Everyone keeps asking me how this 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree Tour ranks among other tours. Well for me nothing will ever top the great Elevation Tour of 2001, but this Joshua Tree Tour has my favorite set list as The Joshua Tree is and always has been and always will be my favorite album. So while it is not my favorite tour, it is my favorite set list – if that makes sense. So this Joshua Tree 2017 tour ranks third with me, tied with the ieTour of 2015 (we’ll see if the Fall shows gives it the edge over ie). Out of the U2 tours I have seen, my favorite is Elevation then 360 then ie/Joshua Tree 30, then ZooTv, then PopMart, then Vertigo.
My highlights for this 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree Tour were actual concert highlights rather than band interactions, since this tour I did not have any interactions with the band outside of the concerts. As I mentioned, my favorite album is The Joshua Tree so I was thrilled with what the set list was going to be. Every show I would definitely get to hear my favorite song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” so I was looking forward to that. I was also looking forward to the four songs off Joshua Tree I had never heard live: “Red Hill Mining Town,” “Trip Through Your Wires,” “Exit” and “Mothers of the Disappeared” – in that order. What surprised me was how much I loved (I mean squealing jumping up and down crazily thrusting loved) “Exit” and how much I did not love “Red Hill Mining Town.”
“Red Hill Mining Town” had always been a favorite of mine. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was completely obsessed with the song made even more so by the fact I knew U2 had never played it live and never would. But 30 years later they did, except they changed it and Bono did not sing it like he did on the album so it really didn’t have the same affect on me (except when I cried the ugly cry Chicago1 when I heard for the first time after 30 years of yearning to hear it live). But “Exit” live evoked that crazy passion in me that “RHMT” used to. “Exit” on The Joshua Tree never did anything for me, but I loved watching it on Rattle and Hum. Although there was no synchronized thrusting this time, it was still exciting to watch especially when Larry went crazy on the drums and Edge starts stomping and spinning. “Trip Through Your Wires” was also great to finally hear live. I always really liked that song and even got used to the way Bono changed the tempo of “you set my desire.” “Mothers of the Disappeared” never had any affect on me and still does not. I heard “One Tree Hill” in Chicago on 360, “In God’s Country” a handful of times on previous tours and obviously the other five songs on the first side countless times on all tours. But it was fantastic to hear the entire Joshua Tree album played live in its entirety in order from start to finish.
Besides the entire Joshua Tree album played in order and the excitement of “Exit,” my favorite part of each show was what I call the Larry “Elevation” Cam (although Larry strutting down the catwalk to start the show as a close second). This was the part of the show where Larry turns to the camera and either smiles or waves or gives a thumbs up or just gives a look and Bono says some variation of “Do we believe in Larry Mullen Jr?” then Larry turns back around and we see the audience from his vantage point “ELEVATION!” Magic, pure magic!
Chicago2 was my favorite because it was the first (and only) time I heard “A Sort of Homecoming” and Larry blew a kiss during his Larry “Elevation” cam – that literally brought me to my knees. Sharon and I stood at the front rail all the way to the right. Bono sang the first part of “Beautiful Day” to us, which transported me back to the great Elevation Tour. Both Guy and Brian smiled at our (mine and Sharon’s) Larry Mullen Band shirts. This was the only show I saw where Larry did not change into his white t shirt for the encore – he just kept his black shirt on. Click here for full details and photos.
Louisville was a favorite show because it was the most fun show of the tour even though we were so hot and sunburned and was at the wrong entrance when the band arrived. Sharon and I again stood at the front rail all the way to the right and had such a fun time during this show. Our synchronized squealing after Larry’s twinkle wave during the Larry “Elevation” cam was probably the funniest moment of the tour for me. Adam literally laughed at our Larry Mullen Band shirts during “With or Without You,” and Edge did his Chuck Berry in front of us during “Vertigo.” Click here for full details, pics and vids.
