I Believe in Larry Mullen (Joshua Tree Tour, “Elevation”)

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-10-24)

IMAGE: Larry Mullen Makes a Heart, Dublin, Ireland

During the Joshua Tree 2017 tour, one moment that was featured almost every night was the camera coming up behind Larry Mullen’s drum kit during “Elevation”. Larry would fill the screen, and we would see him turn around and make some sort of gesture towards the camera. Often he would wave, give a thumbs up, at times it would be more complex. At times his shirt would have some form of text on the back that we would see on screen as well.

Below you can see a video of this moment in Paris. Larry stops playing, turns to the camera and makes a heart with his hands.

Here we present the full list, to the best of our knowledge, of Larry’s shirts, his activities on screen throughout the tour.

LEG ONE: North America

May 12VancouverWhite shirtRear camera not used.
May 14SeattleBlack hoodieLarry not on screen
May 17Santa ClaraBlack hoodieJust looks at camera
May 20Los Angeles 1White shirtGives a thumbs up to camera.
May 21Los Angeles 2White shirtLooks at camera with puzzled look
May 24HoustonWhite shirtLooks at camera with a puzzled look.
May 26DallasWhite ShirtLooks at camera with a puzzled look.
Jun 3Chicago 1White shirtLooks at camera with a puzzled look.
Jun 4Chicago 2Black shirtMakes kissing motion to the camera.
Jun 7PittsburghBlack coat over white shirtLooks into camera and smiles.
Jun 9ManchesterBlack shirtThumbs up.
Jun 11MiamiWhite shirtThumbs up.
Jun 14TampaWhite shirtFist bump to camera.
Jun 16LouisvilleWhite shirtWaves with one hand.
Jun 18PhiladelphiaWhite shirtThumbs up, then pinkie up.
Jun 20Washington DCWhite shirtWaves with one hand.
Jun 23TorontoWhite shirtWaves with one hand.
Jun 25BostonWhite shirt.Thumbs up with one hand.
Jun 28E. RutherfordWhite shirt, “NEW JERSEY / NEW YORK, NY”Waves with one hand.
Jun 29E. RutherfordWhite shirt, “NEW JERSEY / NEW YORK, NY”Thumbs up with one hand.
Jul 1ClevelandWhite shirtWaves with one hand.

During the first leg of the tour, in North America, the band were still figuring out the best things to do with the screen. They hit upon Larry’s moment in the show pretty early on in the tour however, with the focus first shifting to Larry on the third show of the tour in Santa Clara, and the first gesture with his hands at the next show. During that show he gives a thumbs up, and it is the first hand gesture he makes. For the next four shows he just stares at the camera however, followed by two shows in Chicago where he makes kisses at the camera one night and smiles the other.

After Chicago the hand gestures started appearing every night. The thumbs up returned for the performance at Bonnaroo, and for the remainder of the North American leg he often did a thumbs up, one night followed by his pinkie, other nights he would wave, and in Tampa he did a little fist bump to the camera.

It was also on the first leg that we first saw text appear on the back of a white shirt.  For both shows in East Rutherford, NJ, Larry wore a T-Shirt that said “NEW JERSEY” on one line, followed by a line separating the lines of text and then “NEW YORK, NY” below the line.

IMAGE: Larry Mullen “HOME”, Dublin, Ireland

LEG TWO: Europe

Jul 8London 1White shirtWaves with one hand.
Jul 9London 2White shirt, “LONDON CALLING”Waves with one hand.
Jul 12BerlinWhite shirt, “BERLINER”Waves with both hands.
Jul 15Rome 1White shirtItalian gesture, then both thumbs up.
Jul 16Rome 2White shirt, “ITALIA”Italian gesture, then waves with both hands.
Jul 18BarcelonaWhite shirtWaves with one hand.
Jul 22DublinWhite Shirt, “HOME”Makes a heart.
Jul 25Paris 1White shirtMakes a heart.
Jul 26Paris 2White shirt, “26.07.17 ♥”Both hands in air, waves with one.
Jul 29Amsterdam 1White shirtWaves at screen.
Jul 30Amsterdam 2White shirtBoth hands in air, waves with both.
Aug 1BrusselsWhite shirtWaves and then does “OK” symbol.

For the second leg of the tour, Larry started out just waving to the crowd. But in Rome, he made an Italian sign, putting both hands up with fingers pressed to thumb pointed towards himself. Paris and Dublin got hearts made from the fingers on both hands, and Brussels got an “OK” symbol.

