The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

May 21 2017
Los Angeles, CA, US / Rose Bowl
with The Lumineers

‘Full Circle’

Cathleen Falsani was 17 when she first heard The Joshua Tree. On Sunday she took her 17 year old son to see the show. Here’s their take.

On Sunday evening, as I stood with my 17-year-old son, Vasco, while U2 delivered a boisterous, joy-filled performance at LA’s Rose Bowl, I remembered that when the band released The Joshua Tree in 1987, I was a 17-year-old high school junior just like he is today.

The album was for me, as for countless others, a definitive cultural artifact and a touchstone for my burgeoning social, political, and spiritual consciousness. Three decades later, the 11 tracks still move me the way they did the first time I heard them on the old hi-fi in my teenage bedroom.

In 1987, my overprotective mother wouldn’t let me attend U2’s show at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, so I hadn’t heard the majority of the album performed live until last week. Thirty years was well worth the wait. The band’s multimedia reimagining of The Joshua Tree is magnificent.

Still, I wondered whether Vasco, watching through his 2017-era 17-year-old lens, would find it similarly compelling. Sunday’s show was his fourth time seeing the band live. In fact, his very first concert was their Rose Bowl show on the 360 Tour in 2009. He’s a U2 fan by birthright and a music lover by nature, but would The Joshua Tree, with its stories rooted in the UK mining strikes, the Salvadoran civil war, and U.S. foreign policy of the 1980s resonate with my thoroughly modern teenager?

It did.

“From the first notes on the drums when Larry plays alone and then The Edge joins in on guitar and then the bass and then Bono starts to sing, how it builds slowly and then explodes—“Sunday Bloody Sunday” on a Sunday—that was so great,” Vasco said when I asked him what his favorite moments from the show were as we drove home from the Rose Bowl in the wee hours of Monday. He’d heard it before, yes, but it sounded different coming out of the nowhere, out of the darkness, to launch the show. It seized his attention and didn’t let go for two hours.

We moved from the back of the stadium floor to the Red Zone adjacent to the stage at the front as the band transitioned from the first set of three songs—“Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “New Years Day,” and “Pride”—to The Joshua Tree sequence just as the mega screen awakened, blood red and sparkling against the night sky.

Vasco is a natural observer. He hangs back, takes it all in, processing slowly and watching intently. As Bono, Edge, Larry, and Adam appeared centre stage, tiny black silhouettes against the enormous scarlet screen, he took out his phone and started recording video. I took out mine and started recording him recording them, ever fascinated by the effect that the experience of music can have. He continued filming through “Where The Streets Have No Name,”“Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and “With Or Without You,” pausing occasionally to post images on Snapchat.

As I scanned the audience, I noticed more than a few parents-and-children in the crowd. The 30-something father a few feet in front of us with his school-aged, pigtailed daughter hoisted on his shoulder so she could get a better shot of The Edge with her Go-Pro camera. The middle-aged woman with her teenage daughters leaning on the rail, singing every word to “One Tree Hill,” the song Bono dedicated to Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, who tragically lost his life last week.

Somewhere up in the stands were friends of ours—a mother and father and their six-year-old son. It was a “bucket list dream,” the mom later wrote on Facebook, to hear the band perform “Bad,” (which they did during their first encore), and for her young son to experience the band perform The Joshua Tree, “the iconic album that initially got me hooked when I was just a preteen.”

It’s been a common refrain I’ve heard at each of the first five shows of the tour: grown-ups for whom The Joshua Tree was a defining experience of their youth want to share that experience with the younger generation with the hope that it might have a similar effect.

On our drive home, Vasco was a bit more circumspect. He said he really enjoyed the show and thought the films by Anton Corbjin, JR, and others—particularly the “luminous icons” video of women leaders through history that accompanies “Ultraviolet”—were smart, visually captivating compliments. But it was something different, and unexpected that he’ll remember most from the show.

“It was really interesting to watch adults dancing like they probably did when they were kids,” he said. “It’s like they got totally lost in the music—in a good way, like they remembered how they felt when they were young. It was really cool to see that, how the music did that.”

In that precious moment, life—and The Joshua Tree—came full circle.

Oh great ocean
Oh great sea
Run to the ocean
Run to the sea...

And if you were at the Rose Bowl, tell us all about it. Add your own review and photos on our tour pages here.



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    Sao Paulo - last show of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. Video by
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    Best Band Ever
    The band was fantastic throughout. The set list was perfect, especially fitting Bad in there! The crowd seemed to lack energy I would have expected.
    A little more subdued and raw ...
    This was my 3rd show this far in this tour; I loved Sunday's set in that it was perhaps not as highly energized as Sunday, but more potent with some of the emotional connections. Was also impressed that the set schedule was adjusted so as to spread some of the most important messages earlier, before the show was ending - Also, view from the back of the stadium is great! So much gratitude to be at, and inspired by these shows!
    big boy
    Great show but not good getting home and it's the same on all u2 shows in US . Day need to go to AUS to learn
    Road Trip for U2!
    Saw the tour opener in my home town of Vancouver and loved it so much I just HAD to see it again. So I took the scenic route down the coast and saw my 15th U2 show, and probably one of my favourites (right up there with the shows I've seen in Dublin). What an amazing night! What an amazing show! Bono, Edge, Larry, and Adam, you guys are absolutely incredible people and even better musicians. I can't wait for the DVD of this tour so I can relive the joy!
    Rose Bowl T-Shirts!
    Please make more Rose Bowl T-shirts they were ALL out tonight by 6pm and we checked every booth!!!
    LA 2
    Beautiful day is my best, Little things, I would say: a very latin song!
    U2 NEVER disappoints!
    I used to put my cranky toddler down for naps to this album! What a thrill to share this experience with her and her sister 23 years later!And yes, she stayed awake the whole time! ;)
    Rattle and Hum
    My wife and I are roadtripping from Tucson, Arizona and will be jamming U2 songs as we pass the Joshua Tree National Park on our way to Pasedena! Celebrating my May 50th birthday in style. Tempe, Salt Lake City, Phoenix 2 nights in a row and now Pasedena. I was in Holland serving an LDS mission in 87 but didn't make the show but I did bring home a poster in Dutch. Named one of my sons Joshua and I call him Yahweh from time to time. Looking forward to hearing you again. One Love.
    It's going to be awesome...
    Can't wait to see you guys play again. Saw you twice before in Hilversum, the Netherlands in the early 80's, and then in Phoenix, AZ in 2005. It's been twelve long years...
    come soon...
    Excited waiting for the show in Brazil!!!
    Mother of All Roses in Pasadena
    I am looking forward to seeing you guys for the first time and from am from Boston area. A week after Mothers Day it seems pretty Special to me.. I appreciate U2..
    It took only 30 years...
    This will be my first ever rock concert to see the band that I have cherished for the past 30 years. And I get to share the experience with my brother. Can't wait for the 21st, Pasadena.
    Can't wait to go
    Going all the way from Brazil to see you !!!!!
    Victor Enrique
    9 years part two
    Continuing with my nine year wedding anniversary with one more concert from my favorite band
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