Miami was a favorite show, even though it was the hottest show (although Louisville was a close second), because it was the first time I heard “Whole of the Moon” for the walk on music, it was the first time I heard “Vertigo” this tour, it was the first time I heard One Republic open instead of The Lumineers and it was my first RedZone show of the tour, so I had a nice close spot at the tree stage rail directly across from Larry. And I actually had a Larry moment, my only one of the tour. After “New Year’s Day” while Bono walk talking before “Bad,” the spotlight shone on me making my ‘The Larry Mullen Band’ shirt really stand out – plus I was on my tip toes so I could have a clear unobstructed view of my Mr. Mullen. In the silence on my tip toes while the spotlight on me, I shouted “LARRY!” He saw me in the shirt he always see me in and nodded and waved. Then I blew him a kiss and he SMILED almost a chuckle actually and nodded. Then they went into “Bad,” and I didn’t even care it wasn’t “A Sort of Homecoming” because I made Larry smile and sort of almost laugh. “Pride” was next, and I love seeing Larry lean back as he drums into the chorus. Ah! After “Pride” Larry walked in my direction laughing then he and Bono hugged – not sure what that was about but I loved it! Then they took off for the main stage never to back again. Larry smiled and gave a thumbs up during the Larry “Elevation” cam. Click here for full details, pics and vids.
Cleveland was favorite show because it was my 100th U2 show (100 shows in the past 25 years since ZooTv) and it was the last US show of the first leg of the tour. I again had RedZone and stood with Drew at the rail where the ramp meets the tree stage. It was such a relaxed, fun show. One Republic was great, even better than they were in Miami and Louisville (or I was just so sick of hearing The Lumineers). Surprisingly I only choked up once and that was when Bono was talking about how special The Joshua Tree is. Larry smiled and waved during the Larry “Elevation” cam and Bono pulled up Beth Whitten during “Mysterious Ways” and she was fantastic. It was a fun night! Click here for full details, pics and vids.
DC was a favorite show because it had the most impassioned performance of “Bad” I have seen this tour. The whole show just a great fun energy yet very laid back and relaxed. I stood at the front rail far right with Vicky and Romona. Larry smiled and waved during the Larry “Elevation” cam. Click here for full details, pics and vids.
Philly was a favorite of mine because the Unholy Trio (Autumn, Sharon and I) was back together again, at least before the show. Also, I got to hang out with Abbey before the show too. I did my interview for the Dream Out Loud Movie and stood at the front rail far right, but my closest spot to the main stage. It was the first time “Mysterious Ways” was played this tour. Larry gave a sort of hang ten during his Larry “Elevation” cam. Click here for full details, pics and vids.
Chicago1 was my first of the tour, so it was very emotional for me as I had waited 30 years to finally see The Joshua Tree tour since I was not allowed to go in 1987 because Mom thought 14 was too young to go to a concert. Besides being my first of the tour, I also had not been following the tour so I had no idea what to expect and everything was an exciting surprise! I was SO excited Larry started the show by walking out and there was a Larry “Elevation” Cam (although he didn’t turn around that night). I cried the ugly cry all through “Red Hill Mining Town” as I never thought I would hear it live. Sharon and I stood at the side rail of the RedZone. Click here for full details and photos.
Jersey1 was fun standing at the soundboard with Vicky and Romona – and across from Abbey, as well as running into Drew, Alice, Rick, Brendan and Brad. Inside the VIP at the Soundboard was Edge’s wife Morleigh and actresses Gina Gershon and Carrie Lowell. It was fun watching Morleigh watching herself on the video during “Trip Through Your Wires.” Larry smiled and waved in his New Jersey / New York white t shirt during the Larry “Elevation” Cam. It was the only time I got to see Bono and Edge come out before the show to greet the fans (not counting Pittsburgh because I didn’t get close). I didn’t talk with them, but got some great photos. Click here for full details, pics and vids.
Jersey2 was surprisingly not as good as Jersey1 as historically the second show in the same city has always been better than the first with set list surprises – this one not so much. I stood at the back RedZone rail with Michelle and got to catch up with Deb and her husband. Larry smiled and gave a thumbs up in his white New Jersey / New York t shirt. Click here for full details, pics and vids.
Pittsburgh wasn’t the most exciting of shows, but it was great I got to see it with Sharon and Mike (my oldest U2 friend) from the side RedZone rail. And before the show I got to catch up with Tasha and Sheri. Because it was a little chilly, Larry wore a black jacket, white t shirt and black pants like he walked straight out of the 1950s. I about lost my mind! During the Larry “Elevation” Cam, he just turned and looked into the camera with a half smile. Click here for full details, pics and vids.
Thanks for the memories! See you in Detroit and San Diego in September!