Author Topic: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?  (Read 5009 times)

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Offline The Exile

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What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« on: September 04, 2010, 12:55:53 PM »
OK, let's try an experiment, shall we?

All of our bickering about whether or not 360 is a Greatest Hits Tour (hereafter “GHT”) can become more constructive if we do two things. First, we need to determine some criteria for what constitutes a GHT in general, and secondly, we need to ask what a GHT would look like if applied to U2 in particular. In other words, instead of asking whether U2360 is a GHT, let’s ask this question, “If U2 were to launch a GHT, what would it look like?”

Off we go, then....

Below are some rules for what constitutes a Greatest Hits Tour, as applied to any band in general:

- A GHT will focus mostly on songs that are legitimate hits.

- Since most bands don’t have enough “hits” to fill a set, a good portion of the show will focus on singles which, though perhaps not hits, are nonetheless recognizable by the audience.

- In most cases, a GHT will still include slots for newer songs, regardless of how recognizable they may be.

- A GHT will be characterized by a tour name and concept that do not tie it to the band’s latest work.


(Now you may reject these criteria, and that’s fine, but I think these rules for determining what a GHT is are pretty reasonable. If you do think these rules are unfair or in some way are intended to incriminate U2, then please explain why and provide different ones.)

Moving on from the general to the specific, if U2 were to launch a GHT, what would we expect it to look like?

In my mind, in order for U2 to pull off a GHT, they would have to:

- Play (most of) these songs from the ‘80s: I Will Follow, Out of Control, Gloria, SBS, NYD, Pride, Streets, ISHF, and WOWY

- Play (most of) these songs from the ‘90s: The Fly, Mysterious Ways, One, UTEOTW, EBTTRT, and Discotheque

- Play (most of) these songs from the ‘00s: Beautiful Day, Walk On, Elevation, SIAM, Vertigo, and COBL


Now that list makes up 21 songs, which if you think about it is too many for any one show, especially if they wanted to play some new songs and throw in a couple curveballs as well (which is not inconsistent with a GHT). Creating some space for, say, 3-5 new songs and a couple rarities would mean that U2 would not have to play all those hits/singles in order to pull off a GHT, but they would have to play a majority of them.

Alrighty then, let’s collate the data and discover what it tells us.

Concerning the four general criteria, U2 meets each one. Moving to the criteria that applies to U2 in particular, I think it’s fair to say that although U2 doesn’t play every possible hit or single they’ve produced, they do play a sufficient percentage of hits/singles to constitute U2360 a GHT. And again, the fact that they also play some rarities doesn’t automatically change this.

The biggest objection I hear formulating in your heads is this: “OK, but doesn’t this mean that every tour U2 has ever played is a Greatest Hits Tour?”

It’s a fair question, but if we examine the four general criteria I listed, I think they help us answer it. Let’s take ZOOTV as our foil and see how it compares: (1 and 2) Did ZOOTV “focus on hits and singles”? Well, while they did choose hits and singles when playing their older songs, the show was so dominated by new material that the answer to this question must be “No.” (3) Did ZOOTV leave slots for newer material? It’s a huge understatement to say “yes,” since 12/22 songs on the Sydney DVD are new (and most of them non-singles). Lastly, (4) did ZOOTV create a disconnect between the name and concept of the tour and the band’s latest material? To ask the question is to answer it: of course not.

Now, I do think that those of you who argue that the first two legs of U2360 were NOT a GHT have a legitimate point. After all, the band was playing seven songs from NLOTH at that time. But now that they’re playing only three or four, I think it’s fair to say that, since the band is beginning to distance itself from NLOTH while at the same time adding songs like NYD and Pride, U2360 is moving closer and closer to being a legitimate GHT.

(Perhaps the only thing that could help it avoid this label is their playing a couple brand new songs each night, but I fear that might not be enough to rescue them.)

Thoughts?



