U2 opened its Joshua Tree Tour over the weekend, and so far it is getting mostly rave reviews for the music and presentation. On the tour, the band is playing its landmark 1987 album “The Joshua Tree,” and a handful of hits from before and after the album, plus a new tune.
Writing for Rolling Stone, critic Andy Green wrote, “Time and time again throughout the new tour’s U.S. opener at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field (the band’s North American run officially began in Vancouver two nights earlier), U2 proved how a 30-year-old album can speak to the issues of today — whether they be immigration, U.S. foreign policy or the dwindling power of labor unions — while reminding the audience that they are a live act simply without peer. The band has always done their best work under trying circumstances, and in the words of Bono back around the time they came back with ‘Beautiful Day,’ it really felt like they were reapplying for the job of the best band in the world by showing how they earned the title in the first place.”
New York Times critic Jon Pareles wrote, reviewing Sunday night’s Seattle show, “U2 doesn’t want to become an oldies act. But that Irish band couldn’t resist booking a tour of quickly sold-out stadium concerts featuring all the songs from its 1987 album, “The Joshua Tree” — songs that were still both brash and high-minded when U2 performed them here on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field.”
Numerous accounts have mentioned a curved 200-foot video screen that serves as the show’s backdrop and features films by U2’s longtime photographer Anton Corbijin. It is purported to be the largest and highest-resolution screen ever used on a concert tour.
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“By U2’s own standards, this is a relatively stripped-back production, but the effects can often be quietly spectacular,” Barry Nicoloson wrote in a review of the Vancouver show for The Guardian.
The tour comes to Kentucky next month with a June 16 date at Louisville’s Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.