The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

May 14 2017
Seattle, WA, US / CenturyLink Field
with Mumford and Sons

‘Grand-scale rock 'n’ roll...'

Paul Sexton reviews night two of #U2TheJoshuaTree2017, from CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington.

If the opening night of 'The Joshua Tree Tour 2017' saw U2 victorious in Vancouver, gig two had them seamless in Seattle. The second show on the 33-date itinerary, and first in the US, confirmed all of the promise of the Canadian opener and multiplied it several times over, in a true audio-visual feast.

By the time of the Seattle date, word had spread among devotees about the unusual format of the show, in which a complete performance of 'The Joshua Tree' is bookended by a generous selection of other U2 favourites from four decades. As the scale and confidence of the presentation grew as tall as one of those gnarly desert trees that inspired the 30-year old classic, the set also offered some notable changes from two nights earlier.

As before, Larry Mullen Jr led the way onto the B stage for an initial five-song sortie of both raw and rare power. As the citizens of Seattle rejoiced in an evening that stayed unexpectedly dry, 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' again set the tempo for an evening of spontaneous energy. 'New Year's Day' and 'A Sort Of Homecoming' kept the motor running, the compactness of the smaller stage only adding to the intensity shared between four minds with precisely one goal, to deliver a brilliant, grand-scale rock 'n' roll show. 

Then one song from 'The Unforgettable Fire’ was replaced with another, as 'MLK' made way in the set list for ‘Bad’: Bono teasing the impending recreation of an album about the United States by interpolating the lead line from Simon & Garfunkel's 'America.' 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)' again had fans howling its chorus with abandon.

Then to work on the main stage, on which the interaction between the band, the lyricism of the 30-year-old 'Joshua Tree' and Anton Corbijn's new films and photography was quite stunning. The Edge's guitar textures were endlessly varied and understated, as were his adept backing vocals, and Mullen and Adam Clayton were pictures of measured concentration. Bono, too, may mock his own ability on the harmonica, but he played a mean riff for 'Running To Stand Still.'

It's hard to over-emphasise what a star attraction the retooled 'Red Hill Mining Town' is becoming, in the band's realisation of the just-released Steve Lillywhite mix, with its delightful horns. To think that U2 had neved played it live before the Vancouver show, or that Bono never enjoyed singing it until now, preferring to wish Joe Cocker would cover it.

So many of the LP's lyrics had new pertinency as U2 took them back, so to speak, into the arms of America. In the words of another song, they were welcome in God's country. 'Exit' was one of several numbers to feature incredible optical effects of the quartet playing in a visual “negative” of themselves.

As the album recreation concluded with 'Mothers of the Disappeared,' the band were joined by opening guests Mumford & Sons and, to share lead vocals, by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. Bono thanked everyone for keeping 'The Joshua Tree' in their hearts for so long. 

Among the initial encores, 'Elevation' was especially brooding and 'Ultraviolet (Light My Way)' was graceful in its recognition of strong women in all walks of life. 'The Little Things That Give You Away,' the new composition which Bono describes as “a song of experience” in anticipation of their next album, has taken only two passes to become an appealing addition. That looked like being the finale again before they sent a delighted crowd home with 'I Will Follow.' The entire crowd punched the air with elation. 

Two shows in, 'The Joshua Tree Tour 2017' already feels like a totally compellling proposition without a hint of contrived nostalgia. Observing the sheer scope of the production, you were reminded that the number of artists that can mount live shows to these dimensions is lower than the belly of a rattlesnake in the Californian desert that inspired them. 

If you were at the show in Seattle, tell us what it was like. Add your own review and photos below.

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    Sao Paulo - last show of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. Video by
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    Those Anton Corbijn visuals in 8k on that massive screen, Eddie Vedder joins the band on stage for Mothers of the Disappeared and what an ending with I Will Follow that was not on the set list.
    LA, I'm coming again!
    Los Angeles CA, is over 7,000 miles away from where I live, but I come again, just for U2!
    The Edge
    The Edge is obviously a closely guarded and absolutely top secret weapon. The entire band was on fire, but we couldn't help but notice the incredible sonic sound scape laid down by Mr. Evans/The Edge.
    U2 here we go
    Back on tour again!
    Epic show in Vancouver. Having to Seattle.
    Going to Seattle!!!
    Landed last night - only my 31st U2 concert! Ready to rock!!!
    Seattle in May
    See you there and bring your rain gear!!
    happy trip
    Have a wonderful and happy time! to Carol and awesome front row Phoenix friends who are going to the Seattle show. Have a BLAST!!!!! I'll be counting the days till Miami. I Love U2!!! All the best! val
    30 year Reunion
    Joshua Tree was the first legit concert I ever attended. I've seen them in Mpls (a few times), Denver, MSG, and now Seattle! SO EXCITED! I feel like I'm 15 all over again. Will be driving all day, the day of the show. Adrenaline will lead me to Centurylink Field!
    Seattle, here we come!!
    The Seattle show will be my 161st U2 concert. Dating back to 6/3/83 at the Salt Palace in Utah. Haven't missed a tour since and they have yet to disappoint.
    Thoughts about my teens coming
    So I'm planning on brining my 2 kids 18 and 16 year old, we lived in Ireland for 10 years so I'm hoping this was a great decision! Thoughts?
    Seattle (From Boise) or Bust!
    Taking family to Seattle show. Been to many U2 shows and never once have I been let down. If you love their music, then just go. You won't be sad. Even the cheap seats are worth it! PS: U2, please consider Boise, Idaho for a tour stop some time.
    Traveling across country!
    I'll be there Red Zone. My first RZ always do GA. So excited!
    The Monica
    me = going
    Gotta tell my boss to let me get online so I can get me some tickets!
    It's been a long time
    I looking forward to seeing the show. The last time I saw U2 was in Memphis TN back in 1982. They opened for the J Geils band and I think U2 was way more entertaining.
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