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U2 has always (or at least for many years) been pretty scripted in performance--although at the same time, they still genuinely shake things up periodically.  In any case, I certainly don't see their performing scriptedness (particularly since it's nothing at all new) as any reason for them to "call it a day"--rather, that would be when they lose interest in making and performing serious new music.  And there's no sign of that, is there?  And this is not a question of having anything left to prove, which of course they don't. 

 

Fair comment. My comment was a personal opinion. I think they're best to quit whilst ahead. This show is good visually...but the band sound tired on most tracks..and that tone is set with opening on the 'Joey Ramone' track...it's the worst ever track I've heard to open a U2 gig. In context, it fits. As a crowd pleaser....m'eh, it's just a boring opener that sets a scene only to those that know the history of the band might appreciate.

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I must admit that I'm not a fan of the "Joey Ramone" track either.  For that matter, although I think it's a serious effort (and hence deserves respect), I'm not that crazy about SOI in general.  It's taken me forever to really figure out how I feel about SOI, actually.  Clearly, a lot of effort went into the writing, and there are many decent songs on the record.  But, for me, I just don't care that much about the whole "looking back" theme, and the songs themselves (and especially the arrangments/production) generally sound way too "normal" to be particularly interesting for the most part.  That said, I do think EBW (especially the version they're performing, definitely not the original recording, although I like the remix much better) is first-class, and I'm also a big fan of Lucifer's Hands.  There's a lot to be said for The Troubles and Iris, too.  But much of the rest of SOI sounds like a bunch of different groups could have made it--just not very distinctive.  Personally, I'm concerned that U2 is too worried about being "relevant" (i.e., popular), and that that's exerting a "blandifying" influence on their work.

 

IMHO, though, the main problem with the current tour is that (at least in the shows I've attended--Chicago I - IV--and in various other US leg bootlegs I've heard from this year) they just don't sound that good, relative to earlier tours.  Compare, for example, with many shows from the 360 tour--especially the 2011 US leg from about Chicago on.  So far on this tour, to my ears, Bono's vocals are not up to par, and even more importantly, the whole band just hasn't quite "jelled" yet, performance-wise.  Who knows, but I wonder if Bono's accident/rehab put a dent in his/their preparation that they haven't quite recovered from yet.  Plus, I'm not thrilled with the second set/encore structure--to me, it just doesn't hang together/build the way it has in the past (a bit better now, with the addition of October and Zooropa, for sure), but rather sounds more like a bunch of hits thrown together--at least from Streets on.  I'm especially not loving the encore songs--particularly with the One/ISHFWILF "sing-along" ending, which to me basically ruins some otherwise great songs.  Let's face it, sing-alongs rarely sound good (especially for the majority of the entire song, for heaven's sake), and I'm there to hear the band.  Not thrilled with COBL and BD in the encore either, so to me the encores have really not done it for me.  Overall, I truly hate to say it, but so far this is my least favorite tour.

 

Haven't really listened much yet to shows from the Europe leg--am hoping they sound better than in the US leg, which seemed consistently mediocre (for them) to me.  And hey, the Pop tour took a while to finally jell, so let's keep our fingers crossed!  For me, if they start performing better, my feelings about all this could change big-time.

Edited by mike7man
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U2 has always (or at least for many years) been pretty scripted in performance--although at the same time, they still genuinely shake things up periodically.  In any case, I certainly don't see their performing scriptedness (particularly since it's nothing at all new) as any reason for them to "call it a day"--rather, that would be when they lose interest in making and performing serious new music.  And there's no sign of that, is there?  And this is not a question of having anything left to prove, which of course they don't. 

 

Fair comment. My comment was a personal opinion. I think they're best to quit whilst ahead. This show is good visually...but the band sound tired on most tracks..and that tone is set with opening on the 'Joey Ramone' track...it's the worst ever track I've heard to open a U2 gig. In context, it fits. As a crowd pleaser....m'eh, it's just a boring opener that sets a scene only to those that know the history of the band might appreciate.

 

 

Suggesting the band 'call it a day' is a brave thing to post on their official message board but I'm in agreement. Well almost.