Offline JamietheEdgefan

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2010, 01:16:26 PM »
Very good points, very well analysed... i'd like to add on to your points about the 360 tour moving onto a greatest hits tour that they're opening with an oldie. That for me is enough to transform the 360 tour from a big, now unstoppable tour that is desperately trying to support an (relatively, compared to JT and AB) unpopular and unknown album to a GHT, with a few twists and turns.
...  :-\

Offline The Exile

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2010, 01:21:15 PM »
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Very good points, very well analysed... i'd like to add on to your points about the 360 tour moving onto a greatest hits tour that they're opening with an oldie. That for me is enough to transform the 360 tour from a big, now unstoppable tour that is desperately trying to support an (relatively, compared to JT and AB) unpopular and unknown album to a GHT, with a few twists and turns.
...  :-\

There is some debate about whether ROTSG is a legitimate opening song, or whether it functions as an intro to BD. I lean toward the latter. It's very short, and there's no singing in it. My guess is if you were to ask a casual fan after the show which song U2 opened with, they'd say "Beautiful Day."

Offline Tumbling Dice

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2010, 01:29:18 PM »
I'm not too keen on the way the 360 tour set-lists have evolved but it's no more of a greatest hits tour (however defined) than Vertigo or Elevation. 

One of the plusses of this tour is the premiering of brand new unrecorded songs.  A bold move and unprecedented for a U2 tour.





Offline The Exile

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2010, 01:34:46 PM »
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I'm not too keen on the way the 360 tour set-lists have evolved but it's no more of a greatest hits tour (however defined) than Vertigo or Elevation. 

One of the plusses of this tour is the premiering of brand new unrecorded songs.  A bold move and unprecedented for a U2 tour.






Of course, the two previous tours marketed themselves in such a way as to create a connection in the buyer's mind between the tour on the one hand, and the latest album on the other. The Kiss the Future U2360 Tour has gone out of its way to sever any such connection, with Edge recently admitting that the tour isn't in support of anything in particular, but is about the past, the present, and the future.

Offline Tumbling Dice

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2010, 02:00:11 PM »
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I'm not too keen on the way the 360 tour set-lists have evolved but it's no more of a greatest hits tour (however defined) than Vertigo or Elevation. 

One of the plusses of this tour is the premiering of brand new unrecorded songs.  A bold move and unprecedented for a U2 tour.






Of course, the two previous tours marketed themselves in such a way as to create a connection in the buyer's mind between the tour on the one hand, and the latest album on the other. The Kiss the Future U2360 Tour has gone out of its way to sever any such connection, with Edge recently admitting that the tour isn't in support of anything in particular, but is about the past, the present, and the future.

Well I suppose the different marketing approach is down to ATYCLB and Bomb being much bigger selling albums than NLOTH.  But as far as set-list composition goes, 360 is no more of a greatest hits tour than Elevation or Vertigo.  In fact others on the forum, such as The Unknown Caller, would argue that 360 is even less of a greatest hits tour.



Offline The Exile

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2010, 02:04:52 PM »
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I'm not too keen on the way the 360 tour set-lists have evolved but it's no more of a greatest hits tour (however defined) than Vertigo or Elevation. 

One of the plusses of this tour is the premiering of brand new unrecorded songs.  A bold move and unprecedented for a U2 tour.






Of course, the two previous tours marketed themselves in such a way as to create a connection in the buyer's mind between the tour on the one hand, and the latest album on the other. The Kiss the Future U2360 Tour has gone out of its way to sever any such connection, with Edge recently admitting that the tour isn't in support of anything in particular, but is about the past, the present, and the future.

Well I suppose the different marketing approach is down to ATYCLB and Bomb being much bigger selling albums than NLOTH.  But as far as set-list composition goes, 360 is no more of a greatest hits tour than Elevation or Vertigo.  In fact others on the forum, such as The Unknown Caller, would argue that 360 is even less of a greatest hits tour.




And I think they have a point. But the thing we need to take into account is that for the last decade, U2 has been dropping more and more new songs from their setlists as the tour goes on (New York, Miracle Drug, etc). So it seems that U2 never begins a Greatest Hits Tour, but they often end up with one.

PS - Saying "Vertigo was a GHT, too" is not an argument against my position, it just makes U2 look bad.

Offline Tumbling Dice

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2010, 02:15:19 PM »
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I'm not too keen on the way the 360 tour set-lists have evolved but it's no more of a greatest hits tour (however defined) than Vertigo or Elevation. 

One of the plusses of this tour is the premiering of brand new unrecorded songs.  A bold move and unprecedented for a U2 tour.






Of course, the two previous tours marketed themselves in such a way as to create a connection in the buyer's mind between the tour on the one hand, and the latest album on the other. The Kiss the Future U2360 Tour has gone out of its way to sever any such connection, with Edge recently admitting that the tour isn't in support of anything in particular, but is about the past, the present, and the future.

