The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

Jul 30 2017
Amsterdam, NL / Amsterdam ArenA
with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Caroline van Oosten de Boer on 'the gift' that is this tour.

Caroline van Oosten de Boer, founding editor of (2000-2011) and co-author of U2 Live - A Concert Documentary, was at the shows in Amsterdam. Here she reflects on the second night, 'a celebration'.

"I couldn't see beyond the motel room and the desert and highway. I couldn't see that there was another world. To me, the whole world was encompassed in that. I thought that was the only world that mattered." - Sam Shepard (1943 - 2017)

Reconnecting with the band during the 2015 I&E tour, as previously documented on, I've recently rediscovered playing U2 music in the form of albums, appreciating songs previously on my shitlist. I'm looking at you again, Pride. In fact, after years of exercising my right to be tough on the band's work, I seem to have arrived at a point where I'm relaxed enough to just celebrate the fact that thirty years on they're still here and so am I.

And so I arrive at U2's second show at the Amsterdam Arena, ready to mark the 30th anniversary of the album that propelled the band into stardom. U2's connections with The Netherlands go deep. Way back to the very early years. Maybe the first country outside of Ireland to really pay attention to the band and where they came from, through Bert van de Kamp's article on Lypton Village for OOR magazine in '82. Certainly the first country outside of Ireland to have its own U2 fan club, started by Annelies de Haan in February 1981. And most of all, the country of birth of the man who helped create U2's iconic visual presence. From the shimmering mysticism of The Unforgettable Fire's album cover to the stark black and white desert language of The Joshua Tree, and the full colour reimagining of the Achtung Baby artwork. "I always felt that Anton was photographing the song, not us," says Bono, "They were more interesting so he dressed us up with their qualities." 

Anton Corbijn's unique point of view shaped the image of not just U2, but also Depeche Mode. While Gahan and co very quickly handed themselves over to Corbijn completely, letting him create and direct their live shows for many years, U2 had never given him the reigns in that area before. This time, however, they've surrendered to their Dutch Master. 

At the start of the show the band file on stage one by one to the tune of The Waterboys' The Whole of the Moon, another seminal album from The Joshua Tree era. Drummer first, singer last. Unadorned, starkly lit, U2 knock out some of their pre-JT greatest hits, warming us up for the star of the show: The Joshua Tree played in sequence, in its entirety. And as Pride segues into Where the Streets Have No Name, the initially dull sandy coloured backdrop - not dissimilar to the 1987 tour set up - lights up to reveal its 60 meter wide brilliance. It's here where the film director Corbijn takes over, casting the four members of U2 in a movie starring the desert and the highway, the moon and shack, the mountains and those damn Joshua trees. They are supporting actors - not extras, not quite - providing the live original soundtrack. 

It's a rare treat to hear some of these songs again. Trip Through Your Wires will probably never again be as funny as when it was first played in Belfast in '87, but Red Hill Mining Town, neglected for so long, turns out to be quite the earworm. Exit is performed just the way it is lodged in our tricky memories of the 1987 tour. Full on. Angry. Scary. Larger than life. Literally, because when I look back at videos of the 1987 shows, it turns out the song wasn't quite as heavy as it is right now. Apart from the sound being so much better than 30 years back, Bono - assisted by modern technology and unhindered by his guitar - has become a much, much better performer. 

As fans, we've struggled to fit the anomaly that is this tour into the band's history. It just didn't seem like something U2 would do. Looking back rather than forward. Consolidating rather than innovating. But I now accept this tour as a gift. A rather considerate gift that gives me the opportunity to reflect on the last thirty years of my life with and without U2. To think about the people Bono mentions before One Tree Hill, the ones taken away. To appreciate the ones that are still around. The ones right here with me tonight, from the first bars of Sunday Bloody Sunday to the last notes of I Will Follow. To celebrate, to be grateful for and proud of this band's amazing achievements. "This song," Bono says, "… you really own this one, here in the Netherlands. This was kind of the first big moment for us, here in this country. It's never been less than great here. It's always great here, people are so generous to us. Thank you." No, thank you, for giving us fans great lives too. 
The playwright Sam Shepard, whose work greatly influenced The Joshua Tree, passed away this week. Shepard hated endings. To him, the most authentic endings were the ones which are already revolving towards another beginning. With U2 filming material for new songs right here in Amsterdam before and during the shows, that new beginning is just around the corner.

Are you ready for what's next?

