Flashback: U2 Play an Emotional ‘Running to Stand Still’ in 1987
It’s been an extremely quiet year for U2, but that will change on November 8th when they resume their Joshua Tree tour at Mt. Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. The tour will then head to Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines before wrapping up December 15th at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, India.
The final show will mark the band’s first-ever performance in India. “We have been around the world with The Joshua Tree and we can’t think of a better place to celebrate the end of this tour,” the Edge said in a statement. “Mumbai, India, we’re coming for you, I hope you’re ready!”
This is, of course, not the first time that U2 have taken The Joshua Tree on the road. The first time took place in 1987 shortly after the album came out, and thanks to massive radio hits like “With or Without You,” “Where The Streets Have No Name,” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” they were able to headline stadiums in some markets for the first time in their career. The American leg of the tour was documented in the concert film Rattle and Hum, but here’s incredible footage of them playing “Running to Stand Still” at a Paris show on July 4th, 1987.
The hits from The Joshua Tree stayed in U2’s set list pretty consistently over the years, but in 2017 they celebrated the 30th anniversary of the album by playing it straight through at stadiums in North America, Europe, and South America. It was the first time they’d played songs like “Exit,” “Trip Through Your Wires,” and “In God’s Country” in many years, and the first time they’d done “Red Hill Mining Town” ever.
The tour was a tremendous success, and when U2 hit the road they following year to promote Songs of Experience they didn’t do a single song from The Joshua Tree at any point. “We were all excited about the idea of not delving back to Joshua Tree,” U2 bassist Adam Clayton told Rolling Stone at the time. “That’s because Joshua Tree has cast such a big shadow over everything we’ve done. We felt that by doing that tour that we, to an extent, had laid that to rest for the moment. There will be another time to come back to that material [though].”
That time has come, though it’s hard to imagine them doing it again after this last show in India. Next year, however, is the 30th anniversary of Achtung Baby. We asked Bono in 2017 whether a Zoo TV 2021 tour was possible and he didn’t completely dismiss the idea. “I haven’t thought about it,” he said, “but then again if you’d asked me five years ago about a Joshua Tree one I would have laughed at you. It would have to be called Zoo.Com.”