The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

May 17 2017
Santa Clara, CA, US / Levi's Stadium

'New Dreams Tonight'
Cathleen Falsani reports from Santa Clara, night three of #U2TheJoshuaTree2017.​

Cathleen Falsani reviews night three of  #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 as it arrives in Santa Clara.

"I can't believe the news today…" 

Those six prescient words from "Sunday Bloody Sunday," penned nearly 35 years ago but embodying an immediacy that made them feel as if they had been written them this week, opened the show in Santa Clara and brought 50,000 people to their feet, many with arms raised aloft signaling fledgy yesses into the brisk night air.

"I can't close my eyes and make it go away…"


"How long, how long must we sing this song?"

How long, indeed.

While I've seen each of the first three shows on the Joshua Tree 2017 tour, Wednesday night's gig in the heart of California's Silicon Valley managed to take me by the shoulders and pull me, heart first, through a threshold in the time-space continuum between the formative past and the palpable present. 

Before launching into a retelling of The Joshua Tree album in its entirety, the band reached back to 1983's War and 1984's The Unforgettable Fire albums for five songs performed on the Joshua Tree-shaped B stage.  It was so much more than nostalgia. It was transcendent, transportive.

Many of us Gen Xers in the rapt audience, viscerally recalled what it was like to be our wide-eyed or clench-fisted adolescent selves hearing "New Year's Day," "Bad," "Pride (In the Name of Love)," or "A Sort of Homecoming" for the first time, as we dreamt dreams and entertained visions of our personal and collective future.

"And you hunger for the time, time to heal, 'desire' time, and your earth moves beneath your own dream landscape…"

Thirty years later here in America, the place that U2 more than admires—"America, we love you; we love you," Bono would say later —we find ourselves in a moment of tumult and division unlike any in recent memory. Many of us are dismayed, angry, fearful. Many of us want to do something to change our trajectory, to widen the aperture of our perception. 

We are, as Bono put it, "the furious and the faithful." 
As each member of the band moved center stage to perform the The Joshua Tree's 11 tracks in sequence, the massive LED screen behind them awakened in blazing vermillion lacerated by the silhouette of an enormous Joshua Tree, and for the remainder of the concert literally widened our apertures. (The 200-foot-by-45-foot screen is the largest and highest resolution screen ever used in touring history.) 

Then Anton Corbijn's black-and-white films moved us through the high desert along an empty, lost highway; where rivers (and hopes) seemingly run dry. His starkly stunning visuals breathed new life and pertinence into The Joshua Tree stories that many of us know by heart, even as subtle tweaks to the album's tracks in live performance—from the addition of a horn section compliments of a Salvation Army Brass Band to "Red Hill Mining Town" to the almost conversational phrasing on "Running to Stand Still"—gave them fresh, sonic energy and relevance.

"What to say about this present moment but these few words," Bono said by way of introducing "In God's Country."

"We need new dreams tonight." 

I have never made it all the way through a U2 concert without shedding a few tears—of joy, desolation, or elevation. But in Santa Clara, enraptured by the power of the stories as they unfolded in new ways before me, I made it all the way to the penultimate song of the encore before they came. 

I've always had a soft spot for "Miss Sarajevo" and its special-guest-appearance by the late Luciano Pavarotti. I've heard it performed live numerous times. But this time, in the context of everything that came before it and employed as a soundtrack to the visual story of Omaima, a 15-year-old Syrian girl in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, broke—no, not broke, opened—my heart in new ways. 

"Hold her up," Bono told the crowd, as a huge fabric print of her black-and-white passport photo was passed hand-by-hand by the audience in the stands, making it around the stadium's horseshoe perimeter.

They held her up. We held her up. We carry each other. 

The evening ended with a song from the forthcoming "Songs of Experience" album called "The Little Things That Give You Away." The band has performed the new tune each night of the tour so far and in the Levi's stadium, it found its stride.

"Sometimes, sometimes, I'm full of anger and grieving," Bono sang, "so far away from believing that any song will appear."

And yet it does. 


