I’ll show you a place high on a desert plain: In search of U2’s Joshua tree

March 9, 2012 |  by  |  The Joshua Tree, U2 Sites  |  No Comments

U2’s The Joshua Tree was released 25 years ago today: March 9, 1987. It’s not my favorite U2 album; it’s not the album of my U2 discovery; and it didn’t radically change my life (well, beyond the general profundity U2 has had on my life). But it’s just so perfect—arguably their best album, inarguably a masterpiece. And it knows it. As the opening crescendo of “Where the Streets Have No Name” plays, ushering in Edge’s shimmery guitar, the gates of Heaven open, light shines down, and you know you are about to experience something spectacular. “Streets” is a glorious awakening—not just to the song, or the album, but to a band that would change America, and an America that would change the band. (The album’s working title, The Two Americas, references U2’s simultaneous infatuation and frustration with the United States at the time.) Read More

Hey! . . . Is this Red Rocks?

May 31, 2011 |  by  |  Flickr Gallery, Red Rocks, U2 Sites  |  No Comments

Red Rocks

I could not visit Denver without going to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, site of U2’s legendary 1983 concert during their War tour, which would ultimately be released as U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky. Even non-U2 fans are familiar with this show. If you watched MTV at all in the 80s, you undoubtedly saw the video for Sunday Bloody Sunday, filmed here, that was prefaced by Bono’s famous “This song is not a rebel song. This song is Sunday Bloody Sunday.”

The atmosphere of this concert was unearthly, and made for an epic performance captured on film (the kind of “epic” that used to mean something, before it was used to describe movies like The Hangover). Torrential rain fell all day ahead of the show, and the lingering mist rises up to create a mystical glow around the giant torches. It’s early June, but still cold enough that Bono’s breath is visible with every song he sings. And as he struts around the stage with his sweaty mullet, sleeveless shirt and leather boots, massive rock forms are visible behind him. All of this was fresh in my mind after watching the remastered concert DVD on my flight out to Denver. I couldn’t wait to see the historic venue in person, to replay the concert in my head as I stood among the same rocks, to shout from the stage, “Hey, this is Red Rocks!” Read More