Well I suppose the different marketing approach is down to ATYCLB and Bomb being much bigger selling albums than NLOTH.  But as far as set-list composition goes, 360 is no more of a greatest hits tour than Elevation or Vertigo.  In fact others on the forum, such as The Unknown Caller, would argue that 360 is even less of a greatest hits tour.




And I think they have a point. But the thing we need to take into account is that for the last decade, U2 has been dropping more and more new songs from their setlists as the tour goes on (New York, Miracle Drug, etc). So it seems that U2 never begins a Greatest Hits Tour, but they often end up with one.

PS - Saying "Vertigo was a GHT, too" is not an argument against my position, it just makes U2 look bad.

Well, if 360 is less of a GHT than Vertigo, it's a step in the right direction.  I don't necesarily disagree with your analysis and in the last decade U2 have certainly dropped new songs for oldies as a tour has progressed, much as the Rolling Stones have for the last 20 years.  U2 haven't built a show around new material since Zoo TV/Zooropa because, quite frankly, the new material since then couldn't carry a show.




Offline U2-obsessed and proud

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2010, 02:35:09 PM »
1. City of Blinding Lights
2. Vertigo
3. I Will Follow
4. Elevation
5. Mysterious Ways
6. Gloria
7. Beautiful Day
8. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
9. Desire
10. Angel of Harlem
11. Until The End of the World
12. New Years Day
13. The Fly
14. Even Better Than The Real Thing
15. Crazy Tonight
16. Bullet The Blue Sky
17. Sunday Bloody Sunday
18. Pride
19. Walk On
20. Where The Streets Have No Name
21. Bad

22. Discotheque
23. With or Without You
24. All I Want is You

thats a greatest hits set :P

this is not a 360 set

Offline The Exile

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2010, 02:41:08 PM »
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1. City of Blinding Lights
2. Vertigo
3. I Will Follow
4. Elevation
5. Mysterious Ways
6. Gloria
7. Beautiful Day
8. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
9. Desire
10. Angel of Harlem
11. Until The End of the World
12. New Years Day
13. The Fly
14. Even Better Than The Real Thing
15. Crazy Tonight
16. Bullet The Blue Sky
17. Sunday Bloody Sunday
18. Pride
19. Walk On
20. Where The Streets Have No Name
21. Bad

22. Discotheque
23. With or Without You
24. All I Want is You

thats a greatest hits set :P

this is not a 360 set

Read my post more carefully, because this isn't an argument against what I wrote. I explicitly said that, generally speaking, even a GHT will have a few new songs and a few curveballs in it. I mean, listen to a live show by the Stones or Eagles (both of which are arguably greatest hits bands), and even they play some rarities and new songs.

It's no fair to just type out all of U2's most popular songs, call THAT a greatest hits set, and then claim victory. I'm trying to have an intelligent discussion here....

Offline Tumbling Dice

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2010, 02:48:38 PM »
I've just been pleasured watching the Zoo TV show from Rotterdam, June 92.  Joyous.









Offline JamietheEdgefan

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2010, 03:07:32 PM »


There is some debate about whether ROTSG is a legitimate opening song, or whether it functions as an intro to BD. I lean toward the latter. It's very short, and there's no singing in it. My guess is if you were to ask a casual fan after the show which song U2 opened with, they'd say "Beautiful Day."
[/quote]

Agreed, i don't think it can be called a proper song. I mean, personally i love it, and think it has the potential to become a real song, but when its just a very basic riff, with Bono just walking around the stage and working the audience by shouting the name of the town or whatever, it can hardly be called a proper track. It's like saying they opened with Soon, then played breathe on the first two legs. Neither Soon nor RotSG are openers, but for different reasons - Soon actually had vocals, and real structure, but obviously wasn't actually played by the band, whereas ROTSG is like the other way round.
...If Bono just adds some lyrics to it, and treats it like a song, and not a soundtrack while he dances round the stage, then i'd call it an opening song. And it would be a step away from a GHT.

Offline dangerous and honest

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2010, 03:33:28 PM »
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- In most cases, a GHT will still include slots for newer songs, regardless of how recognizable they may be.

- A GHT will be characterized by a tour name and concept that do not tie it to the bands latest work.



