Chicago: Many U2 fans have heard or met Deena a long time U2 fan and dedicated Larry Mullen Jr. sent in her report from opening night Chicago.
Deena Dietrich: OMG! That was amazing! Nothing will ever beat the Elevation Tour for me, but this Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Tour has my favorite set list with the exception of one. I was excited for every song except of “Miss Sarajevo.”
Each of U2’s first five albums were represented except October, and only two of the last seven albums were represented. There was nothing off Rattle and Hum, Pop, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, No Line on the Horizon and Songs of Innocence.
We were inside by 5:45 – just going in after the GA line was already in. We walked all the up front on the far left (Edge side) on the outside of the Red Zone. We had a great view of the main stage, the huge b (Joshua Tree shaped) stage and the video screens (Larry was on the screen facing us). Plus we had a rail to lean on – and saw some VIPs go back stage. The Lumineers took the stage at 7:30 and played until about 8:25 – they are not my cup of tea.
U2 took the stage at 9:10 and played until 11:15, probably one of the longest U2 shows I’ve seen at over two hours. I knew nothing about the show as I’ve stayed off U2 social media since rehearsals started. So when Larry strutted on stage in his black capped sleeve tee and black pants all the way down the catwalk to the b stage, I about lost my mind. The screams they were loud! I love Larry in black!
U2 opened the show with four songs on the b stage: “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “New Year’s Day,” “Bad” and “Pride.” Then I realized what they were doing. Two songs of War and two songs off The Unforgettable Fire leading into The Joshua Tree.
U2 went to the main stage and played the complete The Joshua Tree album in order. I missed the original Joshua Tree Tour in 1987 when my mom wouldn’t let me go because I was 14. The Joshua Tree got me into U2 and is still my favorite album 30 years later, so hearing this album live in its entirety in order was a dream come true – and something I thought would never happen.
I was blubbering throughout “Red Hill Mining Town” (even though I prefer the original). I was obsessed with this song in 1987 and is still one of my faves, and I truly thought I would never ever hear it live. Edge and Larry were on fire during “Exit,” which took right back to Rattle and Hum. It was great to hear “Trip Through Your Wites” complete with Bono on harmonica.
The concert could have ended here, and I would have been happy. But U2 left the stage long enough for Larry to change from his black tee into a white capped sleeve tee (very 1950s!) and played six more songs starting with “Beautiful Day.” Then into “Elevation” where Bono said “Larry Mullen we believe in you!” Just as on the 360 Tour, “Miss Sarajevo” does not fit in this set list at all – really brings the crowd down.
“Ultra Violet” was a tribute to women complete with famous women and the feminist movement on the video screens. I am pretty sure Bono is more of a feminist than most women, and I love him for that! “One” included the extra ‘do you us coming Lord…’ verse, and U2 returned to the b stage to conclude the show with their first single “I Will Follow.”
I think this may be the first concert of the 91 U2 shows I have been to the past 25 years where they did not play “Mysterious Ways.”
Also I think this was the first time I have not seen Larry and Adam leave the stage for Bono and Edge to do an acoustic duet. Keep the rhythm section on stage! Larry and Edge were having a blast tonight, especially Edge.
The Edge was dancing and twirling and jumping like it was 2001. Bono was struggling a bit with his voice and drinking lots of water.
Well those are my thoughts on my first Joshua Tree show. Hopefully it was coherent as I have been up for 22 hours and stood for 11 of those without a proper meal.
Check back later for a full report on my entire Chicago trip – and tomorrow for my thoughts on the second Chicago Joshua Tree 30 show. Deena's site called On The Road With U2