Author Topic: Is U2 phoning it in?  (Read 4007 times)

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Offline skelter

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #60 on: September 12, 2018, 06:46:35 PM »
prediction: Paris 4 will be like Paris 2. Pack it up.

At least Even Better ttrt's "drug of choice" spiel is a bit "spirit is in the house" moment.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #61 on: September 12, 2018, 07:00:01 PM »
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people should be able to do that without getting people who don’t agree with what they have posted jumping down their throats.

Excellent advice. You should take it.

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And I am pleasantly surprised that my sarcastic post has sparked a bit of open discussion.

You actually believe that? Even though I was one of only two people who responded to your post in any way? My, what a world you have created for yourself.

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You and 64ac30 bleated about what you saw as inciteful and disagreeable posts , Tortuga asked what ones as he or she didn’t see anything, and got no replies.

You don't know what you're talking about.

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And don’t forget the forum was shut down essentially because the vast majority of posters didn’t like ‘YTBTAM’, and said so in descriptive ways. So much for open discussion and differing opinions.

How fortunate we are not dependent on your recollection of events.

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Anything that you don’t agree with and then get challenged on , just becomes ignored and there is no open discussion.

Actually, I'm one of the few people who isn't ignoring you. Which is quite foolish of me. I'm changing my ways.

Well, it is true that I asked which posts were deemed as being inciteful and there were no replies.


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Not on the main thread, because people were trying not to violate forum rules. Or I was anyway. But there were PMs as you know and hotty375 does not.


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There was one PM and it did not offer up any posts that were seen as inciteful.  I don’t find it very likely that others would have thought that replying to that question would have been a ban-able offense.  But we can all have our own opinions.

In any case, you cannot deny that certain members of this forum will jump down your throat if you say the least little thing you don’t like about one particular album or tour.  Their rationale is that it is a “fan” forum and you are being a traitor, not a fan if you say anything at all negative.  This is a made up rule in their own mind and a downer to having any kind of meaningful or interesting discussion.


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Actually, in my PM to you, I did talk about a post I thought was inciteful and I explained why I thought that.

I haven't seen anyone get called a traitor for being critical of some aspect of the band's music or performance, but maybe I missed something. Could you provide an example?

This is certainly a fan site, but that doesn't mean the band's work can't be discussed from a critical perspective. On the other hand, if someone were to come on here just to bash the band or insult them on a personal level that would be inappropriate. Also, because U2 are hated by some people for reasons having nothing to do with their music, trolls are always a possibility.

This forum does not exist so that everybody can agree with everybody else. It exists so that different opinions and perspectives and feelings can be aired, in civil and respectful ways, as that is what allows a discussion to thrive. Nobody who posts here is perfect. Nobody is an unassailable expert on U2 or their producers, and nobody is completely dispassionate about the music they love or the musicians who create it. I believe if we all give each other a little slack for being human, that will help to keep the discussion healthy.

My apologies.  I didn’t remember you providing an example and I’ve long since deleted those pms.

I would think anyone who frequents this forum would know what posts I’m talking about.  I’m not going to call anything out specifically.


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Offline seano0513

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #62 on: September 12, 2018, 08:50:42 PM »
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I don't get this argument as if it's a new thing for U2 not to change their setlists very much. On ZooTV and Popmart, the setlist basically never changed and people didn't complain about that. On the last few tours, the setlists have been changing quite a lot. On this tour, not so much, but saying it's a new thing is simply not true.

It is a new thing. You reference ZooTV and Popmart being static...those were 21 - 26 years ago. They’ve mixed up their sets for multiple night stints since 2001, particularly for indoor shows and evidenced perfectly at the 8 night MSG stay for I + E. This show follows the same basic formula, but they’re not making any attempt for a dynamic setlist for die-hards who like to go to multiple shows in their towns and who would like a surprise here and there (like those previous tours). Once again, what’s changed? Age, they don’t care, is it really the show, they’re afraid to take risks? I didn’t make the statement they’re phoning it in, but I haven’t been convinced they’re not.

