The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

Jul 22 2017
Dublin, IE / Croke Park
with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

'Lovers of Song'

John Noble reports on Saturday's 'epic night' in Dublin.

John Noble, who looks after the boards of Zootopia, has been bumping around the continent in his trusty camper van Dorty Oileen to many of the European shows. None has been as good as Dublin on Saturday. Below his review of the 'Gathering of the Tribes'.
And some of the first press reviews of the night.

'The show began with a precursor to U2's gradual status as one of the world's best rock bands. It ended with a pointer to their future via a new song, The Little Things That Give You Away. There's some distance from then to now, but between poetry, pop music, politics and performance art, U2 at Croke Park was a game/set/match triumph.'  Irish Times

'A spectacular fly-past and understated Trump references: U2 bring 'The Joshua Tree' home…' The Journal.

'U2 Return To Dublin In Triumph. It is 30 years since the release of The Joshua Tree catapulted U2 to the forefront of contemporary music. At their Croke Park homecoming, they reaffirmed that they are still up there, at the very top of the tree….' Hot Press

Gathering of the tribes. 
Elders. Shamans. Warriors. Worriers. Mothers. Brothers. Crude boys. Rude girls.  Lovers.. lovers of song… lovers IN song… warmed up by the songs they knew with Noel & his High Flying Birds, in front of Willie  William's Wonderwall sci-fi backdrop. 

'Enjoy the local band who are on next'

The gathering of the tribes on the historic battleground of Croke Park. Home. The boys (and girls) are back in town. Clans from across the world come together as One to sing our hearts out, to banish some ghosts and to set some other spirits free. In the name of love. What more? (In the name in love).

I began this pilgrimage last September, not knowing then it was gonna be a double-header journey - back then was the #U240 fan thing, which I blogged about in Zootopia, but never got around to completing… A friend nudged me the other day and asked, 'hey, big man, when are you gonna finish that story about the Dublin journey'? 
I think the definition of 'pilgrimage' is a kind of spiritual / physical journey combo. I have found myself clinging recently to a couple of books, (I am not a great reader of books, to my own discredit I know), one of them written by an Irish man, someone I met o' too briefly one time, the celebrated author, poet, and beautiful human John O'Donohue. On this leg of my pilgrimage, travelling with my trusty mare Dorty Oileen (canny auld little camper van!) I turned to a page in that book and came upon these words as the Emerald Isle came into view on the horizon from the ferry:

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

My interpretation of that is to be open to what could be. What can be. More than that of course, but be ready... be ready. Live. Love. Be ready for what's next.

It's one thing following this U2 thing online, its a great thing, the community (which the singer mentioned at the show), It is a very real thing, sometimes dysfunctional, like a family can be. A wondrous, wide, open, sometimes crazy, often mysterious thing. When you come out to the live shows, then the community manifests itself in the flesh and you come face to face with people who might just change your life with the touch of a fingertip.

Sometimes the words come quickly, sometimes the words take longer to pen... years, decades. 3 of them even..
Time is not linear. This is U2. Dublin. The Joshua Tree. From sapling to maturity.

The show had best sound I have been to this tour, perhaps the one-end open nature of Croke Park helped with that, less echo than normal stadiums to deal with, Adam's chest popping bass in WOWY and exquisite riffs in Red Hill Mining Town pulsing through. Edge's chops and bell-ringing guitar chimes and beautiful deft springy piano work throughout the show came across with such clarity.

The grand theatre of Exit hit home last night, thrilling is an often overused word. This is a thriller. Shadowman is a beast.

'How amazing was that?' said the singer as he paused at the end of the show to take it all in, to gaze at the beauty made in front of his eyes. As Larry had done at the beginning of the show, appearing on the b stage, a wee pause, a gaze around, a slap of his thighs. The Larry Haka, before walking, marching to his position on the JT mini stage, then, after again a deliberate micro-moment of composure, he belted into the Sunday Bloody Sunday drum break. Knocking at the gates of Heaven itself. Thunderous. Splendorous. Glorious. War drums, of peace. Can you hear us coming, Lord?

