U2 stage man gives a sneak peak into ‘The Joshua Tree’ tour

Band will hit the road for landmark album's 30th anniversary later this year

U2‘s long time tour stage designer Willie Williams has given an insight into what to expect from their forthcoming 30 year anniversary tour of ‘The Joshua Tree’.

The band recently announced details of a UK and European tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of classic album ‘The Joshua Tree’ – with support from Noel Gallagher. They will also tour the 1987 album in North America during 2017.

Williams said at this stage the band are still not sure what order to play their landmark album.


He told Rolling Stone: “We’re aware the album is only an hour long and the show needs to be longer than that, so how do you place it in the show? How do you make it work? Do you play it continuously? Do you disperse it with other works? All those things are still being decided, really, to be honest.”

Read more: 10 things you probably didn’t know about U2’s ‘The Joshua Tree’

Williams, who worked on the band’s famous ‘Zoo TV Tour’ in the 90s and 2015’s ‘Innocence + Experience Tour’, also said he was looking at how they can incorporate the stage elements that were used on the original ‘Joshua Tree’ tour.


“We looked at the original staging, which is hilariously minimal. We used to call it maximal minimalism,” he said. “Certainly for Europe, there was no reinforcement video for stadiums at all. At some of the largest stadiums in the U.S. we started putting up screens, but only behind the mix position, so only the back half of the stadium got camera images. It was amazing how music, just the music, filled those stadiums.

“Now, of course, production expectations are stratospherically higher than they were 30 years ago. But we looked at the original staging and it was real cute. I was quite drawn to the idea of just looking at the traditional festival stage, which is what that was, basically a box with PA on either side, and saying, “What can you do with this? This is the most outdated idea for touring imaginable, but through U2’s eyes can we do something interesting with it?”


He also revealed that the shadow of ‘The Joshua Tree’ will be projected onto the pitch of the stadium tour.