In Honor of Greg Carroll: Chicago’s Epic Version “One Tree Hill”!
July 7, 2011 · Print This Article
As the U2 360 tour winds down, the setlist surprises ramp up. After the historic Nashville show, we half expected dozens of fans in dark glasses to show up in the front of the GA pit holding “Blind Guitar Player” signs, hoping to get called onstage as happened to .
Returning to the North American city where the stateside 360 tour kicked off in September 2009, U2 pleased the fans with a stunning set. The first surprise came early, with “Out of Control” taking the place usually occupied by “I Will Follow.”
As far as deep album cuts go, one’s that rarely performed live, Joshua Tree’s “One Tree Hill” might be up there with Achtung Baby’s “Acrobat” as a kind of holy scripture among fan favorites. Most serious U2 fans are deeply familiar with the tragic backstory of the song that recalls U2 crewmember Greg Carroll’s tragic motorcycle accident and reverent New Zealand funeral in 1986. The lyrics near-biblical tenor also contain references to martyred Chilean poet-songwriter-activist Victor Jara, adding to the 1987 album’s attention to the wars in Central and South America.
In his book Into The Heart that interprets “the stories behind every song,” Niall Stokes notes that “One Tree Hill,” “produced a magnificent vocal performance which showcased Bono’s extraordinary development as a singer.” Stokes continues, “A spiritual tour de force, it is a hymn of praise and celebration which describes the traditional Maori burial of their friend on One Tree Hill and links it poetically with themes of renewal and redemption, with the river running, running down to the sea.”
An article over at McSweeney’s called the song “divine and destinized.” Another commentator sees the song like this: “This song is a brilliant poetic attempt at the intellectualization of grief: it combines the profoundly private with the universal, the Biblical with the Post-Modern, the common with the epic.”
U2 Gigs describes how it went down on Tuesday night: “Before ‘Moment Of Surrender,’ Bono spoke about how it was 25 years since the death of Greg Carroll, who was killed by a drunk driver on 3 July 1986 and in whose memory One Tree Hill was written. Initially, it seemed that they might only snippet it in ‘Moment Of Surrender’— then Bono offered the crowd a deal; ‘if we screw up pretty badly, you don’t put it on the Internet.’ And after a few initial stutters, they launched into a full performance of One Tree Hill, complete with the solo. A far cry from screwing up pretty badly!”
Mark Baker, an active participant in the U2.interference.com fan forums under the handle “U2BROTHR,” caught this moment on video and had his YouTube clip picked up by Rolling Stone magazine as the best one to capture the moment.
We look forward to closely following the setlists and show reviews as the tour inches towards its close in the coming weeks. –Interference Editors (All photos by Mark Baker—U2BROTHR)