I Believe in Larry Mullen (Joshua Tree Tour, “Elevation”)
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-10-24)
During the Joshua Tree 2017 tour, one moment that was featured almost every night was the camera coming up behind Larry Mullen’s drum kit during “Elevation”. Larry would fill the screen, and we would see him turn around and make some sort of gesture towards the camera. Often he would wave, give a thumbs up, at times it would be more complex. At times his shirt would have some form of text on the back that we would see on screen as well.
Below you can see a video of this moment in Paris. Larry stops playing, turns to the camera and makes a heart with his hands.
Here we present the full list, to the best of our knowledge, of Larry’s shirts, his activities on screen throughout the tour.
LEG ONE: North America
|May 12||Vancouver||White shirt||Rear camera not used.|
|May 14||Seattle||Black hoodie||Larry not on screen|
|May 17||Santa Clara||Black hoodie||Just looks at camera|
|May 20||Los Angeles 1||White shirt||Gives a thumbs up to camera.|
|May 21||Los Angeles 2||White shirt||Looks at camera with puzzled look|
|May 24||Houston||White shirt||Looks at camera with a puzzled look.|
|May 26||Dallas||White Shirt||Looks at camera with a puzzled look.|
|Jun 3||Chicago 1||White shirt||Looks at camera with a puzzled look.|
|Jun 4||Chicago 2||Black shirt||Makes kissing motion to the camera.|
|Jun 7||Pittsburgh||Black coat over white shirt||Looks into camera and smiles.|
|Jun 9||Manchester||Black shirt||Thumbs up.|
|Jun 11||Miami||White shirt||Thumbs up.|
|Jun 14||Tampa||White shirt||Fist bump to camera.|
|Jun 16||Louisville||White shirt||Waves with one hand.|
|Jun 18||Philadelphia||White shirt||Thumbs up, then pinkie up.|
|Jun 20||Washington DC||White shirt||Waves with one hand.|
|Jun 23||Toronto||White shirt||Waves with one hand.|
|Jun 25||Boston||White shirt.||Thumbs up with one hand.|
|Jun 28||E. Rutherford||White shirt, “NEW JERSEY / NEW YORK, NY”||Waves with one hand.|
|Jun 29||E. Rutherford||White shirt, “NEW JERSEY / NEW YORK, NY”||Thumbs up with one hand.|
|Jul 1||Cleveland||White shirt||Waves with one hand.|
During the first leg of the tour, in North America, the band were still figuring out the best things to do with the screen. They hit upon Larry’s moment in the show pretty early on in the tour however, with the focus first shifting to Larry on the third show of the tour in Santa Clara, and the first gesture with his hands at the next show. During that show he gives a thumbs up, and it is the first hand gesture he makes. For the next four shows he just stares at the camera however, followed by two shows in Chicago where he makes kisses at the camera one night and smiles the other.
After Chicago the hand gestures started appearing every night. The thumbs up returned for the performance at Bonnaroo, and for the remainder of the North American leg he often did a thumbs up, one night followed by his pinkie, other nights he would wave, and in Tampa he did a little fist bump to the camera.
It was also on the first leg that we first saw text appear on the back of a white shirt. For both shows in East Rutherford, NJ, Larry wore a T-Shirt that said “NEW JERSEY” on one line, followed by a line separating the lines of text and then “NEW YORK, NY” below the line.
LEG TWO: Europe
|Jul 8||London 1||White shirt||Waves with one hand.|
|Jul 9||London 2||White shirt, “LONDON CALLING”||Waves with one hand.|
|Jul 12||Berlin||White shirt, “BERLINER”||Waves with both hands.|
|Jul 15||Rome 1||White shirt||Italian gesture, then both thumbs up.|
|Jul 16||Rome 2||White shirt, “ITALIA”||Italian gesture, then waves with both hands.|
|Jul 18||Barcelona||White shirt||Waves with one hand.|
|Jul 22||Dublin||White Shirt, “HOME”||Makes a heart.|
|Jul 25||Paris 1||White shirt||Makes a heart.|
|Jul 26||Paris 2||White shirt, “26.07.17 ♥”||Both hands in air, waves with one.|
|Jul 29||Amsterdam 1||White shirt||Waves at screen.|
|Jul 30||Amsterdam 2||White shirt||Both hands in air, waves with both.|
|Aug 1||Brussels||White shirt||Waves and then does “OK” symbol.|
For the second leg of the tour, Larry started out just waving to the crowd. But in Rome, he made an Italian sign, putting both hands up with fingers pressed to thumb pointed towards himself. Paris and Dublin got hearts made from the fingers on both hands, and Brussels got an “OK” symbol.