Offline seano0513

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #63 on: September 12, 2018, 09:52:41 PM »
The setlist from Paris Nighr 3 answers the question with a resounding YES. 1 change...Red Flag instead of ABOY. Where’s Gloria now? Why can’t they include Stay instead of Summer of Love. What’s going on with the Unforgettable Fire rehearsal? Completely phoning it in. It’s a shame.

Offline 64ac30

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #64 on: September 13, 2018, 03:12:06 PM »
4 nights in Paris. Not a single change. (Besides Rfd/ABOY old news) the rest of the tour is predictable

Offline Johnny Feathers

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #65 on: September 13, 2018, 03:29:16 PM »
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I don't get this argument as if it's a new thing for U2 not to change their setlists very much. On ZooTV and Popmart, the setlist basically never changed and people didn't complain about that. On the last few tours, the setlists have been changing quite a lot. On this tour, not so much, but saying it's a new thing is simply not true.

It is a new thing. You reference ZooTV and Popmart being static...those were 21 - 26 years ago. They’ve mixed up their sets for multiple night stints since 2001, particularly for indoor shows and evidenced perfectly at the 8 night MSG stay for I + E. This show follows the same basic formula, but they’re not making any attempt for a dynamic setlist for die-hards who like to go to multiple shows in their towns and who would like a surprise here and there (like those previous tours). Once again, what’s changed? Age, they don’t care, is it really the show, they’re afraid to take risks? I didn’t make the statement they’re phoning it in, but I haven’t been convinced they’re not.

But why is Zoo TV and PopMart automatically excluded from the conversation--because it doesn't support your argument?  Some tours featured more changes, those did not.  With the price of tickets these days, I couldn't really justify seeing that many shows.  I'm pretty happy to have seen Chicago 2 in the spring and Paris 2 this week.  There were about 6 or so different songs between them.

Offline seano0513

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #66 on: September 14, 2018, 09:17:13 AM »
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I don't get this argument as if it's a new thing for U2 not to change their setlists very much. On ZooTV and Popmart, the setlist basically never changed and people didn't complain about that. On the last few tours, the setlists have been changing quite a lot. On this tour, not so much, but saying it's a new thing is simply not true.

It is a new thing. You reference ZooTV and Popmart being static...those were 21 - 26 years ago. They’ve mixed up their sets for multiple night stints since 2001, particularly for indoor shows and evidenced perfectly at the 8 night MSG stay for I + E. This show follows the same basic formula, but they’re not making any attempt for a dynamic setlist for die-hards who like to go to multiple shows in their towns and who would like a surprise here and there (like those previous tours). Once again, what’s changed? Age, they don’t care, is it really the show, they’re afraid to take risks? I didn’t make the statement they’re phoning it in, but I haven’t been convinced they’re not.

But why is Zoo TV and PopMart automatically excluded from the conversation--because it doesn't support your argument?  Some tours featured more changes, those did not.  With the price of tickets these days, I couldn't really justify seeing that many shows.  I'm pretty happy to have seen Chicago 2 in the spring and Paris 2 this week.  There were about 6 or so different songs between them.

Zoo TV and Popmart were mammoth, highly structured Stadium extravaganzas that didn't allow for much spontaneity and fluidity; also, with a big Stadium show, there weren't nearly as many situations where they'd play multiple nights in one city. However, now that you want to analyze it, I think back to 2 ZooTV outdoor broadcast shows in NJ to kick off that leg of the tour. Night 2 they made at least 4 changes to the set (look at the records). Popmart was static, but the setlist did evolve over the leg 1 (U.S.) and there were probably 4-5 different songs played before they got to Europe. With E + I, all they did for Leg 1 was basically drop songs and cut down the total from 26 to 23. That's BS!

Now let's enter this century....since 2001 Elevation they've been playing more indoor, arena shows than big Stadiums except for 360 (which would have 3 - 4 different songs for multi-night gigs; look 2009 NJ or 2011 Montreal as examples) and JT30 (which maybe is where they decided that static will be what they do the following year as it's easier on them...thoughts?). With these indoor tours (Elevation, Vertigo and I + E), they would noticeably mix it up from night to night (4-6 different songs) within the same venue. Leads me to my original post and question about what's changed. To quote my post, "a perfect and recent example were the 8 I + E shows at MSG. Each one had multiple changes to th 3 main parts of the set (North Side of Dublin, e stage, and encore)." That along with much more audience connection / participation....all of that has changed in 2018 and I'm trying to get us all to think about that.