I think that the newer songs will be either recent singles or already slated as singles in the near future - to tie in with the 'hits' theme. Not sure about U2's new songs personally, but I have my doubts unless we see that EP.

Perhaps a GHT might be named 'Best Of' or 'GHT' or something that reflects a career or timescale such as 'Retrospective' or '1990-2000'. It might not link to the last album, but it should link to the whole GHT theme. U2360 does not. It entices the audience on the premise of technical innovation not the promise of hearing hits. They could have played 11 straight songs from No Line in Barcelona last year. 

I don't think that comparisons with Zoo TV are fair or typical. Zoo TV was inspired by mass-media and information overload. By contrast, Achtung Baby was a dark, personal and introspective album. OK, so it contained a song called Zoo Station. A song inspired by bombing in Berlin during the war! Not much of an album link really. And it's hardly surprising that a Zoo TV comparison stands up nicely when looking at new material. The whole idea behind AB and Zoo TV was to break from the past and 'dream it all up again'. To introduce a new sound and a new U2. Not a good idea for a GHT!

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In my mind, in order for U2 to pull off a GHT, they would have to:

- Play (most of) these songs from the ‘80s: I Will Follow, Out of Control, Gloria, SBS, NYD, Pride, Streets, ISHF, and WOWY

- Play (most of) these songs from the ‘90s: The Fly, Mysterious Ways, One, UTEOTW, EBTTRT, and Discotheque

- Play (most of) these songs from the ‘00s: Beautiful Day, Walk On, Elevation, SIAM, Vertigo, and COBL


Now that list makes up 21 songs, which if you think about it is too many for any one show, especially if they wanted to play some new songs and throw in a couple curveballs as well (which is not inconsistent with a GHT). Creating some space for, say, 3-5 new songs and a couple rarities would mean that U2 would not have to play all those hits/singles in order to pull off a GHT, but they would have to play a majority of them.



From the 80's - what about the R&H singles on your list?

From the 90's - what about the rest of the Pop singles? Hold Me Thrill Me? Stay? ; strange thing is that when these latter 2 songs are played they are greeted as innovations by some, but they are just as much hits as some of the other songs mentioned in your list.


I think another point worth considering is that as the U2 back-catalogue grows with each new album, so the likelihood of drawing from that body of material increases. So, for the Boy tour, there we no Greatest Hits. For the Unforgettable Fire Tour, there were a few. By the time of Popmart there were lots of hits etc etc. I think the temptation to play a higher percentage of 'hits' increases each time round. This is reflected in the last couple of tours where the new songs have been phased out gradually as time on the road lengthens. Fans now expect to hear the hits and thus U2 delivers.


I guess it can be argued either way, but I got a sense during Elevation Tour that U2 were becoming a 'hits' act live and this has continued for me since. Regardless of the labeling of the tour, it is the content that counts. Calling the tour 'U2360' proves nothing about the 'hits' theory. To my mind 'Vertigo Tour' was a more blatant hits plug regardless of its album link. It might have been CALLED the Vertigo tour, but in the end it had little to do with promoting Bomb. More to do with reinforcing the commercial link between the band and 'Vertigo' itself - a bona-fide Greatest Hit!! Ditto Elevation to some extent.

For me, 360 leans towards 'Greatest Hits' but then again, do we really expect anything different? A lengthening back-catalogue increases the likelihood of hits being played during the evening - except for a few acts today this tends to be the case anyway. Unless U2 want to break from the past and 'dream it all up again', this is what we will get in future. I'd like to see some more variation, true. There is definitely some room for manoeuvre on set-lists, but not much at the moment. Plus, the scale of the show is perhaps a bit restrictive when it comes to impromptu changes.

Music for the Masses because U2 plays shows for the masses.




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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2010, 06:20:27 PM »
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Very good points, very well analysed... i'd like to add on to your points about the 360 tour moving onto a greatest hits tour that they're opening with an oldie. That for me is enough to transform the 360 tour from a big, now unstoppable tour that is desperately trying to support an (relatively, compared to JT and AB) unpopular and unknown album to a GHT, with a few twists and turns.
...  :-\

ridiculous.

was Led Zeppelin going the greatest hits tour route when they opened shows on the Houses of the Holy tour with a hit from a previous album?

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#@!

Offline TheFlyingLemon

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Re: What WOULD a U2's Greatest Hits Tour Look Like?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2010, 08:07:42 PM »
Playing Vertigo 23 times.