@U2 Forum

U2 => Tours => Topic started by: benhur1999 on October 29, 2009, 11:44:42 PM

Title: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: benhur1999 on October 29, 2009, 11:44:42 PM
An open letter to U2.

Here's the deal.

You've been doing this for a while & you are very good at what you do.
I've been to a number of your concerts and love them.
Now I assume that you are aware of the numerous requests for you to vary your set.
And I respect your creative decision, up until now, to take a different approach.

I realise that since ZooTV, your shows have been more like broadway shows. With planned 'movements' and themes.
BUT and here's the rub.

If the U2 Live show wants to remain a hot ticket for the next 10 years.
Things have to change. Why?
Because the world has changed.

Zoo TV, Popmart & Elevation, 95% of people who went to a U2 concert had to wait until the DVD of the tour came out if they were to get an another perspective on the tour.

Now, more and more people will know your exact moves before they arrive.
If this is the case. I reckon the next world tour you do will end up being your last. 

Why? No element of surprise.
Now let's face it. You have done everything you can to surprise us with the staging of this tour. It is incredibly ambitious. But where do you go from here?
Back to Arenas? nup, you did that with elevation. Worked well then. Predictable now. You could try to go bigger. But really it will start to get ridiculous.


So, to maintain interest. You need a new approach.

I know it may be very difficult for you as a band.
But what you need to do is SACK Willie Williams.

Williams is a genius. Don't get me wrong.
But once you have Williams and a whole team of creative directors.
The creativity of U2 is no longer necessary.

You don't feel you have to be creative.
So what happens?
You get lazy.
Or you work really really hard on your set-pieces.
And you pull off a brilliant show that can be taken around the world.
But with Youtube, instant access, more and more people who buy tickets to U2, will take a peek at what the tour is like.
And when the rest of the world see you are doing the same thing, night after night.
You're game is up.

But here's my prediction:

if this is not U2's last world tour,
 U2360 will be the last world tour U2 will be able to 'get away with' a set-piece-show, and still draw the crowds. It will mark the end of a 19 year tradition for the band.

If they keep doing a set-standardized-show, they will be in a Vegas equivalent contract very, very soon.


1989 you went away and 'dreamed it all up again'. You reinvented your songs, your music your approach to life, you made a brilliant stage show. And you have reinvented your music a number of times since then.

BUT

You now (for the first time in your career - a bit risky I know!) reinvent your approach to playing together live.

You need to spend a year NOT recording an album.
But playing your entire back catalogue, together as a band.
Learn to be bit impromptu as a band,
Learn to be able to scribble a setlist out in the dressing room.

Be the first band that can fill stadiums AND be different every night without relying on a Willie Williams magician.


learn to be able to pull off any song (within Bono's vocal range) at the drop of a hat.
It will be hard.
But it will be worth it.

U2 shows will once again have a buzz about them.
They will no longer be known for themed sections of the show, but for the uniqueness of each individual show.

Now, you say, this only appeals to the hard core fans.

Perhaps. But don't under value your hard-core fans, they are the only people you can guarentee (for the time being) will actually turn up to your concerts.

If you lose your fan-base, you've lost your tour.

U2 are not beyond their ability to generate a buzz, create mystique and fill stadiums.

But they have to work really hard on lifting their live game.

If the adrenalin is pumping because they are about to play Last Night on Earth and straight into Heartland, followed by a sped-up version of Pride. That won't be too bad will it.



They need to get the fans to do the promo for them.

You have so many fans, that they can mobilise for PR.
If the set-list is changing every night, there will be a buzz, because fans will want to chat again.
And when millions of global U2 fans chat.
U2 comes back.
Mystique is regained.
The world is a better place.


Come on U2.
Stop songwriting and start playing properly.
Don't outsource your creativity.
Come on U2. Do it.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: hurricane hugo on October 30, 2009, 12:45:54 AM
I'm really tempted to give this the derisive answer it deserves, but I'll say this instead: North American fans got to see large segments of the European dates. Didn't seem to slow down the sales a bit. They smashed damn near every existing attendance record and sold millions of tickets. Enormous media interest followed.
...and you say there's no "buzz"? I say you've got a good one going. Bottoms up!

#@!
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: So Cruel on October 30, 2009, 01:23:59 AM
Dear Benhur,

We've been at this for 30 years and have just played one of this biggest tours in the history of mankind. We do have a bit of a clue about what we are doing.

Sincerely,

Bono, Edge, Adam, & Larry
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: The Exile on October 30, 2009, 01:43:29 AM
Clap...

Clap....

Clap, clap...

Clap, clap, clap...

Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap...

CLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAP!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: markreed on October 30, 2009, 03:50:02 AM
worst haiku ever
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: markreed on October 30, 2009, 05:03:11 AM
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An open letter to U2.

Here's the deal.

You've been doing this for a while & you are very good at what you do.
I've been to a number of your concerts and love them.
Now I assume that you are aware of the numerous requests for you to vary your set.
And I respect your creative decision, up until now, to take a different approach.

I realise that since ZooTV, your shows have been more like broadway shows. With planned 'movements' and themes.
BUT and here's the rub.

If the U2 Live show wants to remain a hot ticket for the next 10 years.
Things have to change. Why?
Because the world has changed.

Zoo TV, Popmart & Elevation, 95% of people who went to a U2 concert had to wait until the DVD of the tour came out if they were to get an another perspective on the tour.

Now, more and more people will know your exact moves before they arrive.
If this is the case. I reckon the next world tour you do will end up being your last. 

