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Old 10-19-2001, 10:13 PM   #1
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When U2 plays live, how many people are really playing?

So what is the story on this? After listening to countless live recordings, I am thinking that at any given time 6 or 7 people could be playing instruments while U2 is onstage. 3/4 onstage, 2/3 behind the scenes filling in on certain parts of songs. I know the band relies a lot on sequencers, but sometimes you can hear much more. Especially with ALD and earpiece recordings surfacing these days. Does anyone here know what goes on beneath the stage at a U2 show? I have often wondered about this and was hoping somone here had some inside info.

[This message has been edited by ultraviolet_j (edited 10-19-2001).]
 
Old 10-19-2001, 10:14 PM   #2
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No one's actually playing instruments off stage, but there are plenty of samples... strings, synths, the bassline in mofo, etc.
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Old 10-20-2001, 12:10 AM   #3
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Actually, if I remember correctly, Bill Flanagan made note in his book that Des Broadberry, one of their techs, sits in a little cubby, about 1/2 level down from Edge, but right next to him, and plays backing guitar & keyboard parts, to help fill in the live sound. The band tries very hard to cut down on pre-recorded loops, because it makes improvisation much more difficult.


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Old 10-20-2001, 12:16 AM   #4
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Hmm perhaps. I know if you listen to the Popmart Tel Aviv bootleg you can really tell which parts are sampled because they are waaay too loud in the mix.
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Old 10-20-2001, 12:24 AM   #5
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Yeah, SkeeK, let me rephrase.

I wasn't trying to say that they don't use ANY samples, because it's pretty obvious that they do. I was just paraphrasing what Flanagan said they did on the Zoo tours. They may have gone over to more samples now, I'm not sure.

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Old 10-20-2001, 10:04 AM   #6
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Rumors of a 2nd guitarist beneth stage date all the way back to the UF tour...
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Old 10-20-2001, 10:50 AM   #7
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at slane i saw dallas play the guitar on satge while edge and bono where at the tip. only 1 song though.
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Old 10-20-2001, 11:05 AM   #8
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Indeed, they're using tons of samples (keyboards, strings ect), especially for the "tough" songs, like Strees.
Apart from that, it's the signature sound of Edge's guitar and the way he plays with delay and all his echo effects that make U2 sound so amazingly rich and unique live.


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Old 10-20-2001, 02:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sledgehammer:
Apart from that, it's the signature sound of Edge's guitar and the way he plays with delay and all his echo effects that make U2 sound so amazingly rich and unique live.
I beg to differ. Flanagan, Page 84-85:

"On Edge's right, in a bunker two steps down, sits guitar tech Dallas Schoo with a roomful of guitars, tuners, and spare parts. It is a fully functioning guitar shop. During the concert Dallas will break off a conversation to pump a wah-wah pedal so that Edge can get the effect while keeping his own feet free to move acros the stage. Just outside Dallas's room, in a cubbyhole that gives hime a clear view of the stage, sits Des Broadbery at an elaborate console of keyboards and computer screens...Des has a copmuter file standing by with any U2 song the band might suddenly pull out of their hats, and if it needs a synth pad or second guitar, Des is ready to drop it in."


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Old 10-23-2001, 03:44 AM   #10
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There is a 2nd guitarist indeed. At least there was one on Zoo TV. They don't seem to want to hide this fact since the extra guitarist appears normally in a Zoo TV movie/documentary from Madison Square Garden that aired on TV in the Zoo years. The journalist makes a tour underneath the stage and he shows the extra guitarist as well as the machines that play the samples.

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Old 10-23-2001, 09:10 AM   #11
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It has always made me a little sad that EDGE is not totally in charge of his sound. Not using pedals himself, to be able to walk around is kind of lazy from a musicianship standpoint. It is almost a "lip synching" guitar,trading sound for image is a faux pas. Let Bono run around the stage, that is his job. Guitarists should do their job PLAY GUITAR!! (pedals included)
I'm not trying to rip Edge, but let's think about this. Edge is considered one of the best by many critics. Do you really think some of the best ever like Page,Hendrix,Gilmore,Anastasio,Clapton,Houser
the list goes on and on obviously, would ever consider a guitar tech having control over their live guitar? Absolutely not!! Using the pedals is as much a part of the guitar as the strings.
So in conclusion, and I have always thought this, U2 are great perfomers, but are average musicians or have become starstrucken lazy. When U2 is live, is it really live at all? I know I will get flamed for this, but please think about this before totally ripping me... Thanks for your time...



[This message has been edited by bu2iful (edited 10-23-2001).]

