Author Topic: Why won’t U2 change up the set?  (Read 11823 times)

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meximofo

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Re: Why won’t U2 change up the set?
« Reply #120 on: June 05, 2015, 08:55:20 AM »
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The task of pleasing all the fans and their own personal agenda is impossible, we all know that.

What's funny is that the only tour where U2 voluntarily mixed and changed the setlist every single night was Lovetown. And, mind you, at the time, they only had a 10 years discography to choose from. Still, I rememeber people getting out disappointed because U2 never played Sunday Bloody Sunday on that tour.

But, if we're 100% honest, which songs are the true hits in U2's catalogue ? (in terms of worldwide impact and radio airplay)

-Sunday Bloody Sunday
-New Year's day
-Pride
-Where the Streets have no name
-I still haven't found
-With or without you
-One
-Mysterious ways
-Beautiful Day
-Vertigo (maybe)

And that's it. These are the only songs I'd put some money on for everyone being able to sing along because they know them. It's not even half a show. There's plenty of room to expand.

The thing is that U2, as Acrobatnation reported, like to build their shows around a scenario. That scenario relies on heavy scripted video stuff and gizmos and you cannot possibly move around that. It's been this way since Zoo TV. We can hope for 2, 3, maybe 4 songs to change from a show to another but that's pretty much it. Take it or leave it.
It's not so much that the setlists are static because of the visuals. U2 setlists are static since they were playing clubs. U2 wants to give you a narrative, an experience from beginning to end and they feel like introducing a song may disrupt that story. For example, for the people asking for Volcano to replace Vertigo, that will never happen, as Volcano belongs to the "innocence lost" part of the setlist.

Offline jick

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Re: Why won’t U2 change up the set?
« Reply #121 on: June 05, 2015, 08:56:21 AM »
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On another thread, a few fans discussed how Bruce Springsteen frequently changes up the set to play rarities. Here are a few reasons why I think U2 can’t do what he does.

(1) Relevance – Springsteen hasn’t released an album in a while with songs popular enough to regularly include on setlists. This isn’t the case with U2. Newer albums like ATYCLB and HTDAAB produced 2-3 songs each that have become necessities at live shows. I suspect SOI will follow this trend in a way that NLOTH did not, leaving even less room for rarities.

(2) Musicianship – Springsteen can change about 1/3 of the set each night without major flubs. He can also very easily change things up mid-show. U2 can't seem to do this. A couple nights ago they struggled to play a couple verses of IGC and then ST. They even messed up OOC in San Jose.

(3) Band Democracy – There may be disagreement among the members of U2 over the role of rarities in concert. Even if Edge wants to play ASOH, he still has to convince three other band members with equal votes. If Springsteen wants to play rarities he doesn’t have to convince anybody.

(4) Show Length – Springsteen’s latest shows have been over one-hour longer than the average U2 show. This gives him a lot more room to throw in a few obscure songs.

(5) Set Rigidity – Springsteen is fine leaving out hits like Born in the U.S.A. and Thunder Road. As mentioned, there are a lot fewer guaranteed songs at a Springsteen show, giving him room to change up the set. U2 has never been about playing rarities live. Rather, they give the majority of concertgoers what they want: the hits.

So, why not play Acrobat? Beats me.

U2 play one hour less than Springsteen.

They need to rehearse or prepare less songs than Springsteen.

They have the top grossing tour of all time.

Any U2 tour grosses more than Springsteen.

More return for less effort.

U2 are doing something right. 

Maybe Springsteen is just wasting his time playing rarities, it doesn't add value to the shows or drives more fans in.

Cheers,

J

Offline Saint1322

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Re: Why won’t U2 change up the set?
« Reply #122 on: June 05, 2015, 09:17:29 AM »
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On another thread, a few fans discussed how Bruce Springsteen frequently changes up the set to play rarities. Here are a few reasons why I think U2 can’t do what he does.

(1) Relevance – Springsteen hasn’t released an album in a while with songs popular enough to regularly include on setlists. This isn’t the case with U2. Newer albums like ATYCLB and HTDAAB produced 2-3 songs each that have become necessities at live shows. I suspect SOI will follow this trend in a way that NLOTH did not, leaving even less room for rarities.

(2) Musicianship – Springsteen can change about 1/3 of the set each night without major flubs. He can also very easily change things up mid-show. U2 can't seem to do this. A couple nights ago they struggled to play a couple verses of IGC and then ST. They even messed up OOC in San Jose.

(3) Band Democracy – There may be disagreement among the members of U2 over the role of rarities in concert. Even if Edge wants to play ASOH, he still has to convince three other band members with equal votes. If Springsteen wants to play rarities he doesn’t have to convince anybody.

(4) Show Length – Springsteen’s latest shows have been over one-hour longer than the average U2 show. This gives him a lot more room to throw in a few obscure songs.

(5) Set Rigidity – Springsteen is fine leaving out hits like Born in the U.S.A. and Thunder Road. As mentioned, there are a lot fewer guaranteed songs at a Springsteen show, giving him room to change up the set. U2 has never been about playing rarities live. Rather, they give the majority of concertgoers what they want: the hits.

So, why not play Acrobat? Beats me.

U2 play one hour less than Springsteen.

They need to rehearse or prepare less songs than Springsteen.

They have the top grossing tour of all time.

Any U2 tour grosses more than Springsteen.

More return for less effort.

U2 are doing something right. 

Maybe Springsteen is just wasting his time playing rarities, it doesn't add value to the shows or drives more fans in.

