joshua_tree_2017_-_1st_leg_-_north_america

June 7, 2017 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - Heinz Field

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Opening Act(s): The Lumineers

Setlist:

  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  2. New Year’s Day
  3. Bad - America (Simon and Garfunkel)
  4. Pride (In the Name of Love)
  5. Where the Streets Have No Name
  6. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
  7. With or Without You
  8. Bullet the Blue Sky - Black Dog
  9. Running to Stand Still
  10. Red Hill Mining Town
  11. In God’s Country
  12. Trip Through Your Wires
  13. One Tree Hill
  14. Exit - Eeny Meeny Miny Moe
  15. Mothers of the Disappeared
  16. Encore(s):
  17. Miss Sarajevo - The New Colossus
  18. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
  19. One
  20. Beautiful Day - America (Simon and Garfunkel)
  21. Elevation - Happy Birthday
  22. The Little Things That Give You Away

Remarks:

U2 performs tonight in Pittsburgh for the first time in nearly 6 years. In terms of setlist changes, “Bad” is performed instead of “A Sort of Homecoming”. Attendance for this particular show is much lower than past cities featured on the Joshua Tree Tour 2017. Many sections in the upper deck are covered with tarpaulin and fans are rewarded with reassigned seats in the lower levels of the stadium. After “Elevation”, Bono sings Happy Birthday to Jake Berry, the Production manager/director from many past U2 tours. The weather is unseasonably cool for this time of the year with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees for most of the concert.

Media Review:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Concert review: U2 in peak form celebrating ‘The Joshua Tree’ at Heinz Field

By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

When U2 played Three Rivers Stadium on a bitter-cold night in October 1987 on “The Joshua Tree” tour, the band played eight songs from its majestic new album.

On Wednesday night at Heinz Field, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers returned on the Joshua Tree Tour 2017 to finish the job. Magnificently.

“Here we still are, here you still are,” Bono said. “What a blessing.”

Noting the relevance of the Grammy-winning album in the current world climate, the Irish quartet, one of the few bands to emerge from the post-punk era as superstars, is on a stadium trek performing the 11 songs from start to finish. That means covering the three beloved hits that launch the record along with deep and never-played tracks.

First, though, U2 arrived on the lower B-stage before a crowd of around 40,000, right after a bright rainbow appeared behind the main stage (just like the Rolling Stones show two years ago).

U2 began with a few songs that showed how the band climbed up to “The Joshua Tree,” starting with “Sunday Bloody Sunday” from 1983’s “War,” the album that put U2 on the stadium track. Bono’s first words “I can’t believe the news today” — referring to British troops firing on a peaceful protest in Northern Ireland in 1972 — certainly strike a chord with a 2017 audience that sees its share of bad news almost daily.

Bono, in fine voice, toyed with the words, singing “Fact is fiction, and reality TV” as The Edge played the stabbing riffs that echoed beautifully around the stadium. They stuck with “War” for the equally anthemic and fiery “New Year’s Day.”

Bono prefaced “Bad” with the “boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh” line from Paul Simon’s “American Tune” and then had Heinz Field glowing with cellphone lights for the powerful and atmospheric anthem from “The Unforgettable Fire.” He circled around to repeating “we’ve all come to look for America,” clearly in light of our new controversies over immigration.

With the soaring Martin Luther King Jr. tribute “Pride (In the Name of Love),” U2 was launching a show with four show-stopping anthems before even getting to the heart of it.

“Some people think that dream is dead,” he said, he said, evoking King’s famous speech. “Well, not in a Pittsburgh it isn’t … Maybe the dream is just telling us awaken.”

U2 moved up the ramp, flipping the switch on a bright, massive screen that stretched the entire width of the stage, dwarfing the band but giving us an amazing cinematic backdrops of roads and deserts for next few anthems: “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “With or Without You.”

Bono finally appeared on that screen for “Bullet the Bullet Sky,” and he shined a spotlight on The Edge, who was shooting figurative lighting bolts out of his guitar on the anti-war song.

They were nine songs and almost an hour in before getting to the first deep track, the softly spoken “Running to Stand Still,” and then the moving “Red Hill Mining Town,” with The Edge on piano and images on the screen of a Salvation Army band.

“Thirty years, we never played that song,” Bono said, “and it feels more relevant now than ever, especially in a place like Pennsylvania.”

Side two continued with “In God’s Country,” after which the singer said, “We the Irish would like to thank you for giving us safety and sanctuary over the years. Until today.”

Fans who were flipping the vinyl back in ‘87 or came to U2 via CD or download were familiar with the lesser-known songs that round out the album, like “Trip Through Your Wires” and “One Tree Hill,” played with energy and electricity.

They introduced “Exit” with the scene from the old western series “Trackdown,” where they throw the snake oil salesman named Trump out of town. Bono and The Edge brought the song to a thrilling climax with some extra firepower and volume. The screen showed a candlelight vigil for the mournful closer “Mothers of the Disappeared,” a song about how war tears families apart.

After the low-key sendoff, U2 returned for an encore to honor immigrants with “Miss Sarajevo” and women of power with “Ultraviolet (Light My Way).”

Introducing “One,” Bono talked about the incredible things American activists, from punks to priests, have done and said: “Nothing scares the shite out of politicians like millions of people getting organized.” He and bassist Adam Clayton came to the B-stage, leaving The Edge and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. on the main stage for the “Achtung Baby” favorite, delivered with more cellphone glow.

They could have filled a couple more hours with beloved songs but wrapped it up with a joyously explosive “Beautiful Day,” followed by an even louder, wilder “Elevation,” and then a softer new song “The Little Things That Give You Away” rather than “I Will Follow.”

It was a bit of a flat ending to a very high-energy show. I’ve never heard The Edge so super-charged, and anyone who entered with doubts about U2 still being one of the most powerful and relevant stadium bands in the world was put straight in a monstrously big way.

The Lumineers got the lip of the stage for their opening set of foot-stomping Americana, highlighted by the infectious hit “Ho Hey” and “Big Parade,” which has an “oh my my, oh hey hey.”

Frontman Wesley Schultz asked nicely for fans to rise for final song “Stubborn Love,” and he and the Denver band got them going with a galloping rhythm and a rousing chorus of “whoa-ooh’s.”

He noted that he started out 10 years ago playing U2 songs in bars, “so this is a really amazing experience.”

Scott Mervis: [email protected]

Copyright © 1997-2017 PG Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Images:

All images are © Jonathan Wayne/U2Station.com

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on June 8, 2017 4:29 AM.

June 4, 2017 - Chicago, Illinois, USA - Soldier Field was the previous entry in this blog.

June 9, 2017 - Manchester, Tennessee, USA - Great Stage Park is the next entry in this blog.

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