The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

Jul
8
2017
London, UK / Twickenham Stadium
with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds 69
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'We're here. And so are they.’ Donal Scannell’s first U2 show was The Joshua Tree Tour in Dublin's Croke Park in 1987. He hasn't missed a tour since - and he didn't miss a beat last night.

Here's the complete set list from Night 1 at Twickenham

'The tension of modern life makes a U2 show feel even more essential. Each of us in the audience last night at Twickenham came from a different place. Each one of us secured a ticket, arranged free time to attend and made our way to the home of English Rugby. Security staff beaming and friendly. The lovely chap on Gate C bought me an ice-cream when I admired his. The perfect omen for what lay ahead.

Through the gates. We’ve made it. We're here. And so are they. Them. The band. The ones that have brought us together. Our hosts and entertainers. They've been in our lives a while and now it feels like we need them now more than ever. When you're a U2 fan going to one of their gigs touches something deep within you. That's why we keep coming back. Craving that feeling only they can give us.

Tonight The Joshua Tree comes back to us. We all bring our own Joshua stories with us tonight. Memories soundtracked by this music that's deeply ingrained within us.

It feels like the arena fills up as soon as doors open. Noel Gallagher and His High Flying Birds the massive bonus act for so many. The man who could headline Twickenham himself happy to row behind one of his all-time favourite bands. A member of the U2 family since Oasis toured with U2 twenty years ago. Noel as excited as we were to be there, played his heart out and the full room loved him all the more for it.

U2’s pre-show tapes have been the best radio station ever for a long-time. Every tour new tracks wriggle their way into your ears as they chug along building the groove. Cigarettes After Sex, Small Black and Future Islands are on the perfect warm up tape tonight. Thirty years ago in Croke Park, Dublin when U2 played two shows to celebrate The Joshua Tree, cherished memories extend to hearing Sweet Bird Of Truth by The The wafting through the sweet summer air on the warm up tape for that perfect day. Tonight we’re standing in a glorious field where so much has changed and so much remains the same. The mix tape revs up. The Waterboys’ The Whole Of The Moon at full crank is the signal that the show's about to begin. Everyone sings along, joyously belting out an anthem from kindred spirits. We are all kin tonight, bound by our shared histories and beliefs.

The Waterboys fade and Larry the founder is out first to take his place. Wonders about what they'd start with are dispelled when one of the most unforgettable drum intros of all time begins - Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Tonight we are all one. Our years evaporate with every refrain. We bounce around the youth clubs of our mind singing words that have outlived the conflict they decried.

‘I will be with you again’ sung by the 80,000 strong clan drowns out the band as New Year's Day erupts and a bass line from utopia drives us to ecstasy. No bells and whistles, just the songs, as it was when their played their first stadium gigs three decades ago. 'There is nowhere we'd rather be tonight"', Bono acclaims over Bad's intro. “Three hundred languages spoken in this city. Is this not the capital of the world?”

What Bono doesn't say also registers as the band loop in snatches of the late great David Bowie over Bad. ‘We can be heroes just for one day’ he sings in what can only be a tribute to everyday heroes who’ve shown their true mettle in recent months. The chronological penny drops. That’s what they're up to... songs from before The Joshua Tree... played first. We’d been too busy dancing to recall they hadn’t started into The Joshua Tree yet. Edge’s ‘chicka chicka’ intro sound is all we need to hear to know they’re sharing one more monster with us first. ‘Pride’! An equality anthem ringing out all over London during Pride Week. Fresh relevance and empathy as Pride becomes about equality of all kinds.

Now The Joshua Tree looms in silhouette against a blood red backdrop on the widest screen I’ve ever seen. We're off.

Where The Streets Have No Name. Anton Corbijn's panoramic slomo desert drive on the screen elicits a collective gasp. The side of the desert road is peppered with bedraggled, weary walkers. ‘Have they just crossed over from Mexico?’ I found myself wondering.

We know the tracklisting, we know what's next but still we gasp when Anton’s beautifully captured landscape unfolds on screen to herald ‘I Still Haven't Found What I’m Looking For.’ A whole new experience, like going to an art gallery with 80,000 others. The band are dwarfed by the nature on screen and it's beautiful. We're transported to the Californian wilds evoked by an album made in Dublin. ‘Take it to church’, Bono implores, as a choir of 80,000 takes hold.

A collective roar of delight greets With or Without You, the single which heralded The Joshua Tree. A thousand cover versions haven't diminished the track that invented trip hop. Anton's screen imagery switches from black and white to eye-watering colour as the clouds blow across the Mojave desert. Memories come flooding back - sitting in my dad's car waiting for Dave Fanning on RTE radio in Ireland to premiere With Or Without You when it first came out and now here we all stand thirty years later.

