U2 bring The Joshua Tree tour to Toronto, pay tribute to Leonard Cohen


U2 plays "Where the Streets have no name" at the Rogers Centre on their Joshua Tree 30th anniversary tour in Toronto. June 23, 2017.

Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

This past Friday, U2 arrived in Toronto to perform before 50,000 fans at Rogers Centre, part of their continuing The Joshua Tree tour, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

U2 is one of those bands that seems incapable of playing a bad show. This latest concert was my 15th time seeing the band, and it will no doubt go down as one of the most memorable for me. Hearing The Joshua Tree in its entirety was special, but it was the connection Bono made with the audience that left me with chills. This mostly came with his recollections of his friendship with Canada’s own Leonard Cohen. During ‘Bad’, Bono sang verses from ‘Suzane’, one of Cohen’s best-known songs, ending it shouts of ‘hallelujah’. Later, Bono prefaced ‘One Tree Hill’ with memories of spending spending time with Cohen at the latter’s 79th birthday.


Seeing U2 live at this point in their career, looking backwards rather than forewards, is a little unusual; they’re a band that has always been keen not rest on their laurels. However, the band does understand that their audience is a patient one, so giving them a little bit of nostalgia isn’t a bad thing. 30 years of The Joshua Tree is absolutely worth commemorating, both live and with the new CD reissue. While there have been previous sets for previous anniversaries, the selling point for this latest one, a live concert from Madison Square Garden during the 1987 Joshua Tree tour, is a good one. The band is on fire, playing the new music with a fire that, really, has never gone out. The crowd rapturously embraces U2 and the music they’re making. For a band that’s been around nearly forty years, U2 doesn’t have too many official live releases, which makes this set even more desirable.

Timely and timeless, U2 continues to one of the great rock bands in history. It’s little wonder you can hear them across multiple SiriusXM channels, including 80s on 8, 90s on 9, The Spectrum, Classic Rewind and 1st Wave.

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