Author Topic: "Band beneath the stage"  (Read 21752 times)

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Offline Nlee

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Re: "Band beneath the stage"
« Reply #45 on: July 31, 2009, 07:44:24 PM »
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Similar to Bad, a backing sequencer or whatever it's called, are used on With or Without You and Beautiful Day, that I can think of.

Question to all the musical people on here (I'm musical myself but don't know the answer): on With or Without You's backing drum track -- which plays until Larry kicks at the "yeah you..." part -- is that an actual recorded thing, or is it someone playing below stage? Maybe his drum tech Sam O'Sullivan?

I'm quite sure it'll be a prerecorded track, or a loop.


Offline mbeano

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Re: "Band beneath the stage"
« Reply #46 on: July 31, 2009, 10:24:36 PM »
Taken from
Will U2 be the saviours of the music industry?
The Independent, February 20, 2009
By: Andy Gill
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"Since the Morocco sessions, the six men (and Terry Lawless, whose keyboards feature on the majority of the tracks) have tinkered for a year and a half with the resulting tracks, in round after round of gruelling perfectionism. If they didn't own their own studios, the fees would probably have bankrupted them."

What's on 'Horizon' for Lawless
Santa Maria Times, March 24, 2009
By: Julian J. Ramos
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Just days ago, Terry Lawless was on stage in New York City playing keyboard for U2, one of the world's biggest rock bands.
And the Santa Maria man will soon begin rehearsals for U2's world tour that begins in June -- Lawless' third with the band.
"It's like a circus," he said of the huge concert sets that take days to assemble, and the long hours of checking and rechecking equipment.
During their 2009 stadium tour that kicks off in Barcelona, Spain, U2 will perform songs from their new album, No Line on the Horizon, while on a 360-degree stage.

Lawless traveled the world with the band for both the "Elevation" and "Vertigo" tours. His reputation as a renowned keyboardist is what caught the attention of the band, who recruited him into their ranks.

Before jetting off for the "Horizon" tour, Lawless is home in Santa Maria preparing to play with local musicians into April, including at the Santa Barbara County Vintners Festival. When he's not touring, Lawless enjoys playing with local bands or individual musicians.

'On the horizon'
During the first week of March, U2 performed on the Late Show with David Letterman five times in one week and once on Good Morning America in support of No Line on the Horizon. Released in February, the album is the band's 12th. Lawless performs on the lead single "Get on Your Boots" and other songs.

Late Show appearances are "always a great time," the keyboardist said. ...

From his back yard studio, Lawless writes music for radio and TV commercials, and movies. He also produces music for others using a soundproof, live recording room and state-of-the-art computer recording and sound equipment. In his career, Lawless has worked with some of the most well-known artists and bands in the world. The long list includes Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Cher, Phil Collins, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Don Henley, David Bowie, the Doobie Brother and Hanson.

Lawless can play all wind instruments, keyboards and guitar, and is a master at the Hammond organ -- a staple of rhythm and blues music.

Lawless said he is blessed with exceptional ears and the ability to transcribe music, such as chord changes, to paper in one take.

"I have golden, world-class ears," he said.

Jim Heintz, founder and lead developer for software company Way Out Ware of Pismo Beach, said Lawless is a keyboard legend and a "go-to guy" in the music business.

During a U2 concert, Lawless draws upon his 30-year background to run extra sound effects that are used to make the live music sound exactly like what is on the album. With the rise of digital music and the proliferation of free file-sharing Web sites, the importance of live shows is more important than ever, he said.


Lawless also works on writing music with David Rackley, a local music teacher, in his back yard studio. The walls of the 750-square-foot studio are decorated with sheet music and photos -- each with a story. Some of the photos are from his travels around the world with U2, including one that shows a donkey in Fes, Morocco, strapped with crates of Coca-Cola bottles on its sides that he described as a "delivery truck."

