U2 celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree with two sold out shows at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

It’s unbelievable to think it’s actually been 30 years since U2‘s The Joshua Tree was released. Not that you can tell when you listen to the album being performed beginning to end in its entirety. These songs have clearly stood the test of time. They are as vital today as they were when the album was first released and continue to connect with modern day issues. 

The night starts off with “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, which feels poignant given the recent events in both Manchester and London. Bono also takes time to relate the struggles that led to the penning of the song to Chicago’s own gun-crime issue. Everyone’s safety is clearly front of mind for the band and the organizers over the weekend, as heightened security measures are visibly evident prior to the show. 

The band opened the set from the B stage (a representation of the Joshua tree which snaked out into the audience) giving the General Admission ticket holders the chance to get up close and personal to their idols. They then retreated to the sizeable main stage to perform The Joshua Tree section of the show. 

It was impressive to see the entire crowd at Soldier Field on their feet, singing and dancing throughout the show and regularly throwing their hands up in the air on command. Usually you see those further away from the stage sit down as a typical show progresses, but this was no typical show. U2 demand your attention and, by god, do they get it. 

Certain U2 songs have the ability to stop you in your tracks whatever you’re doing and make you listen, none more so than “Where the Streets Have no Name”. Hearing the notes of the introduction, dripping in delay, chiming from the Edge’s guitar still  makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Surely, the effect a song like this has on the expansive audience cannot be lost on these Irish men, even 30 years on from the first time it made an audience bounce up and down in sheer excitement. 

The performances over the weekend were as tight as you will ever see from a live band. U2 have put many miles on the clock in these past three decades and it shows in the almost telepathic connection between the band members on stage. The Edge makes playing some of the most memorable riffs in music history look effortless and with a frontman like Bono, how could they ever go wrong? He is a born showman, bursting with charisma whose voice appears to have actually improved over time.  

Of course behind the two main men are Clayton and Mullen, both of whom add their own unique flavour to the tracks and are so consistently in the groove that its as almost as though they are one entity.

One notable and commendable thing about U2 over the years is the way that they have used their fame and platform to promote causes that are primarily concerned with peace, love and helping those less fortunate. Unlike some of their peers, they have never gone about this in a contrived or flashy manner and you can tell that they genuinely feel strongly about the causes they choose to put their considerable weight behind.  On this tour, its the turn of the women to receive the whole hearted support of the band and, whilst the giant screen flashes up images of famous women through history, the overriding theme is that every woman is important.  In the wrong hands, the delivery of this kind of message during a rock show could come off as something of a gimmick but in the hands of a band as honest, sincere and intelligent as U2, it srikes exactly the right note.  Hopefully, over the course of the tour its a message that can find its way into the hearts and minds of the audience. 

It was notable that, over the two nights, a number of major celebrities headed to Soldier Field to take in the show. Jon Bon Jovi (with his wife Dorothea), Colin Farrell and Richard Branson were just some of the famous faces in attendance.

New dates have just been released for this tour and they tend to sell out fast, so be sure to get your tickets before they do. This is a band that never fails to impress. Whether this is the first time seeing U2 or whether you’re a lifelong fan coming to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this landmark album, you’ll be sure to enjoy this anniversary tour.

U2
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Soldier Field
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Event Date: 03/04-JUN-2017

About The Author

Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!

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