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Old 06-06-2018, 06:48 PM   #1
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I+E vs JT vs E+I Which Tour is Best?

It's a rare time to have U2 tour so much recently (if you live in the right part of the world), and to have three different tours in the last 3 years. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. How would you rank the three? High points and low points of each?

I was lucky enough to see all I+E and JT 2x each, and 1x for E+I.

I would put them:
1. I+E the first half of the set was incredible the first go round, and enough big songs to end.
2. JT, Close second. Great to see so many songs I had never seen and long wanted to. If Encore was better it would have been first, or even sequenced different. Not a fan of playing an album in order.
3. E+I Like that they are taking chance to play so many new songs, but song selection from Songs of Experience make it last for me.

Thinking about all three, I think they have been missing on closing of their shows lately. All three tours have really week closings. How hard is it to do Bad-Streets-40?

Innocence and Experience
Strengths
- Like seeing back to back nights with at least some minimal variation.
- The first half of the set from beginning to Until the End of the World was great the first time. RBW-> Until End, was a highlight. I liked the old school opening feel, went well with narrative.
- Electric Co., OOC, Bad,
- Bullet was great version.
- October-Bullet-Zooropa-Streets was a great run, and a highlight. (Makes the closing main set for E+I look all the more ridiculous)
- Enjoyed B-stage looseness, and variation night to night. Cool to see U2 finally loosen up and play some different things throughout the tour. Got to see In God's Country in Phoenix. Night to night seemed like anything was possible at least for a song or two, which is rare for U2.
Weakness
- Closing with One/ Still Haven't Found. Both were pretty tired, and lazy versions. Not a fan of letting the crowd sing the majority of the song.
- The Miracle not a great opening song
- Ordinary Love
- One, still just tired.
- Even Better& Mysterious Ways kept as static songs. Neither were bad, but recycling Even Better from 360 seemed a little tired. Would have helped if they rotated those two on night 2.

The Joshua Tree
Strengths
- A sort of Homecoming (I saw the first two shows) I didn't mind the synth, and was way up there on list for me of songs I had never seen live.
- Exit, One Tree Hill, In God's Country, Mother's of Disappeared were all excellent and a dream come true to see full band versions live.
- The lo-key opening fit the show and was great. The version of SBS was great compared to I+E/E+I, and NYD sounded great.
- Nice to see premier of Little Things, and grew into a great version.
Weakness
- Miss Sarajevo, momentum crusher. Worst moment of the show for sure.
- Red Hill Mining Town, piano + horns= huge disappointment.
- Encore was just weak over all.
- Playing JT in order
- Vidoes during JT was weak overall, and added very little to the show
- Replacing Little Things with The Best Thing
-Ending a show with Sweetest Thing

Experience and Innocence
Strengths
- Acrobat. Never thought I would see it, and was excellent.
- Enjoyed the opening sequence of songs, 1-6 was great. Sequencing, build up not great, but all sounded really good.
- B-stage, with the exception of Best Thing was a real highlight. Most I have enjoyed Elevation since the Elevation tour. Desire had a renewed vitality.
Weaknesses
- Static setlist
- Opening was poor in terms of build up and excitement because the staging is so strange. I thought Blackout sounded great, but the staging was really weak. The video section was weird and you spend way too much time staring at a video screen with almost nothing going on. Reminded me of the misfire, production wise, that Invisible was.
- Rehash of I+E section from Iris to Until the End. The section was fine but it's weird watching the exact same show of three years earlier. Until the End was still good, but missing something without segue from RBW.
- GOOYOW> City of Blinding Lights, worst main set closing section of any U2 show I have seen. City is not terrible but is overplayed right now, and the other two are just bad.
- The encore, and ending with 13. I enjoyed all three songs, but placing those three together to end the show is a weird choice and makes for a weak encore.
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Old 06-15-2018, 09:35 PM   #2
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I+E for me hands down. Longer shows. Variance in the middle of the set. You never knew what they might play on the B stage. The guitar mixes sounded better. RBW > Until the End. Joshua Tree was fun but it was a shorter show with more nostalgia and halfway through it seemed as if they were going through the motions. E+I I enjoy but the static setlist and laziness are a big turn off. Closing to the main set and the encore are very boring. Shame.
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:36 PM   #3
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E+I has been my personal favorite. I got lucky and saw it early on when the show was 26 Songs, which may be a factor, but I still think it was all around the best show. By that I mean I think I would have the same opinion if I saw the 24 song version. I know the whole “thematic” thing has gotten some grief here, but the show just works. I went to one show, so static setlist really don’t matter to me because they don’t affect my in-arena experience too much (although a surprise is always fun).

