Arizona poem emblazoned on screen at U2 revival of Joshua Tree tour

PHOENIX – U2’s revival of their Joshua Tree tour has a poetic Arizona element.

Arizona’s Poet Laureate Alberto Rios’ poem, “The Border: A Double Sonnet”, is projected on screens during the pre-show entertainment for the revival of a tour that began three decades ago in Arizona.

Rios, who was in his fifth year of teaching at Arizona State University when the tour kicked off in 1987, is amazed his work is part of the Joshua Tree Tour 30 years later. He doesn’t know why U2 chose his piece but he’s thrilled to be part of the tour revival.

“What’s wonderful about U2 is the connection they have to language and to poetry,” Rios said. “It’s not unlike Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Peace Prize for literature. We’re starting to see that connection of the musicality of language, that it can lift itself and can enter the heart in a way different than simple words,” Rios said.

U2 kicked off its original tour to showcase their fifth studio album, Joshua Tree, on April 2, 1987 at ASU and ended it Dec. 20, 1987 at ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium

The band is scheduled to play in Glendale on Sept. 19 at University of Phoenix Stadium. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday.