U2 Concerts
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U2 performs "The lights go down on Red Hill…" at Bonnaroo during their 2017 "The Joshua Tree" tour.

June 16, 2017

U2 slated to perform 'The Joshua Tree' front to back in Philly

The iconic quartet performs Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field

"Nostalgic" never described U2 until its current tour, which features the band performing its high water mark release, the 30-year old "The Joshua Tree," in its entirety.

Train frontman Pat Monahan has one regret about his band’s summer tour, which stopped at the BB&T Pavilion last week. 

“It prevents me from seeing U2,” Monahan said. 

“We’re on the road. It’s too bad since U2 is one of those big influences, not just for me, but for so many recording artists. That’s especially so when it comes to the 'The Joshua Tree,’ which is one of those all-time great albums.”

“The Joshua Tree,” which dropped in 1987, is one of those landmark releases. U2 plans to play it front to back during its current tour, which stops Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. It is filled with well-produced, eclectic tracks, which take the listener to a number of places. There is America’s heartland (“In God’s Country”), the greed of Wall Street (“Bullet to Blue Sky”), the United Kingdom’s mining strike (“Red Hill Mining Town”) and Dublin’s heroin epidemic (“Running to Stand Still”). The band’s fascination with the landscape of America and the look back at its troubled native land make for a compelling album inspired by gritty reality. Few bands have recorded an album that is so huge but at the same time, so personal.

To U2’s credit, the band never tried to replicate the magic that made them rock stars. “The Joshua Tree” sold more than 10 million copies, but the quartet continued to challenge itself by moving in other directions."

“So many recording artists would be tempted to try to match that success by trying to do it again,” Monahan said. 

“But there was only one 'Joshua Tree' for U2.”

The Joshua Tree” sold more than 10 million copies, but the quartet continued to challenge itself by moving in other directions."

That’s part of the reason that it’s fine that U2 is going back to mark such a special album. It doesn’t smack of nostalgia. The return trip almost feels necessary. U2 never played “Red Hill Mining Town” live during the ‘87 tour. It’s fine to look back, particularly, if you’re moving forward. U2 continues to craft solid, new material. The band is working on its forthcoming release, the aptly titled, “Songs of Experience,” which may be completed in 2017.

Even though much of U2’s shows are well choreographed since there isn’t much choice at a stadium show, U2 typically surprises. A generation ago at the late, unlamented JFK Stadium, Bruce Springsteen popped up onstage. A few weeks ago, Eddie Vedder joined the band in Seattle. Also, U2 typically presents some fine opening acts. The Lumineers is the support for the Philly show. Mumford & Sons opened some recent concerts and Beck will hit the road with the band later in the summer.

PJ Harvey, Kings of Leon, Public Enemy, The Killers and Interpol are just some of the critically acclaimed recording artists who have opened for U2.

“It was an amazing experience opening for U2,” Interpol guitarist Daniel Kessler said. 

“It wasn’t just about playing in front of the massive crowds. It was really cool that those guys like our music. There is no band like U2.”

U2 appears Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Click here for ticket information.