It took 36 years since U2 originally made plans to tour India, but they finally made it.
The final leg of the War Tour in 1983 went to Hawaii and Japan. Initially, this tour was also meant to go to Australia, New Zealand, and India, but U2 were exhausted—they had toured almost continuously since they formed, rarely taking even a month away from the stage. So they pared back their original plans for 1983. They got to Australia and New Zealand in 1984 to start the Unforgettable Fire Tour, but India fell by the wayside.
This show in Mumbai, therefore, is U2's first in India. It makes India the 39th country in which U2 have performed a concert.
This show is also the last of the Joshua Tree Tour 2019. It is quite likely that this will be the last time some songs from the Joshua Tree album are ever performed live. It is harder, perhaps, to say which songs will obtain that unfortunate distinction. Or will we be enjoying this lark again in 2027 for the fortieth anniversary? Only time will tell.
U2 performed the live debut of their new single Ahimsa. A.R. Rahman, the co-author, and his daughters, who contribute vocals on the studio version, performed the song with U2. The Rahmans remained on stage to perform the last song of tour, One; support artist Noel Gallagher also came on stage for this song.
Noel had, in fact, already been on stage during the show. He joined U2 for Desire at the end of the main set. This show is the second time Noel has performed with U2: he joined the band to perform the Oasis song Don't Look Back in Anger on 8 July 2017. That was the first show of the Joshua Tree Tours 2017 and 2019 at which Noel performed, so today's guest appearances bring things full circle.
The performance of Ahimsa is notable for another reason. At the last show of the Vertigo Tour, 9 December 2006, U2 performed Rockin' in the Free World for the first time—but that is a Neil Young cover, and Bono had performed it live with Pearl Jam twice before. At the last show of the 360 Tour, 30 July 2011, 40 made its tour debut, the first time an original U2 song has made its tour debut on the last night of tour—but, of course, 40 had been played hundreds of times on previous tours. Ahimsa is the first U2 song to debut live on the last night of a tour.
I Will Follow returned to the set today after missing one show. Bono sang the live-only Shine Like Stars verse at the end of With or Without You for the first time since 30 July 2017.
Thanks for following our coverage of the Joshua Tree Tour 2019. It has been a thrill to bring you reports of U2 performing in countries they visit too rarely, or have never visited at all before. We can only hope that the band retain the enthusiasm and vitality to bring their music to established and new audiences alike for many years to come.
The full setlist was as follows:
- Sunday Bloody Sunday
- I Will Follow
- New Year's Day
- Bad / Give Peace a Chance (snippet)
- Pride (In the Name of Love)
- Where the Streets Have No Name / California (There Is No End To Love) (snippet)
- I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
- With or Without You / Shine Like Stars (snippet)
- Bullet the Blue Sky / America (snippet)
- Running To Stand Still
- Red Hill Mining Town
- In God's Country
- Trip Through Your Wires
- One Tree Hill
- Exit / Wise Blood (snippet) / Eeny Meeny Miny Moe (snippet)
- Mothers Of The Disappeared
- Desire (with Noel Gallagher)
- Vertigo / Live Forever (snippet) / I Love Rock 'n' Roll (snippet) / Rock 'n' Roll High School (snippet)
- Even Better Than The Real Thing
- Every Breaking Wave
- Beautiful Day
- Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
- Ahimsa (with A. R. Rahman and daughters)
- One (with A. R. Rahman and daughters, Noel Gallagher)
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