U2 tour kicks off in Canada

Tour mark­ing ‘Joshua Tree’ al­bum’s 30th an­niver­sary be­gins in Van­cou­ver

Cape Breton Post - - Entertainment - BY JA­SON KELLER THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

U2 treated Van­cou­ver like a home­com­ing as the Ir­ish rock band kicked off a world tour cel­e­brat­ing the 30-year an­niver­sary of its beloved “Joshua Tree” al­bum.

Lead singer Bono said it was “the city we love” dur­ing the song “New Year’s Day,” the sec­ond track in a set that spanned dif­fer­ent eras of the group, yet an­chored around a full recre­ation of The Joshua Tree. It was the sec­ond straight tour that U2 has started in Van­cou­ver.

The band, with gui­tarist the Edge, drum­mer Larry Mullen Jr. and bassist Adam Clay­ton, had been in Van­cou­ver for weeks re­hears­ing, with sounds of U2 leak­ing out of BC Place sta­dium and fill­ing the down­town city streets nightly. On Fri­day night, fans were wel­comed into the “con­crete tem­ple” as Bono called it, to see and hear the re­sults of all the prac­tise ses­sions.

The show be­gan with Mullen saun­ter­ing alone to his drum kit to bang out the open­ing bars of “Sun­day Bloody Sun­day.” The rest of the band soon joined him and im­me­di­ately the au­di­ence was on its feet pump­ing fists in the air.

Af­ter a rous­ing ren­di­tion of “A Sort of Home­com­ing,” Bono brought the tempo to a moody halt with the key­board-heavy “MLK.” It was dur­ing the next song, “Pride” (In the Name of Love), when Bono said “Canada, don’t close your doors” in a “time of fear.”

It wouldn’t be Bono’s only politi­cal mes­sage dur­ing the evening. On a gi­ant back­drop video screen pro­ject­ing im­ages dur­ing the show, edited clips from an old movie played where a char­ac­ter says, “Trump, you’re a liar,” be­fore the “Joshua Tree” song “Exit.”

The black-clad singer would take aim again later with a “mes­sage to the USA.” He in­cited the au­di­ence to sing along: “power of the peo­ple is stronger than the peo­ple in power,” and then said, “govern­ment should fear cit­i­zens, not the other way around.”

Pol­i­tics aside, the Joshua Tree sec­tion formed the cen­tre­piece of the show and had the sold-out crowd roar­ing dur­ing the first three songs, “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Look­ing For,” and “With or With­out You.”

Af­ter those peren­nial clas­sics you could feel the en­ergy dip slightly as the band worked through lesser known tunes like “Bul­let the Blue Sky” and “Red Hill Min­ing Town,” a song they per­formed live for the first time. Once the fi­nal notes from al­bum closer “Mother of the Dis­ap­peared” rang out, Bono jok­ingly thanked the au­di­ence “for lis­ten­ing to our new long player.”

The au­di­ence quickly re­vived with the drum-pound­ing favourite “Beau­ti­ful Day,” which was fol­lowed by the equally-lively “El­e­va­tion.”

Bono ded­i­cated the song “Ul­tra Vi­o­let” (Light My Way) from “Ach­tung Baby” to “great women we know.” Dur­ing the song, im­ages of women, in­clud­ing Canadians Joni Mitchell and k.d. lang, flashed across the back­drop as Bono’s vo­cal soared into the cho­rus.


Ir­ish rock­ers U2 kick off their world tour of the Joshua Tree in Van­cou­ver, B.C., Fri­day.

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