U2 scans political landscape in ‘Joshua Tree’ tour

U2 scans political landscape in ‘Joshua Tree’ tour
Irish rockers U2 kick off the first day of the U.S. leg of their “Joshua Tree” tour in Seattle.

With evocative montages of the American west scrolling on screens behind them, Irish rockers U2 kicked off the first day of the U.S. leg of their “Joshua Tree” tour on Sunday (May 14) in Seattle, Washington, with a few jabs at the new political landscape. The tour was billed as a look back at the band’s 1987 breakthrough album “The Joshua Tree” with its globe-spanning hits “With Or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.

Bono largely steered clear of the overt references to President Donald Trump that had peppered his performances during the election campaign. But more guarded references to modern-day events kept breaking through. “Some of you think that the dream is dead. Maybe that dream is just telling you to wake up,” Bono said during “Pride,” as the words of Martin Luther King were projected behind him.

The screen switched to images of models in front of a faded American flag and vast desert landscapes. Other scenes showed the destruction in Syria and a girl there appealing for help. Bono also acknowledged U.S. Mother’s Day, dedicating the song “Ultraviolet” to “women who stood up or sat down for their rights, who insisted, resisted, persisted for their rights.” U2 will play 33 shows to 1.7 million people during the “Joshua Tree” tour.

The tour is also the top-selling concert in the U.S. this summer, according to ticket seller StubHub, with most shows already sold out.

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