U2 play a lot of music before their shows, I’m guessing there’s an hour’s worth in there each night, if not more. I seem to remember walking into Chicago 1 and hearing the music playing for quite a while. They play more of it this tour though, because there’s no band on before them to warm up the crowd. I know some of the songs they’ve been playing, don’t know others. But they have traditionally had the walk-on song (not the Walk On song, but the song they walk on stage to) each tour, and it differs each time. I saw a picture of a setlist earlier this tour which showed specific timing for when each band member had to move to get to the stage at the right moment, wish I knew where that pic was, probably saw it on Twitter somewhere.
But the point of this piece is that introductory song, the walk up music, the one that kind of gets associated with the tour, certainly with the entrance of the band and the building of excitement. Each song that I am listing below has specific memories for me, like I said that growing excitement and anticipation. So just a little look back at some of the songs I remember, and yes I had to google to get a list, but once I had it I was walking down memory lane.
Way back in Zoo TV they opened with Television (Drug of the Nation), which I definitely think of the whole sequence flashing through my mind, flashing through the screens, where the TVs are all playing different things, there’s the boom-de-boom of the German drummers. It’s an amazing sequence, indescribable in many ways. You’ve seen me talk about it before, the whole which way do I look thing, it really is great, possible the best opening ever. I don’t know if it will ever be topped.
Then the Pop tour started with Pop Muzik. Due to geographical challenges I never saw a show during Pop, I was on one side of the world when it was on the other, and by the time I got to their side of the world they’d gone to mine. So my memory of it is just from the video, with the band walking through the crowd and Bono wearing a hoodie like a boxer getting into the ring.
By Vertigo they were opening with Wake Up from Arcade Fire, and I have to admit a bias here because I have fallen in love with Arcade Fire recently. In the last couple of months I have bought all their albums and I listen to them at work almost every day. It is almost perfect music for listening to in the background, because it is enough to hear it and get the theme going, or to drop into and listen somewhat deeply at those moments when work gets dull. I tend to listen and sing along with U2, but I don’t have to do that with Arcade Fire. That may seem like a slam, but it’s really not. I love this music, it might not be as good as U2 but nothing is.
On 360 they played Bowie and Space Oddity, which was another great intro given their idea of the stage being a rocket ship. Not only a fun song that everyone knows, that gets a beat going, but lifts up the fans and the band.
And then of course there’s People Have The Power, which I never heard before the Innocence and Experience tour, but now I’ll never think of anything else but standing and anticipating Bono coming up.