Author Topic: Is U2 phoning it in?  (Read 3622 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline the_chief

  • Headache in a Suitcase
  • *
  • Posts: 358
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #75 on: September 16, 2018, 06:32:42 AM »
Love the version of NYD but, saw a clip the other night and was left with one question...

Why was the piano still playing, despite The Edge not playing it?

Phoning it in for me is not sticking to a rigid setlist, it's having so many backing tracks that you start to question is it even "live" anymore

Offline 73October

  • Staring at the Sun
  • **
  • Posts: 1,254
  • Joy is an act of defiance
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #76 on: September 16, 2018, 07:57:18 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Love the version of NYD but, saw a clip the other night and was left with one question...

Why was the piano still playing, despite The Edge not playing it?

Phoning it in for me is not sticking to a rigid setlist, it's having so many backing tracks that you start to question is it even "live" anymore

Is the piano being played by Terry Lawless under the stage in 'Terryworld'?

I was wondering this the other day - why do they have backing tracks?
Are they all backing tracks or a programmed synthesiser under the stage?
Is it that they need additional musicians to beef up the sound a bit?
A number of bands would have their additional musicians lurking in the shadowy corners at the rear of the stage …. we've all seen it - the additional keyboardist, percussionist, guitarist etc.  Many bands, as we know, have additional studio session musicians and then (sometimes) different live musicians.
We should all be aware that part of a U2 show is about the 4 members of the band (the same 4 members since Day 1) being visible and moving around stage (including Larry) and connecting with the audience.  So any additional musicians on the stage would get in the way.  Unlike many other bands, U2 have musicians and technicians lurking under the stage.  In the studio, they have additional musicians on each track. 
Sometimes, rather than having so many musicians under the stage, they use 'pre recorded' segments of music (eg: St Peters String Version of Lights of Home) for enhancement of the live performance.
On a U2 show there is scope for this.  They are not the kind of band that will play a classical concert hall and have a huge orchestra behind them....one off TV specials not withstanding.
I still don't think that's really phoning it in.  They are still giving it 100% live...the lack of track rotation seems to fit this particular tour.  Its just that not everyone agrees with the current format.

Offline Boba Fett

  • Wanderer
  • *
  • Posts: 91
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #77 on: September 16, 2018, 07:30:27 PM »
The minute you decide you want to have reasonably complicated lighting/video setups as part of your show is when it becomes very difficult to make significant changes to the setlist. U2 have made lighting/video an integral part of their show, so I understand the need to keep the setlist consistent. The performance of the songs is a different story however - nobody could seriously suggest that U2 are putting as much emotional and physical energy into their shows in 2018 as they did 20 or 30 years ago. Equally, no reasonable person should expect them to. 

Offline 73October

  • Staring at the Sun
  • **
  • Posts: 1,254
  • Joy is an act of defiance
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #78 on: September 17, 2018, 03:20:56 AM »
They are giving it 100% live as much as they can at this stage in their careers.  But it looks like it is blood and guts at this stage of the tour.

They do look like they need something of a longer break now.  I don't think we'll get anything next year in terms of record releases or tours.

I think many fans would accept a quiet 2019 for the sake of their longevity.  We have had quite a ride since 2014.

Offline seano0513

  • Babyface
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #79 on: September 17, 2018, 04:00:29 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Very few people see multiple shows, so the set list sameness is not really an issue for most people.

Define very few

Offline shineinthesummernight

  • Child of Grace
  • **
  • Posts: 1,684
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #80 on: September 17, 2018, 06:09:50 PM »
Well, I don't really have a number, but I realize that the cost for tickets/lodging/etc. is prohibitive for most people.

Offline bass slap

  • Running to Stand Still
  • **
  • Posts: 1,143
  • Hot as a hair dryer.. In your face!
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #81 on: September 18, 2018, 03:52:09 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Very few people see multiple shows, so the set list sameness is not really an issue for most people.

Define very few

Data and hard facts required for such an assumption? common sense and life experience tells you most people go to one show of any kind. A minority will go to multiple, which I'm sure is all that was meant by a few. Maybe one thing that needs to be defined is splitting hairs.

Offline dwaltman

  • Running to Stand Still
  • **
  • Posts: 1,229
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #82 on: September 19, 2018, 11:38:27 AM »
I would guess that at any 1 show, less than 100 fans are seeing their 2nd show of the tour. 

