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Old 09-08-2007, 01:34 PM   #1
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Idea for a new U2 recording and touring approach

this idea was inspired by learning more about the Beatles discography.. the Beatles released some of their best-loved material in single format...

...U2 had Wide Awake in America and U23 early on, but since their early days they've never really embraced the EP concept...


...I can see U2 making waves by giving us an EP every year (say 5-8 songs), release it digitally as well as in stores, and keep their recent schedule of touring the globe once every 4-5 years, but mixing in smaller amounts of new music at more frequent intervals, and then changing their live shows more frequently and spontaneously, but less dramatically (similar to what they did with the release of Zooropa and the Zoomerang leg of the ZooTv tour)

ie: each leg or two of a tour would have it's own feel with a slightly varied setlist... and then they'd release another ep and change it up slightly to incorporate the new music, then the five different legs of a two or two and a half year tour would be different enough that we as the fans in this newly wired age would have something new and different to tune into via web etc at least once on each leg of the tour...

i know it's a rather tall order, but U2 are always seeking to push the envelope and this seems a good way for them to stay ahead of that curve they're always trying to beat... ;-)
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Old 09-08-2007, 03:51 PM   #2
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wow, not a single reply- is it that bad an idea?
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Old 09-08-2007, 03:59 PM   #3
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ah...come on you write as if U2 will stay vibrant and energetic indefinetly. There will come a point where they'll say they don't want to do it anymore. I'd like to think when the next campaign comes around, they'll knock it on the head and treat their fans to a plethora of dvds and unreleased material. For heaven's sake man, they're nearly 50!
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Old 09-08-2007, 04:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Habib
ah...come on you write as if U2 will stay vibrant and energetic indefinetly. There will come a point where they'll say they don't want to do it anymore. I'd like to think when the next campaign comes around, they'll knock it on the head and treat their fans to a plethora of dvds and unreleased material. For heaven's sake man, they're nearly 50!
I think it was at the Grammies in '06 that Bono said "we're just getting started"

I don't see any real signs of their slowing down... they've always said they'll keep doing it as long as they're not getting stagnant, and I think that approach might help them stay energetic- if they handled it a certain way, it might even allow them to spend more time resting and with their families- ie: two months a year recording, release the EP, then four or five touring, six or seven "resting", lather, rinse, repeat, or put it on a two year cycle that better fits the dual hemisphere tour scope.

The Stones are still relatively successful at both touring and recording, and in every way I think U2 surpass where the Stones were at their comparable age. U2 are better at incorporating new ideas, staying in touch with young audiences without losing themselves and in general age much more gracefully than the Stones..

not sure what you meant by "knocking it on the head with unreleased material and DVDs, etc" to me they've already done alot of that with "U2 by U2" the book, "The Complete U2" digital music release, and now the re-issues of their major tour videos on DVD...
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Old 09-08-2007, 05:15 PM   #5
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apologies I'll make myself clearer..

What i meant to say was when the next campaign finishes, I would like them to finish as a band, preserving the legacy, as Larry says in the U2 by U2 book. Once they've disbandied and are pursuing other projects, they can bring out dvds of other shows,,e.g Lovetown or other tours that haven't been released before. At the same time, they could released rarites, b sides, live tracks compilations that haven't been released.
Granted, most of this has seen the light of day, on the 'Complete U2' package, but I'm sure they've kept some stuff back. Despite the speculation of millions of fans worldwide, only four men ( you could argue five) know what the next step is.
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Old 09-08-2007, 05:49 PM   #6
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I don't care what they do, as long as I can see it, at LEAST via webcam, cuz live is getting to be an unrealistic expectation as time goes on. :Pray:
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Old 09-08-2007, 05:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Habib
apologies I'll make myself clearer..

What i meant to say was when the next campaign finishes, I would like them to finish as a band, preserving the legacy, as Larry says in the U2 by U2 book. Once they've disbandied and are pursuing other projects, they can bring out dvds of other shows,,e.g Lovetown or other tours that haven't been released before. At the same time, they could released rarites, b sides, live tracks compilations that haven't been released.
Granted, most of this has seen the light of day, on the 'Complete U2' package, but I'm sure they've kept some stuff back. Despite the speculation of millions of fans worldwide, only four men ( you could argue five) know what the next step is.
with all due respect, this sort of speculation has been around at least since the Joshua Tree days... "they've made it big time, there's nothing left for them to do, they should hang it up before they get old and tired"...

i really can't disagree with that more... in my opinion they get better with age... at one time, or maybe with certain bands, rock n roll has an expiration date, but U2 transcend the boundaries of rock, i see them in the league of the Beatles and the Who and the Stones, and I see Bono in the league of Pavoratti, Sinatra and Johnny Cash, all of whom stayed relevant, innovative and creative until their passing...

