U2 celebrated 30 years of 'The Joshua Tree' on Thursday night (1st June, 2017) with an intimate playback of the seminal LP in Dublin for a select groups of fans, media and friends. Taking place at the penthouse of the city's Clarence Hotel - co owned by singer Bono and guitarist The Edge - the event preceded Friday's (2nd June 2017) release of the anniversary edition of the landmark work.
Billed as 'An Evening with the Joshua 3', with U2 currently on the road in the USA on their 'Joshua Tree Tour 2017', as well as enjoying a full playback of the vinyl version of the album re-release, attendees were treated to a revealing discussion with a panel that included The Joshua Tree design consultant Stephen Averill, Anne Louise Kelly (The Joshua Tree production and management), and radio DJ Dave Fanning.
Facilitated by 2fm’s Tracy Clifford, the long time associates shared their memories and experiences of the iconic period of the Irish band's history, with Anne Louise Kelly recalling "you knew that this was pretty powerful", while Stephen Averill admitted; "I think they knew that it was something special", adding; "the whole mood in everybody [connected to the band] was that this was really special".
Speaking about the industrious work ethic that U2 had during the album's production in 1987, Anne Louise said: "In U2 world, things were always really late. Even though the tapes had left the country, it didn't mean to say they hadn't stopped working on it", expanding that the fluid way in which the band worked meant that last minute track listing and lyric changes were always a possibility.
Speaking about working with U2 on the album's cover shoot, Averill said; "It's always intensive working with the band on the album cover, because it's the one time when they're not in the studio worried about music; they're actually concentrating on photography and things like that".
As for the album sleeve itself, Averill divulged that the band and crew stumbled across a lone Joshua tree whilst on their way to Joshua Tree National Park for the shoot; "Anton [Corbjin, phorographer] yelled 'Stop the coach! Stop the coach! We didn't know what was going on, and he said; 'Over there, there's a tree on its own".
Ambling the band and crew out of the bus and into the dessert, Steven went on to explain that despite the freezing wintry conditions during the shoot, the band - and in particular Bono - weren't put off. "This album's coming out in the middle of the summer", said Bono, thinking about the finished product; "Take your shirts off - look like it's the middle of the summer!"
Going on to sum up the whole 'Joshua Tree' period, Dave Fanning meanwhile stated; "It's one of the reason's why they're still on top after all these years".
Island Records is set to release the special edition of U2's fifth LP on 2nd June 2017. Alongside the eleven track album, the super deluxe collector’s edition includes a live recording of The Joshua Tree Tour 1987 Madison Square Garden concert; rarities and B-sides from the album’s original recording sessions; as well as 2017 remixes from Daniel Lanois, St Francis Hotel, Jacknife Lee, Steve Lillywhite and Flood; plus an 84-page hardback book of unseen personal photography shot by The Edge during the original Mojave Desert photo session in 1986.
Released to universal acclaim on 9th March 1987 and featuring hit singles 'With Or Without You', 'I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For' and 'Where The Streets Have No Name', 'The Joshua Tree' went to #1 in the UK, US, Ireland and around the world, selling in excess of 25 million albums, and catapulting Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr "from heroes to superstars” (Rolling Stone). Time Magazine put U2 on its cover in April 1987, proclaiming them “Rock’s Hottest Ticket”, and the twelve months that followed saw U2 create iconic moments including the traffic-stopping Grammy Award-winning 'Where The Streets Have No Name' video on the roof of a Los Angeles liquor store, and go on to win a BRIT Award and two Grammys - including Album of the Year - their first of 22 received to date; as well as a triumphant return home for four unforgettable shows in Belfast, Dublin and Cork in the summer of 1987.
The Joshua Tree was produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Recording took place in Dublin at Windmill Lane Studios and Danesmoate, the house which subsequently became bassist Adam Clayton’s home.
The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 will arrive in Ireland for a sold out show at Dublin’s Croke Park on 22nd July.
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