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Old 07-02-2009, 11:38 AM   #1
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The "casual fan" excuse

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Those of us who critique the setlist are often met with the "casual fan" excuse. That is that U2 has to play certain songs because they have to please the "casual fans". This approach is grounded in the notion that U2 want to please as many in attendance as possible and, indirectly, maintain their status as the greatest band in the known universe.

I'd argue that U2 can play to these casual fans (amongst others) without constantly playing their greatest, greatest hits...

"Casual fans" know more songs that we're giving them credit for. They don't know only the "greatest, greatest hits", they also know the greatest hits. The fans currently termed "casual" ones, who seem to know only WOWY, Streets, SBS... would more aptly be called "people who own a radio" In other words, everybody knows those greatest, greatest hits. Casual fans, au contraire, bothering to buy a ticket, know a whole lot of U2...

IMHO (in my humble opinion...)...

Boy - A number
October - Not so much
War - A number
TUF - Lots of
TJT - Lots of
Rattle - Lots of
Achtung - Entire album
Zooropa - Most
Pop - Most
ATYCLB - Lots of
HTDAAB - Chunk of
NLOTH - U2 can play this, without justification anyway...


U2 doesn't have to vary their setlist every night - That's not what's being asked for... they just need to know that there is a greater number of songs from which to draw than they seem to realize... Even U2's "Casual fans" know a whole lot of U2... they are the biggest band in the known universe.

I think U2 would like to know this...


Disclaimer:
Mods, please feel free to merge this if you deem it appropriate. I think I'm coming from a different angle, and addressing an important issue, but if you feel this entire thing is redundant, please merge.
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:42 AM   #2
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Very well put. They need to cast the net more widely.
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:45 AM   #3
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this is my realistic view of which songs a casual fan would recognize:

Boy - I Will Follow
October - N/A
War - Sunday Bloody Sunday, New Year's Day, 40
TUF - Pride, Bad
JT - Streets, Still Haven't Found, WOWY, In God's Country
R&H - Desire, Angel Of Harlem, When Love Comes To Town, All I Want Is You
AB - EBTTRT, One, Mysterious Way, The Fly, WGRYWH
Zooropa - Numb, Lemon
Pop - Discotheque, Staring At The Sun
ATYCLB - BD, Elevation, Walk On, Stuck
HTDAAB - Vertigo, COBL, SYCMIOYO, OOTS


maybe a handful of other songs would be familiar, but i wouldn't expect someone who casually like the band to know any more than the above list, therefore the "casual fan" excuse stands.
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:46 AM   #4
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Casual fans knowing all of AB?

You're WAY off with your definition dude.

A casual fan may own a couple of U2 records, likes them enough to go to a show. They usually know the SINGLES. Which are U2's big hits. Which are SBS, WOWY, One, Streets, Beautiful Day, Elevation, Vertigo and COBL amongst others.
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:48 AM   #5
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I think you're giving casual fans too much credit. They certainly don't know most of Zooropa and Pop.

Look at the tracklistings of the greatest hits albums and I think that's a good indicator.
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikal View Post
this is my realistic view of which songs a casual fan would recognize:

Boy - I Will Follow
October - N/A
War - Sunday Bloody Sunday, New Year's Day, 40
TUF - Pride, Bad
JT - Streets, Still Haven't Found, WOWY, In God's Country
R&H - Desire, Angel Of Harlem, When Love Comes To Town, All I Want Is You
AB - EBTTRT, One, Mysterious Way, The Fly, WGRYWH
Zooropa - Numb, Lemon
Pop - Discotheque, Staring At The Sun
ATYCLB - BD, Elevation, Walk On, Stuck
HTDAAB - Vertigo, COBL, SYCMIOYO, OOTS


maybe a handful of other songs would be familiar, but i wouldn't expect someone who casually like the band to know any more than the above list, therefore the "casual fan" excuse stands.
wait just a minute here Mikal. They know In gods country but do not know the unforgetable fire? They know Lemon but do not know Stay?

I think not
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:52 AM   #7
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wait just a minute here Mikal. They know In gods country but do not know the unforgetable fire? They know Lemon but do not know Stay?

I think not
yeah, but like i said, when you start digging deeper into their catalog, it all depends on their exposure, which albums are their favorite, etc...
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:55 AM   #8
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yeah, but like i said, when you start digging deeper into their catalog, it all depends on their exposure, which albums are their favorite, etc...
hmmm , maybe you are right. I dont know. I tend to say that a lot of people I know would regognize UF better than IGC, but I am not sure
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:00 PM   #9
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i think it all depends on region too. for example, in the midwest U.S., i don't know that "Stay" was ever played on the radio, yet everyone knew Lemon because of the crazy video and Bono's high singing.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:01 PM   #10
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Some people are naming all the radio singles. These songs, as the name suggests, are heard on the radio. So... anybody with a radio hears them.