Offline aarong

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Re: "Band beneath the stage"
« Reply #47 on: January 11, 2011, 02:26:12 AM »
The keyboard tracks for the intros of the lieks of Bad and Streets are pre recorded sequences, and the likes of Dallas standing od stage tunbing a guitar is not to be mixed up with an "additional musician playing". I was in wth Derik Nealson with my dad getting a repair job on a few basses we have at home. Derik does all the repair work on the guitars and basses basically from the start, and he explained to us that Dallas often times suring the live gigs does edges pedal work if edge wonders off the main stage (as he does) and that there are often switch pedals to change/start/finish most pre-recorded sounds - e.g. into to Mysterous Ways. We were told that apart from Dallas doing Edges pedals for him if Edge physically cant get to the pedals, if there's additional musicians required, they'd be on stage with U2. Everything else is pre-recorded.


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Re: "Band beneath the stage"
« Reply #48 on: January 11, 2011, 06:47:39 AM »
I think hiring Lawless is a strange choice. Having a name session player off-stage, triggering sequences and sounds that probably any tech  could do (and these people are usually very accomplished players themselves), and playing the minimal stuff that could be played by any decent keyboard player who doesn't need to be mentioned is overkill to me.
On the other hand they have a highly sophisticated and precise clockwork like workflow with the instrument techs who are there every second of the show, triggering effects and knowing the tunes inside out, who are invisible and unknown to most crowd members.

I guess with todays technology it would be very feasible to play mostly precise renditions of album tracks (not that it's a thing I want) with one or two people off stage, including programming Edge's guitar effects. Small bands do this, U2 tribute bands do this (prerecorded backing tracks with surprisingly good results)
This tribute band has recently split, but check out how close they get to the originals (minus voice) with a minimal setup:

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Offline K2

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Re: "Band beneath the stage"
« Reply #49 on: January 12, 2011, 10:43:12 AM »
I don't know if there is an occasional guitar player under the stage, but I doubt it is much of an issue. The band beneath the stage is freely acknowledged as being "TerryWorld" - Terry Lawless.

I loved it when Bono called out "Terry the Underworld!" on Unknown Caller. The camera appeared to sink through the stage revealing Terry and then zooming in on his hands. I saw this happen in Norman OK, and it's on the Rose Bowl DVD.

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Offline JTBaby

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Re: "Band beneath the stage"
« Reply #50 on: January 14, 2011, 07:20:47 PM »
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Just listening to the podcast All Songs Considered (NPR), wrap up show of South by Southwest. 

While discussing performances enhanced by prerecorded music, Carrie Brownstein made the assertion that U2 had a whole band under the stage and she preferred prerecorded extra music to this.

I know that U2 have used a least a keyboardist and may have, many years passed, may have used more than that, and that they also use triggered loops.  But is she correct, do they really have a 'another band beneath the stage"?

All recent DVD's have credits for one Additional Musician, Terry Lawless (You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login). I do not think other people are involved, as TL is also a MIDI programmer, so he can actually play multiple parts at the same time.
I've never really understood why they do not put Terry on stage, as it is common for bands to have additional personel live.

Hmm... Why would they do that?

Respect ?


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Re: "Band beneath the stage"
« Reply #51 on: January 15, 2011, 09:28:53 AM »
Well they only occasionally introduced the other crew members in concert (was that respectlessness or generosity?), and Lawless is a hired gun, just like the others, although he is a more well known musician.
As I wrote I find it hard to understand why they needed someone with a name in the business, who is not needed playing virtuoso solos and complicated accompaniment to songs. If that was the case, I'd be happy to see a pro player doing his best...
Computers could quite possibly controll the backing tracks today... I don't mind them hiring TL, but it seems like overkill.

U2 as technically mediocre musicians, were dependent on their strength as the 4 man band doing what only they can, so admitting to having other musicians (not just backing tracks) off-stage seems like a questionable move.
I'm not against having musicians even on stage, if they serve a purpose not manageable by the regular crew/computers.

Offline goldtoad

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Re: "Band beneath the stage"
« Reply #52 on: January 15, 2011, 09:46:18 AM »
I always wondered who was playing the keyboard parts... Thanks to those who posted the info on Terry Lawless. 
There is nothing wrong with this, however they should thank Terry and Dallas at each show.