I’m now about a day or so removed from opening night of the U2 360 Tour in Turin, and after the shock and awe of the new songs, I have to say that it’s been a long time since we saw an opening like we did yesterday.
To the best of my knowledge (and please correct me if I am wrong here), this is the first time since the Zooropa ’93 tour where U2 began a concert to a song that wasn’t on their most recent album. “The Return of the Stingray” is the first unreleased opening song to be performed live on the stage in any formal tour since the pre-Boy days. Then to put “Beautiful Day” in as the second song made me question if they are touring to support the songs off their current album or if they’re looking to slowly retire No Line on the Horizon.
Looking back, the War Tour had “Gloria” or “Out of Control” as their opener. The Unforgettable Fire Tour opener was “11 O’Clock Tick Tock.” It wasn’t until The Joshua Tree tour where a song from the new album was the opening song. Technically speaking, The LoveTown Tour was after Rattle and Hum, so this could be debated as some nights opened with “Hawkmoon 269” or “God Part II,” and others had “Bullet the Blue Sky” or “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Zoo TV was pretty consistent with “Zoo Station.” While the Zooropa ’93 and Zoomerang ’93 legs of Zoo TV are lumped together as being part of the Zoo TV experience, those tours saw the Zooropa album being the most recent release. They did perform some songs off of Zooropa as a part of set, but they didn’t open with a song from that release.
Popmart was consistent with “Mofo” and the Elevation tour had “Elevation,” with “Beautiful Day” thrown in as a surprise in South Bend, Indiana. The Vertigo Tour had rotated “Love and Peace or Else” and “City of Blinding Lights” in the opening slot. Up until yesterday, the opening song on the U2 360 Tour came from No Line on the Horizon (“Breathe” or “Magnificent”). They also came out as they did on the Elevation Tour with full house lights up for the first song.
What does it all mean? Heck if I know, but looking at the band’s history one would think that they either wanted to make a huge statement like “Honey, we’re home!” or that they’re looking in a forward direction. The tour was supposed to be called “Kiss the Future,” after all!