- 14 May 17
A clearly anti-Donald Trump message and long queues for some fans were among the talking points after the opening show in U2’s tour, celebrating the 30th Anniversary of The Joshua Tree.
The Joshua Tree tour got off to a powerful start in Vancouver, Canada on Friday night. But the show was not without its controversies.
There was the political dimension for a start, with Bono offering an anti-Donald Trump salvo to the Canadian audience – who clearly empathised.
The band opened with 'Sunday Bloody Sunday’, the song from their 1983 album War which dealt with violence in Northern Ireland. But one suspects that this wasn’t what was on the singer’s mind when he shouted “I’m so sick of it!”
“Send a message from Canada to the USA,” he said later in the set, before leading the crowd into a chorus of: “Power of the people/ so much stronger than the people in power.”
And, in a pointed reference to what is currently happening in the United States, he added: “In a democracy, the government should fear the citizens, not the other way around.”
Canadian newspapers reported that during the concert, clips were played from an episode of the 1950s black-and white TV western Trackdown, in which a con man named Trump came to town to warn citizens to protect themselves from the end of the world by building a wall.
“You’re a liar, Trump,” he is told.
The Globe and Mail reported that during a rousing Pride (In the Name of Love) as Martin Luther King’s 'I Have a Dream' speech was spelled out on the screen behind, Bono talked about the “magnificent city of Vancouver” and how Dr. King’s dream “is very much alive” there. “While others closed their doors, yours are open,” he said to cheers from the crowd. As the audience sang along, Bono prayed: “Dr. King, in a time of terror, keep us tolerant. In a time of fear, keep us faithful.”
U2 had begun the night on a small stage in the middle of the crowd. Larry Mullen Jr. leading the way, strolling out to his drum kit as the crowd went wild; he was followed by Adam, Edge and Bono.
“So here we are again in this city we love, Vancouver,” Bono said after delivering the opening two songs, both from the War album.
There was only one major fly in the ointment, to mar what was otherwise a triumphant opening night. There were long queues outside the B. C. Place Stadium, as fans were forced to wait to gain entry – with many missing Mumford and Sons opening set. Reports in the Canadian press have suggested that the delays resulted from a new anti-touting regime put in place by Ticketmaster.
The system provides bands with the option to use a new credit card-based entry system, under which guests must present the credit card, with which they purchased the ticket, at the door. U2 operated this system successfully for their Dublin shows, among others, on their iNNOCENCE & eXPERIENCE tour. The card is scanned by door staff and verified before fans are allowed entrance. The timing difficulties may have been isolated to the B. C. Place venue.
“That system was designed to prevent some of the scalping situations that have occurred globally,” a spokesperson for Ticketmaster in Canada, Laura Balance, said. “It was a situation where the verification system took a little longer than was anticipated per transaction. It created a situation where we couldn’t process people quick enough to get them into the venue. We’ll work to get better.”
Hot Press’ Olaf Tyaransen is in Seattle tonight to see the band’s opening US show. Watch this space for his report…
The full U2 set-list for their opening show was as follows:
'Sunday Bloody Sunday'
'New Year’s Day'
'A Sort of Homecoming'
'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'
'Running to Stand Still'
'Red Hill Mining Town'
'In God’s Country'
'Trip Through Your Wires'
'One Tree Hill’
'Mothers of the Disappeared'
'Ultra Violet (Light My Way)'
'The Little Things That Give You Away'