The Joshua Tree Tour

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The Joshua Tree Tour
U2JoshuaTreeTour.jpg
Tour by U2
Associated album The Joshua Tree
Start date 2 April 1987 (1987-04-02)
End date 20 December 1987
Legs 3
Shows 111
U2 concert chronology
A Conspiracy of Hope Tour
(1986)
The Joshua Tree Tour
(1987)
Lovetown Tour
(1989-1990)

The Joshua Tree Tour was a concert tour by the Irish rock band U2, which took place during 1987, in support of their album The Joshua Tree. The tour was depicted by the video and live album Live from Paris.

Itinerary[edit]

Fans waiting for U2 outside Hartford Civic Center May 1987

This tour's opening night was 2 April at Arizona State University's Activity Center in Tempe, Arizona. The day before the opening night, Bono had partially lost his voice, due to the week of rehearsals the band held at A.S.U.'s Activity Center. He asked the audience to help him sing the majority of the set, which they were happy to do. He had fully regained his voice for the second of the two shows at the arena on 4 April.

The first leg took place in American indoor arenas during April and May. The 29 concerts generated US$7,051,329 with a total of 465,452 tickets sold. 1,063 tickets from Las Vegas remained unsold equating to a 99.77% sellout for the 1st American leg.[1] The first leg finished with 5 concerts at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford between 11 and 16 May.

The second leg in European arenas and outdoor stadiums ran from late May through to early August, starting at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome on 27 May.[2] The final show of the European leg is at Pairc Ui Chaoimh in Cork on 8 August.[3]

The third leg returned to American and Canadian arenas and stadiums in the autumn. The tour ended on 20 December back where it started in Tempe, Arizona, but this time at Sun Devil Stadium.

On 30 April, the band played the Pontiac Silverdome, their first headlining stadium show in the United States. While the show's reviews were positive, they said that a video screen is necessary for people at the back. U2 production manager, Willie Williams, recalls the debate within the band about the use of screens and whether they would divide the audience's attention between the stage and the screen.[4] A video screen was installed behind the lighting tower at the 20 September show at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. so the back half of the stadium could better see the band, and screens were used at most stadium shows for the rest of the tour.[5]

The Joshua Tree Tour sold out stadiums around the world, the first time the band had consistently played venues of that size. The Joshua Tree and its singles had become huge hits and the band had reached a new height in their popularity. Tickets for shows were often very hard to get, especially on the first American leg when they only played in arenas.

That first leg was also organised around multiple-night stands in centres of U2 fandom along the two U.S. coasts, with only a very few dates in the middle of the country. These multiple-night stands also featured an unusual set list twist. All but the last night would begin in conventional concert fashion with the rousing pair of "Where the Streets Have No Name" into "I Will Follow", but the last night in each city would begin with the house lights fully up and the band performing the early 1960s classic "Stand By Me", with The Edge singing one verse, all intended as a friendly, informal opening. The house lights would then stay up for "Pride (In the Name of Love)", only going off at the end of it; the rest of the set list would be consequently scrambled from the norm.

The new level of fame, exposure and the frantic nature of the tour put the U2 organisation under a large amount of stress.[6]

The 79 North American shows on the tour sold 2,035,539 tickets and grossed $35 million.[7]

Cover performances[edit]

The back of the most common T-shirt from the Joshua Tree Tour's first leg.

At Wembley Stadium in London, Bono sang The Beatles' "Help!", dedicating it to those in the audience who were dreading another five years of the recently re-elected Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. As another sign of the group's confidence, they also covered The Beatles' heretofore untouchable "Helter Skelter", declaring "This is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles; we're stealin' it back." Other notable covers from the tour included Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody", Peggy Seeger's "The Ballad of Springhill", Neil Young's "Southern Man", Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" (during which Bono would invite a fan to play guitar on the song) and numerous Bob Dylan covers including "Maggie's Farm" and "I Shall Be Released".

U2 covered Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" at their 25 September, '87 show at Philadelphia's old JFK Stadium, accompanied by a guest performance from Bruce Springsteen.

