The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

Jun 4 2017
Chicago, IL, US / Soldier Field
with The Lumineers

Mary Dixon, a longtime fan of the band, has been the news anchor and co-host of The Morning Show on Chicago’s storied alt-rock radio station WXRT for more than 20 years. She attended Sunday night’s show at Soldier Field along with friends and colleagues from XRT, and shared her experience with us.

'For every person who’s ever told me or my colleagues to stick to the music, I’ve answered with U2. (Also Bob Dylan, and the Beatles, and Neil Young, and Mavis Staples, and Bruce Springsteen, and the Clash, and Beyonce.)

Stick to the music? Have you read any of the lyrics? Ever?

You might think homecomings are all about nostalgia, but they’re also about where you are now. For U2 to revisit The Joshua Tree is to think about what a huge mark it made on 1987, and how it resounds in 2017. For us to revisit that music, those lyrics, and those images with them is an opportunity to reflect on the distance traveled and the miles yet to go.

“Chicago! We’ve always felt more at home here than almost any other city,” Bono told the audience at Soldier Field Sunday, the second of its two-night stand in Chicago.

“It’s a real homecoming,” he said, as the band launched into “A Sort of Homecoming,” which is what it felt like in the very full and friendly Soldier Field. People waving to each other, hugging, sharing beers.

I turned around in my seat, and found my cousin Julie. Down the row were colleagues from WXRT who saw U2 first play Park West in 1981, and others who were yet to be born. In front of us were fans who high-fived as soon as Larry Mullen kicked into the killer opening riff of “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” and sang along with every word: “I can’t believe the news today, I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.”

Bono mentioned the recent terror attacks in London and gun violence in Chicago while singing a song about a 45-year-old tragedy in Northern Ireland. Because this wasn’t just a nostalgia trip: the guys are clearly connecting what they loved about America then with where we are now. And they think we need a little pep talk.

So we punched the air as we sang along to “Pride (In The Name Of Love),” rededicated to Dr. King’s dream complete with text of his speech projected onto the enormous screen behind the band.

As the guys moved on to The Joshua Tree album with the ringing guitar of “Where The Streets Have No Name,” I was transported back to 1987: working a full-time radio job, hosting Sell and Swap on weekdays, and playing Pat Boone’s gospel show on Sunday mornings to pay my way through school in DeKalb, Illinois. The Joshua Tree played non-stop in my student apartment and in the cassette player of my old Ford Escort as I drove through northern Illinois cornfields as lush as the desert landscapes Anton Corbijn used to illustrate the record were stark.

It was thrilling then to hear rock music that was brooding, thoughtful, beautiful, that exhorted us to listen to our better angels. And it’s thrilling now.

“All are welcome here, left or right,” Bono said as the band moved through some of the biggest songs of our generation. “Bullet The Blue Sky” still sears, all the more meaningful with images of Americans of all sorts donning a soldier’s helmet. A reminder of the many Irish immigrants who found shelter in Chicago and the US before “Trip Through Your Wires.” Images of women holding candles during “Mothers Of The Disappeared.”

Then the encore, and the cover of The Passengers’ “Miss Sarajevo” – introduced by a 15-year-old Syrian teenager in a refugee camp who hopes to come to America. We passed a large silkscreened banner showing her passport photo over our heads and around the stadium while images of the refugee camp passed before our eyes. It was a transcendent moment.

Some people might see this and tune out—too controversial. But they fail to see that controversy is merely an argument over whether we should welcome the stranger into our midst, as a number of faith traditions command.

What U2 suggests is that if we connect to this Irish quartet who were once strangers in a strange land, then we must consider welcoming newcomers. We, and they, should not be the only ones who get to have a homecoming.

The music U2 closed out with, including “One,” “Beautiful Day,” and “Elevation,” built into a rousing stadium singalong. Without the ideas grounding the whole package —truth, justice, peace, love— for me, it would have been merely a loud cymbal, a clashing gong—meaningless.

In 2017, we needed this pep talk.

Stick to the music? Please don’t. See you next time, boyos.’

Were you at the Soldier Field on night two? Tell us all about it. Add your own review and photos on our tour pages.

