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Adam Clayton Explains Why U2 Has Shelved ‘The Joshua Tree’ Material

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U2 bassist Adam Clayton spoke about the band’s decision to sideline any songs from its 1987 classic The Joshua Tree following the band’s recent 30th anniversary tour behind the album. On Sunday, (May 27th) Clayton and the rest of the band recorded a live acoustic version of their new song “Love Is Bigger Than Anything Its Way” in Nashville at Jack White’s Third Man Records, with the song set to be issued as a limited edition vinyl release.

Clayton talked about putting the band’s most iconic songs on ice for the new tour, telling Rolling Stone, “I think we were all excited about the idea of not delving back to (The) Joshua Tree. 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, but I think we had always said when were doing those shows. This material seems relevant to the time we are living in now.”

He went on to say, “You have to look at your strengths and your weaknesses. ‘(Where The) Streets (Have No Name)’ is an amazing song to have in the canon, but if you threw that into this context I think the narrative would shift. Again, I think it would be such a big statement that it would reduce everything else. I just don’t know if you can do ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’ in this new show. I think that ground is kind of already covered. I’m not sure about ‘With Or Without You.’ ‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’ is the current version of that sentiment.”

Clayton added that the band feels as tough they gave The Joshua Tree the love and respect it deserved last time around: “I think if we hadn’t done Joshua Tree we’d have felt like we needed to observe that for people, but I think having played Joshua Tree so successfully across the country our attitude was quite hard-lined. We would like people to pay attention to the last couple of albums because we feel they are very eloquent. We worked really hard for those songs. Bono’s lyrics are, I think, among the best he’s ever done. The melodies are really worked on. We put a lot of effort into those records and we think people should focus on them.”

The Edge told us that U2 has never been comfortable resting on its laurels and has always felt most natural when stepping out on a limb: “In some ways that sense of jeopardy is a good thing. I would hate if we ever lost our great ability to screw up. It’s an important part of what the band is. We’ve never fallen afoul to the risks of becoming too professional or, indeed, over-rehearsing (laughs). Those two things we’ve managed to avoid up ’til now.”

June 5, 6 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
June 9 – Uniondale, NY – NYCB Live
June 13, 14 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
June 17, 18 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena
June 21, 22 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
June 25, 26 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
June 29 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
July 1 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden

Photo Courtesy of Interscope

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