Spoilers: U2 Joshua Tree Tour Rehearsals Begin

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams / Harry Kantas (2017-05-09)

SPOILER ALERT: The article below contains information about the possible set list of #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 Tour.

Last Updated: May 9, 2017


Tour rehearsals have started in BC Place Stadium in Vancouver BC. The band are now performing on the main stage, and the sound can be heard outside of the walls of the stadium. As promised, the band has performed The Joshua Tree in whole, they’ve also been working on a number of songs outside of The Joshua Tree, sometimes working on songs multiple times in one day. Without an actual ability to see into the stadium, it is impossible to know for sure at times whether it is the band performing, or techs playing the instrument. For instance the first play of “New Year’s Day” was a very short instrumental piece.

In the below chart we take a look at the songs which are being worked on each day. The box beside the name of the song will tell you how many times that song was attempted on that particular day. We would like to thank @markpeterboro for the inspiration for the graphic:

Songs like “Pride,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” One” and “Beautiful Day” continue to be staples of most tours. “New Year’s Day” has only made a handful of appearances in recent years. Three performances on the #U2ieTour, all in Europe, 29 performances on the U2360 Tour, where it was debuted first in Dublin, Ireland, and appeared now and then throughout the remainder of the tour. “Ultra Violet” had a long run through the U2360 tour where it was played many nights, alternating with “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”. “Miss Sarajevo” has been absent from the set list since the U2360 finale in Moncton, NB in 2011, but was played many nights on that tour, as well as on the Vertigo tour that came before it.

We believe that “Miss Sarajevo” may be making a return to the set list as a result of a recent Honorary Citizenship Bono has been awarded with, from the city of Sarajevo. More info here.

“The Little Things That Give You Away” is a new song that Bono has spoken about recently to U2.Com. It is not the first time that U2 has worked on a new song leading up to a tour debut. In 2010, as the U2360 tour was set to resume in Turin, each night of rehearsals was filled with excitement as U2 practiced new songs. “North Star,” “Glastonbury,” “Every Breaking Wave,” “Boy Falls From the Sky,” “Mercy,” and “The Return of the Stingray Guitar” were all songs that made their debut during that leg of the tour. Bono called this song his favourite of the new songs when he spoke about the new album on U2.com back in January 2017, with the lyric:

But this freedom, it might cost you your liberty / It’s the little things that give you away / The words you cannot say / Your big mouth in the way / It’s the little things that reveal and betray / Has the hunter now become the prey / It’s the little things, the little things that give you away

One interesting point about “New Year’s Day” was brought to our attention by KevinS2u who points out that U2 have been rehearsing the full version of “New Year’s Day” which includes the lyrics, “Maybe the time is right / Maybe tonight / And so we’re told this is the golden age / And gold is the reason for the wars we wage / Though I want to be with you / Be with you night and day / Nothing changes / On New Year’s Day…” This lyric is not usually performed when U2 plays the song live. (In fact, has it ever been played live? Let us know!)

On May 4 at the start of the extended set rehearsal, there was new music played. The song was not U2 rehearsing, and instead was someone playing The Pogues singing “A Rainy Night in Soho”. As it came at the start of an extended run through, this may be the intro music that the band takes the stage to prior to the show starting, or it could just be something someone was enjoying prior to the rehearsal.

One May 5 there were no rehearsals outside, but that doesn’t mean U2 hasn’t been rehearsing in some private space away from prying ears. Rehearsals continued on May 6 but would again skip on the 7th. On the 8th a full rehearsal was completed as well as some work on individual songs before starting the run through, starting with work on “Miss Sarajevo” and work on transitioning into the verse in Italian. The band once again turned off the big sound system before work on the new song, just as they had during the rehearsal on the 6th.

We are told that Craig Evans has shared that there will be no rehearsal on the 11th, and that the night of the 10th will be the final rehearsal. (Thank you Vid)

The rehearsals have been starting around 2pm in the afternoon in Vancouver, and continuing until just before 11pm. The band does not perform through the entire time, and the songs do stop and start during that time. A rough picture of the tour is starting to emerge, with the band playing songs released earlier than 1987 first, and then The Joshua Tree in full, and then finishing with songs released after The Joshua Tree. Other albums represented include two songs from War, three songs from The Unforgettable Fire, two songs from Achtung Baby, one song from Original Soundtracks 1 and All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and one new song.

The tour rehearsals will continue over the next six days, with the tour beginning on May 12, 2017 at BC Place Stadium. We have a countdown on our main page to the start of that show should you prefer a more precise update. We will update this article daily as more information becomes available.


May 6:

May 6, 2016 Write Up from U2Gigs.Com

Zuma022 Mixlr Stream of Rehearsal

May 6 Performance of “New Year’s Day” courtesy of Elizabeth.

May 4:

May 4 Write Up from U2Gigs.Com

May 4 Main Set on Mixlr courtesy of Sherry5160

May 4 Performance of “Exit” courtesy of Elizabeth.

May 3:

May 3 Write Up from U2Gigs.Com

May 3 Performance of “A Sort of Homecoming” courtesy of Elizabeth.

May 3 Performance of “The Little Things That Give You Away” courtesy of Elizabeth.

May 2:

May 2 Write Up from U2Gigs.Com

May 2 Performance of the new song, “The Little Things That Give You Away” courtesy of Elizabeth.

CBC National News reporter, Ian Hanomansing was one of those out in the streets enjoying the preview of #U2TheJoshuaTree2017:

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