Ooooooooooooooo this was a special one. [Also, hi. It’s been a while. Life, you know?] I was a monster U2 fan in middle and high school and right through college. Back then, I’d easily identify the Joshua Tree as my favorite album of all time, and it still ranks awfully high on my list. I saw them on the Pop tour, and then a bunch of times on the Elevation tour, and they are great live (though personally I didn’t love seeing them a bunch of times on the same tour, even as a superfan, because the set (and banter) doesn’t change much night to night). I admit I stopped paying much attention the last few albums, but they still have a real spot in my heart. When I heard they were doing a Joshua Tree revival tour, I fell into a U2 revival of sorts, and couldn’t wait. We had great seats, with an unobstructed view (victory for short me!). It felt a bit like a greatest hits show (no complaints on that front!), opening with an impressive string of Sunday Bloody Sunday, New Year’s Day, A Sort of Homecoming, Bad, Pride. Impressive, and everyone was screaming along.
And that wasn’t even the main event. When they started into the Joshua Tree, I got all the chills, and they unfurled this huge *amazing* landscape behind the main stage, with really remarkable videography of American landscapes and people. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s possible for an album to have so many consistently great songs. 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….the list goes on. I’m partial to the less well-known songs as well (I mean, relatively. Everyone who owns that album knows all the songs, not just the hits), especially One Tree Hill and……Mothers of the Disappeared.
Bono’s mic wasn’t great (the sound generally wasn’t amazing, I didn’t think, but it’s a humongous football stadium so what did I expect), so when he said “where’s Eddie Vedder?” I wasn’t 100% sure that’s what he said, but then he said “the spirit of Seattle….spirit of Chicago…spirit of America” and out popped our man EV, midway through the song. This isn’t the first time he’s joined them, but oh man. On this song? Ed killed it, it was beautiful. They didn’t put the video up on the main screen, as there was instead a moving portrait of a line of women holding candles (presumably for the Disappeared), but Ed sounded SO good, I was alight with Pride. That line “Night hangs like a prisoner /stretched over black and blue,” is probably my favorite lyric on the whole album, maybe in the whole U2 catalog, and to hear my favorite singer sing it, with U2, in Seattle, whoa. So. Lucky. This is a decent video, but I’ll update with a better one when I find it.
The rest of the show was great, and they played my actual favorite U2 song, Ultraviolet (Light my Way), off Achtung Baby in front of a lovely tribute to a whole slew of awfully kickass women. It was perfect, and the rest of the set was just gravy.