Why? No element of surprise.
Now let's face it. You have done everything you can to surprise us with the staging of this tour. It is incredibly ambitious. But where do you go from here?
Back to Arenas? nup, you did that with elevation. Worked well then. Predictable now. You could try to go bigger. But really it will start to get ridiculous.


So, to maintain interest. You need a new approach.

I know it may be very difficult for you as a band.
But what you need to do is SACK Willie Williams.

Williams is a genius. Don't get me wrong.
But once you have Williams and a whole team of creative directors.
The creativity of U2 is no longer necessary.

You don't feel you have to be creative.
So what happens?
You get lazy.
Or you work really really hard on your set-pieces.
And you pull off a brilliant show that can be taken around the world.
But with Youtube, instant access, more and more people who buy tickets to U2, will take a peek at what the tour is like.
And when the rest of the world see you are doing the same thing, night after night.
You're game is up.

But here's my prediction:

if this is not U2's last world tour,
 U2360 will be the last world tour U2 will be able to 'get away with' a set-piece-show, and still draw the crowds. It will mark the end of a 19 year tradition for the band.

If they keep doing a set-standardized-show, they will be in a Vegas equivalent contract very, very soon.


1989 you went away and 'dreamed it all up again'. You reinvented your songs, your music your approach to life, you made a brilliant stage show. And you have reinvented your music a number of times since then.

BUT

You now (for the first time in your career - a bit risky I know!) reinvent your approach to playing together live.

You need to spend a year NOT recording an album.
But playing your entire back catalogue, together as a band.
Learn to be bit impromptu as a band,
Learn to be able to scribble a setlist out in the dressing room.

Be the first band that can fill stadiums AND be different every night without relying on a Willie Williams magician.


learn to be able to pull off any song (within Bono's vocal range) at the drop of a hat.
It will be hard.
But it will be worth it.

U2 shows will once again have a buzz about them.
They will no longer be known for themed sections of the show, but for the uniqueness of each individual show.

Now, you say, this only appeals to the hard core fans.

Perhaps. But don't under value your hard-core fans, they are the only people you can guarentee (for the time being) will actually turn up to your concerts.

If you lose your fan-base, you've lost your tour.

U2 are not beyond their ability to generate a buzz, create mystique and fill stadiums.

But they have to work really hard on lifting their live game.

If the adrenalin is pumping because they are about to play Last Night on Earth and straight into Heartland, followed by a sped-up version of Pride. That won't be too bad will it.



They need to get the fans to do the promo for them.

You have so many fans, that they can mobilise for PR.
If the set-list is changing every night, there will be a buzz, because fans will want to chat again.
And when millions of global U2 fans chat.
U2 comes back.
Mystique is regained.
The world is a better place.


Come on U2.
Stop songwriting and start playing properly.
Don't outsource your creativity.
Come on U2. Do it.


Actually, the more I read the more I realise that this is complete nonsense. U2 shows have been chereographed since 1979 when they first wrote a setlist, and Bono first started playing "The Fool".

No need to sack Willie. I've seen more than enough shows to know that Willie is one of the most talented lighting designers there is. If you doubt it, his work on REM's tours in 98/99, 2003, and so on is further proof.

If you want the element of surprise, well, U2 are performing songs on this tour that they haven't played since 1990, if ever. This no 'game' to be up. No fooling, no attempt to use smoke and mirrors. It's a show, a fine, damn good, show, that U2 work very hard to keep creative and also expend a lot of energy running.

People are bitching about how U2 aren't playing enough of the hits now...  they'd be bored stiff during Last Night On Earth / Heartland. If you really want a target pick Roger Waters : same set, exactly the same set in the same order, same visuals, everything, 110 nights in a row.

Your problem isn't U2, it's YouTube.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: whitewave on October 30, 2009, 06:10:26 AM
I'm not going to address the letter directly.  Just a different perspective of it.  Being a long time fan and having been to all of the concerts since AB,minus this one, I have noticed a difference with this tour. Even though it is a bigger tour in size of venues I get the feeling the actual 'buzz', as you put it is down.  I wish Matt could pull up the figures on the activity on this forum from the time frames of the past 2 tours vs this one. To me it feels lighter than recent years-- but have no stats to back that feeling up.  As far as the comment on Willie Wms--do you happen to be missing a few marbles? Bad enough Corbin hasn't been too involved with this production.  I personnally prefer the more stripped down tours of recent years than the Popmart type scenarios and do hope that when they go and reinvent themselves again they do not feel they need to Supersize/McDonaldize their productions again.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: miami on October 30, 2009, 08:14:35 AM
i agree with op's part about u2 needing to practise for about a year on most of their back catalogue so that they can improvise a set-list at the top of a hat. i know they're not fantastic musicians, but they wrote the songs for god's sake! it would make concerts more enjoyable for the fans AND for the band members themselves.

they have a 30 year back catalogue, i think it's time to mix it up a bit!!
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: 1985 on October 30, 2009, 08:41:14 AM
If you could use super powers to get your open letter into the hands of all 80-100,000 people at one of these shows, how many people do you think would sign it? How many people would trade Elevation for Last Night on Earth? I Still Haven't Found for Heartland? Great camera, video and light production for minimal production? Well-rehearsed songs for raggedy? Do you think you'd get even a thousand signatures? 1%? 2%? Would the band find that persuasive? Should they?

