Story and Photos by Tom Collins
Edited by Scott Johnson
This past Sunday, Philadelphia celebrated Father’s Day with the mother of all shows! The long awaited return of U2 resulted in The Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Tour making a stop in the City of Brotherly Love. Fans began lining up for this show 2 whole days in advance, to get the best spots available at Lincoln Financial field. Fortunately, U2 fans are quite a fine, caring group of people. Throughout the day, waiting outside the gates, strangers offered each other water, food, and shade if they had it.
During the wait, we were treated to a quick preview of some newly added songs at sound check. U2 nation sang along and cheered at the addition of “Mysterious Ways” to the set list. Kudos go out to the staff and security at Lincoln Financial Field. They did a wonderful job of keeping the lines organized, safe and happy. General Admission fans were cued up on the ramps inside the stadium until the sound check was over.
Once inside, everyone quickly jockeyed for the spot they thought would give them the best view. The stage consisted of a massive LED wall that backed the Main Stage. Rising from the top of the stage was part of The Joshua Tree, which was mirrored by a “B” stage and ramp that stretched out towards the center of the field. I chose to be at the front of the “B” stage. After a long days wait, the opening act The Lumineers took to the stage. They played a 45 minute set that everyone obviously enjoyed. A short time after the set had concluded, the moment finally arrived for U2! A single spotlight followed the first member down the ramp. It was none other than drummer Larry Mullen Jr. He went to a drum kit at the end of the stage, when he started into the distinctive opening of “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” The Edge then began to walk down the ramp, dropping the recognizable guitar riff over the drums. The crowd erupted as they got their first glimpse of Bono coming down the ramp followed by bassist, Adam Clayton. There they were! All 4 members of U2 were kicking off the Philadelphia show, in the middle of The Linc, on a Joshua Tree shaped stage!
It had been 30 years since the release of their groundbreaking album, The Joshua Tree. Their hair was lighter, and lines in their faces much deeper. But, the voice and that sound were still ageless. Philadelphia sang along with their arms in the air to “New Years Day” and “Bad.” A highlight moment in the show for many was the much beloved song, “Pride”. Images of historical and influential people scrolled the huge stage screen, along with many quotes. One of the more recognizable being Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have a Dream”. When “Pride” finished, all 4 members stood together at the center of the “B” stage and soaked in the huge crowd that was there to show their love. U2 made their way up the ramp to the Main Stage that was a glow in red with the towering Joshua Tree behind them. Now, everyone who had patiently waited in the front of the Main Stage was treated with “Where The Streets Have No Name”.
The wall behind Bono and company became a black and white image of a endless road through the middle of a desert. The imagery that U2 used throughout the show was poignant as well as beautiful. But, there were many fans who were quite disappointed that the massive video wall rarely ever showed clear images of the band performing. Any time they were shown on the screen, it was in grainy black and white with various effects and filters. For an entire stadium full of people, they hardly got to see the band. After playing ‘Side One’ of The Joshua Tree, they took a very quick breather and came back out refreshed to complete the hit album with ‘Side Two’. Simply put, it was AMAZING! Bono’s voice with Edge’s guitar work and lyrics, that were written with heart and emotion, filled every seat in the stadium.
At the completion of the album, U2 went right into their encore which included a tribute to women. It was the first time on the tour that they used “Mysterious Ways” showing many famous, historical, and noteworthy woman on the wall behind them. Wrapping up this magnificent night was “One”, “Beautiful Day”, “Elevation” and “Vertigo”. It was definitely one of the Best concerts Rock Titan has covered in 2017 thus far!
U2 Concert Slide Show