Filming for Rattle and Hum documentary[edit]

The band filmed and recorded various shows from the tour for the documentary and album Rattle and Hum. The band filmed the black-and-white footage at Denver's McNichols Sports Arena on 7 and 8 November 1987. They chose the city following the success of their Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky video, which was filmed at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 1983. "We thought lightning might strike twice", said guitarist The Edge. Seven songs from the second show are used in the film.[8]

Colour outdoor concert footage is from the band's Tempe, Arizona shows on 19 December 1987 and 20 December 1987. The initial plan was that the colour outdoor footage would have been taken during 2 shows in Buenos Aires, but during the tour planning this became impossible due to heavy costs to transport all the equipment.[9]

Support acts[edit]

A number of opening acts were used for the tour. Lone Justice was still given emphasis in this role, as they had been on the Unforgettable Fire Tour, but it was not enough to give them a successful career. Other openers included The Pretenders, Big Audio Dynamite, UB40, Little Steven, The BoDeans, Mason Ruffner, World Party, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Spear of Destiny, The Waterboys, Hurrah!, Los Lobos, Buckwheat Zydeco, The Pogues, The Alarm, The Silencers, and Lou Reed.

On 1 November in Indianapolis, U2 appeared as their own support act, The Dalton Brothers, playing between sets by the Bodeans and Los Lobos. They were dressed in Western outfits and wigs while Bono spoke with a twangy southern accent. Playing their own country-influenced song, "Lucille", and Hank Williams' "Lost Highway", only some of the audience in the front few rows recognised them. The Dalton Brothers also appear in Los Angeles and Hampton.[8]

B.B. King was the opening act for both final shows of the tour on 19 and 20 December at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, and in Fort Worth same year.

Injuries[edit]

During rehearsals on 1 April 1987, the day before the opening show in Tempe, Arizona, Bono fell onto a spotlight he was carrying during a rendition of "Bullet the Blue Sky", cutting open his chin. He was taken to a hospital and the wound was stitched up.[10] Bono later said, “I was lost in the music and at the start of any tour you're just getting to know the physicality of the stage... and you're overestimating your own physicality. You think you're made of metal and you're not. Cuts and bruises, that's what I remember from The Joshua Tree.”[11]

Bono sustained a second injury on 20 September 1987 during a concert at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on the third leg of the tour. He fell off the rain-slicked stage and dislocated his arm.[5] He completed the performance and had his arm popped back into place after its conclusion. His arm was in a sling for twelve shows between 22 September and 20 October, which is visible at some points during the 1988 film Rattle and Hum.[12]