Here's what you could get some signatures for: Replacing Unknown Caller with Bad every night. Replacing Boots with I Will Follow. Replacing No Line with Pride. Replacing Breath with Desire. Replacing MOS with 40. In other words, my bet is that the overwhelming majority would actually prefer that U2 embrace its inner Rolling Stones. They'd want more familiarity, not less. That's why I give the band enormous credit for challenging its audiences with seven new songs nearly every night (even when the audience has zero recognition), Your Blue Room, Ultraviolet (nearly extinguished), and Unforgettable Fire (nearly forgotten).

The 1-2% can wait for the full-immersion, in the round, U2 3-D virtual reality show...coming to a basement near you. It'll be a blast. Just you and your virtual pet.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Dream Out Loud on October 30, 2009, 09:13:24 AM
what I wouldn't give for U2 to play as many new songs as they want, play the few usual classics (Streets, One), and then have the ability to really shake it up:

Night 1:  Desire, Angel of Harlem, Stay and Unforgettable Fire make it into the set.
Night 2:  Wire, Drowning Man, Red Hill Mining Town and The Fly make it into the set.
Night 3:  Electric Co., 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses and Electrical Storm make it into the set
Night 4:  A Sort of Homecoming, Acrobat, Kite, and Your Blue Room make it into the set
Night 5:  One Tree Hill, Like a Song, A Celebration, and Red Hill Mining Town make it into the set.

They don't lose the themes.  They don't lose the new music.  They don't lose the classics.  If the set is 23 songs, that's 5 or 6 from the new album, 12 "classics" they can keep and then 4 to really shake it up.  how wouldn't that satisfy EVERYONE?  i get that U2 thinks that they want to give everyone a great experience because this may be their only show of the tour.  But honestly, does that person NEED to hear Stuck and Stay and Your Blue Room and Elevation?  I love all those songs.  And I'd be happy to hear all 4 of those.  But you could swap those 4 for any of those 5 options above and I'd be equally happy.  and i'm sure most fans would as well. 

i think it's safe to say that u2 isn't able to play most of those above songs without some massive practice.  Enter obligatory Springsteen comparison here.

Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Achtung40Life on October 30, 2009, 09:19:57 AM
Bruce Springsteen doesn't play Thunder Road on a daily basis, hell, he barely plays any of his greatest hits and no one really seems to be greatly offended. Yeah, you walk away from the concert saying 'man I wished he played [this], or I wish he play [that].' But all in all, if the Boss still puts on a show with his all of his heart heart, it really doesn't matter what he plays. It's the energy, it's the feeling his songs give off. People need to stop acting like U2 are Gods and that us fans shouldn't share our opinions on what would be better off for them. U2 is flawed, plain and simple. I was in GA at Chicago 1, my first U2 concert ever, and there were literally moments during the show where I thought to myself 'this is boring, when is it going to end.' There's obviously a problem when I see my favorite band as a teenager for the first time and I'm waiting for it to end! The problem- The Sheffield broadcast was the SAME EXACT CONCERT, besides Bad. That is a major flaw in their live act, and being 4 intelligent gentlemen, it's not like remembering how to play 10-15 more  songs each leg will kill them. These are the guys that made Achtung Baby for Christ's sake, and you're telling me they are incapable of adding A Sort of Homecoming, Stories For Boys, Drowning Man, Heartland, Luminous Times, Wild Horses, Lemon, and If God Will Send His Angels. I understand U2 has never been a spontaneous live act, but there's no reason they can't change. Right now, next leg. I would, along with every U2 fan (whether they admit it or not), be greatly disappointed if the 3rd leg shares any resemblance to the first 2. They're my favorite band, but man oh man, we treat them like little kids sometimes.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Dream Out Loud on October 30, 2009, 10:09:38 AM
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Bruce Springsteen doesn't play Thunder Road on a daily basis, hell, he barely plays any of his greatest hits and no one really seems to be greatly offended. Yeah, you walk away from the concert saying 'man I wished he played [this], or I wish he play [that].' But all in all, if the Boss still puts on a show with his all of his heart heart, it really doesn't matter what he plays. It's the energy, it's the feeling his songs give off. People need to stop acting like U2 are Gods and that us fans shouldn't share our opinions on what would be better off for them. U2 is flawed, plain and simple. I was in GA at Chicago 1, my first U2 concert ever, and there were literally moments during the show where I thought to myself 'this is boring, when is it going to end.' There's obviously a problem when I see my favorite band as a teenager for the first time and I'm waiting for it to end! The problem- The Sheffield broadcast was the SAME EXACT CONCERT, besides Bad. That is a major flaw in their live act, and being 4 intelligent gentlemen, it's not like remembering how to play 10-15 more  songs each leg will kill them. These are the guys that made Achtung Baby for Christ's sake, and you're telling me they are incapable of adding A Sort of Homecoming, Stories For Boys, Drowning Man, Heartland, Luminous Times, Wild Horses, Lemon, and If God Will Send His Angels. I understand U2 has never been a spontaneous live act, but there's no reason they can't change. Right now, next leg. I would, along with every U2 fan (whether they admit it or not), be greatly disappointed if the 3rd leg shares any resemblance to the first 2. They're my favorite band, but man oh man, we treat them like little kids sometimes.