Phoning it in to me is akin to "going through the motions."  Not putting your heart & soul into the show.  As a fan who has seen multiple shows, I can't agree with this statement.  Having a similar setlist doesn't mean they are not putting their all into every show.  Yes, they don't have to prepare for 40 possible songs but that is different.  Am I impressed at the # of songs bands like Pearl Jam might play over a 3 night residency in one city? Yes, but I'm also impressed by Bono & The Edge, in particular, as to what they bring to the show.


Offline shineinthesummernight

  • Child of Grace
  • **
  • Posts: 1,684
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #83 on: September 19, 2018, 03:04:48 PM »
I would definitely say that the band are putting their heart and soul into each show.  It's an emotional narrative and I'm sure it's somewhat draining for Bono, night after night.  I think he moves less 'cause he's older and he's had some issues.

Offline seano0513

  • Babyface
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #84 on: September 19, 2018, 08:12:35 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I would guess that at any 1 show, less than 100 fans are seeing their 2nd show of the tour. 

Phoning it in to me is akin to "going through the motions."  Not putting your heart & soul into the show.  As a fan who has seen multiple shows, I can't agree with this statement.  Having a similar setlist doesn't mean they are not putting their all into every show.  Yes, they don't have to prepare for 40 possible songs but that is different.  Am I impressed at the # of songs bands like Pearl Jam might play over a 3 night residency in one city? Yes, but I'm also impressed by Bono & The Edge, in particular, as to what they bring to the show.



So you're thinking .5% or less (arena size being 17,000 - 18,000 on average) of the attendees at any single U2 concert are at their 2nd+ show that year? Considering U2's fandom across the globe, I find that really hard to believe. The passion of their fan base is what resulted in sites like atU2 and all the time people spend debating matters like this about the band. Unless maybe their fan base has gotten older and they don't travel like they used to and go to multiple shows in their home towns? Maybe U2's management has run the analytics that proves this so they're now not mixing it up like they did on I + E and basically all other indoor tours. Maybe we figured out the reason by debating this?? 

Offline seano0513

  • Babyface
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #85 on: September 19, 2018, 08:20:27 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
The minute you decide you want to have reasonably complicated lighting/video setups as part of your show is when it becomes very difficult to make significant changes to the setlist. U2 have made lighting/video an integral part of their show, so I understand the need to keep the setlist consistent. The performance of the songs is a different story however - nobody could seriously suggest that U2 are putting as much emotional and physical energy into their shows in 2018 as they did 20 or 30 years ago. Equally, no reasonable person should expect them to. 

1. This theory about lighting/video doesn't explain why they mixed it up for I + E. The same basic tour only 3 years ago.
2. Agreed, nobody is saying they're putting the same energy in as they did decades ago (how would that be possible) and I don't think anybody is expecting it either. Still, they made a certain type of effort in 2015 for I + E, what happened in 2018 for E + I?

Offline Johnny Feathers

  • Elevated
  • ***
  • Posts: 4,013
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #86 on: September 20, 2018, 03:24:54 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I would guess that at any 1 show, less than 100 fans are seeing their 2nd show of the tour. 

Phoning it in to me is akin to "going through the motions."  Not putting your heart & soul into the show.  As a fan who has seen multiple shows, I can't agree with this statement.  Having a similar setlist doesn't mean they are not putting their all into every show.  Yes, they don't have to prepare for 40 possible songs but that is different.  Am I impressed at the # of songs bands like Pearl Jam might play over a 3 night residency in one city? Yes, but I'm also impressed by Bono & The Edge, in particular, as to what they bring to the show.



So you're thinking .5% or less (arena size being 17,000 - 18,000 on average) of the attendees at any single U2 concert are at their 2nd+ show that year? Considering U2's fandom across the globe, I find that really hard to believe. The passion of their fan base is what resulted in sites like atU2 and all the time people spend debating matters like this about the band. Unless maybe their fan base has gotten older and they don't travel like they used to and go to multiple shows in their home towns? Maybe U2's management has run the analytics that proves this so they're now not mixing it up like they did on I + E and basically all other indoor tours. Maybe we figured out the reason by debating this??

What percentage do YOU think are seeing multiple shows? Is it still a small fraction of the audience? If so, then I’d say the point stands.

“Maybe their fan base has gotten older”...gee, do you think? Everyone seems surprised by this blindingly obvious fact. I’m hard pressed to find anyone under 30 at their shows, and should estimate the majority to be 40+.