what is there that they have to retire to that would fill their lives with as much meaning and purpose and vitality as what they do as U2?

i think it's less credible to retire and then sift through back catalogues for the fourth or fifth time than it is to keep going and growing into their fifties, sixties, even seventies and beyond... they may be the first band to really pull that off, but they won't be the last.

they've always broken new ground, and I only see them continuing to do so.

i'm not familiar with that Larry quote, but he's usually the only one making those sorts of remarks, and it's not necessarily to be taken 100% at face value, Bono has called him the "anchor" of the band.. though i think that as long as the other three, or at least Bono and Edge were interested in making music, Larry and probably Adam would stay involved. And even if they didn't, I'd see Bono and Edge continuing on as a duo, or on their own solo paths.

It'd take some getting used to, but Bono especially is not the type to get old and tired and run out of ideas or energy, remember who we're talking about here! ;-)
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Old 09-08-2007, 06:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by blm
I don't care what they do, as long as I can see it, at LEAST via webcam, cuz live is getting to be an unrealistic expectation as time goes on. :Pray:
you think they're going to stop touring? i don't see that happening before two more decades, barring any major health problems (God forbid)
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Old 09-08-2007, 10:07 PM   #9
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my prediction was that past 2010 it was over... and that id not looking well...

2015 maybe
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Old 09-09-2007, 01:20 PM   #10
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agh, so much negativity and so little discussion..

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Old 09-09-2007, 02:07 PM   #11
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Well can you really see the guys pulling off convincing performances of their staples,,the high energy songs,,,like streets, the rockers, the fly, uteotw etc. I just don't see them doing it when they're 50 plus.

I'd rather they leave us with the memories of them performing them at their zenith, not when they're old, and are milking their back catalogue for all its worth.

But hey, I'm not in the band........
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Old 09-09-2007, 02:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Habib
Well can you really see the guys pulling off convincing performances of their staples,,the high energy songs,,,like streets, the rockers, the fly, uteotw etc. I just don't see them doing it when they're 50 plus.

I'd rather they leave us with the memories of them performing them at their zenith, not when they're old, and are milking their back catalogue for all its worth.

But hey, I'm not in the band........
fair enough, but this would mean you see signs of them slowing and getting worse now, which i don't, personally.

50+ is only three years away for them. again the Stones are an apt point of reference. I've never been much into the Stones, and have never seen them live, but by many accounts they've still got the energy to pull off great performances and tours.

i just looked it up, the members of the Stones are about 17 years older than the members of U2, and i'd say the Stones could pull off another 10 to 15 years of live tours if they really wanted to... that'd give U2 up to 30+ more...

Pavarotti just passed at 72, Johnny Cash passed at 71, Frank Sinatra was around until 83... all of them were still active artists (as their health allowed) and medical technology improves all of the time...

btw, i don't know what age most of the people here are, but i'm in my early 30s... and have been a U2 fan for most of my life, i realized awhile ago that though one may grow to love the music of younger and older generations, fans and artists tend to grow up and "old" together- and there's something really cool about that-

i don't want U2 to be the band they were during ZooTv, or Pop, or the Joshua Treee, the way I sometimes get the feeling people here do...

They've opened my eyes to the greatness of artists before my time, like those I mentioned above (Sinatra, Cash, Pavarotti, the Beatles, the Who), and they also do a brilliant job appreciating and respecting and encouraging younger generations of musicians ie: Arcade Fire, No Doubt & Gwen Stefani, Damien Marley, Snow Patrol, Moby, Kanye West, Michael Franti, Rage Against the Machine, etc...

I look forward to seeing what new things they'll be doing as fifty, sixty and seventy year olds, and if I want something young and explosive and U2're not doing it at the time, I'll go buy the new Killers album, or its' equivalent.

I look forward to seeing Bono & U2 become more and more esteemed in the music world as they grow older and wiser, and I think they've got more surprises up their sleeve for those who think they're going to get boring as they get old.
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Old 09-09-2007, 03:56 PM   #13
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I think its important to realise that U2 are as much about the money as they are the music. Paul Mcguinness summed it up when he said ' it would be stupid to be great at the music, and bad at the business'.

To that end, I can't see U2 throwing away all the commerical ground they've gained since 2000 after what is , by their standards, a low point in their otherwise brillant career (i.e., the POP campaign ). Why would they risk losing is all over again, by releasing material that will or could be met by the same indifference that greeted the POP album and the POPMART tour. A purely experimental phase, between Passengers and POP, would in my mind, seem like they're trying too hard to remain relevant, and with it in what is a youth driven industry.

If they choose to follow the path of the music greats that came before them Sinatra, Cash, Pavarotti, etc, then I'm all for that. If they're trying to keep up with the latest generation of rock bands ( The Killers, Franz Ferdinand), then its just not cool.

