It was a beautiful day. U2 kicked off the Australia/ New Zealand dates of The Joshua Tree world tour and we were given a backstage pass.
A once in a lifetime opportunity- literally this is the second time the band have invited media backstage before a show, the only other time was local Irish press- we were given a tour of the industry changing stage and set, with a bonus 4 song soundcheck and chat with the band.
A town that have a long running relationship with U2, Auckland really turned it on for the band- a glaringly sunny day. A handful of media filed into Mt Smart Stadium to experience this huge band working through the ins and outs during soundcheck for the first of 8 shows on the Australia/ New Zealand The Joshua Tree world tour.
Although the tour kicked off in May 2017, it's been almost two years since the band last played this show and it showed. Talking to the band after soundcheck they admitted they've been in Auckland for three weeks rehearsing the show and although the 4 songs we saw in soundcheck were performed as if the full 40,000 crowd was in the venue- the band were shockingly nervous with the band's leader Bono saying; "It's not like riding a bike" and the band's guitarist Edge adding the band are constantly working on the songs.
The hard work paid off, when the stage lights came on, the songs from 1987's The Joshua Tree they sounded better than ever, with the band playing as hard and loud as they did when they were a young rock band in Ireland.
Setting the stage, it was a blood red sky with the record breaking sized LED video screen (200 x 45 feet to be exact) that backed the band projecting red as far as the eye could see as the band kicked off with Sunday Bloody Sunday.
Although the stage is stadium size, Adam, Larry, Bono and Edge play tightly together on the end of the Joshua Tree shaped stage amongst the fans, before moving up to the super sized performance.
Die-hard fans were in tears for Bad from 1984 The Unforgettable Fire and the moving One Tree Hill- the emotional tribute for their fallen Kiwi crew member Greg Carroll and for those who have seen the film Looking For Alibrandi, With or Without You still gets that lump in your throat.
The strong message of love, freedom and world peace brings the masses together, from the die-hard rock fans to the younger fans who weren't even born when this record was made, everyone was equal and free, even just for the couple of hours of the gig.
Although it's a celebration of 30 years of The Joshua Tree, the band glide through the decades, no matter what record you fell in love with U2 with this is one show every rock fan needs to see.
Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year's Day
Where the Streets Have No Name
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
Mothers of the Disappeared
Angel of Harlem
Even Better Than The Real Thing
Every Breaking Wave
Love is Bigger
It's been almost 10 years since U2 last toured Australia and it's worth the wait.
Seeing the hard work put in behind the scenes is admired and no wonder this band is one of the biggest rock bands in the word, 43 years after they first picked up their instruments.
Don't miss Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds who open the show, with an equal collection of Oasis hits and Noel's new material.
U2's The Joshua Tree tour:
- 12 November, Brisbane, AU, Suncorp Stadium
- 15 November, Melbourne, AU, Marvel Stadium
- 19 November, Adelaide, AU, Adelaide Oval
- 22 November, Sydney, AU, Sydney Cricket Ground
- 23 November, Sydney, AU, Sydney Cricket Ground
- 27 November, Perth, AU, Optus Stadium
For complete tour and ticket information, visit: www.u2.com
U2: The Joshua Tree Tour is produced by Live Nation Global Touring.
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