Words+Images+Video: HUMsandy Images+Video: Sumona Roy
A question of relevancy?
During U2’s 2015 Innocence + Experience Tour, Bono raised the subject of U2’s relevancy in today’s peculiar music market. Along with U2’s Apple partnership with the release of “Songs of Innocence” and the ensuing uproar. Many critics deemed (and predicted) U2’s extinction on par with Tunguska.
U2’s 1987 album release of “The Joshua Tree” was a watershed moment in the band’s history. Considered by many publications belonging to a small select group of albums deserving the title “greatest albums” of all time. To others, the staggering 25 million copies sold worldwide mattered. To many others, an awakening of political and social timeliness of Reagan-Thatcher-Apartheid unrest.
Fast forward to 2017 (or time jump back 30 years to 1987) and the question of U2’s relevancy comes into question again. With civil, social and political unrest at nuclear levels — can U2 engage in today’s hyper-distracted, abstract, nonsensical world?
As U2 rolls out “The Joshua Tour 2017” worldwide, interestingly enough, reactions have been tepid with audiences in some pockets of the USA — is this because of the geopolitical and social fragmentation? Irrelevancy?
Arriving in Toronto, U2 were greeted by plus-50,000 patriotic Canadian fans eager to engage in the past & present meaningfulness of anthemic harmonization.
Visually, mammoth 50-foot screens projecting 33-million pixels (of original Joshua Tree photographer) Anton Corbijn 8K visual-compelling brilliance mesmerized the audience with political, social symbolic proclamations.
Opening with older (and relevant) U2 standards Sunday Bloody Sunday, New Year’s Day, Bad and Pride (In The Name Of Love), meaningful urgency engaged the Rogers Centre audience.
With the recognizable sonics of Edge’s opening guitar to “Where the Streets Have No Name” echoing in the stadium, reminders of the power of U2’s Joshua Tree’s anthemic message was focused and clear.
Onward chronologically with the support of U2’s Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton with “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, “With Or Without You”, “Bullet The Blue Sky”, “Running To Stand Still”, “Red Hill Mining Town”, “In God’s Country”, “Trip Through Your Wires”, “One Tree Hill, “Exit”, to the last track “Mothers Of The Disappeared”.
The encore started with “Miss Sarajevo”, along with crowd rising “Beautiful Day” incorporating the national anthem “Oh Canada”, “Elevation”, “Vertigo” , “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)”, and “One”.
Finally coming full circle with U2’s debut album “Boy” with the song that gave U2 their first exposure in the spotlight, “I Will Follow”.
Enlightening. Engaging. Memorable.
Ever vigilant relevancy.
- Sunday Bloody Sunday
- New Year’s Day
- Bad / Suzanne (snippet) / Hallelujah (snippet)
- Pride (In The Name Of Love)
- Where The Streets Have No Name
- I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
- With Or Without You
- Bullet The Blue Sky / Black Dog (snippet) / America (West Side Story) (snippet)
- Running To Stand Still
- Red Hill Mining Town
- In God’s Country
- Trip Through Your Wires
- One Tree Hill
- Exit / Wise Blood (snippet) / Eeny Meeny Miny Moe (snippet)
- Mothers Of The Disappeared
- Miss Sarajevo
- Beautiful Day / O Canada (snippet)
- Vertigo / It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) (snippet)
- Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
- One / Hear Us Coming (snippet)
- I Will Follow