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U2 Rocks the Rose Bowl

U2 appeared in front of a 200 foot high high resolution screen for the whole show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

U2 appeared in front of a 200 foot high high resolution screen for the whole show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Kaden Brown

Kaden Brown

U2 appeared in front of a 200 foot high high resolution screen for the whole show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Kaden Brown, Staff Writer

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So many legendary rock albums have caught the attention of the world over the years, these are the albums that propel a great up and coming band on to becoming a world renowned mainstay act. Such is the case with the 1987 hit album “The Joshua Tree,” by Irish 80’s rock band U2.

‘Joshua Tree’ sold over 25 million copies since release and drew huge audience attendance to the album’s world tour for it. It also won the 1988 Grammy for Album of the Year.

30 years after its release and tour, U2 has returned to bring back the spirit of their infamous record and world tour with the Joshua Tree Revival Tour. The tour started at the beginning of May in Vancouver and recently stopped in California for a historical performance. U2 sold out two consecutive nights at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on May 20 and 21st.

Performing for roughly 89,000 spectators, Bono and band stunned audiences with a night of spectacular musical talent with a blend of remarkable visual energy as well.

The Stage

The first thing concertgoers see upon entrance to the venues of the tour is the overwhelming 200 foot high wall that actually was a remarkably high resolution screen that was used as the large visual element of the concert. It depicted several different backdrops accommodating the setlist. On it was the outline of a joshua tree’s shadow that scaled the 200 foot height. Along with the large main stage, it also featured a side stage that jutted out to the crowd in the shape of the same joshua tree, given the album’s theme.

The main stage altogether with the screen and B stage is a dominating sight with its more than 400 feet of length.

The Music

As the lights cut out and the crowds stirred, the four piece talent entered the scene with no sense of apprehension. There was no theatrics, put simply it was just four men who sauntered into place to the satisfaction of thousands of restless fanatics. The show opened from there as Bono ripped into a striking open of “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”

Delivered from the out jutting runway stage at first, U2 gave a four song open before returning to the main stage where the show began to transform. The huge 200 foot screen warmed up with a daunting red glow as the silhouettes of the band members appeared under the shadow of the tree. The opening riff of the album opener “Where the Streets Have No Name” came in with nostalgic force as the red background faded to a black and white visual of a sprawling desert road.

The whole concert began its energetic climb as the song all came together, with the memorable lyrics like “I want to run, I want to hide” resonating, the growing percussion, and melodic guitar of the Edge; the masterful work of U2 and their brilliance was apparent again even thirty years later.

The album’s setlist rolled into the lightness of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” with Bono’s vocals untouched by years of world performing. From there, they delivered a beautiful execution of “With or Without You” while backed by a time-lapsed sunset of the desert behind them. They then proceeded on in the record’s tracklist going off into “Bullet the Blue Sky,” a very touching “Running to Stand Still,” which was dedicated to the recently passed Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, and “Red Hill Mining Town.”

Each song delivered the intended nostalgic feeling delivered along with Bono’s appreciation of each of them and the audience’s presence with it. The Edge’s guitar backed each song with his amazing talent along with Larry Mullen’s reverberating percussion all while Adam Clayton’s bass filled the voids. It all came together behind the fronting of Bono’s utter talent.

The show moved on to “In God’s Country” where Bono thanked the United States for the overwhelming support and inspiration it has given to him and the Irish rock band, all while in front of the American flag visuals that towered behind. They then delivered flawless renditions of “Trip Through Your Wires,” and “One Tree Hill.”

Bono then disappeared following “One Tree Hill” after a brief blackout effect, coming back at this point shedding his trademark sunglasses and jacket now only in a black vest and round brimmed black hat. He then met with an edged exhibition of the track “Exit,” and then after closing out the ‘Joshua Tree’ tracklist with “Mothers of the Disappeared.” They exited the stage with a looming desire of the crowd for more.

Of course, they met expectations of an encore, reentering in front of a glowing, rainbow twisted backdrop that exploded with color as a muted build of “Beautiful Day” came through to the delighted appeal of the audience. They completely ascended above expectation as the whole arena bathed in the lights of a spectrum of color and effect of one of the band’s most popular songs.

Let’s do this again in 2047!”

— Bono

Bono walked out onto the runway stage, remaining there for a rarely done seven song encore of songs like “Elevation,” “Ultraviolet (Light My Way),” “One,” and a cover of Passenger’s “Miss Sarajevo.”

The Message

The whole show closed on themes of U2’s outlook on the world in politics dealing with women’s rights, syrian refugees, and AIDS awareness. They ended on “Bad,” and “I Will Follow.”

The band exited with great appreciation for everyone who had helped them get where they were, their love of “The Joshua Tree,” and the world they live in. Bono excitedly exclaimed at one point,

“Let’s do this again in 2047!”

It was a night of live music brilliance, social awareness, and the admiration of the great legacy that U2 had accumulated since 1987 witnessed by almost 90,000 satisfied spectators.

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