09.22.2017: U2 - The Joshua Tree Tour

11:18 AM
SAN DIEGO, CA


It's a Monday morning, I am 11 years old and I'm waking up to Pride (In the Name of Love), because that is the track number one on my dad's U2 Greatest Hits CD. The stereo is loud enough to reach my room upstairs and my eyes are finally open, I'm ready to start my day.


I'm very heavily influenced by my parents' music taste. One of the first songs I have any recollection of listening to, was Angie by The Rolling Stones. My mom's friend had an acoustic guitar that he'd bring over to our house sometimes, and strum Angie cords for me.
Both of my parents had a big diverse music library from U2, The Stones, Bon Jovi to artists like ZZ Top, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and even some 80s pop such as Madonna and ABBA. Those are some of the artists that defined my childhood years.
As I started getting older I was able to branch out and find my own niche of artists. I began listening to The Beatles on my own, as well as artists like Fleetwood Mac, The Smiths, and later bands such as
Radiohead and Coldplay.


However, U2 has always been one of my favorite bands to listen to growing up. Besides being driven by the musical aspect, the band has been very politically active. Coming from Ireland during the talk of the Irish Independence from the United Kingdom, it's almost impossible for the band not to be politically motivated and explore political issues in their songs.
Written entirely by Bono, the U2's frontman, The Joshua Tree represents independence, freedom and the voice of a generation; it represents the myth of America. The good and the corrupt America.
Prior to the making of The Joshua Tree, Bono had made multiple trips around world, specifically to Latin America. There he saw the complications and consequences the Reagan administration had stirred in the countries of Central America. He witnessed the war and devastation in countries like El Salvador and Bolivia, which inspired songs on the record. The reoccurring theme of the great and powerful America can be seen throughout the entirety of The Joshua Tree.


Musically, this album was an important step for the band; transitioning from the mainstream New Wave, into blues and country. Being closely associated with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Bono was introduced to the music Jagger and Richards have been fans of for decades before The Joshua Tree. Bono became very inspired by blues artists like Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker.


When the album first came out, it brought an unbelievable amount of success for the band. Although U2 had already been a well known band around the world, this album put them up front with some of the bigger names of that decade. The Joshua Tree was a lyrical masterpiece that really pushed U2 artistically into new directions they were very eager to take on.


In a recent interview with Zane Lowe on Beats1, Bono discussed how necessary this 30th anniversary  of the album was. With all of the things that are happening in America and around the world, how easy it is for political leaders to operate in such corrupt ways against their people, it's essential for the nation to need something to hold onto again.
U2 has not only brought back The Joshua Tree on this tour, but they've brought the fight against the establishment that is weaved through their entire show. The spectacle is portraying U2's version of America; and during Bullet the Blue Sky when Bono's final words are "into the arms of America", there is a sense of unity, warmth and progression.

The performance its-self was most entertaining and remarkable to watch. This band has been doing this for more then 40 years, and you can see that they breathe and feed off the music, it's something they need to do in order to survive. Bono is not just a singer and a songwriter, he's an actor, a true performer. I was impressed with his stage presence and his acting skills during Exit, the whole crowd was engulfed into the battle between good and evil.




But the story is not just about America, it's also about women. As Ultra Violet (Light My Way) plays, pictures of important women, who've done remarkable things, flash on the screen. Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Rosa Parks, Mary Wollstonecraft, Ellen DeGeneres, are just some of the women I recognized along the big screen of star studded female icons who fought for the rights I have today. It was an ode to the feminist movement and all the amazing and powerful females who believed in what they achieved over the years. You could feel the energy and the emotional response people had during this performance, it was truly powerful.


I'm most grateful for this experience because it meant so much seeing U2 with my whole family. It's my favourite concert I've gone to so far in my life. I can't even begin to compare this show with anything I've attended to so far, because it's not just a concert, it's not just a tour; it's a movement and its lasted for thirty years. The Joshua Tree album is a monumental piece of art and culture from a certain point in time that's become absolutely and completely timeless.
This concert was timeless, and I will never forget it.

Setlist:
Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Years' Day
Bad
Pride (In the Name of Love)
Where the Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
With or Without You
Bullet the Blue Sky
Running to Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God's Country
Trip Through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Exit
Mothers of the Disappeared 
Miss Sarajevo
Beautiful Day
Elevation
Vertigo
You're the Best Thing About Me (acoustic version)
Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
One

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