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Old 04-03-2005, 07:13 AM   #1
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Setlist shuffle: theories and responses?

I’m thoroughly curious to hear folks’ theories and responses concerning the setlist shuffle. I’ll offer my preliminary take on the situation and then check back later to take some inventory of what others might have to say.

Before I offer my specific theses, let me confess my bias: I view this is an overwhelmingly positive development for U2 as a major live act and hope they keep the basic notion in tact for the vertiginous duration . . .of at least this tour.

--Mixing up the setlist is fan-based decision for the people ‘on tour’: I think the band really knows that a significant chunk of their fan-base are people who attend multiple shows and invest serious portions of their personal incomes in the band. This decision directly enhances the experience of the people attending multiple shows. In 1987 when I traveled to multiple Joshua Tree shows, the setlist remained mostly stagnant. Seeing the current developments makes me wish I had the money, time, and family sympathy to be following Vertigo.

--Pages from the Grateful Dead: While U2 and the Dead are musically and culturally miles apart, the Dead were debatably one of the most visionary acts in terms of building a long-lasting fan community. Never playing the same set list twice became a Dead hallmark, and I hope this becomes an even more regular feature for U2. The devoted fan community of the Dead resulted in a fan-focused ticket distro system that usurped the Ticketmasters and brokers; the creation of tapers tickets and public taping and trading created a catalog of bootlegs unrivaled in the rock world; the proliferation of Dead-tribute and cover-bands forced the band to always be better than the local ‘choirs’ in their decentralized church of followers. So, let the current setlist shuffle foreshadow further fan-centric gestures to give back to the committed community of U2opians.

. . . .and what else????

love, Anu
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Old 04-03-2005, 07:34 AM   #2
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I think they may still be experimenting with the setlist to see what flows best for them and the crowd.

However, I agree with you that U2 is responding in some way to its fan base by not only mixing up the songs played but the particular order.

I do think we shall see more variation as the tour goes. I am particularly excited to be going to all 4 Chicago shows. This could mean some real surprises!!!

The way they have just added or subtracted a song here like WOWY and ISHFWILF is nice. Although there have only been 4 shows, I predict will see more inserts like this. It may be too early to tell, but it makes it very exciting to check my computer each night/morning to see the setlist. During elevation it seemed like I could predict the whole thing except a song or two.
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Old 04-04-2005, 11:58 AM   #3
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So far 19 songs have been played all 4 shows. That's out of 22 or 23 played each night. I think the comparisons to the Dead, much less Pearl Jam or even Dave Matthews aren't real accurate.

While U2 may be shuffling the order, the variety isn't all that great. The difference to me is that instead of digging up the usual suspects, they went back and dug up older material, which is cool but still would like to see a little more variety.

Considering that in the past U2 did hardly no shuffling and ignoring a large part of their catalog, at least they are doing a better job on this tour. Still no songs from Pop, Zooropa or Rattle and Hum. But it's early on, at least they are trying harder in ways they never seemed to before.
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Old 04-04-2005, 12:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Mixing up the setlist is fan-based decision for the people ‘on tour’: I think the band really knows that a significant chunk of their fan-base are people who attend multiple shows
Why limit the European tour to 1 show per customer then ?

At the moment i think the band are just trying different 'chunks' of songs in different orders to see which work best. It does 'kill two birds.... though' by helping them decide what they are comfortable and happy with artistically and providing variety for the fans.
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Old 04-04-2005, 03:15 PM   #5
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The Grateful Dead is the only band I saw in concert more than U2.

I think U2 could take some lessons from the GD especially when it comes to audience taping. There would be a "taper's section" right behind the soundboard and tapers could set up mics on stands without getting in the way of people who were there for the show and it would provide very good audience recordings. I just got copies of the ZOO TV and PopMart shows that I attended and they are both crap. The boots I have of the Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree shows I was at sound soooooooo much better. Give the tapers a section!

U2 doesn't tour enough to play a different setlist every show. U2 stills tours to promote albums. The Dead didn't tour to support albums, they just toured. Even when "Touch of Grey" was in the top-10, it would only be played every third show or so in 1987. I'm not sure U2 could get away with not playing anything off of the latest album at a show yet.

Another lesson U2 could learn from the Grateful Dead is to start releasing shows from the vault either audio or video. That would be cool. The Dead has cut a deal with Apple to digitize the Dead's vault of live material. I'm sure U2 could fashion a similar-type deal since they already have a relationship with Apple.

