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Old 09-28-2015, 09:52 AM   #1
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Biggest Improvement from the Studio to the Stage

What songs do you think U2 improved most on the stage? Almost all of their songs are better live, but some improved more than others.

Here are mine:

11 O'clock Tick Tock. Martin Hannett's production really didn't suit U2 at all, which is kind of funny given how similar they were structurally to Joy Division. Maybe that's why it didn't work: he gave them the JD treatment and it made U2 sound leaden and weak. Live the song is one of their best ever though. It flies.

A Day Without Me: The song sounds weak (again) on Boy. By Red Rocks, it had serious bounce and power.

Electric Co.: decent on record, monstrous live.

Love Is Blindness: maybe just because Bono doesn't sing over the solo, and Edge stretches it out.

Magnificent: doesn't go anywhere on the album, but they rectified that with the new version.

Silver & Gold: the original isn't U2, but it sounds half finished compared to the perfect, ferocious slice of groove rock U2 played in the late 80s.
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:00 AM   #2
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Silver & Gold: the original isn't U2,
it isn't?

Most improved to me is Please
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:02 AM   #3
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Mofo, Please, Gone and Love is Blindness.
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:07 AM   #4
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it isn't?

Most improved to me is Please
It's Bono, Kieth Richards, and Ron Wood.

I forgot about Please but for me it's more of a lateral development than straight improvement, like Bad. I love live and studio versions equally.
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:20 AM   #5
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Lots of them.

I guess the biggest improvement would be Miami (yes, U2 wrote it), which is not that good in the studio but is excellent live.

U2 is one of those rare bands where actual new lyrics and crucial guitar parts get added live. Some of these examples have those aspects:

Mysterious Ways, Bullet the Blue Sky, Love is Blindness, Dirty Day, Exit, Bad, 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, Last Night on Earth, Please, Kite, Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World, Desire, Hawkmoon 269... The list goes on and on.
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:22 AM   #6
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Almost all of Songs of Innocence sounds better to me live.

The Miracle - that opening guitar riff punches you in the fucking face, and larry comes in with more wild, aggressive drumming; the whole composition is more alive. Edge also uses his 'shimmer' effect during the drop chorus, which i love.

Iris - Bono singing "hold me close" is so much more powerful on stage. I can really get a sense of sorrow and desperation that was too 'tidy' on the actual album. Edges harmonics in the intro and outro are really beautiful as well, and may be my favourite part of the song.

Cedarwood road - this benefits most live simply from having better sound. As with u2 playing live in general, the drums, bass, guitar are all heavier, chunkier, and that's the sound that this sort of song really deserves. They also got rid of that acoustic guitar layer, which i thought did nothing but dampen and weaken the song, although i kind of get what they were going for.

On the album, there are so many layers and levels or production (i don't actually know what causes it, but this is my guess) that the overall sound is too light. I want to really feel the drums and bass kicking in, and i can really hear that when they play these songs live.

Ones that didn't quite get there for me:

California - for the most part sounds good, but whatever Edge is doing during the chorus kills the momentum of the song for me.

Crystal Ballroom - my favourite part of this on the album was the electronic, serrated bass sound playing during the chorus, which i can't hear live. Without it, the song just deflates.

Not to derail the thread, but I wonder if what the band have been saying about Song of Experience (assuming that it does come out), that it will be rougher and less shiny and produced than SoI, will actually happen. Would be great to have a U2 album where all the instruments sound really bold, like they do live.
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:30 AM   #7
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Mofo, Streets, UTEOTW, Gone jump to mind immediately. Most of the new album songs they play live I enjoyed far more than their album counterparts, The Miracle, Iris (big time!), Cedarwood and Raised By Wolves all sounded better.
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:51 AM   #8
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Biggest Improvement from the Studio to the Stage

All of the above. When I first saw the thread title, I immediately thought of Zoo Station. Damn, that song really improved live (even when the studio version is great too).
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:01 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JamietheEdgefan View Post

Cedarwood road - this benefits most live simply from having better sound. As with u2 playing live in general, the drums, bass, guitar are all heavier, chunkier, and that's the sound that this sort of song really deserves. They also got rid of that acoustic guitar layer, which i thought did nothing but dampen and weaken the song, although i kind of get what they were going for.

On the album, there are so many layers and levels or production (i don't actually know what causes it, but this is my guess) that the overall sound is too light. I want to really feel the drums and bass kicking in, and i can really hear that when they play these songs live.

...Would be great to have a U2 album where all the instruments sound really bold, like they do live.
Totally agree about U2 making an album where the instruments all sound bold and clear. I forgot about how much better Cedarwood Road is live. It's heavier and you can hear all the instruments - there's space for them to do their job. SOI is generally overly arranged (even though there's not much going on) and does sound kind of weak. They smother the songs in synths that don't do anything but smother the songs. I still love the album though.

Achtung, Zooropa, and Pop all have a lot more going on musically but they still hit pretty hard, and you can hear all the details. SOI is kind of mushy. I wish U2 would us the production style of War as the template for their basic rock songs. They really got it right there. Raised By Wolves, Volcano, the Miracle, TIWYCRMN would all sound so much better if they sounded like War songs.

Anyway, SOI probably benefits more from the stage than any of their other albums over all.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:02 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Hollow Island View Post
What songs do you think U2 improved most on the stage? Almost all of their songs are better live, but some improved more than others.