For shirts there was text on the back in a few cities. During the second show in London, Larry wore a T-Shirt saying “LONDON CALLING,” the name of the third album and a song by The Clash. There were other references to the cities the band were in, and in Berlin, he wore a shirt that said “BERLINER” (a reference to JFK’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” we’re sure!) and in Rome he wore a shirt that said “ITALIA” while in Dublin the shirt said “HOME”. In Paris for the second show the shirt read 26.07.17 ♥, a reference to the date of the concert. He did not make a heart with his hands at that particular show.
LEG THREE: United States
|Sep 3||Detroit||White shirt||Waves with one hand.|
|Sep 5||Buffalo||Black hoodie over white tee||Waves with one hand.|
|Sep 8||Minneapolis||White shirt||Waves with one hand.|
|Sep 10||Indianapolis||White shirt||Waves, points at himself, then to camera.|
|Sep 12||Kansas City||White shirt||Waves, point at himself, then to camera, waves.|
|Sep 14||New Orleans||White shirt, “SAINTS”||Waves, points at himself, then to camera, waves.|
|Sep 19||Phoenix||White Shirt||Points at himself, then to camera, waves.|
|Sep 22||San Diego||White shirt||Waves, points at himself, then to camera, thumbs up.|
For the third leg of the tour, the hand gestures have gotten a little more complex, as Larry starts pointing towards himself, then to the camera and then often making a gesture as well. During this leg in the US only one shirt was seen to have text on the back, and that was for the show in New Orleans where Larry wore a shirt that said “SAINTS”. The Saints are the name of New Orleans football team, but is also a reference to All Saints Day, and the spiritual “When the Saints Go Marching In” which is strongly associated with New Orleans. U2’s own, “The Saints Are Coming,” U2’s cover of a Skids song with Green Day, also became tied to New Orleans when proceeds from that song were given to Music Rising to benefit music programs in New Orleans after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.
LEG FOUR: Latin America
|Oct 3||Mexico 1||White shirt, “SEXICO SEXICO SEXICO”||Points to camera, then makes a heart.|
|Oct 4||Mexico 2||White shirt, “SEXICO SEXICO SEXICO”||Points to himself, then camera, then makes a heart.|
|Oct 7||Bogota||Black shirt.||Points to camera, then makes a heart.|
|Oct 10||Buenos Aires 1||Black shirt||Points to chest, then to camera, makes “OK” symbol.|
|Oct 11||Buenos Aires 2||Black shirt||Points to chest, then to camera, then waves.|
|Oct 14||Santiago||White shirt||Makes a heart.|
|Oct 19||Sao Paulo 1||White Shirt, “CENSURA NUNCA MAIS”||Makes a thumbs up, points to himself then to camera.|
|Oct 21||Sao Paulo 2||White Shirt, “CENSURA NUNCA MAIS”||Fist to his chest, points to camera, fist bump to camera.|
|Oct 22||Sao Paulo 3||White Shirt, “CENSURA NUNCA MAIS”||Makes a heart, then waves with one hand.|
|Oct 25||Sao Paulo 4||White Shirt, “AMOR, ORDEM E PROGRESSO”||Fist to chest, then to camera, then back to chest.|
While the fourth leg isn’t quite finished, we’ll update the last couple of entries after all is complete. Larry continues to point to his chest, and then point to the camera before making most gestures. For Mexico, Bogota and Santiago the gesture has been a heart. Buenos Aires got an “OK” one night and a wave the other. Sao Paulo got a thumbs up the first night, and a fist bump on the second. Only two cities saw text on the back of Larry’s shirt for this leg. In Mexico the text said “SEXICO SEXICO SEXICO” with each occurrence being on its own line. In Mexico City in 2009, Larry also wore a shirt that read “SEXICO”.
In Sao Paulo Larry has been wearing a shirt that says “CENSURA NUNCA MAIS” for the first three shows which translates to “Censorship Never Again”. Bono has also been speaking about censorship in Brazil during the shows. For the final night his T-Shirt read “AMOR, ORDEM E PROGRESSO” which roughly translates to “Love, Order and Progress”, “Ordem E Progresso” appears in the flag for Brazil, Larry has added the love.
Our friend Beth managed to capture Larry in a few different poses. We’ve included a couple of her tweets below for further illustration of the article including a fist bump and a thumbs up from Larry: