showcase the journey of the American Dream and they more than succeeded.
To hear this album played live in it’s entirety from beginning to end was a dream come true for fans and it being paired with the stunning imagery from Dutch photographer, film-maker, and long term collaborator, Anton Corbijn was even more magical. Fans can recall that Corbijn’s iconic photography accompanied the original recording and he has now revisited Death Valley and Zabriskie Point – and other locations – to produce a new series of haunting and evocative films which feature in brilliant 8k resolution on a 200 x 45 ft cinematic screen behind the group in live performance. It is truly a sight to behold. In fact, the cinematic screen that U2 is using for this tour just so happens to be the largest hi-res LED video screen ever used in a touring show.
The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 will reach over 1.7 million fans with just 33 shows across North America and Europe throughout this summer and we were incredibly honored to be able to witness this incredible show in the City Of Brotherly Love! Hearing songs such as “Red Hill Mining Town” which has never been performed live prior to this tour was a real treat and “Bullet The Blue Sky” still continues to send shivers down my spine with The Edges searing guitar riffs and Bono’s haunting vocals.
U2 sandwiched the “Joshua Tree” album with a selection of other songs from their extensive catalog of hits as well. Fans were treated to an opening set which included “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”, “New Years Day”, “Bad” and “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” before the band launched into the “Joshua Tree” album. Then to close out the set, the band played an incredibly touching version of the song from Passengers “Miss Syria (Sarajevo)” which was paired with heart-wrenching video imagery captured by French artist J.R. at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, which is now the home of over 80,000 Syrians who were forced to flee their country.
Listening to the young, 15-year old, refugee speak about her hopes and dreams and ideas about America was enough to being tears to not only the eyes of this journalist, but the rest of the audience as well. While the band was performing the song a large satin sheet featuring the young girls image was passed hand to hand across the entire circumference of the stadium. It was truly one of the most beautiful concert moments we have ever had the pleasure to be a part of and something that will truly stay with us for quite some time.
Fans who have been paying close attention to the band’s setlist for the last several shows will note instead of playing “Ultra Violet (Light My Way), the band instead performed “Mysterious Ways” marking the current tour debut of the song. Images of honorable and trail-blazing women were displayed across the video screen and showcased the ONE organizations on-going “Poverty is Sexist” campaign. The song and accompanying images drew cheers from the audience and before launching into the song Bono commented, “The world would be more balanced if women fulfilled our potential and theirs”. He praised both former Presidents Bush and Obama for their efforts to stop the AIDS crisis, however criticized President Trump for his budget cuts for AIDS relief funding saying, “I don’t know what party he is … he’s his own party, I guess.”
U2 ended their set with a string of hits including “One”, “Beautiful Day”, “Elevation” and “Vertigo” to close out this truly memorable evening with rock n’ roll royalty. Even if only for just one evening we were united as one and music’s unifying strength shone through brighter than ever.
Denver-based folk/pop band The Lumineers opened the show with their blend of catchy hum-worthy tunes. Their nearly hour long set included hit singles “Hey-Ho” and “Ophelia” which definitely got a rise out of the crowd many of who were still entering the stadium and by the end of their set front man Wesley Keith Schultz had the audience on their feet assisting him with singing along to the band’s latest single “Stubborn Love”.