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A Review Of 2005

The final concert of the third leg of the Vertigo Tour and of the 2005 calendar year has concluded and U2 will likely be enjoying some private time and relaxation before they commence the fourth leg of the tour on the 12th of February 2006 in Monterrey, Mexico. Over the past year, U2 has performed 110 concerts plus the public Los Angeles rehearsal. These concerts were played over the course of three tour legs, and during this time, much setlist evolution was observed. U2 gave their fans a lot to enjoy, analyse, and debate, and the trivia buffs certainly gained a wealth of new material with which they can impress fellow fans and make other acquiantances think "only a crazy person would know that!"

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This tour proved wrong two statements that were previously often stated about U2's setlists. The first was that "a song dropped from the setlist before the end of its debut tour will never be played again" and it was disproven by the performances of Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses and In A Little While. The second statement was that "a song not performed on the tour supporting its own album will never be played live", and it became false when The First Time was performed in full on the 20th of September. Lovers of co-incidence should appreciate the fact that this record was set by a song entitled The First Time.

Many songs returned from "the dead" this tour - songs that had not been played in many years and that some fans felt would never be performed live ever again. U2 set a record for the longest time between performances when they played The Ocean on the 6th of April, some 22 years, 3 months, and 22 days after its last known performance on 15 December 1982. Some other songs to return after long absences were (in brackets is the length of time between the last known performance and the first performance this tour, excluding Los Angeles rehearsal):

An Cat Dubh and Into The Heart (20 years, 6 months, 4 days)
The Electric Co. (17 years, 7 months, 25 days), opened by The Cry (19 years, 8 months, 21 days)
Gloria (15 years, 2 months, 21 days)
Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses (12 years, 6 months, 4 days)
Running To Stand Still and Zoo Station (11 years, 3 months, 18 days)

In addition to this, 40 returned as a regular closer for the first time since the Lovetown Tour of late 1989, though it did appear four times in 1997-98 on Popmart and once at a pre-Elevation Tour show in February 2001. Miss Sarajevo became a regular for the second half of the tour, even though it had only been played twice before: 12 September 1995 and 23 September 1997, the latter performance famously in the city of Sarajevo. Party Girl lived on, appearing ten times on the Vertigo Tour even though it had only been played a total of eight times in the previous fifteen years. Its status as U2's most played b-side is currently secure.

This tour featured three regular concert openers, the first time this has happened since Lovetown in 1989. City Of Blinding Lights and Love And Peace Or Else rotated as openers on the first leg, Vertigo took the job on the second, and City Of Blinding Lights returned to the opening position on the third leg. On the three previous tours, only one opener has been utilised: every ZOO TV concert was opened by Zoo Station except for Sunday Bloody Sunday opening a public rehearsal in August 1992; all Popmart shows were opened by Mofo; and apart from Beautiful Day opening the first concert of the third leg, Elevation opened each Elevation Tour date.

A large quantity of songs from How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb were played - a total of ten, including Fast Cars, a bonus track on some editions. The only songs not to appear so far this tour are A Man And A Woman and One Step Closer. Fast Cars' appearance came as a surprise to many fans, and even more remarkably, it actually closed one concert. The tour's regular closers were 40, Bad, and Vertigo, with Fast Cars, With Or Without You, and a cover of John Lennon's Instant Karma! closing a show each. Interestingly, until Fast Cars closed in Boston, every single closer had been used in New York City. It should also be noted that a private full rehearsal in Brussels the night before the second leg began (that was very publicly heard by many fans outside the stadium) was closed by Yahweh, which was also listed as the closer on the printed setlists for the shows on the 12th and 23rd of September but on both occasions was followed by an unplanned song.

There is much more that can be said about this tour's variety, but the above covers many of the main points. Many fans would agree that over the course of this tour, the setlist has undergone much more evolution and diversity than on the last couple of tours. Every single U2 album plus the Passengers side-project has been represented by at least one song, and it is remarkable and delightful to see so many songs come back from "the dead", especially as they have been performed so well. The Electric Co. stands out as a particularly good example, with some fans considering it to be the highlight of the tour. It has been a very interesting year for those of us who have watched the setlist develop and evolve, with many welcome surprises along the way. Hopefully 2006 will bring us more surprises - many New Zealanders are hoping for the first full band performance of One Tree Hill in over sixteen years when U2 play in Auckland in March.

On a final note, U2gigs.com would like to thank you for following the tour with us and we hope you join us for the fourth leg in 2006. We are particularly appreciative of the fantastic volume of photographs submitted, as we now have a collection of more than 10,000 Vertigo Tour pictures, the largest on the Internet. We would also like to offer thanks to every person who submitted a concert review or offered setlist additions and corrections. It is never too late to submit photos, reviews, or setlist information - just go to the date of the show for which you wish to submit data and use the relevant links given below the setlist. This is in no way limited just to Vertigo Tour submissions; we gladly welcome contributions for any of U2's tours.

All the best to you for a happy 2006!

Macphisto (Webmaster) and Axver (Setlistorian)

Posted on by Axver

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