I’ve enjoyed all the shows I’ve attended, but I’ll need to rank shows instead of tours. After all, my perception of each tour is heavily based on the show I experienced:

1) E+I - LA1 - see above
2) I+E - LA4 - Typical IE show, but with All I Want Is You and “40.” Seeing “40” Live was an incredible surprise
3) JT2017 - DC - #Headstandman2020. Also my first time in GA, the band sounded great. Show flow worked much better than I expected. Got to cross Bad and Ultraviolet off my bucket list.
4) I+E - LA3 - Very Standard I+E show. 23 songs, biggest surprise was Stuck in a Moment (which I like by the way). My first U2 show, but the subsequent shows have been better
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:47 PM   #4
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Weakness
- Playing JT in order
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Old 06-16-2018, 03:53 AM   #5
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Unfortunately, it is pretty easy for me. I know E&I is going to come in last.

I love both SOI and SOE . I rate both considerably higher than most here. I just view this show as an enormous missed opportunity. I don't have anything new to add to what others have said. Nonexistent rotation, acoustic performances of what should be full electric songs, dropping songs night 2, canned horns on lights of home, etc, etc. I think in terms of both structure and song selections, this show is truly flawed:

-Arrangements. Lip synced Love is all and canned horns Lights of home has debatable legitimacy even being in the show in the first place. Never mind in the opening barrage. See I&E and JT30 for lessons in how to come out firing! Both tours could almost win on the strength of the opening 4 songs alone. Then we get acoustic best thing later on.

- New song selection 2 songs that I view as absolutely essential to the "experience narrative" haven't been touched- Showman and Little things. I think it's safe to say the consensus here in these parts is that Little things is the best song on SOE. Showman is insanely catchy, fun, different for U2 and even if you personally don't like it as much as I do, you'd have to admit that it complements little things perfectly. It's also hard to argue that it wouldn't be a strong live track. Much better than lip syncing Love is all or closing with 13.

For me, the "narrative is too tight to allow rotation" argument falls flat when you see these songs sitting on the bench. Unless they can somehow convince us that Get out of your own way, with its generic platitudes, tells the story better.

They just don't seem to get it this tour. Raised by wolves, one of the best live new songs? Goes perfectly into Until the end of the world. Drop it! Keep SBS the way it was, though. Every breaking wave fits the Experience narrative better than most SOI songs? Leave it on the shelf. Same for the Troubles. Maybe give "Reach Me Now" a try instead of Cedarwood? It would go pretty well with Red flag day. Nope. Give Summer of love a try? No ,for whatever reason.

-No need to go heavy on JT tracks, but omitting them just because they toured the album in 2017 is just stubborn. The question should be "how can we put on the best show possible?" Can they give perennial staples like Bullet, SHF and WOWY a rest and do just as good or better of a show? Of course, and they SHOULD! But as others have asked, is this show really any better for not having Streets? Also, before JT 2017, one could make a very strong case for JT being pretty lightly represented over the years outside of the big 4. Especially as compared to ATYCLB or AB.

Streets every night and IGC/Trip through your wires in a hypothetical e stage rotation would be more than welcome. As would the occasional Running to standstill or One Tree Hill. None of this would get them in the dreaded nostalgia box or open them up to criticism that they're still milking JT. They're some of the best songs ever written by anyone, and they're kidding themselves if they think anything but the big 4 have been overplayed.

