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Looking towards the 360° Tour setlist openers and closers, Part II of II

Yesterday, we ran Part I in this series, using historical information to answer questions asked when speculating about the 360° Tour's setlists. Today, the focus is on closers.


Concert closers have typically varied a bit more than concert openers. Every single U2 tour has had multiple closers, though it should be noted that on Zoo TV and Popmart, the closing tracks that often followed Love Is Blindness (Zoo TV) and One (Popmart) were generally stripped-down tracks rather than full band performances. The last tour to have less different closers than openers was, surprise surprise, Lovetown - it had four closers to six openers.

Perhaps the most pertinent question is "will there be one regular closer?" That has been the norm for most of U2's career; one song closes most shows even if other songs take the role now and then. The Ocean was a prolific closer between 1980 and 1982, 40 dominated the closing slot from 1983 to 1990 (only on Lovetown was it threatened, and even then it managed to close 33 of 47 shows), Love Is Blindness and One as mentioned were in essence closers on their respective 1990s tours even if followed by another stripped down track, and most Elevation Tour shows closed with Walk On. However, no single song could really be considered a regular closer for the duration of Vertigo, just for the duration of a leg - mainly when the second performance of Vertigo closed all but three second leg shows. On other legs, there was rotation with Bad and 40; Kite closed most Australian shows and one in New Zealand; All I Want Is You and One Tree Hill both got chances to close shows in 2006, et cetera.

Another significant question is, like the opener, "will the closer be a new song?" U2 have not used new songs to close concerts as frequently as they have used them to open. Once U2 had two albums under their belt, they kept Boy songs - mainly The Ocean - as the closer most of the time; you don't even need all ten fingers to count the amount of times October songs are known to have closed regular tour gigs. On the War Tour, 40 from War came in as the closer, and stayed as the closer for the rest of the decade in preference to new songs; no Unforgettable Fire song ever closed a regular show of the Unforgettable Fire Tour (40 closed the lot; Bad famously closed Live Aid); Joshua Tree songs only closed three Joshua Tree Tour shows (Mothers Of The Disappeared, Trip Through Your Wires, and With Or Without You closed one each); and on Lovetown, the only Rattle And Hum song to get closing duties was Love Rescue Me, four times.

On Zoo TV, Achtung Baby's Love Is Blindness finally broke 40's run and became the first new song to consistently close concerts since 40's debut. After Zooropa's release, no Zooropa songs took on closing duties or are known to have been considered for the role. On Popmart, an old song, One, became the closer - of all the stripped down songs played after it, Pop was only represented by Wake Up Dead Man twenty times (out of 93 concerts) and Staring At The Sun once. The Elevation Tour saw a reversion to a new song closing, with Walk On closing all but four of the 113 shows, but on Vertigo, old songs again dominated. Out of 132 shows, Vertigo closed 38, Fast Cars closed one, and the rest were closed by older material.


I'm not normally in the game of making predictions on here, but enough people have asked for my thoughts that I will make an exception. As far as openers go, the safe money is on a new song. Sure, opening with a new song has become a bit of a setlist cliche, but I would be surprised to see the band pick an old song. To me, No Line On The Horizon, Magnificent, and Get On Your Boots are the obvious contenders. I would also consider Fez-Being Born an outside chance; the Fez portion seems almost tailor-made to be a pre-recorded intro to either the main set or an encore before the band come out and launch into Being Born. I am skeptical that Fez-Being Born will even be performed, but if it does get an outing, it is a natural opener.

An important consideration is that the first leg will be played largely in open European stadiums, with the show likely to begin before night has completely fallen. This is what happened on Vertigo, and why the opener was changed from the first to second leg - the lighting used for City Of Blinding Lights would have lost its impact in the twilight, so Vertigo became the opener and COBL was not played until midway through the main set when it was dark. Similarly, it seems to me that songs like Magnificent and Fez-Being Born are the kind of tracks that would be accompanied by significant lighting. I accordingly think No Line On The Horizon is the most likely candidate, followed by Get On Your Boots. Hopefully the opener variation of Vertigo's first leg will live on - the band themselves have indicated they are aware of a need to more significantly vary their sets as concert information spreads quickly across the Internet thanks to the news media and databases such as this one.

As far as closers go, I do not think there are any obvious bets. Even whether it will be typically an old or new song seems up in the air, though I am leaning towards an old song, and I am willing to optimistically tip a continuation of the diversity seen on Vertigo.

Of course, in my ideal world, Hawkmoon 269 and 11 O'clock Tick Tock would return as rotational openers and One Tree Hill, A Sort Of Homecoming, and Bad would share closing duties, but if you're thinking "Axver, you're dreaming!", let's just say you're probably being polite.

I hope this two-part series has been informative and enjoyable. Remember, if you have any setlist questions, we have a detailed setlist FAQ, and if you can't find an answer to your question there or in our database, feel welcome to contact us.

Posted on by Axver

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