Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CLASSIC ALBUMS LIVE: U2's "The Joshua Tree" (Guest Post)


"Guest Writer"
Michelle Wilson
returns today with
another insightful
concert review. 
And as always,
she's placed us
square smack
in the middle
of the action!

The Joshua Tree
King Center / Melbourne, FL 

Once again, I found myself at Melbourne, Florida's Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts on September 14. This time around, it was another performance in Craig Martin’s Classic Albums Live series and their interpretation of The Joshua Tree, U2’s 1987 multi-platinum, Grammy-award winning record. For those unfamiliar with this forum, Classic Albums Live utilizes stellar musicians who perform hit albums, mostly note for note, cut for cut. Past performance gems include Led Zeppelin's I, II and IV, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, and The Beatles’ Rubber Soul and Revolver. Having attended every performance mentioned, I can state with certainty that if you have never experienced a CAL show, you are missing out on a truly enjoyable event. And this tribute to U2 did not disappoint.

Classic Albums Live recreating
The Joshua TreeMelbourne, FL - 9.24.12
(Photo: Michelle Wilson)

Sporting a fun mohawk, perennial fave Nick Hildyard graced the audience with his passionate vocals. Behind him were guitar phenoms Rob Phillips and Clifton Broadbridge, the bossman himself Craig Martin on bass, drummer Troy Feener, percussionist Chad Berney, newcomer Carol Hensal on keyboards, and the ever-lovely and sensational Michelle Jones on violin. Being a die-hard U2 fan, I was thrilled to hear the music from one of my favorite albums so adeptly performed by these incredible musicians.

In their usual tradition, the CAL performers appeared on stage garbed in black and dove head-first into lively renditions of “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” followed by the unfolding of the rest of the album. Michelle Jones delighted the audience with her violin solo on “Red Hill Mining Town” (my favorite track) and the ensuing accompaniment on “One Tree Hill.” Other highlights included “In God’s Country” and “Trip Through Your Wires,” where Nick Hildyard just nailed the vocals.

Guitar guru, Rob Phillips,
demonstrating his "edge."
(Photo: Michelle Wilson)
The band’s second set opened with “Even Better Than the Real Thing” from 1991’s Achtung Baby, followed by “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” and “New Year’s Day,” the two songs from 1983’s War that virtually solidified U2’s politically motivated musical presence in the world and spawned a new generation of Bono idolatry. Sandwiched between these two tracks was “Pride” from 1984’s The Unforgettable Fire, rounding out the pseudo-political portion of the evening. Next came a return to Achtung Baby with “Mysterious Ways” and “One,” leading up to “Desire” from 1988’s Rattle and Hum and then “Vertigo” off 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. By this point, many in the crowd were out of their seats, because how can you help dancing to “Desire” and “Vertigo?” Closing the show with “I Will Follow” from U2’s 1980 debut album Boy, the crowd was still on its feet, wildly applauding and cheering.

The last time I saw U2 in concert was in May 1997 at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, and I was six months pregnant to boot! To hear their music performed live again was a real treat, especially by this group of skilled professionals. Rock on, CAL!

-Michelle Wilson
(September 2012)

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