"Some people expect U2 to come on like a political band. . . . Other people see us as prophets. Some see us as pop stars. . . . And we're not any of those things. We're probably all of them. I don't know what we are."
U22: What It Has and What It's Missing
February 02, 2012
Staff writer Aaron J. Sams takes a look at U22, the upcoming 2-CD live collection that's being sent to current U2.com fan club members.
The Songs That Made U22
The final track list for this year's u2.com fan club CD has been announced. The CD, titled U22, features 22 live songs, as voted by paying members of u2.com. Forty-six songs were made available for the compilation; only 22 tracks were on the final track listing. There is no firm release date, but we do know which songs have made the cut.
Many of the songs on U22 are what I would consider tour staples. These songs appeared in more than 70 percent of the 360 tour concerts worldwide. Some appeared every night; others would weave in and out of the show as time went on but appeared in most of the legs of the tour. Below I list the songs I consider in this category, as well as the actual percentage of times the song appeared in the 360 concerts (i.e., a song that appeared 100 percent was played at every show on the entire tour):
Over half of the tracks chosen for U22 fall into this category I have chosen as tour staples. These songs have all been singles with the exception of "Moment Of Surrender" and "Until The End Of The World."
From the sound clips on U2.com we know that some of these tracks are taken from specific shows. "Mysterious Ways" is likely from Cape Town, "Until The End Of The World" is from one of the Mexico shows, "Moment Of Surrender" is taken from a show in Perth, and "I Still Haven't Found" is likely from Boston. "Beautiful Day" is from Zagreb, and "Magnificent" is taken from one of the Zurich shows. The location of the other tracks above is as yet unannounced, and there are no hints as to where they may have come from. I'm hoping that these tracks aren't taken from the U2 360 At The Rose Bowl DVD, as that would be a huge disappointment: repeating material we've already had released in another format. I really hope they have taken the opportunity to release fresh music for this compilation.
"Mysterious Ways," "Elevation" and "Until The End Of The World" were introduced after the 360 tour started, and were not present in the setlist opening night. All three songs were played sporadically throughout the first leg in Europe in 2009, only becoming regulars in the shows as the second leg in North America progressed.
"Magnificent" followed the opposite path. It was played every night from the start of the tour, but as the tour wrapped up, started to miss shows including many in the final leg in North America. "I Still Haven't Found" was part of the setlist from the first shows in Barcelona, but it missed a number of cities when the band played multiple dates.
The other songs in this grouping were played every night of the 360 tour, or only missed a handful of shows, such as "Moment Of Surrender," which, due to rumored curfews, was not played at one of the Brisbane shows, and was again skipped in Winnipeg.
All the songs in this grouping have had live versions of the tracks released in the past on compilations, fan club releases and singles. The rarest live version to track down is "Moment Of Surrender," having only appeared in audio on Wide Awake In Europe, an EP released in 2010 for Record Store Day in limited quantities, although a video version was released on U2 360 At The Rose Bowl.
A number of songs were played less frequently on the tour, and may have been prominent only on one or two legs of the tour. Songs that were played in 20 percent to 70 percent of the shows on the 360 tour included the following:
Of these songs, "Stay," "The Unforgettable Fire" and "Even Better Than The Real Thing" have all been released as commercial singles.
"Zooropa" and "Even Better Than The Real Thing" were played regularly during the last North American leg, and some nights of the preceding South American leg, but not before. "The Unforgettable Fire" and "Ultra Violet" were played every night during the first two legs of the tour, but "The Unforgettable Fire" disappeared during the third leg, not to be seen again. "Ultra Violet" continued to appear in shows, but started to share time with "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" on the third leg in Europe. "Stay" was a sporadic song on the first and second legs, but it too appeared regularly on the final North American leg.
From the clips on u2.com, we know that "Stay" was likely recorded in Chicago, but the date is unknown, as it was performed there in both 2009 and 2011. "Even Better Than The Real Thing" was recorded at the final Mexico City show. "Zooropa" was apparently recorded in Baltimore. "Ultra Violet" was recorded at the end of the third leg in Coimbra. There were no clues as to where "The Unforgettable Fire" was recorded.
