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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    It all comes full circle
    Again, totally sentimental. This tour opened and closed 30 years ago in 1987 when I was a college student at ASU, working in the athletic department. 1987 ASU went to the Rose Bowl. Here I am , back at the Rose Bowl , 30 years later on 5-21-17 which is also the anniversary of being sworn into the Arizona Bar to practice law. They say time waits for no one, but at least you can take the music with you.
    I drove up to L.A. from San Diego to see U2 play my favorite album from front to back! Great concert! Was elated to hear "Bad", my favorite U2 song!!! Just found out yesterday that they are coming to San Diego on their 2nd Leg. I'm going to see them again!
    Rose Bowl May 21 st
    Im from Mexico and we went to LA just for the show!... We love U2 in Mexico and we are waiting to see them next October!! My kids love U2!
    Rose Bowl May 21st!
    Wow. I haven't been this close since PopMart 1997 in NOLA! Twenty years! An amazing experience. I went to both Pasadena shows, but wow. Thank you, U2!
    Rail Center Big Stage
    Dream spot for Rosebowl 2!
    What We Saw From The Cheap Seats
    We saw a middle aged East Indian couple with their adult children, a family with an 80-YO grandmother, Asian families, and a ton of Latinos. We sat in nosebleed seats, surrounded by Latinos. A group of seven got up at the first song and never sat down. They knew every word and sang along. They kept their hands in the air, fists raised in protest, palms open like church. They gave me permission. Leave it to the working class to feel. Maybe the Irish are the cholos of the UK, shoved to the side, starved, pushed to the far reaches. Give me the seats with the cholos, where it's church. Levántase, muertos!
    U2 Rose Bowl
    Has it been 30 years? I've loved U2's music from almost the beginning of their career. I had the privilege to see them for the 1st time 30 years ago. My friend Jodee and I went to see them at the LA Coliseum, great time had by both. U2 again in my hometown the OC, great time of my life that nite too, no Jodee this time. Joshua Tree 30 years later, why not. Last time couple of times they came into town I didn't go, my regret! This tour I took my 18 year old daughter with me. She had the opportunity to go on the 360 tour but didn't. Joshua Tree reminds me of my dear friend Jodee, she's gone now off to a better place but she was next to me during the show. 30 years where did you go? Great band with music that is timeless, inspiring and spiritual too. Amazing, amazing, love this band Until the End of the World!
    Still going strong
    Night 2 at the Rose Bowl! Truly an amazing show as always, they never disappoint. Attended the concert with my mom as we have done since the Unforgettabnle Fire tour. Amazing feeling that we have had this tradition for some many years. Cannot wait to see them again.
    Live at the Rose Bowl Opening Night
    Wonderful night!! The band sounded amazing!! Just as strong, tight, solid, and as they did 30 years ago!!
    What a great set list we got to listen too. Sound was AMAZING! Loved how they did a whole song for women!
    Unbelievable show
    Wife and I have been together for 20 years and have seen every Tour in AZ starting with the Popmart tour at Sun Devil Stadium. Well just because it was closest to travel to Pasadena didn't stop our "Musical Journey" :)! Being on the floor 15 feet from Larry's kit on the extended stage was amazing!
    I have always been at the concert on the evening when U2 didn't play this song. It holds special significance for me and I was surprised when I began hearing the chords near the end of the show. It made the night even more fantastic!!!
    26th anniversary with my wife
    This was our first U2 concert and it was an unforgettable experience! The sound was amazing, the high definition screen mesmerizing, the songs content transcend time and space, the music performance astonishing, and the message "The government should fear its citizens" invaluable!
    With or Without You
    2nd night in GA and even closer! Amazing!
    Rose Bowl
    the beginning of another special night
    Fly Baby
    First Time GA
    This was my 10th U2 concert and 1st time GA. The show was amazing! I never believed I could ever be this close! Bono even came right up to the edge of the stage at one point...I can't wait until the next time they are in town! Thanks Bono, Edge, Adam, and Larry for putting on a great show and giving your fans the best view in the venue!
    U2 Love4
    What a great night at the show Saturday Night!! BAD was spiritual and I Will Follow ending made me break out the Bono dance I haven't done since my 20's!! We came from Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana to experience U2 at The Rose Bowl!! Can't wait until next tour!!
    My first concert! Wish I have attended b
    It was an amazing night! I was so emotional to watch my favorite band playing my favorite album! Just priceless! Outstanding show, so special and thought-out! :-) It was planned to entertain and please all loyal fans!
    Jennifer Skiman
    Bono was rocking out and truly seemed to be enjoying himself..
    Absolutely amazing!!!
    I had GA tickets and went to front row main stage!!! The show was absolutely amazing and hearing songs like "One Tree Hill" , "Mothers of the Disappeared" , "Bad" was a dream com true!!! Can't wait to see you guys again soon!!!
    Crackling, Fiery and Smoking Hot Perform
    I've been to every tour since the original Joshua Tree tour. This was amazingly nostalgic. with some new arrangements and angles on beloved classics. The boys were in high energy that night. It was an all systems go, electric and fiery. great sounds and visuals. They are really the best live performance band out. Thank you U2 for sharing all your talents with us. Favorite moment: The Women's Empowerment - HER STORY- It was beautiful and Moving. It was also Inspirational and call to organize for equality and freedom for all.
    Great concert
    A trip to the past
    I loved this concert. I went to the forum 4 times in 2015. This show was awesome. I loved the outdoorsy feeling with the Joshua Tree rustic feel. It blended well. The imagery was awesome with the video and still photos which I believe had a Ken Burns effect. All media might have been video. I am amazed at how tight this band is STILL. Bono was on fire as usual. His harmonica went bad on a tune but he brushed it off well. Loved the show. Such an important milestone for Rock and Roll to have this band still together all original members with no signs of changing.
    Rose Bowl Night 1 and 2
    What a pair of shows! The new song sounds superb, Songs of Experience preview, excited! Got to hear New Year's Day, which might just be my favorite song, one of Adam's finest moments. He inspired me to learn bass too. Heard A Sort of Homecoming, I Will Follow was tight. I had seats for night 1 and front row for night 2. The screen images blended so seamlessly with the songs. Well done to all involved!!!
    new years day
    Keep me holding on
    This was the perfect combination of nostalgia and now. Well done!!! I lost my mom to alcoholism shortly after i&e concert in 2015 and when Bono dedicated One Tree Hill to Chris Cornell and all those souls lost to this struggle, it hit me again hard. I let my grief wash over me while I sang and listened. Truly amazing. And Red hill mining town is not my favorite song by any means but it is another one that is sticking with me today. The Salvation Army band on the screen drove it home.
    U2, US & Pasadena
    Bar none, once again the boys out did them selves!! Great show with the thousands of world greatest fans.
    Unbelievable Show
    I travelled all the way from Melbourne, Australia to see the shows at Santa Clara and both shows at the Rose Bowl. All shows were unbelievable , however, the two shows at the Rose Bowl were AMAZING. I've waited 30 years to hear Red Hill and it was brilliant. Hearing Exit, Mothers, In Gods Country, Trip, One Tree Hill was a pure joy. baed and A Sort Of Homecoming sent me into a spin - please keep them both in the the set list ( Oh yes Ultra Violet - what can I say - your love was a light bulb hanging over me bed, baby baby baby light my way). No band is better than U2, and the LA crowd went crazy. Please come back to Australia!!!!
    Great Experience
    The concert was awesome. U2 until the next time. Had to work overtime to get the tixs and well worth it. Thanks! Gracias U2!
    What a night what a show
    There's no experience better than being on the floor.
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