Auckland, New Zealand (November 8th 2019) – The 2019 Joshua Tree tour kicked off in Auckland today, with a callout to the E&I tour that skipped over this part of the world, and a nostalgic Angel of Harlem as recognition of the 1989 Lovetown tour which skipped most of the world but had a heavy presence in the Pacific region. The callout to E&I included Every Breaking Wave, Love is bigger than anything in its way and an appearance of MacPhisto before Even better than the real thing. A couple of controversies to note: The band seemed oblivious to the fact that playing snippet of Gary Glitters ‘Rock and Roll’ might appear tone deaf since Glitter has been convicted of pedophilia on multiple occasions. The super-fan line arrangement was honored by the stadium, much to the chagrin of locals who were denied rail placements as a result.
The show itself was largely reminiscent of the 2017 Joshua Tree tour, with the band taking the stage to Sunday, Bloody Sunday, and opening with a short pre-Joshua Tree set that included the rare full live version of New Years Day, Bad and Pride. The entire Joshua Tree album followed, with an image of Greg Carroll shown during One Tree Hill. Bono mentioned Carroll, saying “We sort of adopted [Carroll], or perhaps it was the other way round. We were very grateful for his companionship over those precious times. He was taken from us too soon, but in a way he’s still very present. ”
The remaining setlist was very different from the 2017 tour. Elevation, Vertigo (with Garry Glitter’s Rock n Roll snippet), Even Better than the real thing, Every breaking wave, Beautiful Day, Ultraviolet (Light my way), Love is bigger than anything in its way, and finally, One. During One, the names of the victims of the Christchurch Mosque shooting were shown on the screen.
Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds opened the show. Gallagher poked fun at the All-Blacks, asking “What happened in the Rugby then? Oh, you lost? To Whom? England?” He then dedicated Don’t look back in anger to the All Blacks. Gallagher had cancelled a planned TV appearance the previous day due to illness, but that was not apparent during his set.
The second date in Auckland is tomorrow night. The tour then heads to Australia, where Noel Gallagher can poke fun at the Wallabies.