Music Writer Recalls U2's History With Arizona's Political Scene

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 4:52pm
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 3:12pm
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(Photo coutesy of Ken Layne)
Jason P. Woodbury
(Photo by Danny North -
U2 on The Joshua Tree Tour.

Thirty years ago, U2 was on the cusp of becoming arguably the biggest band in the world. They were on tour in support of their newest album, The Joshua Tree.

The tour began in the Valley at ASU’s Activity Center — now Wells Fargo Arena — and it ended here as well, in a much larger venue, Sun Devil Stadium.

For some, the album epitomized U2’s interpretation of what the United States was, and the desert Southwest was part of that.

And Arizona’s political scene linked to the band as well. One of its better-known songs in 1987 was Pride (In the Name of Love), which was about Martin Luther King Jr.

At that time the state was in the midst of a national controversy caused by Gov. Evan Mecham rescinding an executive order that created a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in Arizona.

Before one of their 1987 performances in the Valley, U2 announced it had donated to a Mecham impeachment fund.

With me to talk about U2’s history with the Valley is freelance music writer Jason P. Woodbury.

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