Cheers,

J

You all are giving Springsteen too much credit. I've seen 10 shows. He's not what you think he is. He plays what he wants when he wants just like U2 and he annoys his fans with warhorses just as much if not more than U2, because we know that Bruce and the band are actually PREPARED to play most any song at any time; they just choose not to.

That's way more annoying coming from Bruce than it is from U2. If Acrobat were a Springsteen song, they would have it ready; they would just play Bobby Jean instead.

And by the way, Bruce has started charging the same amount for every ticket in the house, prices have gone up, and the GA floor is like $140 with fees, the same as nosebleeds.

Offline trevgreg

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Re: Why won’t U2 change up the set?
« Reply #123 on: June 05, 2015, 09:42:27 AM »
Billy Corgan had some interesting quotes regarding set list changes and selections, along with fighting nostalgia in general, in this Rolling Stone article...

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Are you approaching your set lists any differently on this tour than in the past? Which eras of the band are you emphasizing?
Oh, I don't look at it like that. I just try to pick the best songs for the show. Manson will have a somewhat heavier crowd, so I'm sure that we will play heavier than we normally play. But I'm loathe to talk about my set list, because when I do, no one is ever satisfied. No matter what I play, someone is always mad. And yet I consistently get good reviews over the past three or four years! I've been playing really good sets. The public perception versus the reality doesn't bear witness.

Will you stick to one set list over the course of the month, or switch things up as you go along?
I think it's really difficult these days to switch sets up, because the audience is so ADD. It's like a Broadway show. You figure out your best foot forward. If you have to tweak it, you tweak it, but it's not like the old days when you could change the set list every night and anything could happen. The audience doesn't want it. I've learned that lesson. I'm more than happy to play a really high-quality set that I feel confident in. It's not the rock & roll I grew up on, but that's your generation, not mine.

I am not about fighting the audience anymore. Those days are over.

What do you mean?
Well, I assume you are younger than I am? [Laughs] I'm 48 years old. I'm assuming that you're somewhere in your twenties or early thirties? So that's what I'm saying. It's your generation versus mine. The generation that followed mine was more pop-driven, more spectacle-driven, more MTV-moment-driven, and it's gotten worse as it's gone on. You can fight that and be a lone soldier, or you can figure out how to be the best that you can be under a particular set of circumstances. I've said publicly many times, I am not about fighting the audience anymore. Those days are over.

Both you and Manson became stars in the Nineties. Do you think there's a risk of people seeing this as a nostalgia tour?
Anybody who calls us a nostalgia show does not know what the f*ck they are talking about. Seriously. I mean, he has just released one of the best albums of his career, and my last two albums were super highly reviewed and well received, so they don't know what the f*ck they are talking about.

Sure, but at least some portion of the audience is going to be there to hear the records they liked 15 or 20 years ago. How do you feel about that?
I don't care. That's a nostalgia-sentimentality-based business that I am not a part of. It's like saying because one movie company makes cartoons and another company makes movies, I'm in the cartoon business. I feel like people lump me into the cartoon business, and I don't want to be in the cartoon business. It's very simple: You've got two great artists, two great histories, still making great music. We are going to go out and kick a** as good or better than somebody in their twenties or thirties or whatever. Either believe it or don't – but if you don't, then you will miss something that you rarely see, which in this case will be three hours of really powerful music. I mean, there is a point where you can't apologize for that, or you can't really explain it to someone who's got their head up their a** with a selfie stick.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 09:46:57 AM by trevgreg »

Offline Saint1322

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Re: Why won’t U2 change up the set?
« Reply #124 on: June 05, 2015, 10:03:42 AM »
I posted this somewhere, but our buddy Noel Gallagher plays the same show every night, so people can't complain 'You played this at my show and my favorite song the next night.' You get what you get. There are plenty of other acts that do it that way.

Offline markreed

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Re: Why won’t U2 change up the set?
« Reply #125 on: June 05, 2015, 11:30:56 AM »
Honestly, so what if they played a song one night and not the next? The band is not a jukebox. I'd rather have a lucky dip setlist and know what I'm experiencing is live and unique, rather than seeing U2 doing "Phantom of The Popera" every night.

Offline sledge2015

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Re: Why won’t U2 change up the set?
« Reply #126 on: June 05, 2015, 11:33:17 AM »
Bono could just stand there and fart into a microphone for two hours and all the worshipers would still fall at his feet, and the rest of us could say, "well, at least that's different than banging out all the same radio hits!"

Offline The Unknown Caller

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Re: Why won’t U2 change up the set?
« Reply #127 on: June 05, 2015, 12:26:42 PM »
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\\
If Acrobat were a Springsteen song, they would have it ready; they would just play Bobby Jean instead. \

This sentence made me laugh!

I think if Acrobat were a Springsteen song, it would appear once in a tour, at a random gig near the end. You can judge for yourself if that's better or worse than U2. At least when U2 resurrect songs you can stand a fairly good chance of seeing it if you see a subsequent gig. (E.G. Zooropa, Ultraviolet, TUF on the last tour) If Bruce resurrects one and you aren't AT that gig, your chances are very, very poor unless it's the rare occasion when he decides to play it a few times.

To put it another way, if U2 were more like Bruce you'd have a better chance of seeing Acrobat but if you get a super-rarity at all, you're just as likely to be at that one gig where they play 'Life On A Distant Planet' instead. Great for novelty, not much else.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 12:28:28 PM by The Unknown Caller »