U2's odd stance on the War album. - U2 Feedback

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Old 12-26-2010, 10:21 PM   #1
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U2's odd stance on the War album.

I've never really understood U2's lack of awknowledgement for the album that made them famous. It's considered a classic album in it's own right, and it's a favorite of many casual/non fans. So what's with the lack of representation in the setlists? Sure, we've all heard SBS and NYD live, and probably most have seen 40 close a concert. But what about the rest of this great album?

We have the Seconds, 2 hearts and Surrender trio, not touched since the mid 80s (I know, 2hearts once in 89). These are great live songs! Now I understand they aren't among U2's classics, but I think these songs deserve a return to the stage as much as Gloria or An Cat Dubh did. Yet I feel like that U2 will never touch these songs with a 10 ft pole again. Shame.

Then we have the 4 songs that never even got a chance. Like a song (once played), Drowning Man, The Refugee and Red Light. Like a song sounded great the one time they played it, why wouldn't they ever try it again? I just can't imagine writing a song and never, ever playing it live. What is the point? Was it just filler for them?

Anyone have any insight to U2's stand on the War album?
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:34 PM   #2
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Maybe they feel the songs are a bit of a touchy subject politically...although Sunday Bloody Sunday really was more of that. Like A Song came pretty close, though.

It'd be nice to hear some of the less played stuff from War live...
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:35 PM   #3
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You could ask the same thing about Boy and October.

I guess it's the dilemma of a band going strong for 30 years - how to represent all the albums?
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:40 PM   #4
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U2 doesn't hate it just because they aren't playing it. From what I understand they actually really like this album. It's a good, strong album IMO. They played NYD last year and SBS is a regular. 40 has been a good closer but MOS is such a good closer this tour. It's a little better to me anyway. Drowning Man was rehearsed last year in Barcelona(?). The Refugee, while a good song, I don't think would work right live. Surrender would be awesome! So would Two Hearts. Why they're not playing those? Probably due to recognition. Most people might not recognize either one of those more than say Elevation (which I'd love to throw in a trash can). Red Light well you should know the verdict here. People hate it, at least on Interference. I don't mind it. Like A Song... must have been a one time experiment, kinda like how we got YBR last year. Most of the time for a song to get played live it depends on how well known it is. My band covers songs and we choose songs that people are going to know or at least can enjoy. I guess U2 takes that into account as well.
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:57 PM   #5
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The_acrobat: Thank you for this very great and very timely thread!

I agree with literally every word you said, but this stands out:

Quote:
It's considered a classic album in it's own right, and it's a favorite of many casual/non fans.
I can't count the number of times people have said to me something like "I'm not that into U2, but "War" is an awesome album."

I think the raw passion and energy really resonates with people and is palpable throughout. Be it on the album, in music videos or in live performances.

It is extremely well known among casuals, both U2 and rock in general, especially those who were around at the time. As we well know, this was an era where the entire album was actually listened to and well known, not just the singles.

You also hit on the other important points:

1.)The album cuts they played from "War" most notably Surrender, 2 Hearts and Seconds, absolutely killed live. They had amazing energy and in the case of the 1st 2, always had interesting snippets. 2 Hearts I have always viewed as one of U2's most underrated songs, even though it was a moderate hit single and a live staple for a couple tours.

Just look at what's been there instead: Acoustic Stuck, Your Blue Snooze and Miss Sarajevo.

2.)These songs aren't any less deserving than stuff they've pulled from Boy and October. Electric Co, An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart, The Ocean, Stories for Boys, Gloria and Scarlet. I mean SCARLET. They pulled that out of nowhere, would have been the exact equivalent of taking the once played "Like A Song" and putting it in the slot after SBS for the whole Pacific Leg.

It's too bad- U2 could stand to lose songs like Miss Sarajevo and Elevation(+2 more from ATYCLB, excluding BD) to play some of their best live songs ever from a classic album in U2 and indeed, rock history!

I'm not saying play all old stuff by any means, just choose different songs to represent the back catalog once in a while.

Do we really need MS and Elevation as staples again? Do we really need Mysterious Ways every single night, or can 2 Hearts come in once in a while?

Not when "War" has some of U2's best live songs by a long shot!

