U2 has always been a forward-looking bandand. For much of their career they have been aware of changing and adopting new clothes for their music, pushing the limits of staging further, always thinking big. This is how we saw them 3 times at the National Stadium.
AND nothing prepared us for the emotional high flight that we would live the night of Saturday, October 14, 2017, exactly 4 years ago where «The Joshua Tree» it was hero absolute 30 years after its launch.
Noel Gallagher as opening act
The day started with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, the proposal that the leader of Oasis presented for the third time on these sides, showing off an increasingly robust repertoire and very good re-readings of classics from his old band such as “Wonderwall”, “Champagne Supernova”, “Little By Little” and “Don ‘t Look Back In Anger »A precise set time before the main course.
The wait was nuanced with a series of poems from William Matthews, Shihab Nye, Kate Hoyle y Jamila Woods. Words that spoke about freedom, finding the true America and the sense of identity, topics that by now are timeless, like the hymns that U2 has been able to deliver for more than three decades. After 9:20 p.m. the lights go out and the main stage is still empty. From afar, nOr you can see them but you can hear Larry Mullen Jr’s drums loud and clear for the start of “Sunday Bloddy Sunday”.
U2 playing locally in Chile
The The Edge’s arpeggio is unmistakable, the low cash from Adam Clayton complements the instrumental trio and Bono, master of ceremonies, shines interpreting that clamor that never seems to go out, let alone forget. U2 is in the middle of the people, on a catwalk, at the audience level. No effects and with the huge screen turned off. It’s just music and the band shows off with more classics from the first stage. «New Year’s Day»Is seen as forceful and gives way to «Bad», where Bono accommodates his throat and quotes in Spanish part of «Gracias a la Vida» by Violeta Parra, a salute to its centenary.
“The Joshua Tree”, three decades later
The immortal «Pride (In The Name Of Love)» sealed that set in which U2 themselves seemed to support themselves before the main course: the complete interpretation of “The Joshua Tree”, an album released in March 1987, the one that forever placed them in the front row of the massive, the one that consolidated them around the world and the one that seems to have the most effective messages for what we live on the planet in this period. Reasons enough to lift an album 30th anniversary tour? Given U2’s behavior of always looking forward, at first it raised doubts.
But also represented the perfect occasion to celebrate history and reread reality with the message that from the first second, with the huge screen 60 meters high in 8K we were immersed in a road to “Where The Streets Have No Name”, perhaps the most epic interpretation of the song that we have seen U2 around these parts. It is The Edge’s guitar which clear our doubts, flooding every corner of the Ñuñoa Coliseum. This set is necessary for all of us and confirms the greatness of U2, a place long won in the history of popular music.
Songs with full validity
New images visible to the farthest corner come from the hand of «I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For«, Which at this point is a prayer that remains unanswered, another timeless message like that of “With Or Without You”, both somewhat accommodated so that Bono looks playing at 57 as he did at 27. But there is no time that passes for the moment of «Bullet The Blue Sky» and the furious and muscular interpretation acquires new borders. The Edge switches to the keyboard to close side A of the album with «Running To Stand Still» and “Red Hill Mining Town», giving way to the B side and the atingente «In God’s Country».
The images displayed on the giant screen They remind us of the band’s romance with the United States, its roots and its sense of freedom. Western values that U2 has never put aside, and that “The Joshua Tree” exposed live in album order reminds us of it in the most graphic extrasensory way possible. «Trip Through Your Wires», «One Tree Hill» with dedication to Víctor Jara and «Exit», with the only allusion to Donald Trump in the whole show, led directly to the closing of the album and a “Mothers Of Dissapeared” with a message that has never lost its validity.
Back to the 21st century
At some point we had to go back to the present, and U2 made that clear by setting aside American highway imagery and embracing colors for their string of singles billed in the 21st century. “Beautiful Day”, “Elevation” and “Vertigo” They made it clear that way, forming a direct combo to the chin of a band that at this point is looking at its past to continue telling us the state of things in its present.
And after a short pause, the show continues with its freshest single, «You’re The Best thing About Me» and «Ultraviolet», which includes your I salute the women who have marked history in politics, the arts and social change. On the giant screen we saw honored Violeta Parra, Michelle Bachelet, Gabriela Mistral and Isabel Allende at the by Patti Smith, Michelle Obama, Grace Jones, Hillary Clinton y Lena Dunham, among other.
Looking at the present with the eyes of the past
The huge screen forms a Chilean flag for the farewell in the hands of «One» and the general chorus of almost 60 thousand people in the National Stadium and an emotional closing for a round show at the level of emotions, with the music ahead of a scenic proposal. The beginning with the band playing among some privileged on court made it clear and the 120 minutes of songs that, for the most part, were anchored in another time, with phrases and readings that are valid in our era.
At this stage in their lives, U2 is managing to look at the present with the eyes of the past.. Something that could have been a simple exercise in nostalgia that for most would mean wear and tear and a lack of ideas, it worked for the Irish on their own terms. Will “Songs Of Experience” be worth it for a new continental tour? Or better to dream of the chance that the Zoo TV tour will be revived? Either way, U2 will manage to have those codes reinterpreted by future generations. Like the real classics.