Bullet the Blue Sky was about Nicaragua and El Salvador then, now it feels like the Stars and Stripes is once again in peril. On screen, generations try on an army helmet on and it's not a good look on anyone. This was once a song that rallied against US foreign policy in central America and now it’s picking away at a bigger, less definable malaise.

“My comrade Bob Geldof is here tonight”, Bono declares as he announces to massive cheers that the One campaign has three million members. “Things can be achieved when unlikely people work together in the radical centre”, Bono shares, distilling the mission statement.

Running to Standstill, that closes Side A of The Joshua Tree in introspection, now blossoms into a monster anthem while Red Hill Mining Town is augmented with a Salvation Army brass band on screen and after all these years it becomes the performance it always deserved to be.

“It came out 30 years ago and for 30 years we could never work out how to play that song”, Bono shares as Red Hill ends, “But we finally did. Sometimes it’s like that . A song feels even more relevant now than it did then. This next one is about how the landscape can change - in a person, in a town, in a country" - as the band reach into the dark heart of ‘In God’s Country.’

Bono’s mouthorgan brings us into Trip Through Your Wires before he introduces One Tree Hill. “In our hearts this album will forever take us back to our beautiful Kiwi friend Greg Carrol. We lost him in a motorcycle accident, stolen away. In London we remember the wonderful Kirsty MacColl, who sequenced The Joshua Tree album…also taken too soon. I’m sure so many people have a story like that – a friend, a family member - gone in a moment and nothing is ever the same.”

After One Tree Hill and before Exit, a cut and splice video adds a new section that wasn’t on the album and provides the nights most explicit political commentary to date. A medicine show huckster called Trump from a 1950s TV series ‘Trackdown’ declares he ‘can build a wall around your home that no-one can penetrate. The crowd on screen call him a liar.

There’s one group of people highlighted on The Joshua Tree who have not found resolution: Argentina’s Mothers Of The Disappeared are still waiting for truth. A lifetime spent wishing and waiting for closure that hasn't come. A line of them span the screen, each holding a candle for their missing loved one, abducted by a state whose records have yet to be revealed. They’ve spent generations waiting for the dignity of a funeral, an admission of guilt, a chance to move on. The sea of camera phone lights in Twickenham mimic the candles on screen in solidarity. As the last candle is blown out The Joshua Tree ends.

The first time The Joshua Tree album has been played in full in Europe. Ever. An Event. An anniversary. A rebirth. Everyone in Twickenham last nights owes a debt of gratitude to whoever had the idea of performing this classic album from beginning to end. It's gorgeous. Bono dedicates the show to Paul McGuinness, “The maverick who saved us from ourselves,” and thanks the crew members as the band tear into an encore including a gorgeous new song The Little Things That Give You Away. Johnny Moonwalker summed last night up best on Twitter - “Imagine a place where everyone is on the same team. And it all kicks off. And we all win.”

Can’t wait to let it wash all over me again tonight.

If you were at the opening night in London, tell us all about it. Add your own review and photos on our tour pages.

Donal Scannell has worked with U2 on different projects for twenty years. His first ever U2 show was The Joshua Tree tour in Dublin's Croke Park in 1987 and he hasn't missed a tour since. @donalscannell