Early U2=Epic Win. And you will all either admit that now or watch Red Rocks and come back and admit you were wrong. I will never understand how we have so many here who like to dismiss this era with a shrug and "I'm not really into that stuff."

U2, to me, has always had 3 masterpieces, regardless of the many directions my "Top 5" list has gone in over the years:

Joshua Tree
War
Achtung Baby
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Old 12-26-2010, 11:09 PM   #6
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[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by corianderstem View Post
You could ask the same thing about Boy and October.
Not really.

They dug up 5-6 tracks from Boy for Vertigo and I Will Follow has become a 360 staple. Well known for a debut album, but certainly not as well known as "War."

October, a comparatively obscure album, had Gloria on Vertigo and Scarlet on 360.

War has to be judged a little differently because unlike the 1st 2 which weren't too well known outside the fan base/college radio, "War" was a break through album and will be remembered in rock history. SBS and NYD will go down as 2 of the greatest songs ever written.

To not have touched any of the album cuts from "War" that the acrobat mentions is very strange indeed.

Quote:
I guess it's the dilemma of a band going strong for 30 years - how to represent all the albums?
Start by losing the ATYCLB and mediocre slow song overload.

Plenty that adds no value(acoustic Stuck) or has run its course (Elevation, MS, Mysty Ways) has been over represented, "War" (and Pop!) have been under represented.

Not so difficult.....
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Old 12-26-2010, 11:12 PM   #7
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.

This dot represents my edit that represents my early new year's resolution to not respond to anyone who disagrees with me as a knee-jerk reaction. Because some things just aren't worth arguing about, it's just a difference of opinion.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.
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Old 12-26-2010, 11:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by U2387 View Post
I can't count the number of times people have said to me something like "I'm not that into U2, but "War" is an awesome album."
i hear that a lot, in both reference to war and when people say they love u2's early material but everything else sucks.

people say that, but at the simple mention of a drowning man, twilight or october (the track or the album, tbh) it's like you've starting talking about ito okashi.

going back to war, people know and love sunday bloody sunday and new year's day. they happen to know what album they're on. whether someone knows the rest or is just bluffing is a total crapshoot from there.
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Old 12-26-2010, 11:28 PM   #9
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I tend to hear more that people like The Joshua Tree, but then they have no idea in hell what I'm talking about if I mention 'In God's Country', not to mention 'Exit'. 'Mothers of the Disappeared,' definitely not. What's odd is how much of Joshua Tree is overlooked and sounds a lot like what mainstream radio likes (ISHFWILF, WOWY...'In God's Country' and 'One Tree Hill', for example, are pretty darn similar to those, and good)

I haven't heard anyone say yet that they like only early U2, especially only very early 80s U2. It's mostly late 80s U2 I've seen people obsess over. And honestly, 'Boy' through 'War' era is my favorite, but U2 wouldn't have gotten anywhere without Joshua Tree or Unforgettable Fire...

War would definitely be one of my favorite albums, though, if not for Boy

Quote:
Originally Posted by U2387 View Post

Start by losing the ATYCLB and mediocre slow song overload.
So true...that album bothers me, aside from the few songs I like on it. U2 is just not meant to be slow unless they're singing "40"
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corianderstem View Post
.

This dot represents my edit that represents my early new year's resolution to not respond to anyone who disagrees with me as a knee-jerk reaction. Because some things just aren't worth arguing about, it's just a difference of opinion.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.
I honestly didn't mean to argue here. Or be a jerk

Point taken that it could've come across like that......

I was just pointing out how Boy and October got many more performances of rare album cuts than War on the last couple tours. And saying I thought it was odd.

Of course, I am of the (humble) opinion that War deserves a lot more than it gets, and if you happen to disagree, then of course, it's just a difference of opinion.

No one more valid than the other.

And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well!!

I am not just saying this, I've been working on my posting style, which can be quite abrasive, for some time and you and DoctorWho are about the best here in terms of discussion, expressing opinions, etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolian2 View Post
i hear that a lot, in both reference to war and when people say they love u2's early material but everything else sucks.

people say that, but at the simple mention of a drowning man, twilight or october (the track or the album, tbh) it's like you've starting talking about ito okashi.

going back to war, people know and love sunday bloody sunday and new year's day. they happen to know what album they're on. whether someone knows the rest or is just bluffing is a total crapshoot from there.
Great point!

