Rock legends bring new life to a timeless album.
– review of the show at Hard Rock Stadium (Miami).
There is no denying that one of the greatest and most widely known rock bands of the last 40 years is U2. Like the four horsemen, Bono, the Edge, Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton have ridden across the globe filled with purpose, reverence and set ablaze the hearts and minds of millions through their songs and helping those less fortunate along the way. These four members are geniuses in their own right, but together they stand on the zenith of the musical world.
June 11th, they stood at the Hard Rock Stadium to a sold-out crowd that packed every seat and the entire infield. This was U2’s The Joshua Tree Tour showcasing their 1987 album, which still holds all of its relevance today as one of the greatest albums ever made. Known for sparing no expense with their tours, U2 made sure this one was no exception. The centerpiece was a colossal 200 X 45ft LED screen, which is the largest un-obscured and highest resolution LED video screen (almost 8k) ever used in a touring show.
However, the screen was just one of the highlights. There was also a long runway with a secondary stage in the middle of the crowd. Without an introduction, Larry Mullen Jr. walked down that runway to a drum set and began to beat out the rhythm for Sunday Bloody Sunday. Then out came the Edge cranking out those legendary chords as Bono and Adam Clayton followed suit. They started the tour with four songs off that platform nestled in the crowd. When Sunday Bloody Sunday ended, U2 seamlessly went into New Year’s Day with the Edge famously switching between playing guitar and keyboard.
Next, they played their first entry from the Joshua Tree album, Bad. During the song Bono had the crowd chanting “I’ve come to look for America” from West Side Story. This was followed by one of U2’s biggest hits with Pride (In the Name of Love). Bono and the Edge harmonized showing no dust on their pipes even after 30 plus years of constant use. Bono built up the crowd during Pride by telling the audience that Martin Luther King’s dream is still alive and quoted him saying, “We are all one in the eyes of the Lord.” This has always been the epicenter of the band. Oneness, and bringing everyone together.
Now, with the entire Hard Rock Stadium shouting the bridge of hums from Pride, U2 took the main stage. The Edge began the opening riffs of Where the Streets Have No Name as the huge LED screen now showed a gigantic Joshua Tree logo on it. The crowd screamed and sang with Bono as he began…“I want to run.” The screen than turned to an open road showcasing the American countryside. During the song Bono thanked the crowd saying; “We’re still here, you’re still here, what a blessing!”
U2 kept on going down the tracks from the Joshua Tree starting with hits like I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, the hauntingly beautiful With or Without You and the hard-hitting Bullet the Blue Sky, which Bono staying true to form still played around with a handheld camera.
Bono then joked and said he was happy to be there, but his Irish complexion wasn’t ready for this humidity. It was steamy hot, yet the concert was so good that you didn’t mind the heat so much.
U2 completed the first half of the Joshua Tree with Running to Stand Still and Red Hill Mining Town. Bono then said, “Welcome to side two” and went into In God’s County with an amazing mountain backdrop on that screen. The crowd never tired and stood the whole time as the band completed the set with Trip Through Your Wires, One Tree Hill, Exit and Mothers of the Disappeared. This completed the entire Joshua Tree album, but U2 still had more to do.
After a short break, their encore began with Miss Sarajevo, which was sung as a huge banner moved over my head and went through the entire stadium. The next song Ultraviolet was dedicated to the women and asked that all the women of the world unite and if they come together, they could change the world. After a video montage of many famous and inspirational women the song ended and Bono talked about his ONE campaign. He thanked the 8 million members for helping people and nations stricken with severe poverty. He said, “The country does incredible things when it works together as one.” Bono thanked the support of Senator Marc Rubio, then went into their very moving song One. Even to this day the song seemed to touch the entire crowd as they all joined in an epic chorus.
Unlike other dates on this tour, which ended with a whimper, Miami got a show that ended with a bang. Beautiful Day was the first of the last three songs and had the entire crowd spotlighted in every different color. This was followed by the high-energy Elevation before ending with a dizzy array of red and white swirling lights for Vertigo.
U2’s Joshua Tree was another stellar concert and experience. It was so incredible to hear and see one of the greatest rock albums of all-time played in its entirety. Just amazing how they sounded. They lost a thing through the decades. They live, breathe, play and exemplify everything important in music and in life.