"I think this record is just as innovative as Pop, it's just that the thing we're pushing to the forefront is the chemistry of the band playing together, and I think that is why people are referring back to earlier projects."
-- Edge, on All That You Can't Leave Behind
U2 announces Joshua Tree Tour 2017
January 09, 2017
It's true. U2 is hitting the road later this year to celebrate The Joshua Tree, an album that turns 30 years old in March. The band has just posted the full set of concert dates for The Joshua Tree Tour 2017, a trek that initially involves 24 shows over nearly 12 weeks in North America and Europe.
In the announcement, and in the band's tweet, U2 says they'll be performing the album in full at every concert. That means fans will hear "Red Hill Mining Town" live for the first time, as well as rarities like "Mothers Of The Disappeared" (only played 16 times), "One Tree Hill" (only played 44 times) and "Trip Through Your Wires" (only played 86 times, and none since 1987). You can see the full set of Joshua Tree songs and how many times each has been played on @U2 Tours. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, The Edge says "we will be playing the album in sequence," but he says the shows may not begin with "Where The Streets Have No Name."
It begins May 12 at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and wraps up August 1 at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels. U2 will also make its first appearance at the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee, which runs June 8-11 this year. Formal details on that performance should be announced on Wednesday (January 11).
It's possible that additional shows will be added in some cities, perhaps based on ticket demand for this first batch of shows. On that subject, tickets will go on sale to the public beginning Monday, January 16 in Europe and Tuesday, January 17 in North America. Paid U2.com members will have access to ticket presales that start this Wednesday, January 11, and end this Friday, January 13. The official announcement doesn't say anything about ticket prices. It does say that all floor tickets will be general admission, and North American shows will be paperless ticketing for those GA floor spots "unless otherwise noted." (UPDATE: It looks like ticket prices in North America are ranging from about $35 to $280 USD/CAD, and in Europe from about $38EU to $190EU.)
As has been reported here since early last week, the tour will play exclusively in stadiums. Unlike the Innocence + Experience tour in 2015, U2 will bring an opening act on the road with them this time out. The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons and One Republic will be the support acts in North America, while Noel Gallagher's band, High Flying Birds, will open in Europe.
Here's the full set of shows announced so far on The Joshua Tree Tour 2017:
The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 North America
It's the first time in U2's history that they'll go on tour to celebrate/promote a previously released album. The Edge tells Rolling Stone that the decision to revisit the nearly-finished Songs Of Experience and Joshua Tree at the same time was prompted by the political changes that happened in 2016.
"It's like a pendulum has suddenly just taken a huge swing in the other direction. So, anyway, we then were looking at the anniversary of The Joshua Tree, and another thing started to dawn on us, which is that weirdly enough, things have kind of come full circle, if you want. That record was written in the mid-Eighties, during the Reagan-Thatcher era of British and U.S. politics. It was a period when there was a lot of unrest. Thatcher was in the throes of trying to put down the miners' strike; there was all kinds of shenanigans going on in Central America. It feels like we're right back there in a way."
The Joshua Tree was released on March 9, 1987. It immediately became U2's most critically and commercial successful album, with current sales estimated at more than 25 million copies. "With Or Without You" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" -- the first two singles from the album -- became U2's first No. 1 singles in the U.S. The album went on to pick up Grammy Awards for Album Of The Year and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. In 2014, it was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry -- a collection of recordings that are considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."
As part of our own #U240 podcast series celebrating the band's 40 years together, we recently dedicated an episode to The Joshua Tree. You can listen to that show online if you missed it the first time around.