I would not like to see them morph into the Stones because then they'll evolve into a corporation, milking their assets (i.e their back catalogue). The Stones today are about reliving the past and cashing in on former glories, something I would not like U2 to tarnish their legacy with.
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Old 09-09-2007, 03:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Habib
Well can you really see the guys pulling off convincing performances of their staples,,the high energy songs,,,like streets, the rockers, the fly, uteotw etc. I just don't see them doing it when they're 50 plus.

I'd rather they leave us with the memories of them performing them at their zenith, not when they're old, and are milking their back catalogue for all its worth.

But hey, I'm not in the band........
You act as if the only options are high energy or nothing. Bono writes beautiful soulful ballads and if they can't do the high energy stuff there is no reason it can't open up options they turn away from now because of the expectations of high energy performances. There is no reason they can't continue to write and perform for many years to come. So what if they get to the point where they can't do the old stuff. As long as they continue to put 110% into whatever they do like they do now I look forward to it. So what if they no longer fit into the Rock box, they've never wanted to be boxed in anyway. Some of their best song are the mellow ones. They still have many vistas to explore in music and if you think the only good live performances are high energy ones then you are missing out on a lot of great music. Look at Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, they write and perform fantastic music that doesn't require jumping up and down for it to be good. Dylan is still on his Neverending Tour which started back in 1985 I think. They may not do stadium shows forever but so what. Bono was a hell of a lot less physical on this tour than on Elevation but hardly anyone commented on it. He doesn't do nearly as much running around the stage as he used to but the shows were no less energetic. Their tours have always been planned around the music they are currently writing and if they start writing slower stuff then the pace of the shows will be slower too, but that is no reason to quit.

Dana
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Old 09-09-2007, 05:12 PM   #15
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I'll be surprised if we will get yet another decade after this one, and outright shocked if they keep going after 60.

I think two factors will prevent them: Larry's wrist problem, and possibly more so, Bono's voice (provided they don't just get tired of each other and stop having interest in making music). Look at the drop of his voice after Zoo TV, even when taking in account the last tour and album improvement.
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Old 09-09-2007, 05:18 PM   #16
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But its high energy is what attracts U2's desired demographic. They've said with each album they release ,their aim is to attract a younger audience each time, and with each release it is difficult to get young people's attention. They are competing with so many other genres Can you imagine a U2 show with 24 soulful ballads ? No! The last campaign was specifically targeted at the 16-30 demographic worldwide, with the launch of the Ipod and the band's colloboration with Apple.
The band's emphasis on singles highlights this. The last campaign was the first U2 album to produce 2 UK No1 singles, which helped to sustain album sales throught 2004 and 2005.

However they'll see the audience reaction if the next album contains solely slow paced material and the audience will either vote with their feet or demand a greatest hits setlist.

My point is they may see reason to quit if they feel they're losing their audience, like they nearly did on the Popmart tour.
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Old 09-09-2007, 06:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Habib


However they'll see the audience reaction if the next album contains solely slow paced material and the audience will either vote with their feet or demand a greatest hits setlist.

My point is they may see reason to quit if they feel they're losing their audience, like they nearly did on the Popmart tour.
Habib,

Thanks for the great discussion- the best one I've had here in awhile- don't think i've seen you before, are you normally a lurker?

I can see where you're coming from on this... they did make an effort to sweep in new teenage fans on the last two tours- but i think they're also aware that their core audience will always be between a few years older than their own age, down to 20 or 25 years younger than themselves.

The last two albums have also had songs about parenthood, losing parents and the trademark social, spiritual and political themes- i think the "pandering" to younger audiences is more in the marketing than in the music and lyrics themselves... and i can enjoy the latter without getting upset about the former.

as much griping as there (very predictably) was from certain quarters of u2 fandom regarding the iPod tie-in, it was a unique and i think brilliant opportunity they seized upon that no band in history will duplicate.

it is unfortunate that vertigo may be remembered as the ipod commercial tune, but lyrically and contentwise, that's one of the most throwaway songs they've put out this decade. catchy maybe, compelling and lasting, no.

but there were plenty of good songs on Bomb, imo COBL, A Man and a Woman, Original of the Species, Yahweh and Sometimes... will endure as long as anything else they've done...

meanwhile, in an attempt to tie this back to the original point of my post...

since November 2004, we've had enough new material for 2 EPs... so my suggestion is that now that they've gone through back catalogues and exhausted opportunities to stick it in with stuff most of us already own anyway (ie "The Complete U2" and "U218" neither of which I bought, btw)

they could proceed doing it this way:

(alternate scenario wherein Complete U2 and U218 were never released):

November 2005 EP:

1. Native Son
2. Mercy (finished, though I do like the version that's out there)
3. Smile
4. Xanax & Wine
5. Levitate
6. One w/ MJB (yes, i've heard the bitching and I love this version)
7. Yahweh (alt. version)

2006 EP:

1. The Saints are Coming w/ Green Day
2. Window in the Skies
3. Love You Like Mad
4. Flower Child
5. Neon Lights
6. Are You Gonna Wait Forever?

