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Old 09-22-2007, 04:06 PM   #1
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Popmart vs Vertigo: first leg

We know the band was still working out the show and the setlist in the beginning of these tours (unlike the other tours).

With that said, why is Popmart's first leg considered the ugly duckling of U2's live music and Vertigo's first leg, well, isn't ? The same thing happened, even if it was a more intimate tour and a less elaborate stage setup. The band wasn't 100% operational early in the tour, which happens on most U2 tours, only more so on these two times.

Do you think that a well-performed first leg of Popmart in the US would have made a difference with Pop in America and did U2 shoot themselves in the foot ? Was/is Popmart their last ever chance with stadiums there ?

Also, did U2 shoot themselves in the foot with the underprepared first leg of Vertigo (with a very good reason though) ? Should they have waited extra time with the DVD of the tour and maybe film a show later in that part of the tour, or maybe even film a show in the 2nd, 3rd leg tour ? Was this Hamish Hamilton's last U2 DVD (notice not all of Milan was published, and even that was only a bonus on U2:18) ?
Unfortunately, there was also the lottery system malfunction and the pre-sale confusion that maybe alienated some fans. Do you think the band will have to be extra careful with ticket sales and whatever system they use for the fans, as not to lose what they so carefully built with the sucess of ATYCLB and Bomb, their reclaimed popularity in the US ?

Discuss if you wish.

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Old 09-22-2007, 04:25 PM   #2
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I agree with your comment about the hurried release of the 1st Vertigo DVD. It was too early into the tour, and as we have seen, the 2nd and 3rd leg held some real gems.

It would've been specatacular if they released a full european show as an outdoor dvd and a an indoor dvd from the 3rd leg. The 3rd leg brought many changes and additions to the setlists, along with some surprises. Hearing Discotheque at 20-9-05 made me wish, damn why do i have to put up with a crummy youtube vid ?

Regarding future ticket sales and the systems they use , I doubt it would worry them too much. U2 are the biggest band in the world, and people will come to the shows, regardless of what fiasco ticket sales may bring.

I think a 30 year career playing to millions of fans the world over will see to that little gripe.

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Old 09-23-2007, 05:06 AM   #3
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Agree about the vertigo dvd here as well, can't see how you can shoot one so early when the boys are just getting into all of it.

Do it at the 2nd leg when they are fully in swing.

I think Vertigo was better prepared then Popmart, simply because Vertigo still was a bit simpler so to speak. The indoor shows etc.
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Old 09-23-2007, 11:22 AM   #4
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Both Elevation and Vertigo DVDs suffered by being the first leg. U2's always better later in tours.
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Old 09-23-2007, 11:37 AM   #5
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Vertigo's 1st leg was my favorite. Great and variable setlists, some amazing shows (Seattle II, Chicago IV, Boston II and Boston III), Bono's voice was great... I just loved the spontaneity and imperfection of it all.
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Old 09-23-2007, 12:57 PM   #6
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I agree with most of what has been said in this thread. I think they should have waited with the DVD and filmed an outdoor show or at least an arena show of the 3rd leg. BUT what I love about the first leg (and I downloaded Seattle today) is, as djerdab said, the spontaineity, U2 are almost better when they are not perfect and still on an experimental leval, AND they played all this very old stuff which is really precious. But what left a negative impression of the Vertigo tour beginning was definitely the ticket chaos.

Apart from that, I don't see Vertigo leg 1 as "hurried" like PopMart was, because we all know how little time the band had between the finishing of the album and the start of the tour. It's just an U2 phenomenon that they seem to need a little time to really get into touring again.
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Old 09-23-2007, 01:24 PM   #7
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Of course, they should have waited with the DVD –*but it's what U2 decided. And regarding the schedule and the content of their releases, it is not the only event, that might be marked with a question mark.

