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Axver's Tour Predictions: All That You Can't Leave Behind

Alright, I've made you folks wait much too long for this edition of my series of tour predictions. So far, I have made predictions for: Songs of Innocence, Boy, October, War, The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree, Rattle and Hum, Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Passengers, and Pop. Now it's time to move on to an album that changed the trajectory of U2's career and ushered in a new approach to music and songwriting after a decade of experimentation and pushing boundaries.

ALL THAT YOU CAN’T LEAVE BEHIND

ATYCLB has had pretty strong setlist representation over the last three tours. On Elevation, the tour promoting the album, literally every song was featured in some capacity – though in the case of “When I Look at the World” that meant one solitary snippet and “Grace” appeared only as taped outro music. Since then, Vertigo featured six ATYCLB songs and 360 had five – though the total performances of ATYCLB songs on 360 outweighed those on Vertigo. Furthermore, the album’s representation early on both tours was weak and gradually grew as the tour went on. The album has become a big part of U2’s history and the band see it as an important part of their legacy. Will this ensure it continues to enjoy strong representation?

Beautiful Day
Likelihood: 100%
Ever since its debut, “Beautiful Day” has been played at every full tour gig. Only “One” can boast a longer unbroken streak. “Beautiful Day” won’t take a rest, probably not even for a single night. It is the quintessential 2000s U2 song. I do wonder, however, if it might move to the encore – it has almost always been played in the early or middle stages of the main set. Its lone encore appearance to date was on 16 May 2001. It would, however, suit that role well, especially now that it is an established classic. If it opens the first or second encore on the next tour, I will be entirely unsurprised.

Stuck in a Moment
Likelihood: 95%
I expect “Stuck in a Moment” to be performed in some capacity on this tour, but I do not necessarily expect it to be common or frequent. This might surprise those of you who would think that its two performances to date on the current promo tour are predictive of regular tour performances. An old song’s appearance on a promo tour is not always as predictive as you might think. Let’s take the HTDAAB promo tour. “I Will Follow” was played at promo shows but did not debut on the Vertigo Tour until the second leg; “Desire” did not debut on Vertigo until the fourth leg; and “She’s a Mystery to Me” could not achieve a single tour performance despite appearing at two promo shows (one of which was released as a b-side to the “All Because of You” single). “Stuck” itself was played live before the Vertigo Tour, at a public rehearsal two days before the tour began – yet its tour debut did not come until the third leg. I don’t necessarily think the gap will be that large this time, but it will have only a part-time role in the set rather than being a nightly certainty.

Elevation
Likelihood: 90%
Some people thought this would take a rest on the 360 Tour – no need for this song when “Vertigo” does the same job, is more popular, and helps represent another album. "Elevation" was indeed missing at the very start of the tour. But of course it has a big reputation with casual fans, and within a few weeks it was back in the set and by the second leg had secured a permanent position. This tour it may not quite be a guaranteed nightly staple or present from the first show, but I expect it to again enjoy strong representation.

Walk On
Likelihood: 10%
The low percentage might surprise some readers. However, I think “Walk On” has had its run. It has been a defining moment on two tours now, Elevation and 360, and it might take an extended break on the next tour. The acoustic version played infrequently on Vertigo never really took off – the first performance was rather a muddle indeed, with Bono forgetting the lyrics and needing to read them off a sheet – so it might not even sneak in to an acoustic set.

Kite
Likelihood: 50%
This song is a fan favourite from ATYCLB, but its only live appearances since Elevation were seven performances in Australia and New Zealand on the Vertigo Tour in 2006. Those seven performances proved the song’s live power, and it is well overdue for resurrection. If U2 want to do something from ATYCLB that hasn’t been played much on the last two tours, then I think “Kite” is a leading candidate.

In a Little While
Likelihood: 25%
OK, I didn’t even want to predict this at all – “In a Little While” had quite a strong backlash from many hardcore fans on 360 and remains the punchline to jokes on fan forums (even by some who like the song). That was, perhaps, mainly because it was unsuited to 360’s presentation. It is the kind of song that suits intimate arenas more than a stadium spectacular. Hence, although I think it had its run on 360, the next tour being in arenas might result in it sticking around, at least occasionally.

New York
Likelihood: 5%
To be honest, I’m actually surprised U2 haven’t dusted this one off for New York shows since Elevation; you’d think they might have rehearsed it for the lengthy run of seven Madison Square Garden shows in 2005. I think it could be an outside chance to return this time and give the second half of ATYCLB a bit of representation - especially if the rumour of residencies comes true and they set up shop for an especially lengthy run of shows in New York.

Will not be played: Wild Honey, Peace on Earth, When I Look at the World, Grace.
“When I Look at the World” has many champions among hardcore fans but I don’t see it being dug out of obscurity – especially not as ATYCLB is likely to have good setlist representation anyway. The other three songs are the three least popular on the album. “Grace” would be unsuited to concerts anyway, “Wild Honey” would be effective in an acoustic set but is much too far down the list of potential candidates to have any realistic shot, and “Peace on Earth” has no chance unless a terrible global event happens and its lyrics become pertinent – but even then U2 have other, better, more popular songs with similar themes.

Ax’s wishes: Kite, When I Look at the World, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Summer Rain, Flower Child, Electrical Storm.
I would dearly love U2 to do a complete, full band version of “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” live one day; the previous stripped down live versions have nothing on the incredible finale of the studio version. If they could execute that finale live properly, it would be almost transcendent. I’ve included “Electrical Storm” in this era – given it never quite came together perfectly on 360 I don’t think it will get another chance, but I would love to hear it live, especially as I somehow managed to miss it at all the 2009 European shows I saw. “Summer Rain” and “Flower Child” are quality rarities that would work well in the acoustic set but have no chance of being played.

Up next: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was only represented by two songs on the 360 Tour. Will that trend continue?


Posted on by Axver


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