U2 Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Joshua Tree at New Era Field


Photo by Chris Prenatt

U2 (left to right: The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Bono, Adam Clayton) performed all of the Joshua Tree album along with other favorites to a massive crowd at New Era Field last night.

Under a cloud covered sky in Orchard Park last night, legendary post-punk quartet U2 performed to an energetic crowd at New Era Field. The crowd was roaring, the music was blaring, and a whole group of strangers were united in the name of love.

Doors opened at 5:30 but the opening act, Beck, an alternative rock artist who was big in the 90s, started his set at 7:30. Beck, along with his backup band (including a trio called The B-53’s,) played a 75 minute set, ranging from classic hits like “Loser,” “E-Pro,” and “Devil’s Haircut,” along with personal favorites such as “Soul of a Man,” “Qué Onda Guero,” and “Go it Alone.” He also played his song “Dreams,” a song originally released two years ago as a single that will appear on his new album Colors which comes out October 13. The crowd seemed to really enjoy him, he brought tons of energy to the venue and pumped up the crowd for U2.

Originally scheduled to go on at 9:10, U2 didn’t start until 20 minutes later as staff was setting the stage up for the Irish rockers. You could sense how excited the crowd was to see these legends perform in their city.

The layout of the stage was incredible. Since it was the 30th anniversary tour of their album The Joshua Tree, the gigantic screen that was behind the stage had an imprint of the famous tree of which the album gets its name. That wasn’t the only amazing thing U2 had, they had two different stages. One was the normal stage that Beck performed nearly a half hour ago on and the other stage was in the shape of, you guessed it, the Joshua tree. The two stages were connected by a long runway.

U2 started off their two hour long set with drummer Larry Mullen Jr. walking towards his kit located on the Joshua tree stage, hitting the easily recognizable notes of “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” followed along with the rest of the group, guitarist David “The Edge” Evans, lead vocalist Bono, and lastly, bassist Adam Clayton. The band played three other songs from their 41 year long career, such as “New Year’s Day” and “Pride (In the Name of Love.)”

The band then left that stage to go play on the larger main stage. The screen showed a blood red sky with the Joshua tree in all black. The Edge then began playing those infamous notes from “Where the Streets Have No Name,” the crowd roaring in response. U2 played all of the 11 tracks off the 30-year-old album, including songs such as “With or Without You,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and “One Tree Hill.”

Throughout their show, U2 had several beautiful visual effects to go along with each song, such as accompaniment from the Salvation Army band (“Red Mill Mining Town,”) a red sky fading into a desert road (“Where The Streets Have No Name,”) and children with candles (“Mothers of the Disappeared.”)

After finishing all of The Joshua Tree, U2 kept the festivities going, playing a six song encore containing well known songs like “Beautiful Day,” “Vertigo,” and closing with “One.”

When asked about what they thought about the show, some concert goers wanted to tell about what they witnessed.

“It was incredible,” Lisa Prenatt of North Tonawanda, NY, said, “It was a mastery of the mind, the soul, sound, ears, sight, it was probably the best concert I’ve seen in a very long time.”

Grand Island native Debbie Masterman loved every second of it, saying, “It was freakin amazing. I am so glad I had an amazing friend named Lisa [Prenatt] that asked me to go.”

Alex, who declined on having his last name being published, said, “I thought it was great. First time I’ve ever seen [U2.]” He also enjoyed Bono’s message on hope, love, and peace.

U2’s next show will be at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN, on Friday, September 8.