Bono's Joshua Tree RIP
February 20, 2008 12:47 AM   Subscribe

Iconic joshua tree has fallen... many fine photographs centering on the national park and lots of information about the trees are included on this fan site. via

"Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes really... pressure... and time..."

-- Morgan Freeman's character Red in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption" metaphorically explaining why his friend Andy escaped from prison
posted by hortense (29 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by hortense at 12:53 AM on February 20, 2008

No sentiment towards U2. Just Joshua Tree - the place. An incredible and magical place. One of my favorite places.

All things change and pass. The rocks weather slowly, the grasses quickly. The yucca and joshua linger between. Step lightly on the cryptosoil. Know the desert, know your place in it, step lightly.

For the whole world is a desert waiting to happen. Step lightly.
posted by loquacious at 1:08 AM on February 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

"The desert is fascinating to me. As an image, it's both positive and negative to me. The desert is a location for music; it's dry and arid. Some of the music is dry and arid. It's wide open space for music."
-- Bono, 1987

I love listening to music in Joshua Tree! Everytime I'm at a club now out in Chicago, I miss Joshua Tree. The desert is perfect for dancing!

Exit, turn right, reset odometer. 18.7 miles. Left onto dirt road. Reset. 3.4 miles, take right fork. 3.9 miles, stay straight. 6.7 miles - park and start dancing!

Half the fun is just getting out there.
posted by Arbac at 1:09 AM on February 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

Where else are the rocks giant dogs and the ground gems drug store candy? Everyone's a famous Irish band in Joshua Tree. And springtime's coming fast now.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:13 AM on February 20, 2008

At the hands of giant ants, I'll bet.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:21 AM on February 20, 2008

Er, mandibles.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:21 AM on February 20, 2008

Great album. Classic.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:28 AM on February 20, 2008

posted by hortense at 1:32 AM on February 20, 2008

East of there going to San Diego down the 395 was the most depressing drive i have ever taken. Adelanto is easily the least desired place to live on my list. Picture that desert with track houses two feet apart, dust blowing across intersections with horribly timed stop lights, and people who aren't aesthetically inclined and stupid enough to be duped into buying into an area that is an hours commute from anything worth mentioning. The Shins- Sleeping Lessons, whose climax came as I merged onto the 15 was the only thing holding me back from hassling those idiots for drugs, turning back towards Barstow, and covering the Mint 500.
posted by clearly at 2:20 AM on February 20, 2008

Scratch that, West of there...
posted by clearly at 2:21 AM on February 20, 2008

Ain't nothin a benefit concert can't make right.
posted by chillmost at 2:35 AM on February 20, 2008

That poor tree looks like someone's dead rotting body. It needs a proper burial. Bono.
posted by cogneuro at 2:50 AM on February 20, 2008

Spend all the time tracking down and travelling to these locations, then make such a poor effort at reacreating the composition of the original shots? Waste of time, except the tree shot.
posted by fire&wings at 3:13 AM on February 20, 2008

Some will argue it's only a tree. To me, U2's tree symbolized a spirit captured within the music -- the thoughtful lyrics, the Edge's grand textures, the passionate vocals, the thumping beat of the percussion.

Dead and rotting from commercial exploitation - and too much undeserved attention - the fallen tree captures the whole U2 thing pretty well.
posted by three blind mice at 3:24 AM on February 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

The joshua isn't a tree at all. They're giant members of the lily family.
posted by buggzzee23 at 3:52 AM on February 20, 2008

Did it make a sound?
posted by Gungho at 4:24 AM on February 20, 2008

Bono wept.
posted by wheelieman at 5:01 AM on February 20, 2008

The joshua isn't a tree at all. They're giant members of the lily family.

Nope, it's a yucca. Yucca brevifolia, to be exact.
posted by jonp72 at 6:25 AM on February 20, 2008

The moral of that story is...shit happens.
posted by inghamb87 at 7:00 AM on February 20, 2008

jonp72: Nope, it's a yucca. Yucca brevifolia, to be exact.

The Agavaceae used to be considered to be in the Lily family when it was treated as a giant catch-all.

As far as it being a tree, well, I know what you're saying - since monocots have a different internal structure than dicots, they don't form the same kind of woody trunk. Still, if this isn't a tree, neither is a palm - a statement I'm not sure I'm willing to make.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:05 AM on February 20, 2008

As a member of the U2 fan community for the last 25 years, I know even pre-internet fans were always trying to find the location of tree used on the album sleeve. There was an unwritten rule that once you found it, you didn't give anyone else directions. Everybody was afraid the tree would get damaged, or some nut would show up at a gig with it shouting 'Baaahno, I've got your tree!' I remember the moment one of the member of our mailing list finally found the thing. He shared photos, which showed the tree had partly collapsed, but did not disclose the location.
posted by prolific at 7:41 AM on February 20, 2008

Possibly my favorite place on earth, I try to spend a week or so there a couple times a year. I'm the drunk lady by the pool at the Joshua Tree Inn at ten in the morning, stop by and say hey.
posted by padraigin at 7:47 AM on February 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I spent two weeks working in the park a few years ago, and I never thought to do this. For shame.
posted by Big_B at 8:32 AM on February 20, 2008

The whole cycle of living and dying is so apparent at Joshua Tree. This struck me so profoundly the last time I was there. It seems an unremarkable passing.
posted by pointilist at 9:02 AM on February 20, 2008

To be fair, pretty much all joshua trees look all gnarly and awesome like that. They also all do that funky ugly gray decay thing after they fall over. And they are not particularly good for a camp fire. Camp fires in the desert are all silly though, either shit that just smolders like joshua tree, or greasewood which is quite impressive for the three seconds it lasts.
posted by agentofselection at 11:09 AM on February 20, 2008

I was always curious, what inspired U2 to drive out to buttfuck nowhere in the first place? I get the whole "deserts are inspiring and magical" thing, especially when seen through Irish eyes, but who in their right mind would say, "lets drive straight into the heart of death and take pics for our album there." Were they just passing through to Vegas and had to take a leak on the side of the road and got inspired?
posted by afx114 at 11:16 AM on February 20, 2008

afx114, safe to say they were inspired to go there by the kajillion other musicians who went there first. It was a big hangout for LA musicians in the 60s, a good place to go eat peyote and commune with nature. Everybody spent time there. Gram Parsons even went so far as to die there.
posted by padraigin at 8:36 PM on February 20, 2008

The Joshua Trees are dying out due to dearth of the rich fertilizing dung of the giant ground sloth, which became extinct during the last ice age, approximately 8,000 years ago... and it looks like global warming could be the final nail in the coffin.

Catch'em while you can.
posted by markkraft at 11:09 PM on February 20, 2008

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