Let's not get stuck in the weeds about ZooTV, etc....totally different type of tour and it was 25 years ago; I proved you wrong above anyway as I have the facts and you can consult the U2 Tours page to do some research. Some people have helped move this discussion along citing plausible explanations (it's the show which I don't buy as it's I + E part II; they're getting old, it's Larry's fault, they don't care, etc). What's the deal? Looking at those 4 nights in Paris it's clear they have no desire to go out on a limb anymore. Is there much desire left at all? I'd like to think there's more in the tank (night 3 at MSG in July was so energetic, albeit predictable, but I believe there's something still there). Hope it doesn't completely fade away.

Offline Johnny Feathers

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #67 on: September 14, 2018, 10:09:29 AM »
My point is that setlist variety is one (and in my opinion, fairly minor) aspect about a tour. If you’re seeing a dozen shows per tour, sure, it’s pretty static. But arguably their best tours they’ve done were also pretty static, so saying they’re “phoning it in” seems unnecessarily dramatic. The vast majority of attendees are seeing just one show. If that show is performed well, with a good setlist, then I’d say they aren’t “phoning it in” at all.

360 featured a very fluid setlist. The show I saw on that tour was one of my least favorite I’ve seen, for several reasons. I really couldn’t care less if they played a bunch of other songs on other dates.

Offline KenpoMatt

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #68 on: September 14, 2018, 11:48:41 AM »
I don't think they are phoning it in. The fact is, times change, they are older, the catalogue of music keeps expanding and they've decided to play a particular set of songs ( JT not included which a bold move in its own way ) and that's about it.

The performances of the tunes have passion for the most part in my opinion and it's always going to be different on every tour. Are they the U2 of 1994 or even 2001? No. Find me a band that is the exact same of 20 years prior.

And I don't think anyone really expected to hear Acrobat either, so they are feeding some treats here and there still, just maybe not as many as some feel they need.

Offline KenpoMatt

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #69 on: September 14, 2018, 11:58:36 AM »
Although I do have one gripe with tour, and that was the promise of longer setlists, which only happened on opening night in North America. Maybe it's too much for them, but an extra 3 cuts shouldn't be that big of an ask.

Offline seano0513

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #70 on: September 14, 2018, 07:01:41 PM »
Good, thoughtful responses earlier. Thank you. KenpoMatt, they’re not at the same level as in the 90s or 2001 for sure, but my point has been why are they not the U2 of 2015 / I + E where they had it in them to surprise you at every stop of a tour that’s constructed basically the same? Something happened this past 3 years that affected their desire to be surprising and go that extra mile to make things interesting. I’ll end this by just saying I’m thankful they’re still around, making quality music and putting on great shows.

Offline skelter

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #71 on: September 14, 2018, 07:06:30 PM »
Read the atu2 blurb on Paris 4 about "streets of surrender".

I thought (hoped) it said Moment of Surrender for a second.

Offline ahittle

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #72 on: September 15, 2018, 07:43:53 AM »
You can pin the stagnation on the narrative arc of the show, but you have to acknowledge that these guys are just getting older and may have other priorities than investing the extra hours into soundchecks to inject other material so a handful of fans are placated.  They can certainly read a room and understand the cost/benefit ratio of mixing up a setlist that gives them thunderous ovations every night.

I think there's some grey grey area before they hit "phoning it in" territory.

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #73 on: September 15, 2018, 08:25:27 PM »
Very few people see multiple shows, so the set list sameness is not really an issue for most people.

Offline Thanksandy

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Re: Is U2 phoning it in?
« Reply #74 on: September 16, 2018, 04:54:14 AM »
I'm not sure thet are phoning it in.
They have a certain narrative or show structure and are keeping to that.
We will all be disappointed to some extent, regarding songs they won't be playing, for me it's some of the JT and R&H tracks, but I get why they aren't playing them.
Who knows what the next tour will be like, with the Experience tour ending this cycle of a narrative/concept based concert structure.
There is no point the band continuing this way, as they would have done two Arena tours like that, so I think it will be different for the next tour, which may also see a return to Stadiums.