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Another Time, Another Place: The Boy Tour Retrospective, Part II

Read Part One
 

Now we at last come to the part that, as a database of U2 performances, interests us the most: What did they play, when did they play it, and how did things evolve as the tour progressed?

Here is where we must remind you that much of U2’s early touring history has been forgotten or lost to time. In some cases what was played is known only because live tracks from that night have been released. Sets become more documented as the tour progressed but there are still large chunks missing where a page is either blank or incomplete. It is possible that even U2’s personal archives are incomplete. So how much do we know? Let’s break it down by leg:


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 Posted by Matkin on

Another Time, Another Place: The Boy Tour Retrospective, Part I

Oh Boy. 1980. What a monumental moment in the time of everyone’s favourite band. U2-3 was promoted at 12 shows in 18 days in southern England, a no doubt chaotic moment that featured one show being cancelled, another almost joining it, and at least two times where they were such a late addition to the bill that they weren’t even advertised at all (U2Songs has an excellent article on that hectic two-and-a-half weeks). The Come Out to Play Tour in early 1980 featured just one night outside of Ireland when they played in Newry, Northern Ireland. The second leg of the 11 O’Clock Tick Tock Tour returned to England for 20 concerts between May and July 1980.

Until the Boy Tour began, U2 had performed almost exclusively in Ireland. Their first truly international tour, which would see them cross the Atlantic between continental Europe and North America several times, lasted from 6 September 1980 to 9 June 1981. In that ten-month period they would perform a mammoth 155 times. But even though it was such an important moment in U2’s history there is a lot we don’t actually know about the Boy Tour.

We know with certainty where they played. Often we know when they played. But the most important part (for us) – WHAT they played – is poorly documented. Many of our entries for a Boy Tour setlist are blank. Where we do have a set added it is usually incomplete in some way or another. A famous saying is that we know more about the surface of the moon than about the depths of the ocean. Twisting this, it is not a joke to say that we know more about how much was charged for admittance each night – and even how many attended – than we do about what was played.

But even with all of this considered, enough information peeks through for us to make what we can consider to be reasonably accurate guesses about the content of the tour. The information presented here is all available to anyone who searches long enough. Our conclusions are speculation but we make them by building on what we know for certain, anecdotes from the band and media, and U2’s own future touring habits. Now, 42 years to the day of the Boy Tour's start, we present to you what we believe is currently the most accurate and comprehensive overview of the Boy Tour to date.


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 Posted by Matkin on

Looking Through the Window: San Diego, 1981

We don't normally highlight individual shows on our mainpage, but while looking through the archives we stumbled across one in particular that we just had to highlight. We're pretty sure this concert happened. There is even an audio recording of the full set floating around in the vast space called the internet. But maybe it's easier to say what we don't know about it:

  • We don't know where it was played;
  • We don't know when it was played;
  • We're not even completely sure what was played

"But U2Gigs," I hear you now begin to say, "didn't you just say there is an audio recording of it? How can you not know what was played when that exists?" Well yes I did just say that. How can we not be sure? Well... keep reading!


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 Posted by Matkin on

U2's Mumbai setlist, 15/12/19

It took 36 years since U2 originally made plans to tour India, but they finally made it.

The final leg of the War Tour in 1983 went to Hawaii and Japan. Initially, this tour was also meant to go to Australia, New Zealand, and India, but U2 were exhausted—they had toured almost continuously since they formed, rarely taking even a month away from the stage. So they pared back their original plans for 1983. They got to Australia and New Zealand in 1984 to start the Unforgettable Fire Tour, but India fell by the wayside.

This show in Mumbai, therefore, is U2's first in India. It makes India the 39th country in which U2 have performed a concert.

This show is also the last of the Joshua Tree Tour 2019. It is quite likely that this will be the last time some songs from the Joshua Tree album are ever performed live. It is harder, perhaps, to say which songs will obtain that unfortunate distinction. Or will we be enjoying this lark again in 2027 for the fortieth anniversary? Only time will tell.

U2 performed the live debut of their new single Ahimsa. A.R. Rahman, the co-author, and his daughters, who contribute vocals on the studio version, performed the song with U2. The Rahmans remained on stage to perform the last song of tour, One; support artist Noel Gallagher also came on stage for this song.


Noel had, in fact, already been on stage during the show. He joined U2 for Desire at the end of the main set. This show is the second time Noel has performed with U2: he joined the band to perform the Oasis song Don't Look Back in Anger on 8 July 2017. That was the first show of the Joshua Tree Tours 2017 and 2019 at which Noel performed, so today's guest appearances bring things full circle.

