So you have your tickets for the first night of your city, and maybe even the second night if you’re lucky enough to have U2 in your city for two nights. Either way, congratulations! Two weeks ago, you were freaking out about presale codes, credit cards, Ticketmaster and who’s helping who get what; now, that living nightmare is over and the real fun begins. I’m talking, of course, about the discovery phase. This is the phase of pre-tour preparation where U2 fans consume every Rolling Stone interview, Irish Times blurb and RTE One interview in which anyone who is in or affiliated with U2 is featured, in an attempt to gather as much knowledge about the upcoming tour as possible.
It’s only been two years since the last time we found ourselves in this phase, so it would make sense if some of us weren’t ready for it again. But U2 dropped Joshua Tree 2017 in our laps like a perfect present for the new year – so naturally, we’ll scorch the earth, set fire to the sky and steep so low to reach so high if that’s what it takes to get more information about it.
Whether it’s Adam admitting they don’t yet know how close the setlist will be to the original album sequence, Edge teasing us that when it comes to B-sides “there will be a few for sure,” or Willie Williams doing his darndest to reject the nostalgia tour concept altogether, we’re grasping at every breadcrumb the U2 camp is throwing down as they lead us back to The Joshua Tree. I’m even tolerating the endless comparisons of our current political climate to the one that existed when the band recorded the album. Bring on whatever message Bullet the Blue Sky will convey this time around; I can handle it.
But if there’s one thing I’m hoping the band will reconsider, it’s this: the idea of shelving the original Anton Corbijn video footage. I know Willie told Rolling Stone it’s been “used to death”…but so what? Yes, U2 is always about what’s next. But remember, this tour is supposed to commemorate The Joshua Tree before it was chopped down. This is before anyone was ready for the laughing gas, the shuffle, the deal, or letting go of the steering wheel. They hadn’t dreamed it all up again yet – and that’s something we can still celebrate during this tour.
Compromise, not a dirty word…and neither is nostalgia.