The History Mix: The Joshua Tree 1987 Intro and Exit Music
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-05-07)
WARNING: The last few paragraphs of this article may contain SPOILERS for the upcoming #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 Tour. Specifically the section includes discussion of the song recently heard during rehearsals which may be a song that U2 will use in the show. No songs that U2 are currently rehearsing are mentioned in this article.
One of the things we love here at U2Songs.Com has been tracing the songs which U2 play before and after the concert stops in each city. Although we kept notes during the PopMart and Elevation concerts, the first tour we tracked in detail was the Vertigo tour in 2005. We again covered the U2360 tour as is wound around the world. And we reported a number of times on the #U2ieTour, as it changed these songs over time. We even tracked the songs played at the recent Dreamfest concert in 2016 in San Francisco. In recent years, it has been long time friend to the band, Gavin Friday, who has worked to compile these songs before the show itself, as well as consulting on the tracks just before the band takes the stage.
It should come as no surprise we have notes about other tours than those we have covered above, and have at times looked back at these play lists as well. And with The Joshua Tree 2017 tour about to kick off next week in Vancouver BC, we wanted to look back at the intro and exit songs used on the original tour in 1987.
To our knowledge two different intro songs were used during the tour. You can hear this music playing at the start of some bootleg recordings, and this has been confirmed by fans over the years as being the case as well.
For the first two legs of the tour the band used John Lennon’s version of “Stand By Me” to take the stage. John Lennon recorded the Ben E. King song for Lennon’s 1975 album Rock ‘n’ Roll, and it was one of the last songs Lennon released prior to his five year retirement from the music industry to focus on his family. It was a top 20 hit in 1975 for Lennon.
On the third leg of the original Joshua Tree tour, U2 would continue to use the Lennon version of “Stand By Me” but it was sometimes switched out for another song Lennon had participated in, a song by The Beatles. “All You Need is Love” was played as the opening song at a number of shows on the tour on the third leg, but occasionally the band would return to “Stand By Me”.
“All You Need is Love” was first released as a stand along single in July 1967, having been recorded earlier that summer. The song was recorded for use as contribution to Our World, the first global live link up of television. Not only was the track used for the introduction on the Joshua Tree tour, but both “Stand By Me,” and “All You Need Is Love” would be used during the LoveTown tour as well in 1989. The song would appear again during 2001’s Elevation Tour as the last song U2 would play prior to the “Elevation (Influx Mix)” and taking the stage.
For songs after the concert was finished, in 1987 on The Joshua Tree Tour, they started by closing their first show with the song “Rowena’s Theme” by The Edge. The Edge had recorded the instrumental in 1986 for the soundtrack to the movie Captive and would be the first band member to release a solo album with the music from that film. The soundtrack is perhaps best known as the first place that a young Sinead O’Connor could be heard to sing, on the main track from the movie, “Heroine”. The song “Rowena’s Theme” was short lived on the tour, and the band would soon adopt a new song after they finished their performance.
The song used to close most shows on the 1987 Joshua Tree tour was the song, “Caisleán Óir” (or in English, “The Gold Castle”) which was recorded by Clannad and released as the opening song on their 1985 album Macalla. Macalla was also the album on which Bono appeared, contributing a vocal to the song “In a Lifetime”. The song would also be often used as the exit song during the 1989 LoveTown tour, although it was not used every night on that tour. The band had previously used Clannad’s “Theme from Harry’s Game” as the exit music during the War tour in 1982 / 83.
That brings us to 2017 and the new tour revisiting The Joshua Tree. We warn you again if you continue on, there may be spoilers for the show, so please turn back now if you wish to remain unspoiled.
On May 4, 2017, at a rehearsal in Vancouver that was being held at BC Place, the songs coming from the stadium could be clearly heard by fans. One song, before U2 started an extended run through of their set list for the tour, was identified as a song that did not sound like U2.
The song indeed, was not a U2 song. It was a song called “Rainy Night in Soho” by the band The Pogues. The song was recorded for The Pogues Poguetry in Motion EP released in February 1986. The songs on the EP were recorded with producer Elvis Costello, and is one of the EPs that we mentioned in an earlier History Mix column, 80s Extended Play Madness.
The song itself has been used by U2 as a snippet in live performances over the years. On October 23, 2000 at a performance on the BBC, Bono would include a snippet of the song as part of “Beautiful Day”. He would do the same again a few months later when the band gave a small club performance at the Astoria Theatre in London England. (Thanks to U2Gigs.Com for the list of snippets)
The lyrics to the song go as follows:
“I’ve been loving you a long time
Down all the years, down all the days
And I’ve cried for all your troubles
Smiled at your funny little ways
We watched our friends grow up together
And we saw them as they fell
Some of them fell into Heaven
Some of them fell into Hell
I took shelter from a shower
And I stepped into your arms
On a rainy night in Soho
The wind was whistling all its charms
I sang you all my sorrows
You told me all your joys
Whatever happened to that old song
To all those little girls and boys
Sometimes I wake up in the morning
The ginger lady by my bed
Covered in a cloak of silence
I hear you talking in my head
I’m not singing for the future
I’m not dreaming of the past
I’m not talking of the fist time
I never think about the last
Now the song is nearly over
We may never find out what it means
Still there’s a light I hold before me
You’re the measure of my dreams
The measure of my dreams”
Only time will tell if the song does introduce the band to the stage for The Joshua Tree 2017 Tour. But for now we include it here to perhaps give you a chance to get familiar with the song in advance of those shows starting next week.