U2 frontman Bono promised “one of those epic nights that none of us will ever forget” — and the group delivered just that as it returned to the U.S. to kick off another leg of its Joshua Tree 2017 Tour on Sunday night (September 3) at Ford Field in Detroit.
Among the epic moments was a guest appearance by fellow rock icon and former Detroit-area resident Patti Smith for “Mothers of the Disappeared,” after which Bono told the crowd that, “We don’t have anyone to compare with Patti Smith. We wouldn’t have written The Joshua Tree without her. What an honor it is to have her on the stage.” He then incorporated a bit of Smith’s “People Have The Power” during the next song, “Beautiful Day.”
The two-hour, 21-song show followed suit with the rest of the tour shows, opening with a blast of pre-“Joshua Tree” songs — segueing a bit of Simon & Garfunkel‘s “America” into “Bad” — before playing the group’s famed 1987 album in its entirety, accompanied by an elaborate video presentation, and then following with a selection of songs released between 1991-2004.
The group kept direct political discourse to a minimum; Bono instead spoke glowingly about Detroit’s resurgence from a 2013 bankruptcy and the U.S.’s response to Hurricane Harvey’s assault on Texas; During the closing song, “One,” the massive video screen displayed the Texas and American flags as well as the Red Cross symbol and an appeal for text donations to the organization.
U2 will play nine shows in the U.S. during September, moving to Mexico and South America in October. The group recently released a new song, “The Blackout,” from its upcoming Songs Of Experience album; Another single, “You’re The Best Thing About Me,” is due out this week with the album rumored for December 1, in conjunction with World AIDS Day.
U2’s Detroit setlist included:
Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year’s Day
Pride (In the Name of Love)
Where the Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
With or Without You
Bullet the Blue Sky
Running to Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God’s Country
Trip Through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Mothers of the Disappeared (With Patti Smith)
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.