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Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
World's biggest band bring Joshua Tree tour to Australia for first time, but the music shines brighter without added spectacle

by Ben Smee, The Guardian

It is hard to imagine a time when U2 was not a rock and roll monolith; even harder to recall the last time the band performed their music without the giant screens and props that have for decades turned its concerts into extroverted performance pieces.

The 2019 Joshua Tree tour - the third time U2 has toured the American-inspired 1987 album but the first in Australia - seems to present a romanticised version of the band's various reinventions. The first four songs at the Brisbane opening night of the Australian leg are early-career standards, performed on a small secondary stage with room for just four musicians and a smoke machine.

This is U2 stripped of the sort of pomp that has, in their most overblown moments, managed to relegate the music to the role of circus soundtrack. There is nowhere to look but the stage. Bono even has to resort to analogue stagecraft, looking and pointing to the front row more often than the twinkling lights at the back, engaging directly with punters in a way they likely haven't since the band's first decade.

Without the distraction of a spectacle, the music shines. Who knew stadium rock didn't need constant reinvention? The key ingredients seem to be a bass drum set to the level of a Napoleonic cannon and familiar galloping tunes the crowd can screech into the Suncorp Stadium void.

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Opening Act(s): Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds


  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  2. I Will Follow
  3. New Year's Day
  4. Bad - Into My Arms
  5. Pride (In the Name of Love)
  6. Where the Streets Have No Name - California (There Is No End to Love)
  7. Here Comes the Rain Again - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - Singin' in the Rain
  8. With or Without You
  9. Bullet the Blue Sky - America (Stephen Sondheim)
  10. Running to Stand Still
  11. Red Hill Mining Town
  12. In God's Country
  13. Trip Through Your Wires
  14. One Tree Hill
  15. Exit - Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe
  16. Mothers of the Disappeared
  17. Angel of Harlem
  18. Encore(s):
  19. Elevation
  20. Vertigo - Devil Inside
  21. Even Better Than the Real Thing
  22. Every Breaking Wave
  23. Beautiful Day
  24. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
  25. Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way
  26. One - Invisible


Tonight U2 performed in the city of Melbourne, Australia on their 2019 Joshua Tree Tour. It was their 20th time performing in the city in U2's history. "I Will Follow" made its tour debut, and was the first time it was played since the previous tour on November 13, 2018 in Berlin. During "Bad", Bono dedicated the song to the firefighters in Australia battling the bushfires and sang a portion of Nick Cave's song "Into My Arms". Later in the setlist, during "Where the Streets Have No Name", a light rain began to fall and Bono hummed the Eurythmics tune "Here Comes the Rain Again" for the first time ever in concert. The retractable roof of Marvel Stadium closed by the end of "Red Hill Mining Town", keeping U2 fans dry for the remainder of the show. The chitchat portion of the concert in between "In God's Country" and "Trip Through Your Wires" featured similar jokes about the Drifting Cowboys, this time with Adam mentioning he failed the audition for the country band.

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