'Oh my god!' a fan said on my left as this show drew to a close. As if Bono had heard him, the singer echoed the same words back in a heartbeat. 'Oh my God.'

I asked some fellow pilgrims who I have met along this road to 'Home' (aka Larry's t-shirt), Dublin, to sum up their thoughts & feelings :

Dave from the English clan : 'Finally 36 years after my first U2 gig I made it to the Dublin show. The place was rammed and it was as though each member of the audience was attached to the next. From the 3 stands to those on the pitch - jumping, clapping, singing in unison. Bono sang "It's a beautiful day". It was a beautiful night'.

Ross from the American clan : 'On fire. Terrific show. Crowd and band totally committed.'

AJ from the Canadian clan : 'Highlight for the show for me was Running to Stand Still. In 2005 I found out they were playing it and made my first trip to Dublin to see it. Last night was special though. Bono is incredible at focusing on the crowd and making you think he's looking just at you. Last night standing there listening to my favourite u2 song, in Dublin, Bono sent his gaze my way and I got to look right into his eyes while I got lost in the song'.

Scott from the Scottish clan (and part of the @tildecember U2-inspired band who are playing shows at the packed fan-held city centre U2-themed parties this tour) :
'Bono said before Bad that to play Croke Park is a very big deal indeed… (tonight included) …an invocation to look again for America. 
A fly-by in green and gold that made us catch our breath and look up in every sense. A celebration of the women of the U2 community and of world history. We had to head back just before One to be sure we made our (own) show at midnight. But then on our walk… people were singing in the made us stop our tracks. 'Hear us coming Lord.' There was a group of Spanish fans gathered in a circle, probably wanted tickets but couldn't get them. Bitter? Cynical? No. Singing their hearts out. One love. We get to carry each other. Our singer Ails and I wept. We will never forget it'.

'Let it go'... The mantra of bad. I do try… I can't. I am lost in it. I exist in it. I can dream it all up in it. So can you. My dreams, your dreams… hey, one day they might meet and get wed. Lets book U2 as the wedding band and invite the tribe.
Dublin #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 was a one-off. A celebration. Birthdays, anniversaries, jet plane flyovers, communal singing, dancing, partying. We were all left wanting more. 
Thats the sign of an exceptional evening. One I also, will never forget.'