"Stay" and "Even Better Than The Real Thing" have both been released live in the past on singles. "The Unforgettable Fire" appeared on the Live from Paris digital download from a 1987 concert. Neither "Zooropa" nor "Ultra Violet" have been released live previously in an audio format. "Zooropa" had only been performed three times before the 360 tour, all in 1993.
Songs that I would consider true tour rarities appeared in less than 20 percent of the concerts on the 360 tour. Only five of these songs have been chosen to appear on this live compilation by fans:
"The Fly," "Out Of Control," "All I Want Is You" and "One Tree Hill" have all been released commercially as singles.
The location of all five of these tracks was potentially revealed in the clips that u2.com had posted to review on the site. Those clips had "The Fly" listed as recorded in Nashville, "Bad" as from Rome, "Out Of Control" from Montreal, "All I Want Is You / Love Rescue Me" from Sydney and "One Tree Hill" taken from Auckland.
Of the five tracks, "The Fly" was played most frequently, in over half of the shows on the final leg of the tour, making its tour debut in Anaheim. "Bad" was played throughout the tour, but only made rare appearances. It was performed five times on the first leg, once on the second leg, twice on the third leg, three times on the fourth leg, and only once each on the South American and final North American tour legs. "Out Of Control," like "The Fly," also made its tour debut in 2011, and only appeared once in South America and five times in North America. Neither "All I Want Is You" nor "Love Rescue Me" made frequent tour appearances, and both debuted together in this performance from Sydney. "One Tree Hill" appeared in the two New Zealand shows, and then only in Santiago and Chicago for the remainder of the tour.
All five of these tracks have appeared live in various releases throughout the years. Of the songs included here, a live version of "One Tree Hill" is the hardest to find, as it was only released as part of The Complete U2 on iTunes, which has now been removed.
The Final Breakdown of U22 As Selected By Fans
On the final compilation, 54 percent of the songs were tour staples played at over 70 percent of the concerts on the tour. Only 23 percent were songs that appeared regularly in the setlist, at somewhere from 20 percent to 70 percent of the shows. Finally, 23 percent were songs that I would consider rarities, appearing at less than 20 percent of all the concerts on the 360 tour.
Seventeen (77 percent) of the songs included on the U22 compilation have been commercially released as singles. These range from U2's first single in 1979, "Out Of Control," to the most recent single included on this compilation, "Magnificent." The other two singles from the newest album did not get voted onto this compilation although they were included among song choices.
Of the tracks chosen, a surprising six tracks are from Achtung Baby. Perhaps the recent re-release and the freshness of those tracks in the tour played in favor of them being chosen by fans. They make up 27 percent of the tracks on this live set. The Joshua Tree contributes four tracks (18 percent) and All That You Can't Leave Behind contributes three tracks (14 percent) to this compilation. Two tracks each (9 percent) are contributed from the albums The Unforgettable Fire, Zooropa and No Line On The Horizon. One track on this compilation is from Boy, and one from How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Only one track is from Rattle And Hum, but it represents two songs from that album, "All I Want Is You" and "Love Rescue Me."
The Songs That Didn't Make U22
The songs that have been played pretty much every night on the 360 tour fared well on the U22 compilation. These songs were well represented on the CD, but there were four exceptions.
I quite honestly didn't expect "I'll Go Crazy" to make the cut. We received a version of this on the Artificial Horizon CD from the fan club two years ago. That performance was taken from a second-leg show in Dublin in 2009, and there was no way to be sure we wouldn't just get the same track on this new release. So I'm not surprised people avoided that as a choice, and I've seen people discussing skipping that track so we could have something new for songs.
"Vertigo" has been widely released as a live track on various singles and other releases. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" has been released in multiple formats as well. "Get On Your Boots" has not been released in audio format as a live track, but it did appear in the U2 360 At The Rose Bowl release. "I'll Go Crazy" from Dublin was released on Artificial Horizon and the version from the Rose Bowl was released in audio format for a promo CD of Rose Bowl tracks.