The performance of Ahimsa is notable for another reason. At the last show of the Vertigo Tour, 9 December 2006, U2 performed Rockin' in the Free World for the first time—but that is a Neil Young cover, and Bono had performed it live with Pearl Jam twice before. At the last show of the 360 Tour, 30 July 2011, 40 made its tour debut, the first time an original U2 song has made its tour debut on the last night of tour—but, of course, 40 had been played hundreds of times on previous tours. Ahimsa is the first U2 song to debut live on the last night of a tour.

I Will Follow returned to the set today after missing one show. Bono sang the live-only Shine Like Stars verse at the end of With or Without You for the first time since 30 July 2017.

Thanks for following our coverage of the Joshua Tree Tour 2019. It has been a thrill to bring you reports of U2 performing in countries they visit too rarely, or have never visited at all before. We can only hope that the band retain the enthusiasm and vitality to bring their music to established and new audiences alike for many years to come.

The full setlist was as follows:

  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  2. I Will Follow
  3. New Year's Day
  4. Bad / Give Peace a Chance (snippet)
  5. Pride (In the Name of Love)
  6. Where the Streets Have No Name / California (There Is No End To Love) (snippet)
  7. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
  8. With or Without You / Shine Like Stars (snippet)
  9. Bullet the Blue Sky / America (snippet)
  10. Running To Stand Still
  11. Red Hill Mining Town
  12. In God's Country
  13. Trip Through Your Wires
  14. One Tree Hill
  15. Exit / Wise Blood (snippet) / Eeny Meeny Miny Moe (snippet)
  16. Mothers Of The Disappeared
  17. Desire (with Noel Gallagher)

  18. encore(s):
  19. Elevation
  20. Vertigo / Live Forever (snippet) / I Love Rock 'n' Roll (snippet) / Rock 'n' Roll High School (snippet)
  21. Even Better Than The Real Thing
  22. Every Breaking Wave
  23. Beautiful Day
  24. Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
  25. Ahimsa (with A. R. Rahman and daughters)
  26. One (with A. R. Rahman and daughters, Noel Gallagher)
All details for this show including reviews, videos and photos can be found here.

If you attended the show we ask you to share your concert review or photos with other site visitors. You can post your review of the show here and upload your pictures here.



 Posted by Macphisto on

U2's Manila setlist and videos, 11/12/19

U2 performed their first ever show in the Philippines. It is the third country U2 have visited for the first time on the current tour after Singapore and South Korea.

If you attended the U2 Conference in Sydney last month, you would have heard our setlistorian Axver present on U2's touring history in a wider context. He has a database of how many countries over 400 bands have performed in, and U2 have now reached the average of that dataset: 38 countries. (Ax plans to publish content from this database in the future, but isn't sure when or where just yet—stay tuned!)

The show took place at Manila's Philippine Arena. This venue is the world's largest indoor arena, with a capacity beyond that of many stadiums.

Gloria appeared in the setlist for just the second time this tour, following its debut two shows ago in Tokyo. Bad also returned to the setlist after missing one show. Desire and Every Breaking Wave retained their rotational spots in the setlist.


You don't often hear those four songs in the same setlist. Bad, Desire, Every Breaking Wave, and Gloria have all been in the same set just three times, all in 2015: 10 October, 3 November, and 7 November.

The full setlist was:

  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  2. Gloria / Van Morrison's Gloria (snippet)
  3. New Year's Day
  4. Bad / Heroes (snippet)
  5. Pride (In the Name of Love)
  6. Where the Streets Have No Name / California (There Is No End To Love) (snippet)
  7. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
  8. With or Without You
  9. Bullet the Blue Sky / America (snippet)
  10. Running To Stand Still
  11. Red Hill Mining Town
  12. In God's Country
  13. Trip Through Your Wires
  14. One Tree Hill
  15. Exit / Wise Blood (snippet) / Eeny Meeny Miny Moe (snippet)
  16. Mothers Of The Disappeared
  17. Desire

  18. encore(s):
  19. Elevation
  20. Vertigo / She Loves You (snippet) / I Love Rock 'n' Roll (snippet)
  21. Even Better Than The Real Thing
  22. Every Breaking Wave
  23. Beautiful Day
  24. Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
  25. Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way
  26. One / Invisible (snippet)
All details for this show including reviews, videos and photos can be found here.

If you attended the show we ask you to share your concert review or photos with other site visitors. You can post your review of the show here and upload your pictures here.

The rest of our videos follow:


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 Posted by Axver on

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