But you can't really compare the 1st leg of 'Vertigo' with POPmart's 1st row. Simply because the band was in far better form on the last tour with Bono's voice in other universa – and the band playing with great self-confidence & musical power plus enjoying to switch setlists subastantially. I witnessed the two East Rutherford shows and the garden show in New York in May '05 – and they belong to the best gigs, U2 have played in my presence in the audience. Especially the two shows in the Meadowlands had it all – and that can't be said from the gigs, I witnessed in April/May/June '97.
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Old 09-25-2007, 02:42 AM   #8
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Vertigo' 1st leg was great in term of music! I loved the way they played some rare songs, mixing up Boy songs with Gloria and some others as well. PopMart was a lot more underprepared and it was even more noticable because of the stage complexity.... it's better to improvise in arenas than stadiums....

Vertigo' 1st leg wins over PopMart' 1st leg !
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Old 09-25-2007, 01:57 PM   #9
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A couple of factors play into this (and I can't believe I'm typing this now, since I'm on deadline...who says writers don't procrastinate?). I think we should go a little further back here...

Zoo TV started in the US after an absence from these shores of over four years, during which time U2 had released Rattle and Hum, which was a huge seller in the States. The band started the tour with a radically reinterpreted image. Interest factor was high, the (stunning and critically-acclaimed) album had been in the top 12 for three months, and had launched a succession of Top Ten singles -- The Fly (which peaked quickly, but was soon replaced by --), Mysterious Ways, and One were all released before the tour launched. No one had seen U2 sound or look like this before, so everyone wanted to know what was going on.

Pop had nowhere near the momentum that AB did. Zooropa had nowhere near the commercial success of AB, so people weren't dying to hear the songs from that album live -- and in the three year interim, U2 had only produced one hit single (HMTMKSKM). U2 hadn't undergone as nearly as profound an image makeover this time round, so it wasn't like they were surfing a new image. And when Pop finally arrived, on the heels of a single that had fast faded (Discotheque) and another single that was an essential non-starter (Staring at the Sun), perception became that U2 had gone over the "weird cliff" somewhere. (It didn't help that they released Pop on the 10th anniversary of Joshua Tree -- most press accounts of the band made mention of that, usually tacked on to "look how far they've gone".) Plus, whereas Zoo TV had stoked an interest by starting in arenas and driving interest up, PopMart started with stadia. It's far easier to build momentum by selling out a 20K arena than a 60K stadium. The face that the first several shows weren't great was the final nail in the PopMart coffin.

U2 learned its lesson for Elevation. They underwent a radical reinvention again (just four guys playing on a stage, which no one had seen in nearly ten years), had a huge hit album (BD was a monster hit), played a couple of one-off gigs to stoke interest, went back to arenas (and threw in the GA thing, which was pretty novel as well), and did all the TV shows that they ordinarily would have sworn off. Plus they released a greatest hits album in the interim to remind people why they were so great in the first place. Given all that, people were willing to give the band a bye for small things like ragged vocals or not being completely together. And there's a freshness and vitality to that first leg that can't be denied.

Vertigo had a couple of things going for it. When you're coming off a critically-acclaimed, sold-out arena tour where not everyone could get tickets, public interest is already going to be high. U2 went back to the same process (more or less) as Elevation. Great PR for their first big single (Vertigo was everywhere, in a good way), the U2/Apple connection was a great promotional tool as well, and they did another arena tour -- guaranteeing that everyone who saw them on Elevation would want to see them again, as well as everyone who couldn't see them on Elevation. U2 did TV shows again. They won awards again. They released another Best Of, which performed well in the charts and spiked sales of the first Best Of. And they released several live DVDs in the interim (Slane, Boston) to remind everyone how good they were live.

The success or failure of a concert leg is all about everything that has gone into it. With Vertigo and Elevation, even though there may have been some mis-steps on the tour itself, U2 did the work ahead of time to stoke the interest. With PopMart, U2 seemed to assume that people would just come along for the ride. It was the only time really that they've done that in the last twenty years, and the only real miscalulation they've made.
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:26 PM   #10
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I prefer the 1st leg to the 3rd. Better Setlists (they always drop decent songs) and Bono's voice is 100% better on the first leg vs. 3rd leg. While there was some hiccups, I would still rather have a early DVD than a later one.
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Old 09-26-2007, 04:56 PM   #11
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I saw Vertigo 1st leg in US, & ended up seeing Vertigo finish in Australia over a year & a half later. Bono's voice on last leg of Vertigo was amazing.
The tour by the end was alot tighter, better performed, yet as others have said, the beauty of seeing U2 perform is the spontaneity & rawness of their performances. Perhaps they did want to capture that early feel of a tour on a DVD as opposed to a seemless performance that one only expects. As a fellow bass player, I saw Adam 'stuff up' in Anahiem several times in only the 3rd gig of the tour....& that was a huge buzz in itself!!!.....these 4 'are' human I thought!
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Old 09-26-2007, 11:28 PM   #12
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I saw 10 Popmart shows, mostly on the first leg, as well as 15 Vertigo shows.