I agree with most of what you said but not all.  (i certainly was never bored at the 2 shows i went to.)  Re: Springsteen...he does play Born to Run every show...that's his Where the Streets Have No Name.    What Bruce doesn't really do that U2 does is that he doesn't play much in the way of new music.  He will play a couple of things from the new album, and a couple of songs from The Rising, but everything else is basically BITUSA and before.  and even then only a couple from BITUSA.  The vast majority of his shows are more than 25 year old songs.  Where he "wins" is that he will play ANYTHING from those 1973-1985 albums...literally anything.  So, imagine U2 not really playing much after Achtung Baby except for Beautiful Day, Elevation and Vertigo.  but then imagine them playing every song from Boy through Achtung Baby over the span of a couple of tours.  That's Springsteen, for better or worse.

my suggestion in the earlier post is that there is a happy middle ground.  U2 does not have to abandon the classics, the new songs, or the themes.  and they can STILL generate spontaneity, originality, and surprise.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Nlee on October 30, 2009, 10:31:49 AM
Bear in mind U2 are limited in spontaneity by the scope of their production. If Bono walks over to Larry halfway through the show and says, "c'mon start us up with I Threw A Brick, I'm feelin' it!" it's not really going to work.
The front of house engineer has a premixed preset for every song in the planned set, so it would throw him off balance
The click track the band listens to in their in-ears won't be set for the tempo of I Threw A Brick
The video screen won't be programmed for the song
Edge won't have his guitar of choice / effects for the song unless Mr. Schoo is really on the ball
Bono won't remember the lyrics

None of these would really stop them from playing it, but this is U2, and they are perfectionists to the extreme. I don't see them attempting a song without all their pre planned whizbangs to go along with it.

-Nick
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Vervefloyd on October 30, 2009, 12:25:46 PM
U2 is in now way limited to a static set list based on the overall production of the show.  Those limitations are imposed by the band themselves.  Landing a man on the moon is harder than expecting a light crew to know more than 30 songs yet that has been done.  My overall problem with U2 is this:  staying fresh and relevant does not mean playing 7 songs of a new album like many people say.  the only night of the show where that approach is fresh is night one.  It's U2's complete ignoring of their back catalog night after night.  These are songs they spent years writing (literally) and for the most part they don't exist after their album's tour.  sure they bring a couple rarities each tour, but after night one they are old hat.  there are no holy $%#@ moments at a U2 like Springsteen's Price You Pay opener in Phily the other night.  It's quite obvious to me that U2 does little or not work once the tour starts.  Instead of soundchecking something on the set list why not mess around with more songs.  sure they soundchecked mofo, but what told them no we can't play that.  would we fans be offended if mofo appeared in the set.  or the crappy excuse that drowning man doesnt fit in because of its emotion.  it amazing such an emotional song like that can never make a set list.

edge said everything was fair game.  am i wrong to assume that after listening to their back catalog U2 came to the conclusion that the songs are dated and don't work anymore?  bullet worked for so many years cause U2 re-did it tour after tour and made it sound brand new.  it just stuns me that bands, and not just U2, can spend time writing a song, playing it on it's tour and then never even trying it again.  would wire have been bad on the JT tour, hell no.  it was great to hear those boy songs on the last tour, why not try that with the october album.  U2 has earned the right to do what they want.  they sure have.  but they are also at a point in their career where they should not care whether people go to the bathroom during a song and realize that they need to play for themselves a little and that they alone make a song work.  i have seen U2 18 times and then nights they played best were always the nights where the crowd was a little weaker.  the best performance i have ever seen by the band was Please in 1997 at franklin field in philadelphia.  the entire floor near me was sitting in their seats near me and the band tour the damn song up.  it become my favorite song of theirs after that night.  i feel the reckless abandon is lost form the band and i believe the only way to get that back is to start playing different songs and teetering on the edge of a mistake.

over-rehearsing is great for a student trying to ace a test.  doctors needs to be over-rehearsed cause its life or death.  music is something that should be under-rehearsed cause thats when the rawness and true energy comes through.

Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: p8ru2 on October 30, 2009, 12:40:54 PM
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Dear Benhur,

We've been at this for 30 years and have just played one of this biggest tours in the history of mankind. We do have a bit of a clue about what we are doing.

Sincerely,

Bono, Edge, Adam, & Larry

 ;D ;D ;D  Nothing more need to be said. 
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: boom boom on October 30, 2009, 01:21:26 PM
The Stones do the same and I saw the Police reunion tour 3 time with exact same setlist.  At least U2 have the guts to play the new material whether it is selling well or not.  That is the diffference and I for one look forward to hearing new songs palyed live.  I wish they added more, at least Stand Up Comedy and Fez would have been great.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: RunningtoStandstill (The League of Extraordinary BonoPeople) on October 30, 2009, 01:50:22 PM
true, U2 does seem to be doing pretty non-improvisational set lists, and yes it is a bit predictable, especially with youtube and such...however, with regards to old songs, keep in mind that U2 has always had the mindset of the future.  fans may love songs like A Celebration or Heartland, but U2 has said many times that they don't LIKE many of their older songs! that's why they don't play them! you can't, as a musician, play something you never really felt 100% happy with to begin with.  now, they should be changing up the set list more often to provide less of a static show...more audience interaction would be great too.  but i think after this tour, which made such spontaneity a little tricky, they'll get back to mixing it up more.  we just have to be patient.  above all, the band needs to be happy with their show.  if they're not happy, we won't be happy.  and lets face it, U2 does NOT but on a bad show.  this just wasn't their BEST show yet.  feel free to agree or disagree.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: jrnyc on October 30, 2009, 01:57:52 PM
I agree , the set list is below average and this is coming from someone who likes the new album. They need to mix it up more, some of the older songs are old and tired. The pace of the show is really bad also.

