On Jan. 9, U2 announced that they will embark on a stadium tour across North America and Europe beginning May 12 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The legendary rock band also revealed they will headline Bonnaroo in a first ever appearance at the festival. The tour is to commemorate the 30 year anniversary of their album The Joshua Tree which has been certified 10x Platinum in the U.S. while selling over 25 million copies worldwide. The album featuring "With or Without You" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" catapulted their career into a stratosphere all their own. With the nostalgic tour coming in just months, here are five things to know about The Joshua Tree Tour 2017.
Songs rarely or never played will appear on tour
The Joshua Tree has its staples that U2 plays live throughout their decades long career such as their most recognizable hit "With or Without You," "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." Aside those tracks and perhaps a couple more, U2 hasn't played many songs since the 1980s including "Exit" (which was originally titled "Executioner's Song") and "Trip Through Your Wires" which will now appear on tour. The band has never played "Red Hill Mining Town" as it never found an appropriate slot in the setlists. The group has also rarely played "In God's Country" which will also be done on stage. The band is planning on playing the record in its entirety though it may not be in chronological order with a song like "Where the Streets Have No Name" needing a build-up in energy. B-sides that can be found on a deluxe edition of the set also may make an appearance but emphasis won't be put on including too many rarities.
The tour won't stray too far from the 1987 version
U2 won't be making too many changes to the 2017 tour stage compared to the 1987 version. The ideas of the album era will be updated appropriately to reflect the album coming full circle from then and now in terms of the messaging behind each song. U2 is always known for their over-the-top stage sets putting on a high quality visual performance to go along with their larger than life tracks.
Songs of Experience will be finalized during the tour
The band will finally put finishing touches on Songs of Experience, the follow-up to 2014's surprise release Songs of Innocence. The ideas were being created before 2016 and has been long planned as the sister album but the world has changed dramatically over the previous year. Additional songs may be written between now and the release date that fans have been waiting for but as with any U2 album, they will take their time to make sure it's exactly the material they want to release. How they will distribute the album is still a mystery. Innocence was pushed to all iTunes users worldwide and placed in the cloud for free. U2 and Apple received backlash but the album reached 81 million users before the physical release of the set.
The tour was inspired by the political climate
Along with the anniversary behind touring The Joshua Tree, the album has come full circle in a sense that back in the 1980's era it was Ronald Reagan in American politics and Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom, a time of unrest in both regions. Now there's a new U.S. President and Britain voted to leave the European Union in a move called "Brexit." The set is 30 years old but now has once again become relevant, a rare moment in music especially from a band that continues to evolve as artists and not looking back.
The iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour may be revived following The Joshua Tree Tour 2017
It's a strong possibility that U2 will not be finished touring once the 30th anniversary tour has ended. The iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour was successful yet was only played in specific cities where multiple dates occurred. It seemed to be an incomplete realization and is still in the minds of the band members going forward. It would follow the release of Songs of Experience (should that come to pass given U2's history between albums) and be a promotional tool.