1. The shelved album title was “The Two Americas.” Bono has said the original name was in reference to “the mythical America and the real America.”
2. The album art wasn’t actually from Joshua Tree National Park. The correct California desert destination for fans who want to re-create the cover photo is Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park. The picture with the lone, spindly tree was taken a few miles from there, too. FWIW, the hiking trails in Death Valley are also better than Joshua Tree’s.
3. It was the first album issued on CD, vinyl and cassette all on the same day. The CD format was just coming into the mainstream in 1987, while cassettes would soon go the way of Bono’s ponytail.
4. The band never had another No. 1 hit. “With or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” were U2’s first and last singles to top the Billboard singles chart. The next-biggest hits after that were “Desire” (No. 3 in 1989) and “Mysterious Ways” (No. 9, 1991).
5. The band never performed “Red Hill Mining Town” live before 2017. “It was probably one of those songs that due to tempo and arrangement never found a place in the live set,” guitarist the Edge told Rolling Stone. Bono reportedly struggled to sing its high notes, too. A new, stripped-down arrangement was worked up for this tour.
6. Front-row seats in 1987 cost $15.50. Live Nation’s VIP seats on this tour are going for $1,400, and even fans with cheap seats spent more than $15.50 just on Ticketmaster fees.
7. “Where the Streets Have No Name” took weeks to record. Producer Brian Eno estimated that nearly half the studio time for the entire album was spent trying to perfect the opening track, with subtly tricky time changes and complex sonic effects. “It was a nightmare of screwdriver work,” he said in a VH1 “Classic Albums” special.
8. “One Tree Hill” was inspired by a crew member’s death. At the Chicago shows in June, Bono told a touching tale about a New Zealander named Greg Carroll who insisted he get hired by the band one random night on an early-’80s tour. He did, and became close with the singer before dying in a motorcycle accident in 1986.
9. Minnesota fans got a couple of rarities on Night 2. The second of the St. Paul Civic Center concerts on Nov. 4, 1987, featured the B-sides “Spanish Eyes” and “Silver and Gold,” which the band only played a few other times on the original “Joshua Tree” tour. Otherwise, the two concerts were mostly the same, save for a swap in cover songs (the Beatles’ “Help” for Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready”).
10. One lucky local fan has Larry Mullen Jr.’s cowboy boots from the original tour. As the other band members exited one by one during their final song “40” each night in 1987, the drummer was always the last to walk off. He saluted the audience at the first St. Paul gig by taking off his boots and tossing them into the crowd. Maybe he appreciated the fans’ enthusiasm, or perhaps he wanted to change into Sorels since it was Minnesota in November.