After being teased back in January, U2 finally gave a live performance of “Red Hill Mining Town” for the first time. The song, which for decades carried the distinction of being the only title from The Joshua Tree not to have been played live, was remixed for the album’s 30th anniversary. The band played the new version, along with the rest of the album, for the opening of their international tour in Vancouver, Canada. Needless to say, the crowd was pretty ecstatic.
In an interview with BBC Radio 2 last month, Bono shed light on why U2 had neglected to play the popular song until now. “I used to write songs that I couldn’t sing, and sometimes that was OK because the strains of the notes I couldn’t reach was part of the drama, but occasionally they would really just wreck the next show,” he explained. “So I just left ‘Red Hill Mining Town’ off. But since then, I sing a bit better—or at least I’ve learned how to sing.” Not surprisingly, the live version resembles the new mix that will be featured on Joshua Tree’s 30th anniversary rerelease, which features new vocals and an added brass section
The band also debuted “The Little Things That Give You Away,” a new song from their forthcoming Songs of Experience, the long-in-the-works follow-up to 2014’s Songs of Innocence. Although the performance closed with what may be the album’s cover art, there’s no announced release date, but if you wait long enough, it’lll turn up on your iPhone eventually.
For opening night in Vancouver, U2 also treated fans to the first live performances of “Exit” and “Trip Through Your Wires” in more than 30 years. The Joshua Tree anniversary tour runs through August, so if you’re itching to get some live U2 action before the summer’s out, check out the band’s schedule here.