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U2 at New Era Field in Buffalo, NY

This summer, U2 embarked on a four-month celebrational tour to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Joshua Tree, their seminal album that fermented the bands commercial success back in 1987. For even the most veteran of fans, the opportunity to see U2 perform their greatest album from start to finish was a rare treat.

In typical Buffalo fashion, fans crowded the parking lots and began tailgating several hours before the show as the anticipation for the evening built. After all, this was U2’s first trip back to Buffalo since 2005. By show time, the entire stadium was packed without an empty seat in sight. The evening was set up for a perfect outdoor concert. The dark stage, with the silhouette of the Joshua Tree, was lit only by the full moon overhead. As the show began, U2 emerged on a small satellite stage out in the crowd with “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” They stayed true to their origins by following up with “New Year’s Day,” another hit from the early days. As they performed “Pride (In the Name of Love)” the band made their way back up to the main stage; a long open stage spanning the entire width of the stadium, backlit by one continuous screen. They paused briefly against an orange backdrop, where only their silhouettes and that of the Joshua Tree were visible, before beginning the album with “Where the Streets Have No Name.”

As the track closed, the entire band gathered together around Larry Mullen Jr.’s drum kit, including Bono, standing atop the riser as he sang into the evening sky. The combination of The Edge’s guitar melodies and Bono’s impassioned vocals continues to produce an ethereal sound that stand apart from the rest of today’s rock music. The album set continued with hit after hit including “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “With or Without You.”

Upon the epic conclusion of “The Joshua Tree” with “Mothers of the Disappeared,” U2 reemerged for a six-song encore of hits to book-end the album. Kicking off with “Beautiful Day,” they kept with a few modern selections including “Elevation” and “Vertigo” before digging deep into 1992’s “Achtung Baby” to close out the night with “Mysterious Ways,” “Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” and “One.”

The current tour runs through Sept. 22, where it will wrap up in San Diego, California. If you missed your chance to see U2 on this run, they have a new album titled Songs of Experience which is set for release later this year. So, yes, U2 still “has it.” Go and check out a show the next time they come through town. This band has been entertaining for almost four decades, and they’ve shown no sign of slowing down yet.

Setlist:

  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  2. New Year’s Day
  3. Bad
  4. Pride (In the Name of Love)

The Joshua Tree:

  1. Where the Streets Have No Name
  2. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
  3. With or Without You
  4. Bullet the Blue Sky
  5. Running to Stand Still
  6. Red Hill Mining Town
  7. In God’s Country
  8. Trip Through Your Wires
  9. One Tree Hill
  10. Exit
  11. Mothers of the Disappeard

Encore:

  1. Beautiful Day
  2. Elevation
  3. Vertigo
  4. Mysterious Ways
  5. Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
  6. One

 

Photos by Charlie Meister