On a related note, they seem to be leaving out songs like Bad and All I Want Is You for the same reason they're leaving out JT songs. Again, why? They've hardly been overdone, especially AIWIY and are always spectacular live. How can you play Desire, I Will Follow and that 2015 snooze version of SBS every night but use the "we did it all last year, this one is for the fans of our new stuff" argument on these songs?

I have thought long and hard and the only thing that is truly special and indispensable about this set is Acrobat. Everything else about the selection and structure can be changed and most likely represent an improvement.

So E&I is last for me.

As for which of the other 2 is better, hard to say. Saw each 5 times and all were EXTREMELY STRONG and I had very few set list complaints. I&E had the best show, Boston 1 July 10, 2015. That was truly amazing and the best concert I ever saw U2 or ANYONE do and I've seen hundreds of bands.

I'd say based on that combined with my extensive listening to shows and reading fan reviews, that I&E and JT 30 were overall a tie. With one notable qualifier. When I&E had a show that went to that next level, it blew JT out of the water.

My impression is, with a little bit of hindsight, that I&E really had some special shows. Most notably shortly after Dennis Sheehan's passing, the Boston and NYC run and probably 2 or 3 each of the 3 months in Europe. (Berlin, Amsterdam, Cologne. Stockholm, Glasgow, London , Paris and Dublin all had at least one show that I sat in awe of listening to a crappy bootleg thousands of miles away).

On I&E, they really seemed to strike a balance between being tight, energetic and out to prove something on one hand and being relatively fun and spontaneous on the other. They came across as passionate, serious, heartfelt, fun , humble and lighthearted all at the same time. The themes of the album carried into the show a lot better and they were out to silence the critics after the Apple backlash.

I am not one to go on professional or fan reviews too heavily, but a comparison of both for I&E and E&I is telling. I&E, most professional reviewers , with the benefit of time, had actually listened to and digested SOI. They rightly credited U2 with crafting a show that blended it well with their hits to cohesively tell a story that truly helped people understand what the band has been about all these years. This tour, on the other hand, has left reviewers and fans alike confused as to what they're going for and baffled at the exclusion of so many songs that just make the experience a better one. It hasn't been said directly that I've seen, but if I were to sum up the reviews of this tour, I'd say that they think the band is playing with one goal in mind: Go the complete opposite of JT 2017 and prove that they're not the Rolling Stones.
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Old 06-16-2018, 09:14 AM   #6
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-Arrangements. Lip synced Love is all and canned horns Lights of home has debatable legitimacy even being in the show in the first place. .
Then you have to also take into account the canned horns on Redhill Mining Town on JT30 and penalize that tour on the same basis.
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Old 06-16-2018, 04:19 PM   #7
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Then you have to also take into account the canned horns on Redhill Mining Town on JT30 and penalize that tour on the same basis.


Somewhat but not as much.

It's all personal opinion/evaluation. You're not wrong and i 'm not right.

Lights of Home has a straightforward, rock and roll arrangement that works fine on the album and could translate plenty well live.

Redhill Mining Town on the other hand, is hard to imagine being played live without some kind of tweaking. It's a matter of personal preference, granted, but I felt the horns worked on Redhill. Also, Edge was playing piano the whole time. Not walking from a screen back to the stage. Finally, it wasn't the second song of the night where the focus should be squarely on keeping the energy level high and engaging the crowd.