At the end of the day, you choose to continue to be bothered by the stagnant setlists. I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of folks aren’t, and aren’t even aware of what else they are/aren’t playing.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Offline Tortuga

  • Refugee
  • *
  • Posts: 254
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #87 on: September 20, 2018, 04:56:31 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
The minute you decide you want to have reasonably complicated lighting/video setups as part of your show is when it becomes very difficult to make significant changes to the setlist. U2 have made lighting/video an integral part of their show, so I understand the need to keep the setlist consistent. The performance of the songs is a different story however - nobody could seriously suggest that U2 are putting as much emotional and physical energy into their shows in 2018 as they did 20 or 30 years ago. Equally, no reasonable person should expect them to. 

1. This theory about lighting/video doesn't explain why they mixed it up for I + E. The same basic tour only 3 years ago.
2. Agreed, nobody is saying they're putting the same energy in as they did decades ago (how would that be possible) and I don't think anybody is expecting it either. Still, they made a certain type of effort in 2015 for I + E, what happened in 2018 for E + I?

I think you kind of made the point I was already thinking with your comment on the forum.  How many people regularly comment on this forum?  Not very many.  It seems like its the same handful of people making all the posts.  So I’m thinking there are 100 or less active posters on this forum.  I’ve noticed forum activity across all the U2 boards has diminished greatly since NLOTH.

It seems to me forum activity supports the idea of few people seeing multiple shows.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline seano0513

  • Babyface
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #88 on: September 20, 2018, 09:31:10 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I would guess that at any 1 show, less than 100 fans are seeing their 2nd show of the tour. 

Phoning it in to me is akin to "going through the motions."  Not putting your heart & soul into the show.  As a fan who has seen multiple shows, I can't agree with this statement.  Having a similar setlist doesn't mean they are not putting their all into every show.  Yes, they don't have to prepare for 40 possible songs but that is different.  Am I impressed at the # of songs bands like Pearl Jam might play over a 3 night residency in one city? Yes, but I'm also impressed by Bono & The Edge, in particular, as to what they bring to the show.



So you're thinking .5% or less (arena size being 17,000 - 18,000 on average) of the attendees at any single U2 concert are at their 2nd+ show that year? Considering U2's fandom across the globe, I find that really hard to believe. The passion of their fan base is what resulted in sites like atU2 and all the time people spend debating matters like this about the band. Unless maybe their fan base has gotten older and they don't travel like they used to and go to multiple shows in their home towns? Maybe U2's management has run the analytics that proves this so they're now not mixing it up like they did on I + E and basically all other indoor tours. Maybe we figured out the reason by debating this??

What percentage do YOU think are seeing multiple shows? Is it still a small fraction of the audience? If so, then I’d say the point stands.

“Maybe their fan base has gotten older”...gee, do you think? Everyone seems surprised by this blindingly obvious fact. I’m hard pressed to find anyone under 30 at their shows, and should estimate the majority to be 40+.

At the end of the day, you choose to continue to be bothered by the stagnant setlists. I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of folks aren’t, and aren’t even aware of what else they are/aren’t playing.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

I’m not going to guess the % (has to be at least a couple) as I try to base my arguments in reason while at the same time not be snarky (“gee, do you think?”) which doesn’t help the discussion. The bottom line is U2 always mixed up setlists when playing multiple shows in a town. I’d love to attend multiple shows because it was interesting to see how they’d change it up a little bit the next night. Now it’s not interesting and my level of interest (along with other die-hards like me) is diminishing. Maybe I’m just having a hard time accepting they’ve reached a new point in their career only 3 years after still being dynamic and fun in concert.

I still love them and their music. Was just at an ultrasound appointment for our 3rd baby and they were playing “Love is Bigger than Anythjng in its Way” as I saw my baby girl for the first time on the screen. Now that’s amazing and exciting and I couldn’t think of a better soundtrack. AND it was great live when I heard then play it this year (both times. LOL).

Ending it with that. Thanks folks. U2 will always be the best, especially live.

Offline dwaltman

  • Running to Stand Still
  • **
  • Posts: 1,229
Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #89 on: September 20, 2018, 10:53:33 AM »
My estimate of less than a 100 fans seeing the show for a 2nd time at any given show is based on the # of people lining up will in advance of the show.  There is probably a decent portion of those in line but surely not everyone.  Conversely, there are people in seats who are also seeing the tour for a 2nd time. 

My number may be a bit conservative but I still think it is a small percentage.  Do you think rather see more people see the show for the first time?  If so, maybe they are trying to dissuade people going to multiple shows through the same setlist.  Personally, I just think they have this strong narrative and want to remain true to it.  Although I have posted elsewhere a similar narrative with a different set list.