If you were at the show tonight, tell us what it was like. 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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    More Music, Less SJW Politics
    Love U2 and the music. But really Bono, give the politics a rest. Not all of us U2 fans are bleeding heart liberals that share your views. And Merkel & Dunn as respected women? Give it a rest; please just stop it. Other than that, A+ on the sound and great choice with Mumford as opening act.
    Son's first concert, on his birthday!
    My sister and I went to several of the 1987 JT shows in the Bay Area, so I had to go see this show 30 years later. This time, I brought my son, who turned 13 on the DAY OF THE SHOW! Of course my sister was there with my niece as well. Needless to say, my son was blown away, and will never forget his first big concert!
    Another Brilliant U2 Experience
    From ZooTV to Joshua Tree & a few in~between, once again I was blown away by the imagery and music. In April I went to Joshua Tree and can't wait to go back. U2 inspired me and inspire me....always
    One Love
    As Bono sang, the crowd passed this beautiful Syrian woman's photo along, and her image rose up to us like an angle!
    My unforgettable fire
    A mexican fan living her first Joshua Tree Tour, celebrating her 40 birthday
    Best Show Ever!
    Thank you all for the most spectacular evening I've spent at a concert! The Joshua Tree is the soundtrack of my life!
    Loved the show
    U2 is a great live band so many great songs. The new songs were ok and the ending left us deflated. I don't like stadium shows but it was U2. Awesome visuals behind the stage especially on Where the streets have no name. Still playing my U2 cd's three days later.
    U2 concert in Santa Clara
    U2 performance was Epic!!! It was awsome to hear the The Joshua Tree album alive. It was a emotional night to see U2 again. See you guys again!!
    Best Ever
    Just saw a great U2 show in Santa Clara! Wow! #u2thejoshuatree
    My best concert! Worth waiting 30 years
    U2 - It has been 30years! It was my 3rd concert but the best one of course. Pure music, best albums, best sound, best show ever. Enjoy some vids I took and pictures I took I am already planning to go for another one, still in this tour. Can't wait. Thank you U2 and the entire crew!
    U2 Santa Clara
    Every time I think they can't reach another level, they come out and blow the roof off. Incredible show I do wish when they were recognizing women that changed the world they would have given a nod to Hillary Clinton, but still an incredible show that shows they are one of the best live bands ever.
    I Love U2 Fans
    Want to give a shutout to the folks who were managing the GA line in the parking lot. They were amazing - even coming around with trash bags to help people offload their stuff. I didn't get all their names - but they were amazing. Thanks for helping create a great experience and helping to ensure those of us who got there early got in smoothly.
    Bono rocking out with the trees
    Levi stadium Joshua tree
    Kiwi in Spain!
    I'm from New Zealand, seeing them in barcelona in july! Can't wait!!!! Any advice on what time to get there with a g.a. ticket to be at the front would be appreciated! Is midday too early or too late?
    Setlist 2017
    Bummed out that "All i want" is not in the setlist.
    regina valerio
    I'm so sad, because I didn't have the money to go see my all time very favorite band ever, but at least I got to see them every time they came to the SF bay area and one time in Sacramento. I've only missed their last two tours, this one coming up and the one before that.
    ...almost with one foot above the plane for travel from Culiacan, Sinaloa (MEXICO) to Santa Clara, CA and fall in love again with my BONO!!!!!!!!!!....... I CAN´T WAITTTTT!!!!
    I was there!
    I was at the Cow Palace April 1987 for U2 Joshua Tree tour with Lone Justice. I'll be there in Santa Clara, this time with my daughter. I raised her well. Can't wait to see this show with Mumford and Sons!
    This could be awesome
    Coming SF from Auckland New Zealand, went to Chicago for I+E in 2015 - you must play one tree hill - epic
    Counting the days
    Flying from Australia to see the concert. Missed their last tour down under so not gonna miss this one!
    Ireland to San Fran......
    Cant wait.... Gonna be epic....
    30 years of pride (in the name of love!)
    This lifelong fan is traveling cross-country (from NH to CA) to go with my son (who lives in SF and turns 30 this year!) to see the boys! And so thrilled that M&S is opening! First time I saw them, they reminded me of U2 with their passion, energy and humility! CAN'T WAIT!!
    San Jose .CA almost two years ago...
    ...72 more days
    ...just 78 days left........
    My First!....Phoenix, AZ October 20, 2009 U2360º Black Eye Peas My Second!...San Jose,CA May 18, 2015 U2 INNOCENCE+EXPERIENCE My Third!!.....Santa Clara,CA May 17, 2017 U2 THE JOSHUA TREE Mumford & Sons
    This will be my third time to attend a U2´s concert!!!! I´m really excited counting the days for May 17!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...I do a huge effort but it´s a gift for me, from me!! LUV-U U2!!!
    Longer shows
    Are we ready for this? Every tour has never dissapoint, but many of come to see the greatest rock n roll band. Why not do a longer show??? See you at Levi
    I will like to have U2 3D on dvd
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