Pearl Jam just played two nights in Philadelphia, they played 30+ songs each night with only two repeats !!! If PJ can do this, why in the world cant U2 mix it up more ???? PJ fans are fanatical, this is one huge reason why. You keep following the band because you never know what will be played next. I went to my 2 U2 shows this tour, see the same exact set list night after night and stop following the band.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: rook34 on October 30, 2009, 03:08:37 PM
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I agree , the set list is below average and this is coming from someone who likes the new album. They need to mix it up more, some of the older songs are old and tired. The pace of the show is really bad also.

Pearl Jam just played two nights in Philadelphia, they played 30+ songs each night with only two repeats !!! If PJ can do this, why in the world cant U2 mix it up more ???? PJ fans are fanatical, this is one huge reason why. You keep following the band because you never know what will be played next. I went to my 2 U2 shows this tour, see the same exact set list night after night and stop following the band.

Pearl Jam doesn't have a million lighting cues, a massive stage, or the general production level that a U2 show does, either.  Pearl Jam's a concert.  U2's a show.  Big difference.

And I've seen PJ several times and loved it.  But you're comparing apples and oranges.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: jrnyc on October 30, 2009, 03:17:43 PM
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I agree , the set list is below average and this is coming from someone who likes the new album. They need to mix it up more, some of the older songs are old and tired. The pace of the show is really bad also.

Pearl Jam just played two nights in Philadelphia, they played 30+ songs each night with only two repeats !!! If PJ can do this, why in the world cant U2 mix it up more ???? PJ fans are fanatical, this is one huge reason why. You keep following the band because you never know what will be played next. I went to my 2 U2 shows this tour, see the same exact set list night after night and stop following the band.

Pearl Jam doesn't have a million lighting cues, a massive stage, or the general production level that a U2 show does, either.  Pearl Jam's a concert.  U2's a show.  Big difference.

And I've seen PJ several times and loved it.  But you're comparing apples and oranges.

Pearl Jam has 2 guitarists, sometimes 3 when EV plays and one bass player. They change guitars almost every song, just figuring out and organizing the guitars from night to night has to be a process. If PJ can do this, U2 cant handle changing lighting for some songs ? Also, its not like PJ doesnt have lighting , not as elaborate as U2, but they certainly have different lighting for different songs.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Joe G (Love You Like Mad Magazine) on October 30, 2009, 03:29:57 PM
And if PJ didnt play "Betterman" or "Release" or "Do the Evolution" or "Wishlist" or "Indifference" at the one show that I was at then I would complain that their set was changing too much. OR, I would be happy I got to see them live.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: rook34 on October 30, 2009, 03:33:40 PM
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And if PJ didnt play "Betterman" or "Release" or "Do the Evolution" or "Wishlist" or "Indifference" at the one show that I was at then I would complain that their set was changing too much. OR, I would be happy I got to see them live.

Exactly.  Pearl Jam made the conscious decision to cater their sets to their hard-core following.

U2 long ago made the choice to be the Manchester United of Rock N' Roll, which means that the experience is close to the same in each city.

Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: boom boom on October 30, 2009, 03:38:24 PM
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I agree , the set list is below average and this is coming from someone who likes the new album. They need to mix it up more, some of the older songs are old and tired. The pace of the show is really bad also.

Pearl Jam just played two nights in Philadelphia, they played 30+ songs each night with only two repeats !!! If PJ can do this, why in the world cant U2 mix it up more ???? PJ fans are fanatical, this is one huge reason why. You keep following the band because you never know what will be played next. I went to my 2 U2 shows this tour, see the same exact set list night after night and stop following the band.

It's all about knowing who are your fans.  Pearl Jam basically has one set of fans which are the die hards and thus can vary setlists as they are playing to a limited fan base who know all their songs.  U2 have the die hards and casual fans and they know this and if they want to play stadiums they know that they have to sing certain songs to please the masses and to sell tickets.  The casual fan won't be pleased if U2 sang say, I threw a brick... , A day without me, Fire(from October), twilight, Wire during the same set.  I think most people would be walking out the door (I would love it however) but it won't happen.  And in the case with U2, I think the casual fans out number the hardcore, die hard fans.  So you guess who they are going to cater to.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: benhur1999 on October 30, 2009, 04:15:16 PM
Thought I'd dip back in again.

People seem to be arguing now based on 'that's just who U2 are', PJ are this, U2 are this. Apples/Oranges etc...
Thing is that it is only in the last 10 years that U2 have started becoming comfortable with the phrase 'that's just who we are'.
Beautiful Day Bono to Edge "it's too U2" --> Edge to Bono "we are U2". Now BD great song. Glad they wrote it.
But the whole 'this is who U2 are', this is what we do, is a fairly recent mindset from both fans and the band. It used to be 'we are U2' there is no line on the horizon.
So when people say it will be difficult for U2 to change set, night after night, because of lighting, pre-set mixes etc... That's the point! There's the problem!
They have defined for themselves a way of doing the live show, that is now incredibly inflexible. 
And until they 'sack' Willie Williams (a metaphor for those who missed it), and change their mindset for live performances.
Now in reply to Bono, Edge, Larry & Adam who so graciously wrote a note in response.
I realise you've been in the business for 30 years. And you have been doing it for a while and you know what you're doing.
BUT that's what this guy said, who still today fills stadiums and 'really knows what he is doing'.
But he fills stadiums of people who also know that he is well and truly passed it.
They go to reminisce. Remember their youth. 
1970s:
http://blogs.pitch.com/wayward/elton-john.jpg (http://blogs.pitch.com/wayward/elton-john.jpg)
NOW:
http://moneygrubbinglawyer.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/ej-004.jpg (http://moneygrubbinglawyer.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/ej-004.jpg)

Please don't mishear me. I'm not for an obscure set of songs they can't play any more. But mixing it up a bit.