Could there ever be a time that U2 could play different setlists every show? I doubt it since they only tour every four years or so now. Ticket prices could have something to do with it as well. It was only about $25 to see a Grateful Dead show. It's quite a bit more to see multiple U2 shows.
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Old 04-04-2005, 03:40 PM   #6
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the setlist variation though is due to a bit of uncertainty on what is working. This is the first tour since 89 when u2 has ever changed the opening song..It never happened on Zoo, Popmart or Elevation. It is a nice thing to have happen, but its because the openers dont seem to be working, from listening to the three gigs (I know, I wasnt there yet so somebody will tell me see if first before I complain...but I don't go to u2 shows to see the music, rather to hear it, and the openers don't sound solid). Heck if there ok with closing with 40 again, why not just put streets back into its original opening slot as its a great opener, then launch into vertigo, and the new ones. Plus if bono cant get his point across about africa at the end of pride and beggining of one, then he never will..Just one opinion
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Old 04-04-2005, 08:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by rastacruz
The Grateful Dead is the only band I saw in concert more than U2.

I think U2 could take some lessons from the GD especially when it comes to audience taping.

I'm not sure U2 could get away with not playing anything off of the latest album at a show yet.


Could there ever be a time that U2 could play different setlists every show?

Taping Section: AGREED

No New songs from current album -- AGREED AND THE BEATINGS WOULD START OUT HERE ON THIS VERY FORUM.

Different setlist nightlly?? NOT WITH THE TECHNOLOGY, LIGHTING, AND EVERTYTHING ELSE SO PERFECTLY CHOREOGRAPHED

Great thread though - a lot more interesting than the bomb shelter whine festival in its 8th day now.
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Old 04-05-2005, 04:23 AM   #8
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When I read the rumors about U2 including "AN Cat dubh > Into the Heart" I was cautiously optimistic that they would be digging into their seemingly endless and spectacular catalog. Unfortunately, this does not look to be the case. I have 3 shows in iTunes and when selecting the shows and sorting by song types I see the same songs repeated 3 times, except for a 1 or 2 in each show the shows are pretty much the same... ans no flipping a setlist order does not count ( 4/1 )

Comparing them to a REAL live band such as The Dead, DMB, or Phish is a real "TigerBeat" thing to do. Those bands are in a completly different league. Bands like Phish and the Dead toured and played becuase they thouroughly enjoyed it. As for U2, to me it seems like its about he almight dollar.
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Old 04-05-2005, 11:47 AM   #9
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Phish and the Dead, subjective taste about the music aside are gimmick bands. The crowds at those gigs are their for the 'culture' of the event more for the music itself. Stop pretending that they value their music anymore than U2 or anyone else, their gimmick is to play live and play a lot. Why is that? Is it because of money?

Concerning U2, what does song selection have to do with money? Preposterous.

actually you could make an argument the ONLY reason that the Dead and Phish continue to tour is PRECISELY because of money.

It's a cash making enterprise in and of itself. U2 tour for a year about every four years to support ALBUMS. Phish and the Dead have toured continuously to support what? Are you going to pretend that they don't make huge bank on their tours? Those shows have little to no production value, so where does all the cash go? Idealists do nothing but contradict themselves time and time again.

One of my best friends loves the Phish and the Dead we argue about this all the time, and all that so called "jam music". Which essentially means, just fucking self-flaggelate and play endless amounts of notes so the 'heads' will continue to show up and buy tickets so we can finance our homes in the posh hills. Please. Less than honest, to say the least. Behind everying posturing elitist is a posturing elitist fooling people, whether it's on the 'indie' circuit or the jam folk.

I don't fault them for what they do, but I don't pretend to believe in some idealism counterculture that is nothing more than one big fashion and stylistic trend that has less and less to do with music and more to do with just having an "experience".
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Old 04-06-2005, 04:10 AM   #10
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I also think they're not sure what's working in the set. That said, given they're using those lightbulb curtains I was shocked to see them change openers, play oldies, not play the hits so much etc... looking back Zoo TV and Popmart had huge visuals and very little setlist changes.

I wouldn't mind taping allowed and releasing video/audio from the vaults but what are the odds of that? (I hope they won't just stick to Itunes for that)

No new songs from current album? I don't believe they'd do that.
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