The Joshua Tree – Red Hill Mining Town

According to legend, Red Hill Mining Town has never been performed live.

Bono has said before that he often would write songs that he couldn’t sing.  Apparently, the notes were too high for Red Hill Mining Town, and trying to hit the notes would wreck the show.  I’ve purposefully not read any review, blog post, or set list from this tour and will enter Cleveland Browns Stadium with no preconceived ideas about this concert; however, I have read the intent is to play the complete Joshua Tree album.

Seeing Red Hill Mining Town live is going to be a special treat.

After pondering the ramifications of playing all eleven songs on the album, I started thinking about what would be my ideal set list.  Note:  I’m not sure if U2 is going to play the songs in album order. My list assumes they won’t.

  • Where the Street’s Have No Name

I could imagine being eaten by The Lake Erie Monster on July 1st more than I can imagine this not being the opener.  Forget, it’s the first song on the album and the song that opened the Rattle & Hum tour in Sun Devil Stadium.  This song is a tailor made opener, adding each band member as the song begins; Larry, Edge, Adam and finally Bono.  House lights appear at exactly the perfect time.  The rhythm, building as the song progresses.  Not their biggest hit, but arguably one of their best songs played live.

  • Running to Stand Still

After the initial euphoria of the opener, it’s time to bring the audience to below a 10, they need a quick breather.  This songs slower melody will do the trick.

  • One Tree Hill

I felt it important to set the tone that this concert is anchored in The Joshua Tree album.  A second deep cut sets this tone.

  • Beautiful Day

Time to bring the audience back up and also remind everyone a lot’s happened since the 80’s and U2 has created a massive catalog of arena worthy songs.

  • Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses

If it were up to me, U2 could play all the songs from The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby and nothing more.  Unfortunately, I would be like that annoying dude that always seems to be around you at the Pearl Jam concert and is overly delighted some obscure song is played.  I could have chosen many off of Achtung Baby, at least you have probably heard this one at least once.

  • Exit

It’s time to get back on point.  The boys are now good and warm and Bono, who supposedly has a hard time performing this song on stage, chooses a quarter of the way in to push his way through it.

  • New Years Day

Up until now, it’s only been Joshua Tree and post Joshua Tree.  I believe this would be good time to remind the audience of some of the stuff that got them here.  Side note, this was the first song I ever remember hearing (or seeing in this case) by U2.  This is the song with the boys riding horses and freezing in a snow covered forest.  Heavy rotation on Night Tracks in the early 80’s.  I will not confirm or deny that my initial thoughts were this was a stupid song by a stupid sounding band.

  • I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

Only song on the album don’t care if it’s performed.  Never really liked it, and I can’t quite put my finger on why.  Thought the video shot on Vegas streets was fairly stupid and the choir scene in Rattle & Hum was ridiculous.

  • Bullet the Blue Sky

Right about now, it’s time to go political.  Bono will have something meaningful to say, but most can’t hear it due to the mass potty break that is occurring.  Some will be massively disappointed when they miss Bono grabbing a huge spotlight on stage and frames Edge in blinding light as he circles him on stage.

  • Mothers of the Disappeared

Last song on the album and another song with political bent.  Most folks won’t know this song, and after seeing a few folks return from the potty, will take their turn.

  • Heartland

I thought it might be interesting for a Rattle & Hum song to make it to the set list.  If you haven’t seen Rattle & Hum, this song is a hidden gem, if only for Larry’s love of Elvis.  You can learn a lot about U2’s drummer in two minutes.

  • Elevation

Time to bring the crowd back up, with a post Joshua Tree hit…

  • In the Name of Love

…And with another smash – pre Joshua Tree

  • Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own

We’ve reached the point of a few meaningful slow songs.  If you ever wanted to see Bono without sunglasses, this is it.

  • Stay (Far Away So Close)

It’s hard to produce an album that can follow the success of Achtung Baby, and you don’t really hear much about Zooropa.  This is my favorite song from that album, but many will argue for Lemon, just so they can throw a bone to Edge.

  • Trip Through Your Wires

Somewhat whimsical, bluesy, a little off.  Very good transition into something bigger…

  • In God’s Country

You by now have figured out this works.  Slow, fast, slow, fast.  This song is not very long, but it’s perfect for an arena.  Hopefully, you have made it back to your seat after being chased away to the potty by the three song slow part.

  • Sunday Bloody Sunday

I’m taking the under if this song makes the true set list.  It’s a concert pillar, and I’m pretty certain it’s been played at every U2 concert I have attended.  Can’t completely say why, but I don’t think it will make it.  But in my personal set list, it’s time to start cowboying up for the encores.

  • City of Blinding Lights

The last song before first encore, and it’s good enough to be an opener (one I’ve seen U2 open with before).  Fast paced and massive amounts of energy.  After following Sunday Bloody Sunday, it’s time for the boys to take a break.

  • Red Hill Mining Town

Now that we are fully hopped up on how hot Bono looks, it’s the moment we waited thirty years for.  Red Hill Mining Town, the opener for the first encore.

  • Bad

This would be good time for the final potty break if you are not into Bono grabbing some girl from the audience and serenading her with song and dance.  I know this typically happens during With our Without You, but I don’t think even Bono can pull this sappy spectacle off twice in one night.  Tonight, I think the magic happens in Bad, and don’t think I won’t be jealous of her.

  • I Will Follow

I Will Follow is the first song of the second encore.  It’s the first hit, and with a good pace, and practiced hands, a great second encore opener.

  • With or Without You

The closer, and it ain’t a great one.  However, given this was their biggest hit to date thirty years ago, I think Bono and the boys will want to leave the audience with this gem.  For this to work, all lights must be off on stage, other than light shining up through Bono’s feet, and spotlights on the other three.  Bono will extend the song as long as possible and, for certain, will add the additional verse not on the original recorded version.

Well, there you have it.  All Joshua Tree songs spaced between songs from the other fifteen albums.

C. Smith

Author: C. Smith

    “All you have to do is write one true sentence.” Ernest Hemingway I’m no Hemingway. But this web creation is a part of writing that one true sentence. Of being inspired by fellow contributors that have, if not something meaningful, but interesting to say and are willing to invest energy beyond 140 characters. Of creating an open forum for these ideas, capturing a thought or a moment in time. But more importantly, this is about a personal commitment to putting a thought to paper and throwing it against the wall to see if it sticks. Enjoy.

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