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
North America[13]
2 April 1987 Tempe United States Arizona State University Activity Center
4 April 1987
5 April 1987 Tucson Tucson Convention Center
7 April 1987 Houston The Summit
8 April 1987
10 April 1987 Las Cruces Pan American Center
12 April 1987 Paradise Thomas & Mack Center
13 April 1987 San Diego San Diego Sports Arena
17 April 1987 Los Angeles Sports Arena
18 April 1987
20 April 1987
21 April 1987
22 April 1987
24 April 1987 Daly City Cow Palace
25 April 1987
29 April 1987 Rosemont Rosemont Horizon
30 April 1987 Pontiac Pontiac Silverdome
2 May 1987 Worcester Centrum
3 May 1987
4 May 1987
7 May 1987 Hartford Hartford Civic Center
8 May 1987
9 May 1987
11 May 1987 East Rutherford Brendan Byrne Arena
12 May 1987
13 May 1987
15 May 1987
16 May 1987
Leg 2: Europe[2]
27 May 1987 Rome Italy Stadio Flaminio
29 May 1987 Modena Stadio Alberto Braglia
30 May 1987
2 June 1987 London England Wembley Arena
3 June 1987 Birmingham National Exhibition Centre
6 June 1987 Gothenburg Sweden Eriksberg Shipyard Docks
8 June 1987 Budapest Hungary Népstadion
11 June 1987 London England Wembley Stadium
12 June 1987
15 June 1987 Paris France Le Zénith
17 June 1987 Cologne Germany Müngersdorfer Stadium
18 June 1987 Poznań Poland Hala Arena
19 June 1987 Warsaw Sala Kongresowa
21 June 1987 Basel Switzerland St. Jakob Stadium
24 June 1987 Belfast Northern Ireland King's Hall
27 June 1987 Dublin Ireland Croke Park
28 June 1987
1 July 1987 Leeds England Elland Road
4 July 1987 Paris France Hippodrome de Vincennes
5 July 1987
8 July 1987 Brussels Belgium Forest National
10 July 1987 Rotterdam Netherlands Feijenoord Stadion
11 July 1987
15 July 1987 Madrid Spain Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
18 July 1987 Montpellier France Espace Richter
21 July 1987 Munich Germany Olympiahalle
22 July 1987
25 July 1987 Cardiff Wales Cardiff Arms Park
29 July 1987 Glasgow Scotland SECC
30 July 1987
1 August 1987 Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium
3 August 1987 Birmingham England National Exhibition Centre
4 August 1987
8 August 1987 Cork Ireland Páirc Uí Chaoimh
Leg 3: North America[14]
10 September 1987 Uniondale United States Nassau Coliseum
11 September 1987
12 September 1987 Philadelphia The Spectrum
14 September 1987 East Rutherford Giants Stadium
17 September 1987 Boston Boston Garden
18 September 1987
20 September 1987 Washington, D.C. Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
22 September 1987 Foxboro Foxboro Stadium
23 September 1987 New Haven New Haven Coliseum
25 September 1987 Philadelphia JFK Stadium
28 September 1987 New York City Madison Square Garden
29 September 1987
1 October 1987 Montreal Canada Olympic Stadium
3 October 1987 Toronto Canadian National Exhibition Stadium
6 October 1987 Cleveland United States Cleveland Stadium
7 October 1987 Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
9 October 1987 Syracuse Carrier Dome
11 October 1987 Rochester Silver Stadium
13 October 1987 Pittsburgh Three Rivers Stadium
20 October 1987 Iowa City Carver–Hawkeye Arena
22 October 1987 Champaign Assembly Hall
23 October 1987 Lexington Rupp Arena
25 October 1987 St. Louis St. Louis Arena
26 October 1987 Kansas City Kemper Arena
28 October 1987 Rosemont Rosemont Horizon
29 October 1987
30 October 1987
1 November 1987 Indianapolis Hoosier Dome
3 November 1987 Saint Paul St. Paul Civic Center
4 November 1987
7 November 1987 Denver McNichols Arena
8 November 1987
11 November 1987 San Francisco Justin Herman Plaza
12 November 1987 Vancouver Canada BC Place Stadium
14 November 1987 Oakland United States Oakland Coliseum
15 November 1987
17 November 1987 Los Angeles Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
18 November 1987
22 November 1987 Austin Frank Erwin Center
23 November 1987 Fort Worth Tarrant County Convention Center
24 November 1987
26 November 1987 Baton Rouge LSU Assembly Center
28 November 1987 Murfreesboro Charles M. Murphy Athletic Center
3 December 1987 Miami Orange Bowl
5 December 1987 Tampa Tampa Stadium
8 December 1987 Atlanta The Omni
9 December 1987
11 December 1987 Hampton Hampton Coliseum
12 December 1987
19 December 1987 Tempe Sun Devil Stadium
20 December 1987

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ de la Parra (1996), p. 102.
  2. ^ a b de la Parra (2003), pp. 103–110
  3. ^ McGee (2008), p. 109.
  4. ^ McGee (2008), p. 104.
  5. ^ a b McGee (2008), p. 110.
  6. ^ Graham, Bill (17 December 1987). "Band on the Run". Hot Press. 
  7. ^ Grossweiner, Bob (1 June 1992). "U2: It's A Business". Hit Parader. 
  8. ^ a b McGee (2008), p. 112
  9. ^ McGee (2008)
  10. ^ McGee (2008), p. 102.
  11. ^ U2 (July 2010). "Stairway to Devon − OK, Somerset!". Q. p. 103. 
  12. ^ McGee (2008), pp. 110, 112.
  13. ^ de la Parra (2003), pp. 79–102
  14. ^ de la Parra (2003), pp. 111–121
Bibliography

External links[edit]