Of course it's a total crapshoot.

I think some of it will depend on the age of the person. If they're younger, better chance they just know SBS and NYD. Older people, well, they probably bought the whole LP or cassette and gave it a few spins. And they no doubt heard 2 Hearts on the radio a bit in the 1983-85 time period.

[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnCatKatie View Post
I tend to hear more that people like The Joshua Tree, but then they have no idea in hell what I'm talking about if I mention 'In God's Country', not to mention 'Exit'. 'Mothers of the Disappeared,' definitely not. What's odd is how much of Joshua Tree is overlooked and sounds a lot like what mainstream radio likes (ISHFWILF, WOWY...'In God's Country' and 'One Tree Hill', for example, are pretty darn similar to those, and good)

I haven't heard anyone say yet that they like only early U2, especially only very early 80s U2. It's mostly late 80s U2 I've seen people obsess over. And honestly, 'Boy' through 'War' era is my favorite, but U2 wouldn't have gotten anywhere without Joshua Tree or Unforgettable Fire...

War would definitely be one of my favorite albums, though, if not for Boy

I notice this as well with Joshua Tree and late 80s in general.
I think it's just that Streets, Still Haven't Found and WOWY were so big, then along came Desire, Angel of Harlem and to a lesser extent, All I Want Is You. People don't even think of the album tracks, nor do they think they're needed to make a great era. Too bad, really, as you pointed out, the album cuts are just as good!

You're right, I see it less with the early 80s, but it's still around. I have a co worker who got on a rant when I asked him a month after the Boston 360 shows what he thought. He started saying it was "all the new crap" and I protested, citing SBS, NYD, TUF and the JT big 3. He was having none of it. "Joshua Tree isn't old to me, man, and of course, they're gonna play SBS and NYD from War, how about Seconds or 40??"

Who knows, maybe Boston has a lot of people who've been there since the very beginning compared to some other cities.



Quote:
So true...that album bothers me, aside from the few songs I like on it. U2 is just not meant to be slow unless they're singing "40"
I quite enjoy ATYCLB and it was the right album for U2 to make at the time, but that being said, it's BD, Kite and In A Little While for me and the rest falls firmly in middle of the pack U2 territory at best. It's not the 3rd masterpiece so many claim it is.

But it's certainly not the album they should be leaning on so heavily in a big stadium with the set they have. I, like you, think U2 are at their best when they are rocking, or doing ballads that resemble WOWY more than Miss Sarajevo or Stuck.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:30 AM   #11
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There are, though, definite exceptions to younger people not knowing the rest of the albums. I have to say, I know more people who are my parents' age, basically the band's age, who haven't heard most of the tracks of the U2 albums than people my age who don't...

Then again, by default, it tends to be the older people who've heard of the songs existing at all...
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:41 AM   #12
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What about "Like a Song"? Why did they only play this song once in their 30 year plus career?? Baffling really.
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:54 AM   #13
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I really don't think it's a "stance" on the album.

The album was 26 years ago, 2 songs have gotten a fairly consistent representation since the albums release, with one more having a fairly long life as a closer.

There's really only two other songs they could possibly play; Two Hearts or Drowning Man, they rehearsed one and found it didn't feel right.

Like a Song is a great song, but lyrically would be laughed at today if the band tried to sing that, so would the rest of the album.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:23 PM   #14
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I don't think War is underrepresented at all (of course it is my least favourite 2 album).

Playing those two classics regularly is more than enough. If this thread was about Pop then you'd have a point...
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:39 PM   #15
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Apparently THBAO was rehearsed or at least considered for Elevation but missed the cut. I can't say I'm that sad it's not been played (one of my least favourites on the album), but it would get some recognition and do well, at the very least on an arena tour.

The failure to include Drowning Man on 360 is unjustifiable. This shit about the show needing "20 minutes to recover" or whatever from it (and other songs) is in U2's minds and NOBODY ELSE'S. Can you possibly overthink setlists any more? And we reckon we nitpick too much ...

Seconds would be fairly easy to add into almost any setlist. Just a shame about the dated lyrics.

Like A Song would kill. Wouldn't it be nice, huh.
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