Each of these songs appeared almost every night on the tour. "I'll Go Crazy" was actually performed twice at the second show opening the tour in Barcelona, once in the remix style and once as the regular version. Thus it was actually played over 100 percent on the tour. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" only missed two shows on the entire tour, replaced by "Pride" in Helsinki in August 2010 and Brussels in September 2010.
From the release of the short clips on u2.com, the version of "Get On Your Boots" was recorded in Boston, and "Vertigo" was recorded in Berlin. The location of the recordings for the other two tracks cannot be determined from these clips.
Over half of the songs on U22 are songs that appeared at over 70 percent of all of the 360 concerts. Songs that appeared less frequently in concert were not chosen as readily by fans for inclusion on this compilation. Seventeen songs were presented as voting choices that appeared in concert from 20 percent to 70 percent of the 360 shows. Only five of these tracks were chosen by voters to appear on the compilation. The other songs in this grouping that did not make the cut are:
"Miss Sarajevo" was introduced on the third leg and became a staple of the tour from that point onward, appearing most nights. "Pride" was a regular song during the first leg in Europe, and then rarely played the second leg in North America. It returned in the third leg and was played throughout the rest of the tour. "In A Little While" was played occasionally throughout the entire tour, but was dropped completely in the final North American leg. "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" was introduced to open the encore on the third leg, and was used back and forth with "Ultra Violet" in this position for the remainder of the tour. "No Line On The Horizon" started out appearing in every show but was dropped after the second leg ended in 2009, only being played once after that in Helsinki in 2010.
As you go further down the list, "Scarlet" was introduced on the fourth leg in Australia and became a tour staple after that sometimes as a U2 performance. One reason it may not have fared well in the voting? "Scarlet" was one of the shortest songs performed.
"Breathe" was the opening song for the first two legs of the tour, before being replaced by "Return Of The Stingray Guitar" on the third leg. Neither song had enough votes to make it to this compilation. "Return Of The Stingray Guitar" is notable because it is the only new song that was made available for voting on this compilation, although perhaps it did not fare well due to it being an instrumental.
"I Will Follow" was introduced on the third leg and played regularly for the remainder of the tour. "Stuck In A Moment" was played throughout the tour from the first leg to the final, but never on a regular basis. "Unknown Caller" appeared nightly in the first two legs, and disappeared at that point. And "New Year's Day" first appeared in the third show in Dublin in 2009, then irregularly at shows from that point onward.
All of these songs have been released on live audio releases in the past, with the exception of "Return Of The Stingray Guitar," which has never been released in any format, and "Unknown Caller," "No Line On The Horizon" and "Breathe," which have never been released live in an audio format.
From the preview clips on u2.com, the following locations can be determined for these tracks: "Miss Sarajevo" (Buenos Aires), "Pride" (Gelsenkirchen), "Hold Me Thrill Me" (Santiago), "No Line On The Horizon" (Sheffield), "Scarlet" (Melbourne), "I Will Follow" (Brussels), "Stuck In A Moment" (Sheffield), "New Year's Day" (Dublin) and "Return Of The Stingray Guitar" (Vienna). I was unable to determine the location any of the other performances I have placed in this section.
Maybe most sad are some of the real rarities of the tour, played only on a limited number of nights. These rarities were played less than 20 percent of the time during the tour. Only five such rarities were voted onto the disc. The ones that didn't pull enough support to appear on the disc were as follows:
Before going further, I must admit, two of my favorite moments of the tour were listed as part of the vote. Both of them are here, not to appear on the final U22 compilation. Seeing "Mothers Of The Disappeared" for the first time ever in Istanbul was an amazing experience. From the time they announced the final show in Moncton I knew I wanted it to end with "40," and it did. It was the perfect close to the tour for me. I would have chosen both to appear had this been my set to mix.
