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Where are they now?: Why certain songs have come and gone from 360°

Update, 2 April: In case the date and some of the claims here didn't tip you off, this article was our April Fool's gag for 2011. Gotcha! Credit to Matkin for helping me write this. And knowing U2, some of this may be awkwardly close to the truth ...!

Recently, we have had the pleasure to communicate with an individual very close to U2 themselves. This individual wishes to remain anonymous, but they are happy for us to divulge certain interesting details to you about the band's thought processes.

Dropping some songs from No Line On The Horizon was apparently one of the easiest decisions they have ever taken. Although they all agreed the title track was pretty good live, Bono was tired of singing every night the title of an album that had so sorely let him down both on the charts and at the bank. The explosion of cheering from Mac fanboys during certain lyrics of Unknown Caller was starting to creep out the entire band. And Edge was so sick of Bono prancing around in a self-important egotistical manner during the guitar solo of Breathe that he point-blank refused to play the song again. This is why Bono now doesn't yell so much over Magnificent's solo; he quite likes the song and doesn't want Edge to refuse to play that one as well.

Some of the older songs were harder for the band to drop. However, Edge and Adam were so thoroughly convinced that The Unforgettable Fire was overshadowing the rest of the set through its awesomeness that it simply had to go. The show was peaking too soon. Larry suggested moving it to the encore, but by this point they had committed to Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me. Ultra Violet only lingered because Edge liked the chance to sing more backing vocals.

In A Little While was cut from the setlist in July 2009 after Bono got very self-conscious about the criticism it was attracting. Some time in September that year, his wife gave him a good talking-to and told him to take the criticism in his stride. Now every negative post or tweet just encourages him to sing the song more. He especially likes how well it fits in with the space theme, as the audience's attention wanders, their eyes glaze over, and they space out, staring up at the stars. Larry fortunately shot down Bono's suggestion to replace Moment Of Surrender with a reprise of In A Little While.

Unfortunately, Larry could do nothing to stop Bono's spiteful mission to dump Stay and Your Blue Room in favour of In A Little While, especially as Bono was sick of being upstaged by Sinead O'Connor's taped contribution during Your Blue Room every night. Adam wouldn't have allowed this, except he was already let down that his verse had been stolen from him. Scarlet is pretty much only in the setlist now because the band remembered how sad the whole Your Blue Room affair was for Adam and felt they owed it to him to include a song where he gets time to shine.

Perhaps what people want to know the most is why Drowning Man never made the setlist, despite how extensively it was soundchecked in June and July 2009. The band themselves want to forget this ever happened. Apparently Larry had his heart set on playing this song, but Bono was convinced it would fall flat. This led to a verbal confrontation the likes of which U2 have not experienced since Bono butchered If God Will Send His Angels on 25 April 1997, and none of them are quite willing to talk about the song any more.

Mysterious Ways no longer has the slide solo because Bono can't hit the high notes he used to sing over the top any more. The thought of instead keeping his mouth closed for such a long period of time just gnawed away at Bono too much, so he talked Edge into cutting it in exchange for that spiffy headset mic.

Finally, Stuck In A Moment was kept in the set pretty much entirely to annoy Axver of U2gigs, hence its 2010 resurrection was timed to be at a show he attended. Edge in particular (as the only member of the band with much computer literacy) was just far too sick of fansites like U2gigs, atU2, and U2tour.de blowing rehearsal secrets and Ax was an especially easy target.

But even this anonymous individual can't explain why they keep performing With Or Without You sans the Shine Like Stars verse.

Posted on by Axver

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