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U2 fans find what they're looking for in Tampa at Joshua Tree anniversary show

Rachel Hart, left, of Gainesville and Laura McGill of Orlando look at video Wednesday of U2 lead singer Bono that Hart captured outside the stadium.
Rachel Hart, left, of Gainesville and Laura McGill of Orlando look at video Wednesday of U2 lead singer Bono that Hart captured outside the stadium.
Published Jun. 15, 2017

The sunset sky above Raymond James Stadium was neither blood-red nor bullet-blue, but at least it was no longer pouring. And that was music to the ears of some 60,000 poncho-wrapped U2 fans, who braved thunderstorms and traffic for the Irish rock legends' first Tampa concert in eight years.

Unbowed by a daylong threat of thunderstorms, fans lined up well before dawn to get a good spot inside RayJay, where a brilliant rainbow hung in the sky until U2 took the stage to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their landmark album The Joshua Tree.

The band entered a stark smaller stage to play some of its biggest, boldest hits, including Sunday Bloody Sunday (during which Bono referenced London, Manchester and, in a play to the crowd, Tampa) and New Year's Day; before moving in front of a 200-foot-wide, high-def LED screen for Where the Streets Have No Name, opening a full performance of The Joshua Tree.

At that point, the audience, from U2 lifers in vintage 1987 Joshua Tree tour T-shirts to the kids and grandkids on their laps, had found exactly what they were looking for.

Contact Jay Cridlin at cridlin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.