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Trivia wrap-up, Part III

After three days of daily trivia, I would like to again expand upon what has been posted. See parts one and two for earlier trivia. This edition will look at lead singles that have missed shows on their debut tour, album closers that have opened concerts, and album openers that have closed gigs.

30/08: The last time a lead single missed a gig on its debut tour? Desire, 28 September 1989 in Sydney.

Lead singles have a habit of leaving an impression about the forthcoming album from which they're sourced, and for U2's recent albums, the lead single has been the highest charting of all singles. Hence it is taken for granted that the lead single will be performed at every show on the tour promoting said album. This has, however, not always been the case. In the eighties, more often than not, the lead single missed at least one show on its debut tour. Let's have a look at how things panned out.

Boy: I Will Follow has come to such prominence that it is often forgotten that A Day Without Me was actually its lead single. It struggled to hold down a secure place on the Boy Tour, and has the worst record of any lead single in U2 history. It disappeared from known setlists in mid-November 1980, missing U2's first North American tour entirely, and does not re-appear until mid-March 1981. It did not have a secure setlist position until it was paired with I Threw A Brick Through A Window on the October Tour, a pairing that lasted for three tours.

October: Like Boy, the lead single has subsequently been overshadowed. Gloria is the song everybody remembers, but Fire was the lead single. It actually debuted on the Boy Tour, and on the October Tour, it was a common but not permanent member of the setlist. For instance, it missed all the shows in early 1982 when U2 played as support for the J. Geils Band - and playing to an audience other than your own is the one time when you'd most expect a band to play recognisable singles!

War: The lead single, New Year's Day, appears in all known complete setlists and probably did not miss a show on the War Tour. It was one of just three War songs played on the Pre-Tour in December 1982.

The Unforgettable Fire: Only a few Unforgettable Fire Tour concerts lack setlists. The album's lead single, Pride, appears in all known complete setlists and probably did not miss a show. All other songs from The Unforgettable Fire missed at least three concerts, as Pride was the only new song to appear at the first three shows of the tour.

The Joshua Tree: Believe it or not, U2's first #1 US single, With Or Without You, missed one show of the tour. And not just any show either! It missed the opening gig on 2 April 1987. This is the only known example of a lead single missing the opening night of its debut tour.

Rattle And Hum: The aforementioned example of Desire. Since this date, all lead singles have appeared at every date of their debut tour. There is the awkward case of Zooropa, which did not have a tour of its own, nor does it have a clear-cut lead single. However, both Numb (the first single of any sort released, issued exclusively as a video single) and Stay (the only single issued globally in traditional formats) were played at every show once they were debuted in the ZooTV setlist.

31/08: The only U2 album closer to ever open a gig is MLK.

U2 album closers often have a patchy record live and rarely get the chance to snare the coveted opening spot. MLK is the only closer to have done so - it opened five of the six Conspiracy Of Hope dates (the exception was the opening night), and the first European show of the Unforgettable Fire Tour. It was quickly abandoned as a UF Tour opener after the exuberant crowd cheered so loudly when the band took the stage that MLK was drowned out.

01/09: Album openers that have closed gigs (exc. Various Dates): I Will Follow, Gloria, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Vertigo.

In contrast to 31/08's item, there have been a number of album openers that have slotted into the closing spot - all of them high energy songs to close a show with an impact. That said, only two of them have ever been regulars to the closing spot.

I Will Follow: We currently know of at least thirty shows closed by Boy's opener. On the Boy and October Tours, it was not uncommon for U2 to "close" the encore with 11 O'clock Tick Tock and The Ocean, then return for another encore of I Will Follow. In most of these cases, I Will Follow had already been played that night in the main set.

Gloria: Only one show has ever been closed by the opener from October. At their appearance at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark on 2 July 1982, U2 closed their set with Gloria.

Sunday Bloody Sunday: War's opener has also closed just one concert, and in this case, it was a concert held over three months before the album's release! On 4 December 1982, U2 played Sunday Bloody Sunday - as well as two other then-unreleased War tracks - in the main set, then at the end of the encore, they gave Sunday Bloody Sunday another go.

Vertigo: 21 years elapsed between albums whose opener was used to close concerts. Then came Vertigo, in controversial circumstances. It was played twice at a few promotional appearances for How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, opening and closing the set, and few eyebrows were significantly raised. But when the same gimmick was repeated at full tour concerts on the Vertigo Tour, the online fan community lit up. At any rate, Vertigo closed three shows on the Vertigo Tour's first leg, all but three shows on the second leg, two on the third leg, and one each on the fourth and fifth. In every instance, it was as Vertigo x2. Only one instance of Vertigo x2 was not as the closer - 27 July 2005 in Dublin.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for another trivia wrap-up in a few days, and possibly other content in the interim.

Posted on by Axver

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