Popmart was an excellent show - not U2's best, but excellent. During the first 1-2 months, U2 was forced to re-model the set a little to gain flow. Once they axed/abridged some of the weaker Pop tunes and added a few consecutive hits in mid-show, the shows improved a lot. For example, Chicago #2 on 6/28/97 was one of the best U2 shows I've seen.

My view: the negative media perception which became the dominant "history" of Popmart had a large kernel of truth but was also influenced by other issues:

The kernel of truth: prior to tour start, U2 did build up Popmart as being even better than Zoo TV, it had no single worthy of serious radio consideration, the new songs did not meld particularly well with the old live, and the band was audacious enough to book a stadium tour up front nevertheless. And they were not perfectly rehearsed at tour start, although the extent to which this was the case is much exaggerated (and I did attend the 1st two shows).

The other reality: the big problem was that U2 decided to reject most forms of corporate sponsorship for the tour, openly and proudly, and actually spoke against "the corporate monster" during the shows. As the U.S. media is largely run by the aforementioned monster, this was a strategic mistake of monumental proportions, and contributed to major negative tour reviews. No reasonable reviewer could say that Popmart wasn't better than 90% of rock shows they see, but when a U2-level band tries to set an example of success while bucking the powers-that-be, with millions of dollars at stake they are not just going to sit by and watch (and they didn't). Particularly when the show didn't live up to the high expectations set by the band.

At any rate, U2 learned the lesson well. Since that time, they joined forces with Clear Channel and became a major beneficiary (and workhorse) of the corporate monster - and they have reaped outstanding reviews since. Super Bowl, etc. Vertigo shows were excellent, but the media (with the exception of Kot in Chicago) gave U2 a pass on its lack of real creativity - really the tour format and musical direction were identical to Elevation. That said, I happen to like Elevation-Vertigo, so I enjoyed the Vertigo tour tremendously.
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Old 09-27-2007, 01:56 AM   #13
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Originally posted by phillyfan26
Both Elevation and Vertigo DVDs suffered by being the first leg. U2's always better later in tours.
While the crowd energy at Slane is the best ever, I like the Boston DVD more. Bono's voice is far better (in this case, he has better vocals early in the tour, which got worse as the tour went on - this is usually the reverse for most other tours, including the last tour).

While the heart/target areas were great successes, I can't see U2 going there yet again for a third straight tour. I really hated the lottery system. One time, when I had floor tickets, my friend and I weren't even scanned a second time to see if we made it into the target! Other times, I was just not lucky to get in, despite hours of waiting. I realize U2 do not like seeing the same faces every show, but for those of us who don't go to every frickin' concert, I'd like to know that my time waiting outside all day paid off. Being in the heart vs. outside the target was night and day. I hated the latter and if U2 do have yet another special area and use this silly lottery system again, I will not buy any floor tickets (and will probably go to far less shows). I'm getting too old to be pushed around on the floor.

I like the idea of U2 having several sets of shows released. For example, instead of rushing out to have a Boston/Slane release or a Chicago/Milan release - why not just release one DVD set, with one concert from early in the tour and one later? Or perhaps have a 3 DVD set so fans can see how U2 and the tour progressed.

Despite the technology and the fact that U2 do record every show, I guess this is a pipe dream. Pearl Jam released quite a few of their concerts and they all became Top 200 hits on Billboard. I'd love to see U2 do the same (audio at least) - as it stands, fans can often download a concert mere hours after the show via bootlegs. Why not make it official and make some $$? I'm surprised McGuinness isn't doing this already.

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