COMMENTS

69
daveno8
23 July, 2017
dave o keeffe
what a night....got a great view....brilliant fans....
VickieB
22 July, 2017
Joshua Tree Tour 2017
4th U2 concert and always an amazing experience!
EssJayWhy
22 July, 2017
A night we'll never forget!
First gig ever for our 10 year old, second time seeing the band for our 13 year old! What a set list! What a gig! Brings a tear to our eyes still thinking about it weeks later!
u2mike1960
16 July, 2017
EXIT
BEST EVER!
Barrylett
16 July, 2017
30 years to sing these songs
Still singing !
NMorling
15 July, 2017
In the house....
Expectancy is building .... again!
carolineharrison313
14 July, 2017
Caz
My sister and I named the 8th July happy U2 day and boy it was just that it was a fantastic concert didn't want it to end. From now on the 8th July will remain happy U2 day for both my sister and I.
Arsen79
12 July, 2017
waiting...
great trip to London on U2 concert. Guiness is good beer :D
ends
12 July, 2017
Endaf
Quality
jonheuvel
11 July, 2017
Anyone fancy a singalong...?
What a night; what a show. Thank you so much for being our Heroes, even if just for one day.
chrishux
11 July, 2017
Beautiful Day in Twickenham, England 8th
Thank you U2 - spectacular complex simplicity all coming together, phenomenal vocals Bono, mindblowing guitars Edge, lead bass magnificent cool Adam, onfire stunning drum-master Larry - and what a cool beginning to the show! Intimate and extravagant and out-there, just like Exeter 1983, but celebrated on the biggest stage - and how it worked, even to those us with vertigo in the highest places. I don't care if I haven't found what I'm looking for, if it looks, sounds and reveals itself again like this!!
jackie robson
11 July, 2017
Amazing
My first U2 live experience was the 1987 Joshua Tree tour....... it was breathtaking and moving then as it was on Saturday. I have seen them every tour since and they never disappoint. Each time is wonderful and special in its own way. Thank you for your wonderful words and music over the years........ love you all
dawnmurphie
11 July, 2017
Twickenham 8th July
What a beautiful day. Thank you U2 for the passion, inspiration and thought provoking Joshua Tree 2017.
jamcnamara
11 July, 2017
From Seoul to Twickenham
My wife and I travelled from Korea, where I work, to spend the summer in the UK and we had been looking forward to seeing U2 as a highlight of our trip for months. We have been staying down in Devon with family, so we had a bit of a road trip ahead of us on Saturday morning to get to the gig. It is no exaggeration to say that it was worth travelling half the world for! The first time I ever saw U2 was on the Zooropa tour at Wembley Stadium in 1993 and since then I have seen the band twice during the Pop Mart tour and once in 2001 at Earls Court. I can remember enjoying those gigs but Saturday night felt special. From the opening drums of Sunday Bloody Sunday, through The Edge’s incredible guitar solos, until the lights went up after Don’t Look Back In Anger, my wife and I sang, danced and occasionally stood mesmerised at the spectacle we felt a part of. Seeing The Joshua Tree performed live, in its entirety on such an amazing night, is something we will never forget. Thank you, U2.
Matty t
10 July, 2017
A truly memorable night
Twickenham rocked the music touches the soul and the songs ring true 30 years on maybe even more relevant and critical of all that divides... we have a duty to be ONE
Achtung327
10 July, 2017
Great show
Great show once again. First time I saw them in the UK. See you in Brussels.
aedoh
10 July, 2017
Rainy days and Sundays
I was there on Saturday. Being home Sunday was like a rainy day after a two week holiday in the sun. The show was brilliant. Side two songs were astonishingly good. Loved Elevation towards the end. A mole...
teutonic
10 July, 2017
twickenham 1
Absolutely brilliant, noel gallagher and his band played a blinder, wetting the appetite for the main course. U2 didn`t disappoint, they nailed it.couldn`t have been better.
DBecosse
10 July, 2017
A small gripe, lads.
Biggest screen "in the world" and, unless it was showing the band up on screen, we couldn't see what was happening on either stage. And the sound quality at the back end of the stadium was poor (a problem with the stadium layout, not the band). No idea what Bono was saying half the time. Watching the gig on youtube clips to see what we missed. A shame, sorry, as no doubt it was a cracker.
arthurfitz
10 July, 2017
Simply Amazing!
What a night in London! Warm air, gentle breeze and a great performance from the best live band in the world. Can't wait to see you in Dublin on 22nd!
julesabury
09 July, 2017
U2 Day 8-7-2017
What can I say? Absolutely amazing, special, meaningful and definitely memorable. Well worth the wait!!! Loved everything about the show. July 8th is officially U2 Day!!!!!!
Joice Yoshimura
09 July, 2017
I love the last tour...
but you keep topping yourselves! Unbelievable! Thanks for always making the last show the best one yet. It was like I was listening to all those songs for the first time in a concert again. I love U2!!!!!
stevebass68
09 July, 2017
We could be hero's
Just an amazing and magical performance...thank you so much for taking me to that special place once again.
dennis_verkerk
09 July, 2017
Beautiful Day
Beautiful night, beautiful day it certainly was. It was again awesome, another U2 experience I will always remember. All these songs I never heard/saw live before.... amazing! Thanks guys, see you in Amsterdam the 29th!
tingle
09 July, 2017
One of the best nights I've spent with U
What a treat last night was at Twickenham, Noel Gallagher to start, 4 great songs on the small stage and then The Joshua Tree in full. Then some recent favourites to edge us towards the triumphant close.
Ant
09 July, 2017
Joshua Tree 30 years later
What a great night , Twickenham night 1. Thirty years ago at The Arms Park in Cardiff (home of Welsh rugby), this time home of England rugby and my daughter.
09 July, 2017
Twickenham night 1
Father and daughter My 15th and her 2nd-first stadium thou!
whysohardtojointhisclub
09 July, 2017
Amazing gig @ twickenham
The Ultimate U2 set list, loved the entire gig and didn't want it to end. Can't wait for the Dublin gig!
flembo68
09 July, 2017
From Cardiff to Twickenham!!
And amazing night ...30 years later from my first U2 concert at Cardiff Arms Park!!!
hughcummings
09 July, 2017
Twickenham
One word "phenomenal " to describe Corbens work on this, just mind blowing stage graphics
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