Innocence + Experience initial thoughts

So U2 opened the Innocence + Experience tour on Thursday and Friday night. If you read my report from Thursday you would have seen several comments about the show, as I watched and listened while I wrote that night’s post. I was excited to be able to see and hear as much as I did, most of each concert, thanks to both iHeartRadio and various online versions.

Thank you to Periscopers who broadcast the first two nights, it isn’t as good as being there but I’ll take it any day. It is a marvel of technology that we could not have imagined even just a few short years ago. You think about U2 and the early days, and the documentation of what they did back then, all the gaps in the story. Now think of today, when any bunch of kids forming a band can record every single one of their sessions, learn from them all, and save them so that we can look at them thirty-five years from now. Oh yeah, and now extend that to every part of your life…

The other place to thank is @U2, who posted huge chunks of the show on YouTube the last day or two. I went back and watch all of their videos, it is like I said something you would not have seen even during the last tour. I wonder what effect that is going to have on the music business, are people going to stay away from shows if they can see them for free online? I will tell you what I know from history, which is that when television came along and began broadcasting baseball, people said it would be the end of crowds in the ballparks, but since then television coverage has blossomed and so have the crowds. It turned out that watching on tv pushed people to want to see games live. I hope and expect that to be the case for music as well, although a band like U2 probably won’t see any benefit, since they already pack the arenas when they tour. It’s the up and comers who should benefit the most.

But what about the shows? There was much online debate about which song would start the show, I was on the side of Cedarwood Road, but they went with Miracle instead. A very good choice. The theme of the show is clearly the early days, at least the first half is, and it worked really well. It did seem like they were telling a story about the early days in Dublin, through Miracle, Cedarwood, Iris, Wolves, all songs from the new album, which was also something surprising to me, how many of those they played off Songs Of Innocence. But they had the narrative down just right, mixing them in with some of their older songs, like Sunday (still don’t like the acoustic versions of Sunday as much as the full versions). 

Other notes: Fantastic video show. It’s no Zoo TV with the sensory overload, but it looks great. Really happy to see Bad show up on night two, hope it stays. Not happy to see Out Of Control dropped for night two though, hope it stays. Surprised to see Hands That Built America in there at all. How does Bono not cry as he introduces Iris? Glad to see them play When Love Comes To Town, it was a nice tribute to BB King. Odd that Still Haven’t Found closed night one, I don’t think it works as the last song, and note it was dropped for One on night two. I love The Troubles, hope it sticks around.

Overall after just two shows it’s hard to tell, they had originally said that the first and second nights would be different, but later said they wouldn’t. It’s not really possible to tell which way they’re going, in general the structure was mostly the same. It might take a while for the show to settle down, as they try different things and see what works. But overall, looking really good so far.

Don’t think I can give it an official rating, because I didn't see it live, and there’s a simple rule that U2 live is a natural 10.