There must be something to differentiate "casual fans" from mere people owning radios... I'm sure that if you bother to call yourself a "casual fan" you've picked an album or two... likely TJT and AB!... you don't know that "A Room At The Heartbreak Hotel" is the b-side to "Angel of Harlem", nor that "Lady With The Spinning Head" off the EVBTTRT single is awesome... but you have listened to AB! and would recognize the tunes.

U2 is a big band, I think some of us are forgetting that...
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:05 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by zwervers2 View Post
hmmm , maybe you are right. I dont know. I tend to say that a lot of people I know would regognize UF better than IGC, but I am not sure
This also differs from country to country.

In the US I would say more know IGC.

Mikal thank you for bringing some reality, that's always needed in a ZooMac thread.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ZooMacPhisto800 View Post
Some people are naming all the radio singles. These songs, as the name suggests, are heard on the radio. So... anybody with a radio hears them.

There must be something to differentiate "casual fans" from mere people owning radios... I'm sure that if you bother to call yourself a "casual fan" you've picked an album or two... likely TJT and AB!... you don't know that "A Room At The Heartbreak Hotel" is the b-side to "Angel of Harlem", nor that "Lady With The Spinning Head" off the EVBTTRT single is awesome... but you have listened to AB! and would recognize the tunes.

U2 is a big band, I think some of us are forgetting that...
yeah, but casual fans also wouldn't listen to the albums front to back as extensively as the people posting here.

i can say that i'm a casual fan of Bloc Party, for example. but i could only really name or remember about 10 of their songs, max.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZooMacPhisto800 View Post
Some people are naming all the radio singles. These songs, as the name suggests, are heard on the radio. So... anybody with a radio hears them.

There must be something to differentiate "casual fans" from mere people owning radios... I'm sure that if you bother to call yourself a "casual fan" you've picked an album or two... likely TJT and AB!... you don't know that "A Room At The Heartbreak Hotel" is the b-side to "Angel of Harlem", nor that "Lady With The Spinning Head" off the EVBTTRT single is awesome... but you have listened to AB! and would recognize the tunes.

U2 is a big band, I think some of us are forgetting that...
I think you are missing a big point, yes they may own some of these albums, but it doesn't mean they listen to the whole album.

U2 attracts a lot of casual music fans and fanatics alike. So it's not that they have casual fans, these casual fans are casual music fans so they don't listen to albums they listen to singles and radio.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:10 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mikal View Post
i think it all depends on region too. for example, in the midwest U.S., i don't know that "Stay" was ever played on the radio, yet everyone knew Lemon because of the crazy video and Bono's high singing.
In this part of the US, people know SBS, NYD, Pride, WOWY, Still Haven't Found, Streets, One, and if you're lucky Mysterious Ways from the 80s and 90s. Then they know BD, Vertigo, occasionally COBL, Viva La Vida and occasionally Magnificen from this decade.

Although there's a radio station here in Austin that is rather fond of playing RHMT and MOS.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:16 PM   #15
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yeah, but casual fans also wouldn't listen to the albums front to back as extensively as the people posting here.

i can say that i'm a casual fan of Bloc Party, for example. but i could only really name or remember about 10 of their songs, max.
You're a casual fan of Bloc Party and you pretty much know 1/3rd of their work.

I don't like Bon Jovi at all and I still know the entire Slipper When Wet and Keep the Faith albums in addition to all their radio singles...
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:21 PM   #16
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I don't like Bon Jovi at all and I still know the entire Slipper When Wet and Keep the Faith albums in addition to all their radio singles...

Slippery When Wet you have an excuse that came out in the days of cassettes it wasn't easy fast forwarding to the songs you wanted to hear, no excuse for Keep the Faith, it's OK you're a Bon Jovi fan, don't be afraid to admit it.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:23 PM   #17
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You're a casual fan of Bloc Party and you pretty much know 1/3rd of their work.
but as they release more albums, that ratio will decrease.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Galeongirl View Post
Casual fans knowing all of AB?

You're WAY off with your definition dude.

A casual fan may own a couple of U2 records, likes them enough to go to a show. They usually know the SINGLES. Which are U2's big hits. Which are SBS, WOWY, One, Streets, Beautiful Day, Elevation, Vertigo and COBL amongst others.
ITA with this. Add I Will Follow, New Years Day, Pride, ISHFWILF, Angel of Harlem, Mysterious Ways, and Walk On to that list, and that's about all an U.S. casual fan knows. Trust me, I live with one (my hubby). When I drag him to the concerts, he is THRILLED to hear these songs, because they are all that he knows. And I would say he easily represents 85-90% of a U.S. audience.

They know nothing of Pop or Zooropa, they got no radio play over here
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:29 PM   #19
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Just check the tracklist for u218. That's what U2 thinks the casual fan listens to, IMO
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:29 PM   #20
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Slippery When Wet you have an excuse that came out in the days of cassettes it wasn't easy fast forwarding to the songs you wanted to hear, no excuse for Keep the Faith, it's OK you're a Bon Jovi fan, don't be afraid to admit it.
That logic would then work for a bunch of U2 albums... "casual fans" thus exposed to a bunch of material.
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