What were the regulars on previous tours that have been dumped?

Vertigo tour:
Yahweh
Love and Peace
All Because of You
Miracle Drug??

Elevation:

Kite
New York
Stuck in a moment (band)

Popmart:

Discotheque
Staring at the Sun
Gone
Last Night on earth
Mofo
Please
Velvet Dress
Wake Up Dead Man


Now that's 15 songs that worked live, and that's only the last three albums. They could do more. I'm not talking obscurities (although that would be nice).
Now all these songs were well rehearsed at the time, and for the most part, worked really well live. Sure they shouldn't be in the set every night, but that's the point. Work up a selection of songs that you know you can pull off live. And then rotate them every night. 

there is no reason why they can't add a rotating selection of say 5-6 of these song. So on any night you have 5-10 hits, 5 off new album and 5 - 6 random songs, and they all work live.




Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: jrnyc on October 30, 2009, 06:37:50 PM
I am not suggesting U2 play songs no one knows, they have a deep enough catalog of songs and hits that they can easily mix it up a bit.

Why in the world do they need to play the same encore every night ???? Last tour they mixed it up, for God sakes they played Vertigo twice in one night, that was awesome !
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: nolinehere on October 30, 2009, 06:43:18 PM
anyone who's followed U2 for any length of time knows not to expect pearl jam type setlist shakeup, they're just not good enough musicians to do that, it's never been their way.

i'd be more concerned about bono's voice, it's gotten terrible and he doesn't take care of it

Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Dream Out Loud on October 30, 2009, 06:49:21 PM
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there is no reason why they can't add a rotating selection of say 5-6 of these song. So on any night you have 5-10 hits, 5 off new album and 5 - 6 random songs, and they all work live.


you are in my head.  scary.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Vervefloyd on October 30, 2009, 08:01:53 PM
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anyone who's followed U2 for any length of time knows not to expect pearl jam type setlist shakeup, they're just not good enough musicians to do that, it's never been their way.

i'd be more concerned about bono's voice, it's gotten terrible and he doesn't take care of it



U2 made it quite clear on the boy tour that they only trust certain stuff when they hit the road, why else would they play IWF, The Ocean and 11 O'Clock Tick Tock twice in a short set.  U2 has and always will only play to their strengths and unfortunately this has made them not progress as musicians.  I think it would benefit U2's future studio albums for them to take say 65-70 songs on the road and rotate them.  they would have to trust each other more as musicians and get back to the core of what music is all about.  These sets they are currently playing they can play in their sleep and sadly it shows in certain segments each night. 
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Dream Out Loud on October 31, 2009, 06:24:43 AM
there are only a handful of songs that they have never played live. even if we were to reluctantly admit that we'll never hear Acrobat, Red Hill Mining Town, etc., there are still many many many songs that they have previously played live that the just don't play anymore.  i could come up with a list of 4 songs every night for the "variety" portion of the show and it will include only songs that they have played live before.

if they did it once and they did it twice a long time ago, surely they can do it again.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: theocean on October 31, 2009, 06:38:54 AM
They know what they are doing. They even know when they prob will retire. But for now they
do it this way. I think playing the entire catalog would speed up the process of retirement sooner,
they arent ready to use up all the live old stuff yet.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: briscoetheque on October 31, 2009, 02:21:13 PM
Yeah they play to the 98% of fans in the stadium that are seeing 1 show on tour. Not the 2% who are seeing 412 shows.

The problem can be though that the 2% are the ones who post on sites like this, who queue for hours to get up the front, get in the inner circle, and are then flat if U2 don't play Street Mission.

I was one of those fans until I saw the show for the first time. Then I realised it doesn't matter what the hell they play... I was there to enjoy myself. Even found myself singing along to Stuck in a Moment. Gahhhhh
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Nielsen on October 31, 2009, 02:23:31 PM
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Yeah they play to the 98% of fans in the stadium that are seeing 1 show on tour. Not the 2% who are seeing 412 shows.

The problem can be though that the 2% are the ones who post on sites like this, who queue for hours to get up the front, get in the inner circle, and are then flat if U2 don't play Street Mission.

I was one of those fans until I saw the show for the first time. Then I realised it doesn't matter what the hell they play... I was there to enjoy myself. Even found myself singing along to Stuck in a Moment. Gahhhhh

That must have been a really ironic twist of fate Brisco :D
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Boom Cha! on October 31, 2009, 02:33:38 PM
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Yeah they play to the 98% of fans in the stadium that are seeing 1 show on tour. Not the 2% who are seeing 412 shows.

The problem can be though that the 2% are the ones who post on sites like this, who queue for hours to get up the front, get in the inner circle, and are then flat if U2 don't play Street Mission.

Pfff....screw Street Mission. I want Cartoon World.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: briscoetheque on October 31, 2009, 02:48:20 PM
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Yeah they play to the 98% of fans in the stadium that are seeing 1 show on tour. Not the 2% who are seeing 412 shows.

The problem can be though that the 2% are the ones who post on sites like this, who queue for hours to get up the front, get in the inner circle, and are then flat if U2 don't play Street Mission.

I was one of those fans until I saw the show for the first time. Then I realised it doesn't matter what the hell they play... I was there to enjoy myself. Even found myself singing along to Stuck in a Moment. Gahhhhh

That must have been a really ironic twist of fate Brisco :D

When redheads line up in the desert for 6 hours, strange things happen...

