The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

Jul 8 2017
London, UK / Twickenham Stadium
with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

'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

    Sao Paulo - last show of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. Video by
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    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!
    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.
    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.
    Twickenham night 1
    Father and daughter My 15th and her 2nd-first stadium thou!
    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!
    From Cardiff to Twickenham!!
    And amazing night ...30 years later from my first U2 concert at Cardiff Arms Park!!!
    One word "phenomenal " to describe Corbens work on this, just mind blowing stage graphics
    8th July, Twickenham, Magnificent as always guys, here's to many more, I'm sticking around x
    Twickenham 8/7/17
    Noel then U2 then Noel again truly amazing to hear whole place singing. 30 years on great to to hear One Tree Hill and Exit. Well done lads see you again at Croke Park. ❤️
    Helen M
    What an awesome day. The boys never fail to give it their all and entertain the crowd. EXIT was phenomenal. Which I could relive yesterday as Groundhog Day ❤️
    JT17 London #1
    Every show I say is the best, but this was very special in as much as it really won't come around again. The band & crowd were in top form. Too many songs to mention, but 'Exit' was beyond words!
    Fantastic night fellas. Noel did well too ;-)))
    1987 again!!
    Amazing how many people's first show was 13th June 1987 What a night looking forward to tomorrow
    That sunny Saturday June 1987 - Wembley stadium, with my mum, friends and family... now 30 years later, a sunny Saturday in twickenham. The excitement is the same, the thrill of seeing the band as if it's our very first time.. We're all so excited, we're gonna sing our hearts out in that red zone !!! Here's to pride in proud and loud london on a pride weekend!
    I can't wait
    ... to be a part of this tomorrow. Hope you all have an amazing show!!
    I can not wait xxxxxx
    Wembley 1987
    The Pogues, Lou Reed and U2 on the Joshua Tree tour. Back again after seeing them many times since. Still get tingles down the spine.
    30 years on!
    13th june 1987 was first U2 concert and #38 will be at Twickenham on saturday. What a fab 30yrs!!!
    So so looking forward to Saturday.
    *** Madrid 15 July 1987 - London 8 July
    By far my favourite band ever, can't wait to see U2 again in a couple of days after 30 years!!! I remember the Joshua Tree concert in Madrid 1987 - an unforgettable experience! Looking forward to seeing them with my brother on 8 July at Twickenham and then again with my daughter on 22 July in Croke Park Dublin!! Thank you U2 for the awesome songs you have been playing throughout all these years!!!!
    13th June 87
    What a day that was, my brother a mate and myself, was first time seeing U2, fast forward 30 years and of to Twickenham with my brother and another mate, seen them a fair few times now but the excitement leading up is the same, hoping we hear 40, would be class
    Our boys first U2 gig - Twickenham 8th J
    After watching U2 for over 30 years, the JT17 concert at Twickenham will be the first time my 9yr and 8yr old boys will be going to watch the greatest band in the world. I can't wait to see their enjoyment as U2 roll back the years. My oldest boy Oliver plays guitar and decided to write a letter to U2... I hope they get to see it :-)
    New a Song?? How long to sing this song?... Listening to original live MSG show in car- they had some guts in those days.
    First show was at NEC Birmingham can't wait to see this tour looks fab so far. Still get a chill down my spine when the intro to streets starts. Will be there with my 10yr old son (it's his first show) roll on songs of experience.
    2nd time round for the tree tour
    I can't wait, I've seen and been to every tour at least once , saw this concert at elland road Leeds first time and now twickenham here I come and only a week after my knee operation
    Peter, Swansea
    Been a fan for many years & seen the boys live numerous times - now as a 46 year old & taking my kids (13 & 11) for the first time, it feels like the first time for me all over again. Can't wait to see their enjoyment & amazement !!! XXX
    Looking forward to an awesome night!
    First live experience with U2 was in 1988 when Bono lost his voice during a concert in Amsterdam. The fans were singing the songs out loud, but Bono stopped the concert halfway. You might expect fans to be disappointed, but instead thousands of people were singing together "How long to sing this song" until the last person left the building. That says everything about U2 fans. After that I have been at one or more concerts of each tour, each one being amazing and unique. I am really looking forward to it. Will be there together with my father and we will certainly enjoy every minute of it. Any setlist is fine with me, but would make it an extra special night to me when they play "Kite" and end with "40"!
    I'm going to Twickenham
    I am going to Twickenham as a VIP guest on Saturday 8th July and I cannot wait!!
    13th June 1987
    Remember 1st time I saw them in a stadium came on with stand by me and then pride my favourite song at the time,queued all day was knackered and slept on Wembley station as I was late as I was busy getting posters and anything else down the street!!19 at the time will never forget that show can't wait for 8-7-17
    Two songs I'd love to hear/see at Twickers... 'Kite', and probably one of their most underrated songs, 'Stay (faraway, so close)'. I never tire of hearing 'Stay'. Would make a great night even better, hearing these two amongst the live favourites
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