These are the songs that rarely appeared on this tour. "Desire" appeared mainly through the first leg of the tour, although it popped up again in Perth and in Mexico City for a total of nine performances on the tour. "Angel Of Harlem" was played mainly during the first leg, with one appearance on the third leg (Brussels) and one on the fourth (Auckland). "Your Blue Room" was rehearsed extensively throughout the first leg of the tour but was only played during seven shows on the second leg in North America. "Mothers Of The Disappeared" was played three times on the third leg in Europe, and I count myself lucky to have seen two of those performances. "Electrical Storm" was played only in Barcelona, Milan and Gotenburg on the first leg of the tour. "Party Girl" was played only in Barcelona and Milan.
Finally, with just one performance each, "Spanish Eyes" was played in San Sebastian on the third leg, and "40" was the last song played on the entire tour in Moncton. I guess it's safe to say where those two performances come from. We also know from the sound clips on u2.com that "Your Blue Room" was taken from one of the New Jersey shows, and that "Mothers Of The Disappeared" was the version performed in Istanbul. The location of the other shows cannot be determined at this point.
Of these tracks, there have been no live recordings of "Spanish Eyes," "Electrical Storm," "Mothers Of The Disappeared" or "Your Blue Room" released on previous audio recordings. The other tracks listed in this section have been available on other audio releases throughout the year.
Some Final Stats On U22
Out of the 46 made available to pick, 15 percent of the songs were from No Line On The Horizon, 13 percent were from Achtung Baby, 11 percent were from The Joshua Tree and from All That You Can't Leave Behind. Eleven percent were non-album tracks. Seven percent of the tracks were from each of the albums War, Rattle And Hum, and The Unforgettable Fire. Four percent of the tracks were from each of the albums Zooropa, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, Original Soundtracks No. 1 and Boy. Only 2 percent of the tracks in the poll were from October. The songs offered were highly weighted towards songs from No Line and Achtung Baby and that makes sense if you consider the early legs promoted the first and the later legs seemed to be promoting the other.
Out of the options given, 100 percent of the tracks offered for voting from Zooropa and Achtung Baby were chosen for inclusion on this CD. Eighty percent of the tracks offered from The Joshua Tree were chosen for U22. Sixty-seven percent of the tracks offered in the poll from The Unforgettable Fire were chosen, and 60 percent of those offered from All That You Can't Leave Behind were chosen. Fifty percent of the tracks offered for Boy and How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb were chosen for the compilation. Rattle And Hum had 33 percent of the offered tracks appear on the compilation, while No Line On The Horizon came in low with only 28.5 percent of the tracks offered in the vote making it to the final CD. It appears the majority of voters did not want to hear from October, War, Original Soundtracks No. 1 or from the non-album tracks. All of these had tracks offered in the poll, but none made it to the final compilation. If a track wasn't on a traditional U2 album, it didn't fare well in this poll.
Using the criteria I outlined in the article, the songs offered in the poll were 34.8 percent tour staples, 36.9 percent lesser-played songs, and 28.3 percent rarities. There was plenty of opportunity to put together a CD that was made up of rarer songs, and to even not include any of the staples on this CD. The fans did not vote that way. Seventy-five percent of the staple songs made available in the poll were chosen for inclusion. Twenty-nine percent of the lesser-played songs in the poll were chosen for inclusion, and 38 percent of the rarities made available in the poll made it to the final track listing. It seems that the fans wanted to hear the same songs we heard each night in concert.
Finally, I'll throw out a little wish that those tracks that didn't make this compilation will appear some day in another format. I know I'd be quick to purchase these as a FLAC set if made available through u2.com. Or even better, I'd love to download them for free if the fan club should make them available in that manner. I'd really love to hear an official audio release of some of those rarer moments that did not survive the poll. It would be nice to relive the goose bumps upon hearing "Mothers Of The Disappeared" for the first time ever in Istanbul. But at least I have my memories, and others are listening to a track on the CD that they saw live and really are happy to have the souvenir.
(c) @U2/Sams, 2012.