Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — The Philippine leg of “The Joshua Tree Tour” by “the biggest band in the world” in Dec. 11 featured several shout-outs to Filipinos and Filipino culture. From poetry by Eric Gamalinda, to a special nod to Filipino heroes and human rights activists, the band shared the story of the Philippines with 15 other countries featured in their 2019 “The Joshua Tree Tour.”
“The Joshua Tree Tour” celebrates the 30th anniversary of the eponymous album, which is a meditation on the band’s fascination with American legends and its people. The tour began in 2017 and continued in 2019. The second year brings the band to 500,000 more people around the world, with first-time performances in countries such as India and the Philippines. By the time the tour ends in Mumbai, India this Dec. 15, the band will have played to three million fans in 66 shows.
As the tour name implies, the band performed their acclaimed 1987 album in its entirety — from “Where the Streets Have No Name” to “Mothers of the Disappeared,” bookended by some of their biggest hits such as “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Elevation,” and “Vertigo.” The band also performed “Ultra Violet” and dedicated it to notable women of history including Filipina heroes, human rights champions and advocates such as #BabaeAko, Maria Ressa, Melchora Aquino, One Billion Rising, and Grrrl Gang Manila.
Powerful women such as Greta Thunberg, Pussy Riot, and suffragettes from Japan, India, US, and the UK were also shown in the montage during the “Ultra Violet” performance.
“When women in the whole world unite to rewrite history as her story, that is a 'Beautiful Day,’” said U2 frontman Bono.
The pre-show program also featured Eric Gamalinda's poem “The Opposite of Nostalgia.” Other featured poets in the band’s 2017 tour includes Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes.
The band performed in a massive stage with a game-changing 200ft x 45ft 7.6K resolution screen, which featured the panoramic images of places around the Mojave Desert in the U.S. such as ghost towns in Death Valley and Yosemite Park. These were done by the band’s frequent collaborator Anton Corbijin whose idea to shoot the Joshua tree in the desert gave the album its name.
Corbijin recalled at a Men's Vogue Italia 2017 cover story: “At the beginning of the trip it was going to be called “The Desert Songs” or “The Two Americas”. This is why I had chosen California’s deserts as the setting. But on the first day I told Bono the story of a tree in one of those deserts that the Mormon settlers had named the Joshua Tree, because its branches recalled the arms of the prophet Joshua raised to the sky, exhorting his people to follow him to the Promised Land. The next morning, Bono came down to breakfast with a Bible in hand and informed us that ‘The Joshua Tree’ was the title of the new album.”
See what you missed from “The Joshua Tree Tour” below.