TheJoshuaTree2017 Pre-Show and Post-Show Music (Update)

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-06-25)

One of our favourite things to do for each U2 tour is to track the soundtrack of the day, and we have been, right back to the PopMart Tour. If you are interested, we maintain Spotify playlists and lists of these songs for past tours in one location. On past tours such as Vertigo and U2360, the music heard in the stadiums was compiled by Gavin Friday and is usually the same for each show but may not start / end in the same place each time. As the tour progresses the music does shift and change.

For those that wish to listen as they go through the list, we have set up a Spotify playlist of the main mix and some of the other important songs of The Joshua Tree 2017 Tour for your listening pleasure.

Prior to the Opening Act:

Prior to the opening act the music played on The Joshua Tree 2017 tour is full albums by single artists. The albums are played through, usually in full, although some nights only a few songs from the album are played before switching to another album. So far on this tour there appears to be a number of albums in use:

  • Marquee Moon by Television
  • I See You by The XX
  • Damn. by Kendrick Lamar
  • New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) by Simple Minds

The songs identified from those albums are as follows:

Television’s Marquee Moon Album:
“Marquee Moon” / “Elevation” / “Guiding Light” / “Prove It” / “Torn Curtain”

The XX’s I See You Album:
“Say Something Loving” / “Lips” / “A Violent Noise” / “Performance” / “Replica” / “Brave For You” / “On Hold” / “I Dare You” / “Dangerous”

Simple Minds’ New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) Album
“Promised You A Miracle” / “Big Sleep” / “New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84)” / “Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)” / “Glittering Prize”

Kendrick Lamar’s Damn Album
DNA / Element / Feel / Loyalty / Pride / Humble

During the albums, a single song by the artist Alabama Shakes often pops up as well, it’s the song “Don’t Wanna Fight” and in Toronto for instance it appeared between two of the songs by Simple Minds. These songs are all played in advance of the opening act.

Mumford and Sons and One Republic were taking the stage without any specific song to introduce them. For instance in Vancouver, Mumford took the stage while “Loyalty” by Kendrick Lamar was playing, and in Seattle they took the stage while “Humble” from Kendrick Lamar was playing. Opening act, The Lumineers however, have an entrance song that has played every night before they have taken the stage. Just before The Lumineers take the stage, “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac is played over the PA. It has been used for each performance by The Lumineers. We mention it here to be complete, but it appears to be part of their act, and not part of the bigger U2 production thus doesn’t fit in the list below. It has been used multiple nights now.

The Mix between Acts:

After the opening act is finished, the music again starts over the PA system. Usually it is a bit louder than the albums that are played prior to the opening acts. Now instead of full albums, a mix of songs is used. On prior tours this mix was compiled by Gavin Friday, we have not confirmed he has done the mix for The Joshua Tree, but he is listed as Executive Producer for the current tour so we suspect he would have continued to contribute.

Not every song is heard every night, and there are changes in these songs at times as tours progress, but the following are the songs we’ve been able to identify to date.

  • “Drone Bomb Me” – Anonhi
  • “The Stars are Out Tonight” – David Bowie
  • “Loud Places” – Jamie XX ft. Romy
  • “More News from Nowhere (Radio Version)” – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • “The Guns of Brixton” – The Clash
  • “1979” – The Smashing Pumpkins
  • “Transmission” – Joy Division
  • “Nikes” by Frank Ocean
  • “Summertime Sadness” – Lana Del Ray
  • “Love is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix) – David Bowie
  • “Seasons Waiting On You” – Future Islands
  • “Under Your Spell” – Desire
  • “Combat Boots and Star Wars” – Ashley Deyj
  • “Burn the Witch” – Radiohead
  • XXX” – Kendrick Lamar ft U2
  • “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” – Cigarettes After Sex
  • “Where’s the Revolution” – Depeche Mode
  • “XX Album Intro” – The XX
  • “How Soon is Now” – The Smiths
  • “All the Young Dudes” – Mott the Hoople
  • “Ran” – Future Islands
  • “Sign ‘O’ The Times” – Prince
  • “And it Stoned Me” – Van Morrison
  • “Someone New” – Hozier
  • “The Man Who Sold The World” – Nirvana
  • “Cars” – Gary Numan
  • “Testify” – Hifi Sean featuring Crystal Waters
  • “Electric Feel” – MGMT

After the death of Chris Cornell, U2 added one additional song to this opening mix, and it was played prior to the track which U2 uses to take the stage. The song is not being heard in the pre-show mix, but appears to have been tied to the main performance instead. That song was “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden, Cornell’s band.

  • “Black Hole Sun” – Soundgarden

Taking the Stage:

After the pre-show mix, the PA increases in volume and the next song is the final one before U2 starts to perform. During rehearsals for the tour, and for the early shows on the tour, the song was “A Rainy Night in Soho” by The Pogues from 1986. This song was used for all of the performances prior to their appearance at the Bonnaroo festival. Starting with the Bonnaroo festival and at each show since that time, the band is now using “The Whole of the Moon” by The Waterboys (1985) instead. The Pogues had opened for U2 on a number of shows for the original The Joshua Tree tour in 1987. The Waterboys opened for U2 on The Unforgettable Fire tour in 1984.

  • “A Rainy Night in Soho” – The Pogues
  • “The Whole of the Moon” – The Waterboys


There is music after the show as well. We believe on the first night that the closing song may have been missed and the opening mix was used again as two songs from that mix were used: “And it Stoned Me” by Van Morrison and “Sign ‘O’ the Times” by Prince, both of which had been heard in the same order during the opening show in Vancouver.

In Seattle a unique exit song appeared, “A Pair of Brown Eyes” by The Pogues. The song has been used at subsequent tour stops as well as the exit song.

Thanks to any and all who would like to help by tracking what they hear in some manner.

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