For shirts there was text on the back in a few cities. During the second show in London, Larry wore a T-Shirt saying “LONDON CALLING,” the name of the third album and a song by The Clash. There were other references to the cities the band were in, and in Berlin, he wore a shirt that said “BERLINER” (a reference to JFK’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” we’re sure!) and in Rome he wore a shirt that said “ITALIA” while in Dublin the shirt said “HOME”. In Paris for the second show the shirt read 26.07.17 ♥, a reference to the date of the concert. He did not make a heart with his hands at that particular show.

LEG THREE: United States

Sep 3DetroitWhite shirtWaves with one hand.
Sep 5BuffaloBlack hoodie over white teeWaves with one hand.
Sep 8MinneapolisWhite shirtWaves with one hand.
Sep 10IndianapolisWhite shirtWaves, points at himself, then to camera.
Sep 12Kansas CityWhite shirtWaves, point at himself, then to camera, waves.
Sep 14New OrleansWhite shirt, “SAINTS”Waves, points at himself, then to camera, waves.
Sep 19PhoenixWhite ShirtPoints at himself, then to camera, waves.
Sep 22San DiegoWhite shirtWaves, points at himself, then to camera, thumbs up.

For the third leg of the tour, the hand gestures have gotten a little more complex, as Larry starts pointing towards himself, then to the camera and then often making a gesture as well. During this leg in the US only one shirt was seen to have text on the back, and that was for the show in New Orleans where Larry wore a shirt that said “SAINTS”. The Saints are the name of New Orleans football team, but is also a reference to All Saints Day, and the spiritual “When the Saints Go Marching In” which is strongly associated with New Orleans. U2’s own, “The Saints Are Coming,” U2’s cover of a Skids song with Green Day, also became tied to New Orleans when proceeds from that song were given to Music Rising to benefit music programs in New Orleans after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.

IMAGE: Larry Mullen Makes a Heart, Mexico City, Mexico

LEG FOUR: Latin America

Oct 3Mexico 1White shirt, “SEXICO SEXICO SEXICO”Points to camera, then makes a heart.
Oct 4Mexico 2White shirt, “SEXICO SEXICO SEXICO”Points to himself, then camera, then makes a heart.
Oct 7BogotaBlack shirt.Points to camera, then makes a heart.
Oct 10Buenos Aires 1Black shirtPoints to chest, then to camera, makes “OK” symbol.
Oct 11Buenos Aires 2Black shirtPoints to chest, then to camera, then waves.
Oct 14SantiagoWhite shirtMakes a heart.
Oct 19Sao Paulo 1White Shirt, “CENSURA NUNCA MAIS”Makes a thumbs up, points to himself then to camera.
Oct 21Sao Paulo 2White Shirt, “CENSURA NUNCA MAIS”Fist to his chest, points to camera, fist bump to camera.
Oct 22Sao Paulo 3White Shirt, “CENSURA NUNCA MAIS”Makes a heart, then waves with one hand.
Oct 25Sao Paulo 4White Shirt, “AMOR, ORDEM E PROGRESSO”Fist to chest, then to camera, then back to chest.

While the fourth leg isn’t quite finished, we’ll update the last couple of entries after all is complete. Larry continues to point to his chest, and then point to the camera before making most gestures. For Mexico, Bogota and Santiago the gesture has been a heart. Buenos Aires got an “OK” one night and a wave the other. Sao Paulo got a thumbs up the first night, and a fist bump on the second. Only two cities saw text on the back of Larry’s shirt for this leg. In Mexico the text said “SEXICO SEXICO SEXICO” with each occurrence being on its own line.  In Mexico City in 2009, Larry also wore a shirt that read “SEXICO”.

IMAGE: Larry Mullen, “SEXICO”, Mexico City, Mexico

In Sao Paulo Larry has been wearing a shirt that says “CENSURA NUNCA MAIS”  for the first three shows which translates to “Censorship Never Again”. Bono has also been speaking about censorship in Brazil during the shows. For the final night his T-Shirt read “AMOR, ORDEM E PROGRESSO” which roughly translates to “Love, Order and Progress”, “Ordem E Progresso” appears in the flag for Brazil, Larry has added the love.

Our friend Beth managed to capture Larry in a few different poses. We’ve included a couple of her tweets below for further illustration of the article including a fist bump and a thumbs up from Larry:

All of our coverage for the 30th Anniversary of The Joshua Tree, and The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 can be found in one location.


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