- 09 Jan 17
Speculation has been mounting about a special U2 tour that would celebrate the release of their global smash hit album The Joshua Tree, 30 years on. Well, the announcement will be made this morning...
U2 are set to confirm their touring plans for 2017 this morning. And the entire schemozzle will be based around the 30th Anniversary of The Joshua Tree – the album that made U2 the biggest rock band in the world.
Experienced U2 watchers will have known that an announcement was pending. Back at the beginning of December they launched a competition on U2.Com, the prize for which was an opportunity to see the band in what was effectively a private concert. The competition was a fund-raiser for Red, the charity with which Bono is most closely associated. They'd have to be in touring mode to contemplate that!
On Christmas day came the message for fans, which promised that 2017 would be a very special year for the band. And Bono made teasing mention of The Joshua Tree – pointing towards the 30th Anniversary of what was, and remains, a hugely iconic album.
It delivered the biggest singles of the band’s career up to that point in ‘With Or Without You’ and ‘Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, and went on to sell over 25 million copies worldwide.
Now the band have decided to commemorate that record by revisiting the album on a unique tour.
In one sense it represents a moment of pause to celebrate one of the most important albums in rock history. That the spirit of the tour will be given fresh relevance by recent political developments is undeniable. The album was made in the era of Ronald Reagan and Maggie Thatcher, when there was a high level of paranoia about the foreign policy of both the US and the UK – and the effect that the misguided policies of the respective leaders had on the lives of ordinary people all over the world.
The likely opening date for the tour is in Vancouver in Canada, on May 20th. And for Irish fans, the speculation that they would be announcing Croke Park dates will prove to have been on the mark: there are two dates available in the Stadium’s allotment of three shows per annum – the number that can happen there before the requirement to seek planning permission kicks in. The band played Croke Park during the original Joshua Tree tour. Those shows are likely to happen in July.
There has been speculation about the possible release of ‘Red Hill Mining Town’ as a single. A video for the song, which had been thought of as a potential single at the time, was shot by the film director Neil Jordan – encouraging the thought that it might be dusted down and readied for release. Again, the context of Brexit and the potential fall-out of a more xenophobic atmosphere having taken hold in the UK give the song added relevance.