Most rock bands are lucky to create one stadium-ready anthem. U2 has three… on one album. The Joshua Tree, the Irish group’s fifth and most successful album (25 million copies sold), kicks off with “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and “With or Without You,” which is about as solid an opening trio as you’re going to get. (Track four, “Bullet the Blue Sky,” is a fine enough song, but it’s the Liam Hemsworth to track one-three’s Chris Hemsworth.) U2 has played these songs live approximately 428,294 times — which is also the number of times you’ve heard them on the radio; “Streets” is one of my “if you could hear a song for the first time, what would it be?” answers — but rarely in order.
To celebrate 30 years of the sonically massive and heartfelt The Joshua Tree, Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. are touring behind the album, playing it from front-to-back. Yes, even “Red Hill Mining Town.” That’s when you make a quick run to the bathroom before “In God’s Country.”
“Recently I listened back to The Joshua Tree for the first time in nearly 30 years,” the band’s ever-polarizing singer Bono said in a statement. “It’s quite an opera. A lot of emotions which feel strangely current, love, loss, broken dreams, seeking oblivion, polarization… I’ve sung some of these songs a lot…but never all of them. I’m up for it, if our audience is as excited as we are… It’s gonna be a great night.” The Edge added, “To celebrate the album — as the songs seem so relevant and prescient of these times too — we decided to do these shows, it feels right for now. We’re looking forward to it.”