And if you were at the second show at the Amsterdam ArenA tell us all about it. Add your own review and photos below

And if you were at the second show at the Amsterdam ArenA tell us all about it. Add your own review and photos below

    Sao Paulo - last show of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. Video by
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    Awesome show! I thought I would go once in a lifetime. But after this I will go to at least one concert each show.
    Melinda&Zsolt from Hungary
    If U2 doesn't come to Budapest, than we go to the wonderful Amsterdam. Our second U2 Show was amazing, certainly it wasn't the last one! (The first one was the Zoo TV Tour in 1993. at Budapest :) Anton Corbijn is a genius!
    Time has passed, but the energy is there
    30 years ago I was sad and alone, first year of university, studying in a small room and U2 in the background to comfort me 7 years ago, in Hannover with my wife, Bono was on his knees exactly in front of us, it was like a dream come true 7 days ago we were again first row, Where The Streets have no reminded me everything happened during the last 30 years, the bad things and the good things, and I was so grateful these guys were in front of me to remind that time has passed, but the energy is there more than ever, for all of us...
    July 30 2017 U2 The Joshua Tree Tour Ams
    Thanks U2 and Crew for this fantastic evening!
    Great again, just like 30 years ago, may
    What a great night it was, the boys seem to get better by the years, just like wine,...
    U2 at Amsterdam Arena 30-07-2017
    We were close to the stage. It was amazing. I loved it very much.
    U2 Amsterdam Arena July 30 2017
    No further questions
    The Arena Amsterdam
    Have seen the show on July 29th 2017 and what a great performance. Enjoyed from the beginning till the end. Was my fourth time and won't be the last !!!!
    U2 Amsterdam Arena July 30 2017
    Amazing Show!
    Day two was GREAT!
    #U2amsterdam day two! Not as near to the stage as the first day, but I can enjoy the great visual on the giant screen more
    o local, as pessoas e a banda estavam em sintonia. Perfeito!
    Just Great
    I was at the second show of the band en in 1 word just WOW!! Great !!! i want to see them again !!!!
    Tulpen aus Amsterdam
    I went there for both nights and it was an amazing experience, Party on at the GA line for the first night and a great experience next to the soundboard for the second night. Yes, U2 lives on.
    Best of the year for me
    Simply, this show is why I'm a U2 fan, proud to be, proud to shout it from the rooftops. Awesome. What more can I say?
    A.J. happy to see us again!!
    After meeting A.J. many times before, it was time for a photo!
    A.J. meet many people on the show and some people he meet for many years and was happy to have a photo with us!!
    A dream came true!
    I'm a fan since I was 15 years old. I'm 46 now. I wanted to go to your tour in july 1987, but my parents wouldn't let my because I was too young. So yesterday evening when Larry Mullen appeared on the stage, tears where in my eyes...When the whole band appeared I started crying like a little child. Tears of happiness that I could see and hear you!!! I love your music, and especially the messages you send to the listeners! Thank you for making my dream come true! I had a great evening!!!
    U2 Live, now thats a beautiful day
    Two amazing shows in Amsterdam and a great show in Dublin! Hope to see you soon.
    One to remeber
    What a special night at the U2 concert. Where the streets have now name was the highlight in 2005 at my first concert and this edition again. There was a family of 4 standing whit us. A little boy of about 8 years old Could not see it. His brother wanted to lift him every time, this did not work every time. At the start of where the streets have no name I was going to help. Together the shoulders under the boy. He shared my experience of 2005 and after the song the tears in his eyes of happiness. The look in his eyes, unforgettable. For me again the highlight of an u2 concert. I would like to know the name of this boy because I have no idea. Please help me to find this kid Thank you guys for this night. Greetz Rene
    Who is the dancer?
    We saw him/you two years ago in Barcelona and now again in Amsterdam. Very energetic
    Amazing Night at Arena Amsterdam
    I had a really great night on Saturday with my husband and my two sons. Bono's voice was better than my last time in Gelredome, but please don't ever use the Arena again. The sound on the second level/ring was TOO LOUD, and unfortunately the speech/talk Bono did on Syria and women was not clear enough to hear all the words he said. So...please come to's the best place to have a rock band playing indoors.
    My first Joshuatree concert
    Wow! Realy amazing!
    Amsterdam 30 juli
    Fantastic concert. Great album.
    2017-07 30 Amsterdam Arena
    Great show
    Went to both shows last weekend. It was awesome. Highlights to me were Trip Through Your Wires, Exit and A Sort of Homecoming, Red Hill Mining Town and I Will Follow the last show. It was the first time I saw A Sort Of Homecoming live. Goosebumps all over with such a big smile on my face. The crowd was going wild, the band was going wild... Credits to Noel Gallagher and his very High Flying Birds. It was a perfect pre-act. J
    Great show!!!!
    The Joshua Tree concert in Amsterdam in the Johan Cruijff arena on 29/7/17 was a great concert!! We enjoyed it very much!! Very special, impressive concert. Great, Beautiful songs! U2 is the best! Very impressive story of the Syrian girl. Bono honoured Bowie & Friso. I was speechless. I lost my Brother. It is good to honour family and friends we lost in time.... Very special, great concert. It always is! I was very hyper the day after!! That's good. ;-) Thx guys!! I became a fan when i was 12 and i am still a big fan 30 years later. U2 has many loyal fans!! See you soon i hope. ;) Good luck with the rest of the tour. Love you guys! Best wishes, Marc van der Klooster
    Glad i could see you guys real close
    Dennis Roos
    Amazing show
    It was more than that!!
    2 nights in Amsterdam, and they were magical. Thank you guys, for making this 1 of the most special weekends of my life
    Thanks for your support!
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