And if you were at Croke Park, tell us all about it. 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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    Next time...
    That was great, but not as good as the previous 5 x U2 I've been to. Is that them on stage? Luckily 2 lasered eyes, 10 albums and nearly 40 years looking at U2 helped to confirm that it was U2. But an image on screen would have helped. Next time please for the less fortunate 30,000 at the far end, please have simple raw 20 foot images of the lads on screen. Leave the arty stuff in the background.The very impressive but over worked images lack a connection to the band and audience. And bring back '40' . The 2017 end was flat, very flat.
    Les Beauvoisiens à Croke Park pour U2
    Beautifull Day !
    Memorable birthday in Dublin
    I just say THANKS! Fulvia from Turin, Italy
    It's amazing to know that something you loved so much thirty years ago, is so timeless that it makes you feel exactly the same way! Thank you, Bono, Adam, Larry and The Edge. The pleasure was mine. Joanna
    From the steps to the stadium.
    30 years ago, I sat on the steps outside my home in Drumcondra. I was 11 years old, too young to go to the gig. I remember that I could hear it so clearly, every word. 30 years later, same venue, new stadium. My mother's house has been sold, steps are still there though (but you can't hear it from there now, with the new stadium). This time I was in the stadium, but remembering being 11 years old with no ticket. Saw them in London 2 weeks ago, but this was something very different. A full on celebration of U2, of the Joshua Tree, of Dublin. A night I'll never forget.
    3 generations in Dublin
    Granny and the kids at Croke Park.. The energy was amazing, best show ever!
    Brilliant show on Saturday and as I was also at Twickenham and the old Wembley and Birmingham NEC for the JT shows back in the day I have always loved EXIT...what a song and how well they perform it....superb!!!
    Dublin concert
    One word WOW!!
    DVD jacket
    Best show of my life Only Love
    Croke park 2017
    Amazing show ,, if there was ever gonna be any doubt that it wouldn't be...nice to see the lads back in Dublin, like reuniting with old friends.
    Best Ever Concert
    Myself, John and Alex went to Dublin from Edinburgh..It was an absolute party from 10am in the morning until 3.15am..U2 were outstanding, the crowd was unbelievable , this was the best concert ever..Even the U2 tribute band in the city centre afterwards were amazing..A day we will never forget
    A Beautiful Day!
    Unforgettable Concert!
    Bucket list check
    U2 in Croke Park was on my bucket list. And yes, I've made it. And how. Unique band, unique venue and unique concert. Happy me.
    La più bella notte di sempre
    Beautiful night
    Dublin where the street have no name
    Best moment of my life
    Best band, best album, best show - Croker was superb!
    The Best - original t-shirt still in one piece after thirty years
    Joy and faith
    My spirit is always there with all my friends... Love you guys! You bring experience to our lives you give innocence to our love
    U2 Dublin
    What a wonderful night! From Italy to Ireland only to be with you!
    U2 Croke Park
    #redzone the concerts just keep getting better with age!
    I attended my first ever gig in Croke Park as a 12 year old kid. It happened to be U2 on the Joshua Tree Tour. I have not missed a homecoming gig since then. Roll on 30 years. A 42 year old kid returned to Croke Park on Saturday night. A night I wont forget for many years. The band were absolutely epic and so to was the crowd. I was way down the end of the Cusack Stand and I may as well have been front row. Thank you U2 for not lowering your live performance standards. Its bone chilling brilliant to see them perform and the crowd duly gave right back even from the back arse of the stadium. I would put that gig up there with the Zoo TV and Slane. Thank you thank you!!
    Røk & Noci @ U2 Croke Park 2017
    Croke Park Cracker
    Great gig loved the fly past. Hope to see u again soon
    Memorable in distance -30 years ago to n
    IRISH you must be so proud to have this context and epic songs from U2. BEST FUTURE TO IRLAND. UE.
    Croker return 2017
    It was great to be there again, the crowd were mostly hard core, the sound perfect, the screen incredible, the band were U2, but even with lasered perfect eyesight and nearly 40 years experience watching U2, it was very difficult to recognise who was on stage from the far end of the pitch. Could someone not have stood up for the 30,000 sitting furthest away and kept an image on screen of the band? It was great to hear one of the new songs, but at the end it left things very flat ..... Pity it wasn't bookended with 40 to reference back to 1987 and finish on a high. Seanson64
    Had a very serious accident last year, my back was broken in 3 places, and I learnt to walk again, my goal from January was to be able to stand on the pitch for the Joshua Tree...was there 4 rows from the front stage and felt really alive again! Fantastic show! Thank you Adam for saying hello to me from the stage! So glad to have met you at the Dublin gig on 24/11/15. You're an amazing guy! We loved your acceptance speech in June for the Musicares Foundation, wonderful brave words - Caroline
    Amazing show!
    To see them in concert in Dublin was really a dream come true. I'm still reliving through videos and photos. Loved. Every. Single. Second.
    A Cracker at Croker!
    What a show at Croke Park. Simply out of this world!
    Oh what a night...
    Even though we were in Croke Park with 80000 people it felt like we were in someone's back yard at a house party. It felt so intimate. I laughed I danced I cried and I sang till I was hoarse. Thanks for a most memorable Summer night.. Looking forward to Songs of Experience
    U2 Joshua Tree Dublin
    Only one word "Vertigo' What a Song
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