So there is the issue of Native Son, Xanax and Wine and Yahweh (alt ver) being close to material on Bomb, but stick in another tune or two that I'm sure they've held back and i doubt we'd hear much complaint...

also to answer your point about the pace of an album, pick any U2 album at random, and you'll see a fairly even distribution in thirds of fast, medium and slow tempo songs- they were reportedly going to break that and do all fast stuff on Bomb, but they realized they've inherently got more range than that... and we got another pretty balanced album.

i really take issue with the idea that a musicians' age determines whether or not they can perform fast, heavy material.

as someone else noted, Bono may not run around stage or climb scaffolding as much from here forward, but the band show no signs that i can see of softening and slowing their overall balance of material.
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Old 09-10-2007, 04:03 PM   #18
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We wouldn't hear much complaint from the U2 faithful but what about those music cynics who will just say 'oh that's U2, they can't be bothered to release new material, so they'll just throw in alternate versions of songs they've released a year before in the hope the music public will like it'. I certainly wouldn't like to see that, re releasing what are essentially the same songs, with a few verses and structures out of place, twice in the space of a year.

Apart from that gripe, I agree with your tracklisting for the 2 EPS, except I would take away Native Son, Yahweh ( alt) and Xanax and Wine. Instead, I would issue just one EP containing the remaining songs in 2006, replacing the greatest hits cash in that is U218 singles.

I don't want to sound ageist but I can't see them pulling off the high tempo and energetic songs at 50 plus. It would destroy the memories of live performance of that song. Up until now, in my view, there has been a steady improvement in the quality of live performance of particular songs, a case in point being The Fly, even Discotheque. However at the same time there has been a steady decline in performance of the war horses, the staples, case in point-Pride, Still haven't Found, Streets etc. I feel we are approaching a point where the band won't be able to improve on their performances anymore and it is naive to expect the band to improve on them exponentially. I don't want them forcing their way through songs if they look fed up, or bored with playing them. It has to be from the heart, it cannot be forced.

Unfortunately as we all know, money makes the world go round, and if they were guaranteed a huge payday for another world tour when they're 60, they would plump for it.
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:45 AM   #19
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Fair point about the critics, the alternate takes would make better b-sides on singles.

Also, I agree with retiring the warhorses- i honestly can't believe they're still playing Bullet the Blue Sky- imo that was one of the weakest songs on the Joshua Tree- I also agree that Pride could be retired for at least one tour.

One, Streets and Stay for example I think they still do great jobs of. And they've always had the penchant for energetic songs like Streets and COBL that have a more uplifting than hard-edged feel. These age better than Vertigo or Elevation, for example. (or Guns n'Roses or Nirvana, for another example)

As you said, songs like Gone, The Fly and Discotheque can still add a lot of life to their setlists.

Alternate versions of well known and loved songs, like Edge's Pop-treatment of Sunday Bloody Sunday could also really surprise us.

There's a strong list of powerful songs we haven't heard live in ages, that could be rearranged and brought back to complement new material- (as some "Boy" songs were on 'Vertigo" though they weren't rearranged much) ...songs like "The Refugee" "Like a Song" "Two Hearts Beat as One" "Wire" "God Part II" "Acrobat" "Ultraviolet" "Do You Feel Loved" "Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car" "Last Night on Earth" "Electrical Storm" "Ground Beneath Her Feet" ...

Some of what you describe may not be their physical age impacting their heavier material, as much as the fact that a lot of it we've seen and heard them play nearly hundreds of times in the last 15 to 20 years.

The impact of the internet is still fairly new on this. We can now find dozens of live performances of the same song spread over two or three decades, on youtube and other sites.

Even five years ago this was not really possible, but the expectations of fans have already quantum leaped- we want to be able to see great variety among those dozens of performances from 5 to 20 years ago, forgetting that at the time of those performances, (with the exception of ZooTV Sydney, PopMart Mexico City, etc) the audience present made up the vast majority of the people who could ever be expected to watch it.

U2 are miles beyond most bands when it comes to injecting live versions of their songs with variety, but the ubiquity of the internet has changed people's expectations to a fairly unrealistic degree.

It'll be interesting to see where things go from here.
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:35 AM   #20
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My dream is to see U2 starting a tour without any commercials and any single release, and any release at all! In all quietness.................
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