[This message has been edited by bu2iful (edited 10-23-2001).]
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Old 10-23-2001, 10:31 AM   #12
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Walk On is a pretty good example of what you are talking about. Nobody plays the main riff in the song. It's definitely a loop. Edge played the riff on Tribute to Heros but not at all on the Elevation Tour. He just plays mostly chords. There is also a keyboard as a backing track in that song which starts at "Walk on...you gotta leave it behind..." What may sound like an extra instrument is really just a sample and not a ghost player. In the links below it is said that Des triggers samples from his keyboards.

achtung macphisto, you probably saw Dallas on the main stage tuning Edge's guitar and not actually playing along. I've seen him do that 7 times.

Here are some links that show what Des actually uses in his Underworld. Hopefully you'll find them informative.
http://www.gironet.nl/home/firework/u2_meets_max.htm
http://www.u2sound.de/htm/setup_des.htm


[This message has been edited by Zoomeranger (edited 10-23-2001).]
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Old 10-23-2001, 11:25 AM   #13
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zoowhateverthrfuckyournamewas, dont be so ignorant. i was the first person between the stage and the eighty thousand people behind me and right in the middle of the stage, i know what i saw, so shut up and hit your self or something
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Old 10-23-2001, 12:50 PM   #14
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Even if there is another guy playing off-stage, the number of people playing is probably 4 since Bono is often playing air-guitar.

But the sound is lovely.
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Old 10-23-2001, 12:59 PM   #15
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I don't think there is anything wrong with Edge having other people pump his wah. For God's sake, thats a very menial part of playing guitar!
I think most people are glad that Edge is free to carouse the stage at will, it adds much more exitement to the performance, and is one of the things that make U2 so unique in the touring industry

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Old 10-23-2001, 01:03 PM   #16
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Uhh.....I highly doubt Bono plays "air guitar" Thats only something 10 year old kids do when they are imitating Slash.

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Old 10-23-2001, 01:37 PM   #17
 
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yes, Clapton, Page and Hendrix may not have had someone backstage pumping their wah/effects pedals for them but then again is their music as multi-layered as U2's just taking into account lead/rhythm....lets be frank here..if U2 performed a song like Beautiful Day, New York, or The Fly with just Edge it would sound pretty dissapointing...no fills, no background instrumentals..it would be very flat...its the steps U2 need to make to ensure their studio work translates onto stage as fully and comfortably as possible without sounding like a parody of the original studio version..it doesn't make Edge any less of a musician, its the only way to give the audience more in delivery than just having Edge with an assortment of effects, one guitar, and a few wahs, plus the fact that he'd probably be stuck in one location of the stage for the entire show which is the last thing fans would want...


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Old 10-23-2001, 02:26 PM   #18
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"Walk On is a pretty good example of what you are talking about. Nobody plays the main riff in the song. It's definitely a loop. Edge played the riff on Tribute to Heros but not at all on the Elevation Tour. He just plays mostly chords. There is also a keyboard as a backing track in that song which starts at "Walk on...you gotta leave it behind..." What may sound like an extra instrument is really just a sample and not a ghost player. In the links below it is said that Des triggers samples from his keyboards."

This is not true. I know how to play "Walk On", and I saw Bono play the main riff, while Edge played the chords. Then Edge played the ending riff, while Bono played the chords.
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Old 10-23-2001, 02:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by bu2iful:
It has always made me a little sad that EDGE is not totally in charge of his sound. Not using pedals himself, to be able to walk around is kind of lazy from a musicianship standpoint. It is almost a "lip synching" guitar,trading sound for image is a faux pas. Let Bono run around the stage, that is his job. Guitarists should do their job PLAY GUITAR!! (pedals included)
I'm not trying to rip Edge, but let's think about this. Edge is considered one of the best by many critics. Do you really think some of the best ever like Page,Hendrix,Gilmore,Anastasio,Clapton,Houser
the list goes on and on obviously, would ever consider a guitar tech having control over their live guitar? Absolutely not!! Using the pedals is as much a part of the guitar as the strings.
So in conclusion, and I have always thought this, U2 are great perfomers, but are average musicians or have become starstrucken lazy. When U2 is live, is it really live at all? I know I will get flamed for this, but please think about this before totally ripping me... Thanks for your time...

Seems like lip synching to me. But for some reason I dislike it more when people do it for vocals more than guitar. With that said. I don't really care if the Edge walks around. Its more important to me that Edge plays. I mean I don't go to see a live show b/c of the pre-recorded music. Another thing, I don't think they are using that many sequencers for the Elevation tour. IMO. I could see it being done for Zoo TV, but this tour is different from what I see and hear.



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Old 10-23-2001, 02:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lemonator:

This is not true. I know how to play "Walk On", and I saw Bono play the main riff, while Edge played the chords. Then Edge played the ending riff, while Bono played the chords.
Yeah, Bono does play over the main riff but the main riff you hear is not Bono's playing, its a loop. I watched what Bono was playing and I saw him miss the riff and at some points stop playing over the riff completely but alas, the main riff continued even when he was not playing!

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