Briscoe  :P
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Joe G (Love You Like Mad Magazine) on October 31, 2009, 03:03:20 PM
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Yeah they play to the 98% of fans in the stadium that are seeing 1 show on tour. Not the 2% who are seeing 412 shows.

The problem can be though that the 2% are the ones who post on sites like this, who queue for hours to get up the front, get in the inner circle, and are then flat if U2 don't play Street Mission.

Pfff....screw Street Mission. I want Cartoon World.

I want a snippet medley of Southern Man/Whole Lotta Love/Dancing Queen after Alex Descends into Hell for a Bottle of Milk.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: squiggles on November 01, 2009, 01:45:14 AM
Most of us on this forum are on the hardcore side of the spectrum, so I understand the desire to hear the band dig deeper into their catalogue. The problem here (if you actually feel it IS a problem), is that they have gotten so enormously popular and their catalogue has gotten SO large, you end up having many fans who are into only certain "eras" (as in pre-Joshua Tree, Post-Achtung, then the early 2000s and now the newer stuff) and couldn't care less about anything else. So I totally understand the pressure to please as many people who forked out dough to see the show as possible. And that unfortunately means, we won't be hearing more than a smattering of some of the lesser known (to much of the audience) than we'd like. This is the price of being a huge band, unfortunately, that needs to take care of its fanbase in its entirety.  U2 still pushes boundaries (as in the latest album) and challenges its fans, new and old alike. So I don't think these set lists are some kind of cop-out. To do what you're suggesting, they'd be catering to only the most hardcore of fans which, let's face it, certainly do not compromise most of the audience. They're trying to be smart. I'll think we'll get some surprises next leg.

As for Willie Williams, however immensely talented, he is not the wizard behind this curtain. It's U2. They are control freaks (not an insult) and even if he cooks up an idea, it's not going forward unless the band want it to. He's executing their vision.

At the end of the day, if we're not happy about knowing in advance what's gonna be played, let's keep our eyeballs OFF the set list spoilers and youtube! That's what I did and will continue to do.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Dream Out Loud on November 03, 2009, 09:10:00 AM
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Yeah they play to the 98% of fans in the stadium that are seeing 1 show on tour. Not the 2% who are seeing 412 shows.

The problem can be though that the 2% are the ones who post on sites like this, who queue for hours to get up the front, get in the inner circle, and are then flat if U2 don't play Street Mission.

I was one of those fans until I saw the show for the first time. Then I realised it doesn't matter what the hell they play... I was there to enjoy myself. Even found myself singing along to Stuck in a Moment. Gahhhhh

pshaw!  the same 98% who like the current setlist would be equally happy if instead of Stuck and In a Little While, they played Out of Control and Wire...or One Tree Hill and Van Diemen's Land...or I Fall Down and Summer Rain.  they care about the hits and maybe the new music.  they don't care about the other songs one way or the other.

by shaking it up like that, they aren't playing to 2% of the fans. they'd be playing to 100% of the fans.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: 1985 on November 03, 2009, 09:52:54 AM
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Yeah they play to the 98% of fans in the stadium that are seeing 1 show on tour. Not the 2% who are seeing 412 shows.

The problem can be though that the 2% are the ones who post on sites like this, who queue for hours to get up the front, get in the inner circle, and are then flat if U2 don't play Street Mission.

I was one of those fans until I saw the show for the first time. Then I realised it doesn't matter what the hell they play... I was there to enjoy myself. Even found myself singing along to Stuck in a Moment. Gahhhhh

pshaw!  the same 98% who like the current setlist would be equally happy if instead of Stuck and In a Little While, they played Out of Control and Wire...or One Tree Hill and Van Diemen's Land...or I Fall Down and Summer Rain.  they care about the hits and maybe the new music.  they don't care about the other songs one way or the other.

by shaking it up like that, they aren't playing to 2% of the fans. they'd be playing to 100% of the fans.

I don't agree entirely with this -- although maybe half-way. My wife is a prototype of the 98%. I'm intending to get her to her first show next summer, which she wants to do. But she can only take so much U2 at a time. It goes down MUCH easier when it's a certain type of U2...the melodic U2 (One Tree Hill would fit that designation, by the way). When she got her hands on the iPod in the car this weekend, and the four year old was demanding U2, she put on All I Want Is You, Angel of Harlem, Stuck in a Moment, In a Little While, etc. Wire is not really going to do for her. And I Fall Down holds a lot of nostalgic value, but they do really write objectively better songs now, right?

I think you can please the 98% while rotating the familiar, accessible songs. But I think this is pretty much what they've been doing -- NYD, Angel of Harlem, Stuck, In a Little While, Desire, and a few others have mostly been on rotation. They're showing courage every night they run out Unknown Caller and Your Blue Room, because they know that they've lost a big chunk of audience in order to tell the story they want to tell. And some of the standards, like Walk On and WOWY are in there every night because they are telling the central story of these concerts...the one that's in the heart of every show. See this week's Off the Record for what I think is an accurate take on this.

I guess in sum, given the lack of impact made by No Line commercially, the new songs occupy much of the space (tolerance from the masses) that would otherwise be used for more deep cuts. A third of the concert is totally unfamiliar to most attendees. Would it really be in the band's best interest to go higher than that? Or do they have a better understanding of their broader audience than we do?


Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: theuntedge on November 05, 2009, 06:06:16 PM
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Bear in mind U2 are limited in spontaneity by the scope of their production. If Bono walks over to Larry halfway through the show and says, "c'mon start us up with I Threw A Brick, I'm feelin' it!" it's not really going to work.
The front of house engineer has a premixed preset for every song in the planned set, so it would throw him off balance
The click track the band listens to in their in-ears won't be set for the tempo of I Threw A Brick
The video screen won't be programmed for the song
Edge won't have his guitar of choice / effects for the song unless Mr. Schoo is really on the ball
Bono won't remember the lyrics

None of these would really stop them from playing it, but this is U2, and they are perfectionists to the extreme. I don't see them attempting a song without all their pre planned whizbangs to go along with it.

-Nick

Nlee made a great comment about the logistical challenges of just pulling a song out of a hat and going for it.  Of course all of us on here would love the hear anything more obscure, but it presents all these challenges to making it sound presentable live.  Now having a handful of prepared songs is another thing, but it all just depends on what feels right to the band.  It's simply impossible to please 70,000 equally each night.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: InThisHeartland on November 05, 2009, 06:19:06 PM
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Clap...

Clap....

Clap, clap...

Clap, clap, clap...

Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap...

CLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAP!!!!!!!!!!!!

 ??? ???
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: ptrocku2 on November 05, 2009, 07:15:32 PM
This is probably the best thread on here i have seen in a long time.  I agree with so many posters here..that I'm not going to sit and quote everyone.  With that being said..here i go!!

I agree that us hardcore fans would like to see the band shake it up a bit.  But on the other hand, we are maybe 3% of the audience that goes to see this band more than 1 time on a tour.  A good friend of mine got tickets unexpectedly for the Rose Bowl show.  She was in the Red Zone.  She was not a huge U2 fan..but always liked their music.  After seeing the show, she said that U2 is now her favorite band.  She said she has never in her life seen such a dynamic show..the boys..the lights..the stage..everything.

That is how U2 keeps the reign as the greatest band in the world.  They appeal to us older fans by putting in older songs--yes--i agree--they could switch it up a bit.  but again..the majority of the people seeing the show are seeing it 1 time..they have not been on youtube watching bits and pieces of the show..they have not been following set lists.

For this tour..it really would be hard to switch up songs every night due to the technical aspects of the stage and lighting.  However, during the Elevation tour and Vertigo tour I believe they could have switched it up a bit and played different songs.

The best idea I have heard here..and I apologize if i am not quoting directly..is the idea that they play their new stuff..keep in the old die-hard songs ( wowoy, streets, bd) and THEN switch up 5 or 6 songs a night--GREAT IDEA.

And for those fans who are forgetting---we have seen some old tour songs retired for this tour: IWF, BULLET, Pride in the name of love...and I didn't miss these songs at all.  Being a fan since day 1 and seeing them about 1 dozen times..I can say I love each and concert.  I agree I would love to see a set list change..and not to stir up this forum..but i would REALLY love to see them do an album in it's entirety..1 album each night.  I KNOW..it will never happen..just a wish of mine.
Title: Re: An Open Letter to U2
Post by: Vervefloyd on November 05, 2009, 09:19:53 PM
so here is a list of songs that would keep 98% of the fans happy every night:

I Will Follow
Gloria
SBS
NYD
40
Pride
Bad
Streets
ISHFWILF
WOWY
Angel of Harlem
Desire
All I Want Is You
One
Even Better Than The Real Thing
Mysterious Ways
Stay
Beautiful Day
Elevation
Vertigo

So that's a list of 20 songs.  My issue is U2 continues to parade out with essentially the same ones instead of rotating the whole lot and keeping every single person happy and themselves fresh.  9 of the 11 are locks.  and 6 of the others have appeared at some point but disappeared once U2 got done playing multiple gigs in one city.  but realistically, they are only playing 9 each night.  so why can't they rotate all 20 night in and night out.  why now is mysterious ways and ISHFWILF standards when for the past 2 tours they were rotated.

So you have the 7 new, the 9 classics and then depending on the length of the show, you have 7-9 more songs.  so let's take this further.  here are the other songs played essentially every night - COBL, TUF, MLK Walk On, Ultraviolet, Stuck in a Moment.

Now add these songs that they have played on this tour and last:

Out of Control
Electric Co.
An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart
The Ocean
Party Girl
One Tree Hill
BTBS
Running to Stand Still
Zoo Station
The Fly
Wild Horses
UTEOTW
The First Time
Discotheque
In a Little While
Kite
All Because of You
Yahweh
Love and Peace or Else
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
Original of the Species
Miracle Drug
Window In The Skies
Electrical Storm
Your Blue Room

And the rumored soundcheck songs:

If God Will Send His Angels
Mofo
Drowning Man

I think that brings it to 62 songs give or take the few i forgot that were played on this tour or the last tour or soundchecked on this tour.

That would not be hard to do.  Cause any one who believes the nature of the production is limiting the set list changes has to remember that the lack of set list changes are self imposed by the 4 members of U2 alone.  Someone creating that stage and NASA landing a man on the moon is far more difficult than U2 taking 60 songs on the road and expecting their light crew to do a good job.

I am not someone saying hey U2 dump all the hits and just play rare songs.  I'm just stating facts here.  U2 has a lot of hits, but they tend to play only the same ones each night on a tour.  They can rotate all 20 with ease and the casual fan could care less.  The casual fan seems very happy with the 9 so called hits they get each night and Pride has not been one of them lately.  So that disproves a theory that a song has to be played.  Sorry streets fans, but it would still be a U2 show without streets.  its just hard to imagine.

Of course the only hole in my theory is U2 itself.  Would they be willing to work on all those songs and could they actually pull off that kind of rotation without an absolute train wreck musically not visually.  thats for another thread and another day.