U2 in images then and now: The Joshua Tree, Croke Park, 1987 and 2017
I photographed the band the first time around. It’s great to be back
U2 perform The Joshua Tree at Croke Park, Dublin, the first time around, in 1987. Photograph: Eric Luke
It’s not often you get to photograph a band twice, in the same venue, playing the same album, 30 years apart. So as U2 returned to Croke Park with the Joshua Tree tour yesterday I couldn’t resist.
In 1987 I travelled to the Dublin stadium lightly. Two cameras, two lenses and a pocket full of 35mm black-and-white film. Manual-focus lenses and manual-exposure cameras. No motor drives. No internet.
The object of the exercise: to photograph the band on stage. A relatively plain background on a bare stage.
How different it is three decades later. These days a photographer arrives laden with camera bodies, a selection of lenses, cables, chargers, a laptop and more.
Now, with an enormous stage and high-tech screens that have become as much parts of the show as the band, it can be a struggle to capture the scale of the event in still images. A far cry from that evening in 1987 when security chucked basins of water over the crowd to help keep the fans cool.
But what a joy to be here again, to rekindle that moment and attempt to capture it for the next 30 years.
This time around we’re much farther from the stage – there’s no longer a place in the pit for photographers – so long lenses are required. The music is as good as ever, if not more polished, like the show and performance.
The band haven’t aged much in the three decades, but this photographer has. Must be the rock’n’roll lifestyle.