How U2’s ‘Joshua Tree’ inspires fans ahead of Rose Bowl concerts – Orange County Register

There’s no question that U2‘s “The Joshua Tree” album changed everything for the Irish band.

Recorded 30 years ago in Dublin, the band’s fifth album was released in March 1987, and it catapulted Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton into rock royalty, winning the band its first two Grammys.

In celebration of the three decades since the release of that seminal album, U2 is coming to the Rose Bowl on May 20-21 as part of a tour in which the band will perform the album in its entirety.

Consisting of songs that touch on spirituality, social issues and politics while celebrating the roots of the music the band loved, “The Joshua Tree” wasn’t just a life-changing album for U2, it also had a profound effect on many fans.

For some, the record represents a family bonding experience that brought generations together; for others the album defines the moment they came of age or changed the way they thought about music.

And for one fan, the album brought him face to face with his musical idols.

In what sounds like a scene right out of a movie, Joe Hier was at a U2 concert at the L.A. Forum on May 26, 2015, when Bono spotted him in the crowd and pulled Hier onstage during the song “Sweetest Thing,” the B-side to “Where the Streets Have No Name,” from “The Joshua Tree,” album.

Unbeknownst to Bono, Hier isn’t just a fan: He fronts the L.A.-based U2 tribute band Hollywood U2.

So when Bono handed Hier the mic, he was blown away when he heard his own doppelganger sing.

“You’ve got a great voice,” Bono told Hier after embracing him in a hug.

“I really don’t have words for it,” Hier said. “It felt surreal, like I was in a dream; it’s almost like it really didn’t happen, like I imagined it.”

Hier has been a fan of U2 since the band’s 1980 debut “Boy,” but “The Joshua Tree” album had a profound effect on him, including the realization that he could sing a lot like his musical hero.

“When Joshua Tree came out, it…

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