The other reason I don't penalize the JT tour for Redhill is that they cut absolutely no corners on any other song. Look what they did with Sunday bloody Sunday in 2015 and again now. They ripped right through the Pre JT songs exactly as they were on the albums, giving in their all. Did 7 minute versions of Bad. Then played all of JT without doing one song acoustic or otherwise half assed.
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Old 06-22-2018, 04:19 PM   #8
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For me it’s I&E.....then.....a......long.....way......back is TJT30 (mainly above E&I because of the side 2 songs)....then slightly less back is E&I mainly for being lazy, not changing up Iris-UTEOTW. Closing main set is weak, ending kinda bad and not a huge fan of the album in the first place.
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:15 AM   #9
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The Joshua Tree concert really turned off the group of casuals I went with. None of them want to go see this tour because of it.
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Old 06-23-2018, 01:40 PM   #10
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The Joshua Tree concert really turned off the group of casuals I went with. None of them want to go see this tour because of it.
I'm genuinely curious what it was about that tour that turned them off. I felt like that tour was targeted at the casuals, with all the big hits...
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Old 06-25-2018, 02:31 PM   #11
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I+E vs JT vs E+I Which Tour is Best?

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I'm genuinely curious what it was about that tour that turned them off. I felt like that tour was targeted at the casuals, with all the big hits...

I honestly think they were that casual that they expected other classic songs to be on the Joshua Tree (For example one guy thought for sure Sunday Bloody Sunday was on the Joshua tree). The further into the setlist you got you could see them fading fast and they never recovered. It started out with a bang but it’s unfortunate that all they remember is the downward spiral of the concert.

As dumb as it may sound to us, a lot of casuals probably expected a greatest hits tour and probably never listened to the Joshua tree in full. So the slow burning ending of the album put a lot of people to sleep.

I gave a friend of mines mom fair warning that they weren’t playing any Joshua Tree songs on this tour and she went ballistic. I said you realize you’re really only going to be missing Streets and With Or Without you right? The Joshua Tree is their biggest album so I think people just lump that in with all of the songs they love.
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Old 06-25-2018, 08:27 PM   #12
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As a whole, I+E is my favorite. Saw all the LA shows and loved every bit of it. The variety was fantastic.
However, LA1 on The Joshua Tree tour was breathtaking. Hearing ASOH, IGC, OTH and EXIT for the first time was everything I thought it would be.
E+I is good, I mean I've now heard Acrobat twice, but its not as engaging for me as I+E.
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:03 PM   #13
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I+E vs JT vs E+I Which Tour is Best?

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I honestly think they were that casual that they expected other classic songs to be on the Joshua Tree (For example one guy thought for sure Sunday Bloody Sunday was on the Joshua tree). The further into the setlist you got you could see them fading fast and they never recovered. It started out with a bang but it’s unfortunate that all they remember is the downward spiral of the concert.

As dumb as it may sound to us, a lot of casuals probably expected a greatest hits tour and probably never listened to the Joshua tree in full. So the slow burning ending of the album put a lot of people to sleep.

I gave a friend of mines mom fair warning that they weren’t playing any Joshua Tree songs on this tour and she went ballistic. I said you realize you’re really only going to be missing Streets and With Or Without you right? The Joshua Tree is their biggest album so I think people just lump that in with all of the songs they love.


Thanks for the thoughtful response. I hadn’t thought about it that way, that Side 1 would thrill the casuals, but Side 2 would have them scratching their heads. Makes sense though.
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Old 07-08-2018, 09:43 PM   #14
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My $.02

I + E was the best of the three... maybe because it had been quite a few years between tours, but also because for me SOI was a better record than SOE, for me at least, and the staging and video wall was new and different.

JT was next -- that version of Exit was amazing, the overall set list was fun... most of the crowd stayed interested even through Side 2 of the JT.

E + I was way behind for me... perhaps a bit of U2 burn out on my part, but also because some of the song choices from SOE and that forgettable encore trio of songs. I'm not sure I'd pay to see this show again and after 35 years and 20 shows I can't believe I think this way, but I really do.
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Old 07-09-2018, 02:54 PM   #15
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Thanks for the thoughtful response. I hadn’t thought about it that way, that Side 1 would thrill the casuals, but Side 2 would have them scratching their heads. Makes sense though.
I went to a JT show with my brother and one of his friends, and the friend said he got bored when they played the Side 2 songs. I was there for Side 2!
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