In Singapore, for two days, November 30th and December 1st, 2019, it appeared that all roads led to one: National Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium located in Kallang, and venue of Irish rock band U2’s debut visit to the country.
While the tour commemorates the 30th anniversary of their 1987 album, ‘The Joshua Tree’, the 2019 tour is a sequel to the highly successful 2017 one wherein U2 visited stadiums over four “legs”- North America from May to July, in September- Europe from July to August, and South America in October. The 2019 tour covers Oceania and Asia across November and December, marking the band’s first-ever concerts in South Korea, Singapore, Philippines and, of course, India – on December 15 – the latter date being announced some two months after the other dates were confirmed.
Being one of the many who jumped at the opportunity to watch the band perform live, I picked up tickets for the Singapore show as soon as they were announced, not knowing that there would be an India concert added to the schedule!
Despite the 40,000 strong crowds, the entire experience of reaching and getting into the stadium was smooth, with the security check taking mere seconds.
The long queue at the merchandise stall outside the stadium was best avoided but from the one I picked up for myself – and for a Mumbai-based friend – a ‘U2 The Joshua Tree Tour 2019’ tee which lists the venues and tour dates at the back.
Without giving too much away to folk attending the show in Mumbai on December 15, be prepared for a mind-blowing concert, replete with two stages, a 7.6k resolution video screen of size 200×45 feet (the largest in terms of size and resolution of any concert tour ever) and of course, a string of hits from both, their iconic 1987 ‘The Joshua Tree’ album and the rest of their incredible catalogue.
The concert of almost two hours and twenty minutes was is as much about the compelling music – performed without any variation – and outstanding musicianship of U2 as the soaring vocals of Bono, and his philosophies which he shares between songs.
As U2 continues its other “legs” of ‘The Joshua Tree Tour 2019’ before reaching the shores Mumbai, the band has just released a new song, “Ahimsa” with A.R. Rahman, to promote their concert in India. While I was fortunate to witness a powerful, uncompromising concert in Singapore – that was as much memorable for its melody as its vision, which was simple in production, but effective in its message – in Mumbai, it is time for U2!
The above article has been written by music journalist Parag Kamani.