Monday, 7 August 2017

The Joshua Tree Live Under A Roman Sky - Day 1

My trip to Rome for the Joshua Tree Tour 2017 was on... second thought. When the first European dates of this tour were announced I didn't do anything. Probably I didn't have amy money at that time or I was just thinking about it. They were sold out at once! Then I started thinking about the similarities with last year's Bruce Springsteen The River Tour 2016 plus how much The Joshua Tree album meant to me when it came out and so on... so when the second bunch of dates were announced I was ready!
I chose Italy (of course!) and I made my trip arrangements this way: I booked my flight to Rome for the day before the concert, which was the day of the first Rome date. My plan was to go by the stadium on the day and see if I could find someone selling an unwanted ticket. And my plan actually worked!
First of all, let me say, that going by the stadium the previous day would prove useful, because I wanted to check public transport to Stadio Olimpico. The last time I had attended a concert there was back in 2009 for Bruce Springsteen's Working On A Dream Tour. Once again, The instructions from Google Maps proved NOT useful. It sent me taking the Metro and then a bus which when it came was full. Thankfully, I saw a notice at the bus station of a tram line that would be operating until late because of the U2 concerts and so I used that one the following day.
"How much?" I asked the first person I noticed selling a ticket... "Well it cost 85 euros but you can have it for 50" he said!. Perfect! And within my budget! I bought it,  grabbed a beer to celebrate my success and then headed straight for the entrance as I heard the songs of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds playing (I missed them, but never mind, I could catch them in full, the following day)

I headed first to the merchandise stand to grab the obligatory t-shirt and I finally found my seat, just as Noel Gallagher started playing "Don't Look Back In Anger". 

He played one more, then we were waiting for U2, while poems sayings and other excerprts were displayed on the (huge) screen. 

As it got dark, "The Whole Of The Moon" by The Waterboys was played over the stadium speakers and this was the sign that U2 were about to come on stage.

 And so they did! They started the set with a few songs that pre-date The Joshua Tree (the opener is always "Sunday Bloody Sunday") before they launched into The Joshua Tree album. These songs are usually from the "War" and "The Unforgettable Fire" albums. Tonight, we also got "New Year's Day", "Bad" and "Pride".

After these, it was time for "The Joshua Tree" album and that's the point where the show got spectacular and the huge screen was put in use. 

For the opener "Where The Streets Have No Name" we get a film of travelling on a desert road (with people walking beside it at regular intervals). 

Well, you know the album's sequence, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" was next and then "With Or Without You" for which a choreography was prepared for that particular night by U2Place.

Moving on to the B-side of the album, I should also mention "Red Hill Mining Town" which was released as a remix picture disc 12 inch single for this year's Record Store Day and which had never before been played live before this tour, plus one of my favourite tracks from this album "Trip Through Your Wires".

When the album was finally over, the band returned for a set of post-Joshua Tree songs. The huge screen was still used for that last part of the show which began with an amazing rendition of Miss Sarajevo.

Being in Italy, there was a big round of applause when the recorded vocals of Luciano Pavarotti came on. Another highlight of this part of the show was the medley of Elevation and Vertigo, but the truth was that I was beginning to get very tired by this point. 

This was not the fault of U2 of course, but you have to remember I was at another gig the previous night (in a different country!) and the only sleep I got was one hour on the plane and another one at the hotel. However, U2, after Ultra Violet (dedicated to all women)  had another little surprise at the end to keep me interested. 

A new song, "The Little Things That Give You Away" from their long-awaited next album "Songs Of Experience" 

It was now time to get back to the hotel, a mission which I still did not know how (and if!) it would be accomplished. Luckily, without meaning to, I reached a bus stop which was one stop before the one where most people were waiting on and caught a bus going all the way towards Ottaviano (near the Vatican) from where I could catch the Metro. As I was getting off the bus, I saw the dome of St.Peter's straight ahead and momentarily I thought of getting over there to snap some nice night-time photos but I was too tired for that, so I got on the Metro and returned to the hotel after grabbing a couple of sandwiches. The next day, I would see the whole show one more time but by then I would have caught enough sleep and a well-earned rest to enjoy it properly .

01. Sunday Bloody Sunday
02. New Year's Day
03. Bad
04. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
05. Where The Streets Have No Name
06. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
07. With Or Without You
08. Bullet The Blue Sky
09. Running To Stand Still
10. Red Hill Mining Town
11. In God's Country
12. Trip Through Your Wires
13. One Tree Hill
14. Exit
15. Mothers Of The Disappeared
16. Miss Sarajevo
17. Beautiful Day
18. Elevation
19. Vertigo
20. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
21. One
22. The Little Things That Give You Away

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