    Sao Paulo - last show of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. Video by
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    Rocking u2 Chicago
    Awesome concert. Have seen u2 every time they played Chicago. One of the best bands to see in concert. Especially at Solder Field. It just went way to political in the last 20 minutes or so.
    Chicago Night 1, pure magic!
    My son's letter got to Mr. Larry. Thank you Mr. Evans for delivering the letter! Thank You Mr. Larry for being so kind!
    Thank You, U2
    A sea of people consumed by the fire of the greatest band on the planet playing the greatest songs ever written. A band, not just throwing fuel on the fire but consumed by it, right along with us... THANK YOU for the most beautiful show, and all that gorgeous music, U2!! You made time-travel a reality ... did you transport me back to 16, or bring the 16-year old to the future? I don't know but I'll never forget it.
    Great Concert Experience
    The songs and U2's performance still resonates. Powerful music from a band that knows how to deliver a great show. Thank you!
    A magical night...
    After 6 years we meet again boys... please guys, never stop playing music! By the way I missed "Bad"...
    Marchoskys' at U2 in Chicago
    Took my nephews (U2 newbies), they had an awsome time... Perhaps we will catch them again in Detroit....
    Adam - June 3rd. Soldier Field
    My 7th grader took this pic, no filter or effects. Rattle and Hum-esque if you ask me.
    Resonating like a dream...
    15th show, every tour since Oct 3, 1987 CNE Toronto...such a magical culmination of 30 years. Who would have dreamed....the impact Joshua Tree made then is only explaining itself now....Thank you for sharing, thank you for never ceasing to 'dream it all up again'. Detroit....#16....blessings to you.
    The Joshua Tree lives on
    I really enjoyed re-living 1987 and U2's breakout album, live in Chicago.
    Sincerest Thanks
    The concert, the album, the music, the message, the women, the excitement, the joy, the poetry, the Puerto Rican obituary, the crowd, the lads, the moon - what a night!
    what time did they go on? how long did t
    seeing them in NJ-can't wait!
    Sincerest Thanks
    The concert, the album, the music, the message, the women, the excitement, the joy, the poetry, the Puerto Rican obituary, the crowd, the lads, the moon - what a night!
    Wonderful show! U2 never disappoint! <3 4th of June
    From Mexico Con Amor
    My wife and I were at the show Saturday night. Enjoying the melodies of four Irish lads echo off of the ripples of Lake Michigan. My father's dream was the same as that of the Syrian girl longing for the shore of our door. I felt it inside. I don't know when or how it crept in but it did. I felt it. -Thank you
    Was at the show last night and am a long time U2Fan and have been to 6 plus concerts. Some comments to the band and stage set up. Having the forward stage set to the right and the speaker booms in the middle obstructed the view for the fans on the East me included. We could have used a split screen of the band for the early songs to go with your video. Big venue tough to see the band. Really missed a rocking closer like you did Saturday Night with I will follow to leave the fans. Leaving on the last song of Joshua Tree was a bit of a downer. Sound was great and thanks for making the show a tradition for my family. Took my boys to their first concerts and have been to four with the family.
    Just AMAZING !
    The June 3 Chicago show was absolutley Roctacular ! Loved the art and beautiful messages of inclusion.
    In line and so excited!!!
    Got my wristband, waiting in line for GA #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 #U2chicago 3rd time 1987/1997/2017
    Second time in Chicago!
    What an awesome show last night in Chicago! So many memories from listening to Joshua Tree over the last 30 years. Never dreamed I'd have the amazing chance to see the whole album performed live. Can't wait to see you again tonight. Please also play "Moment of Surrender" to make tonight perfect!
    And so we come full circle...
    I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For began my life in the military 30 years ago. 30 years later I find myself finally beginning to find a meaning... Ready for this trip...See you Sunday...
    Chicago Love's U2!!
    I will be going to Both shows this weekend at Solder Fields!! Chicago Loves U2!!
    Come to Argentina guys!!! we are waiting for u since 2015!
    Dean Allison
    Bring back a sort of homecoming
    David Stingley
    Will be 5th time seeing you guys since 2014... you have played BAD at every show right before or right after the days I have seen you guys... PLEASE! Don't be bad and not play it haha! Pumped either way! Dream out loud!
    Saw you for the 1st time Dec. 19 1987 in
    Have seen you countless times all over the world since... I want to go to the June 4th show in chicago, how do I purchase unreserved General admission tickets for the floor?
    my number 1~
    u r still my number 1~~ I'm coming all the way from Seoul, Korea
    u r still my number 1~~
    I'm coming all the way from S. Korea
    Second Concert!!!
    I saw them for the first time during the iNNOCENCE and eXPERIENCE Tour! It was an incredible experience for me for sure! Can't wait to see you guys again and pull off another spectacular show!
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