The Joshua Tree was more than a hit album. It was, as the below gallery of 16 Facts About U2's first Joshua Tree Tour shows, part of a phenomenon – and one that would change the band forever.

As their No. 1 1987 album went supernova, so did U2. Already on their first headlining tour, the group moved from indoor arenas to football stadiums over the course of these shows. Their sound was changing too.

During the sessions for The Joshua Tree, producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois had encouraged the group to seek out inspiration from American roots music – something that focused this album in ways unheard on 1984's more experimental The Unforgettable Fire. The resulting tour brought them face to face with that source material, both figuratively and literally.

They immersed themselves in it all. That meant tracing the music's roots back to Elvis Presley, the Staple Singers, the Memphis Horns and B.B. King. They also suddenly found themselves intersecting onstage with the likes of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, figures who had likewise fired their imaginations.

Even as they were becoming established as the biggest band of the '80s, the Joshua Tree tour was also mapping out their next move: U2 recorded various shows, and those tapes would eventually find wide release. And in 2017, the band returned to the road to celebrate its 30th anniversary by playing the record in its entirety. Look below to find out how it all unfolded as we explore U2's first Joshua Tree tour.

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