Since the hints of a new album have had me listening to more U2 again recently, I've gotten to thinking. One tradition that U2 have upheld almost since the beginning is the downbeat ending. Look at their more regular tour closers since 80s; "40", "Love is Blindness", "Can't Help Falling In Love", "One/Unchained Melody", "Wake Up Dead Man", "Bad", "Moment of Surrender". Mostly ballads, mostly slow, all decidedly downbeat. There have been some exceptions, of course; most notably "Walk On" which was at least upbeat although it was hardly a rocker, Vertigo sometimes in 2005-6 and Out of Control at the very very end of 360 + Glastonbury. And we know that U2 were toying with a much more rocking encore early in 360 rehearsals, with NLOTH, Elevation, Go Crazy and Vertigo all in the encores for a while.
But of course, when you think about it, U2's relatively rare in that. An awful lot of bands tend to end with their biggest song, and a lot of others like to end with fast, loud upbeat rock songs to leave the audience wanting more and with their ears buzzing. U2 have always tended to opt for more "spiritual" closers, which maybe give more closure.
So, what do we think? Would you be interested in seeing U2 go outside their comfort zone and play more of a "rocking" encore? Or do you prefer the spiritual approach? And can any of us even imagine a setlist where WOWY is there but not in the encore?