 

I think it's fair to say that they've already talked them into touring with Songs of Experience - I just hope this is in the same format as this tour, the indoor shows are far superior to the stadium gigs we've all been used to. Knowing U2 if they were going to call it a day I think they'd tour down under too, which they always love, which is why I think we'll see them for at least another leg in both the U2 and Europe too. 

 

My personal opinion is that they are no longer in control of what they do and how they manage their audience experience. The business men are in charge now so the issues re ticketing, communication and all that will not go away, sadly. When you look at this tour the clamour to buy tickets for shows actually means that if you got the show 1 or 2 tickets or, like Turin, you only have 2 shows then I think you're getting a bum deal. With the very odd exception I think most of us can name the setlist for these shows. Shows 3, 4 and beyond however are less predictable and, therefore, probably more fun. I remember seeing them in Birmingham in 87 and they played a completely different setlist to the nights before or after but then they didn't have the stage show they do now, which is why the show is rarely changed these days - what a shame. I'm also disappointed that Bono's spontaneity is so scripted - it's like we're watching an actor not a rock n roll star. For me there is one glaring omission from this tour - The Troubles - which I think is one of the finest U2 tracks for many years. I disagree with your re 'Joey Ramone' - it was never a track from the album I liked but it's a decent show opener. Iris is stand out on the tour, as is Cedarwood Road and (surprisingly) Invisible but some of the others are less interesting for me. 

 

Moving forward I think they should quit whilst ahead, so agree with you there, although I think this would be after the Experience part of the tour - it is called 'innocence & experience' after all. In fact it almost has the ring of an ending doesn't it - taking it right back to where it started and bringing things up to date. 

 

The thing is I just can't see the band quitting, I'm not even sure they'd know how to but if they do then it should definitely be whilst they're (still, just) at the top. Perhaps they should do an REM and call it a day gracefully leaving the audience clamouring for more.. Which is how I remember U2 shows. 

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U2 has always (or at least for many years) been pretty scripted in performance--although at the same time, they still genuinely shake things up periodically.  In any case, I certainly don't see their performing scriptedness (particularly since it's nothing at all new) as any reason for them to "call it a day"--rather, that would be when they lose interest in making and performing serious new music.  And there's no sign of that, is there?  And this is not a question of having anything left to prove, which of course they don't. 

 

Fair comment. My comment was a personal opinion. I think they're best to quit whilst ahead. This show is good visually...but the band sound tired on most tracks..and that tone is set with opening on the 'Joey Ramone' track...it's the worst ever track I've heard to open a U2 gig. In context, it fits. As a crowd pleaser....m'eh, it's just a boring opener that sets a scene only to those that know the history of the band might appreciate.

 

 

Suggesting the band 'call it a day' is a brave thing to post on their official message board but I'm in agreement. Well almost.

 

 

Yeah, on reflection I was possibly over exaggerating what I really meant. They've got such a catalogue - and the tours are so far apart, I guess if they had more tracks, a wider variety of tracks within the tour, it would feel fresher.

I get what they set out to do with the tour, and having the first part of the show so prescribed, was always going to carry an element of risk, giving them less room to vary the set, and then they need to include the staple diet of tunes that we all really do expect to hear in a show.

Always going to be tough. I was being harsh. Visually good, sound good, maybe I was just a little more tired than them.

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Have any of you seen any of the European shows yet? We caught 2 Turin shows and to me, it's the best U2 period on stage since "PopMart".

I'm going to the first one in London one week from now. On a Sunday Bloody Sunday no less. I bought that ticket back in December, it's crept up very quickly. I am ridiculously pumped.

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However now, after following the tour by meerkat and Twitter (and many thanks for U2Gigs and the stream have listened to over again) it is pretty much the same every night. I understand there is the lights and other visuals which rule. Bono's voice is wonderful as ever.

 

 

I think perhaps the answer is NOT to follow the tour by Meerkat, Twitter and whatever else out there that feeds us EVERYTHING continuously.

 

I'm going to do what I have done for decades, which is go to the gig having NOT already watched it (or versions of it), many times before I get there, and probably enjoy it much more as a result.

 

Years ago bands played the same set over and over and nobody cared because you didn't know. 

 

I saw Motorhead three times in four days once in London, and heard exactly the same set every night.

 

You bought your tickets, you took your chance (and ideally your earplugs in that instance). ;)

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