Here are mine:

11 O'clock Tick Tock. Martin Hannett's production really didn't suit U2 at all, which is kind of funny given how similar they were structurally to Joy Division. Maybe that's why it didn't work: he gave them the JD treatment and it made U2 sound leaden and weak. Live the song is one of their best ever though. It flies.

A Day Without Me: The song sounds weak (again) on Boy. By Red Rocks, it had serious bounce and power.

Electric Co.: decent on record, monstrous live.

Love Is Blindness: maybe just because Bono doesn't sing over the solo, and Edge stretches it out.

Magnificent: doesn't go anywhere on the album, but they rectified that with the new version.

Silver & Gold: the original isn't U2, but it sounds half finished compared to the perfect, ferocious slice of groove rock U2 played in the late 80s.
Isn't there two studio versions of Silver & Gold... The Keith Richards, Ron Wood version... The a U2 studio version?
If you have never read about how the Bono, Keith Richards, Ron Wood version came about, look it up. Great story.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:16 AM   #11
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Yeah, it's a great story.

I didn't know U2 recorded it. I thought the version on 80-90 was the Sun City recording.
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:03 PM   #12
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To go with a non traditional choice, I'll pick Love and Peace Or Else.

I despised the song on the album. It was fun as hell live, something I didn't see coming whatsoever.

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Old 09-28-2015, 12:06 PM   #13
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i have one simple word. Bad
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:45 PM   #14
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Biggest Improvement from the Studio to the Stage

Quote:
Originally Posted by djerdap View Post
Lots of them.

I guess the biggest improvement would be Miami (yes, U2 wrote it), which is not that good in the studio but is excellent live.

U2 is one of those rare bands where actual new lyrics and crucial guitar parts get added live. Some of these examples have those aspects:

Mysterious Ways, Bullet the Blue Sky, Love is Blindness, Dirty Day, Exit, Bad, 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, Last Night on Earth, Please, Kite, Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World, Desire, Hawkmoon 269... The list goes on and on.



My top ones are Kite, Please, and 11 O Clock Tick Tock.
Kite on Vertigo is my favorite Edge solo of all time.
Please was so much more intense live and Bono's battle cry is amazing before launching into Streets.
11 O Clock is so much greater than the studio version.
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:46 PM   #15
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To go with a non traditional choice, I'll pick Love and Peace Or Else.

I despised the song on the album. It was fun as hell live, something I didn't see coming whatsoever.

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Blech, it was even worse live, if only because I had to watch them lie to themselves by performing that song as though it wasn't terrible in every way.
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:49 PM   #16
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Blech, it was even worse live, if only because I had to watch them lie to themselves by performing that song as though it wasn't terrible in every way.

I thought it lacked any punch live. At least it's sonically and instrumentally decent on the album. The live version doesn't bottle any of that energy.


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Old 09-28-2015, 12:53 PM   #17
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I think you are both on crack, all of the HUTDAB tracks were an improvement live, especially LAPOE and Yahweh for sure.
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Old 09-28-2015, 01:29 PM   #18
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To go with a non traditional choice, I'll pick Love and Peace Or Else.

I despised the song on the album. It was fun as hell live, something I didn't see coming whatsoever.
Absolutely, and it was a better opener than COBL was frankly.
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Old 09-28-2015, 01:44 PM   #19
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Totally agree about U2 making an album where the instruments all sound bold and clear. I forgot about how much better Cedarwood Road is live. It's heavier and you can hear all the instruments - there's space for them to do their job. SOI is generally overly arranged (even though there's not much going on) and does sound kind of weak. They smother the songs in synths that don't do anything but smother the songs. I still love the album though.

Achtung, Zooropa, and Pop all have a lot more going on musically but they still hit pretty hard, and you can hear all the details. SOI is kind of mushy. I wish U2 would us the production style of War as the template for their basic rock songs. They really got it right there. Raised By Wolves, Volcano, the Miracle, TIWYCRMN would all sound so much better if they sounded like War songs.

Anyway, SOI probably benefits more from the stage than any of their other albums over all.
Yeah, i agree with all of that. I feel like there are so many layers in SoI that no instruments can really stand out and shine. On top of that, i feel like the multiple guitar tracks do more harm than good. Take the studio version of 'Miracle' - there are two separate guitars for the chorus, and then when it goes into the 'Woah-oh-oh' part, a third one comes in replacing the other two. Likewise, in Cedarwood road, i think i can hear at least 3 guitars in the chorus.

For me it prevents the songs from sounding like a band playing a tune, and more like people in a studio plotting instrumental tracks on top of each other in a computer. It just doesn't sound real, and that is very distracting.

I've said this before, but i think a lot of SoI is some amazing song writing, let down by imperfect arrangements and production. The strength of their live sound really brings the whole album from a 6/10 to a 9/10 for me.

I agree that U2's earlier work (War is a good example) have stronger production, but for the most part, i find even with my favourite older albums of theirs, the band seem to lean towards a gentler production. The drums always seem kind of 'light' and low in the mix, for example. Could just be that they (or Larry) prefer that kind of sound. Just annoying that when they play live, their sound suddenly gets so much stronger, and completely blows their studio material out of the water.

I remember when i first saw them live, the first song was 'breathe' at Wembley stadium. I remember thinking "holy shit, this band has one hell of a drummer. Why have i never realised it before?"
I hope that their next album gives me the same kind of reaction (though that might be asking for too much).
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Old 09-28-2015, 01:55 PM   #20
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Mofo is the quintessential example


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