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Published on May 15th, 2017 | by Alan Cross

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U2 Opens Their Joshua Tree 30 Tour in Vancouver [UPDATED with Fan Review]

As a way to buy time before the next album, U2 is on the road doing something they’ve never done before: playing their iconic The Joshua Tree album from front-to-back. Now that it’s 30 years old, this might be a way to jump-start sales of their entire back catalogue.

The tour began in Vancouver Friday night the inevitable opening night hiccups. Crowd control outside the venue was apparently atrocious, causing many fans to miss opening act Mumford and Sons. But there were treats, too. This is apparently a new song entitled “The Little Things That You Give Away,” which was the very last performance of the night. (Via Michael)

Here’s the full setlist via U2 Gigs. (Via Larry)

Setlist:

    1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
    2. New Year’s Day
    3. A Sort Of Homecoming
    4. MLK
    5. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
    6. Where The Streets Have No Name
    7. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
    8. With Or Without You
    9. Bullet The Blue Sky
    10. Running To Stand Still
    11. Red Hill Mining Town
    12. In God’s Country
    13. Trip Through Your Wires
    14. One Tree Hill
    15. Exit / Eeny Meeny Miny Moe (snippet)
    16. Mothers Of The Disappeared / El Pueblo Vencera (snippet)

encore(s):

  1. Beautiful Day
  2. Elevation
  3. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
  4. One
  5. Miss Sarajevo
  6. The Little Things That Give You Away

At the end of the show, this picture was displayed. It’s Bono’s son and the Edge’s daughter. Could this be the cover for the upcoming Songs of Experience? (Via Larry)

If you want more video of the show, go here. (Via Michael again). Meanwhile, Amber was at the show. She offers this review.

U2 is probably the greatest band in the world today.  On Friday they played the first show of their tour to a stadium packed with superfans there to celebrate the greatest album they ever released.  So expectations were pretty high.  I know mine were.

Those expectations were met, and also they weren’t.  In truth I expected the opening licks of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” to blow the roof off the place, and it didn’t quite. I feel like maybe the crowd couldn’t fully recover from their line-up ordeal outside, particularly the people holding floor tickets, and so there was a weird vibe from the top of the show.

But things warmed up.  I always wish I was a fly on the wall during the conversations where they design the tour.  These people are masters of stagecraft, visuals, art, and storytelling.  Truly there were several perfect moments so amazing that you can’t do it justice in the retelling, you just had to be there.  One of the perfect moments was purely a visual, as the band took to the mainstage and stood beneath the sihouette of the Joshua tree together.  It was awesome.  You got the sense of their togetherness, their lifelong togetherness.  And we got to be part of that moment, and it was so cool.My favourite moment from the show was the opening of ” Where the Streets Have no Name”.  It was accompanied

My favourite moment from the show was the opening of ” Where the Streets Have no Name”.  It was accompanied with simple black and white highway footage through a car window, with electrical wires and roadlines stretching into the distance.  It captured absolutely my experience of this song, of this album, and its “soundtrack to my life” quality.  Kicking off every roadtrip, every adventure, every beginning, every return, always the travelling, me with just myself and this song.  While everything changes, some things certainly do stay the same.  I’m not sure if I imagined it or not, but there was almost a stillness to the moment.  It felt universal.

During the Joshua Tree “big numbers” I just kept thinking “I never ever want this to be over”….

Yet I was still aware that something was missing from the crowd, something undefinable.  I feel like I wanted more abandon, like more of everyone singing along, dancing along, screaming at the band, more hands in the air, more energy and connection.  Wild fandom.  A friend who was also there cited the size of the venue as the problem, but I’m not sure.  Others later mused that it was that the general age of the audience just made for a more mature (less drunk?) response.

Perhaps.  Or that most folks have seen lots of U2 shows and were maybe waiting to have their socks knocked off.  I don’t know.  Part of me wants to blame phones.  Stop it with the phones.  I think that racing to capture the clip of the favourite song with the phone, actually made it so that audience connection is just….lessened.  40 000 times.  But the now infamous BC Place ball drop looks chiefly to blame for its part in taking some of the shine off of what was supposed to be a totally awesome night.  A shame.

To change the subject slightly, I am very curious to learn how the political elements of this show are going to play in different audiences.  It is a very political show.  I found myself yearning for the back story on some of the stories they chose to tell here.  I wanted to reach for my augmented reality glasses and dig into why the Salvation Army Band was so beautifully represented for Red Hill.  I was made fearful by the Trump “jokes”.  I was so very proud of what the band chose to stand up for, like in UltraViolet.  And  I was stunned, gutted and twisted by the images from Jordan, by Omaima herself and her simple messages.  Devastated.

In the past, I’ve shared with my family that people with platforms ought to be aware of their power. U2 is aware of their power.  And they are not wasting this opportunity.  It’s part of their ultimate credibility, in that their politics have never been created to someone else’s agenda.  They are not made in anyone else’s image.  They are still brave, still outspoken warriors of social justice, and they want us to be too.  As we should be.  And we could be.

Bono invited us to join in a call and response here.  “power of the people, so much stronger, than the people in power”  but you know, it didn’t quite take.  I really wanted it to, but it didn’t quite take.  I hope the message stays with the crowd, too.  And I hope that at the end of the day, they’re right.

Vocally, my favourite performance was “Running to Stand Still”, followed closely by the outro from “One Tree Hill”, both sounded so pure and great.  In terms of pure Rock and Roll style, I would point to the home runs hit in “Exit”, and of course of course “Beautiful Day”.

My tears flowed freely during “One”, I’m so glad they chose to include this song.  It felt so meaningful and right.

And the new song “The Little Things That Give You Away” seemed in equal measure a farewell, a thank you, and a see you soon; a thoughtful one though.  The long hug, rather than the high five.

I want to see it all again.  I want to live it all again.  I went back to watch all the clips I could find, I listened eagerly to everyone’s stories the next day.  I’m not yet ready to part with this show, and am bummed that it’s in the rearview mirror already.  So thanks so much for the opportunity to relive it in this way at least.  I love this band and this music so much, and more than anything, I feel so grateful for it.

 




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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