#U2ieTour Musical Journeys

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2015-11-18)

During the concerts on the #U2ieTour, music has played a big role before and after the concerts. Here we take a look at some of the songs associated with the current tour and how they have changed throughout the tour.

Last Song before the Show

Starting in Vancouver on the opening night of the tour and continuing through the dates in San Jose the band would take the stage to two Ramones songs back to back. “Baby I Love You” would be heard first and then “Beat on the Brat” would play. “Beat on the Brat” was a remix of the song and included instrumental samples of both “Discotheque” and “Even Better than the Real Thing”.

After the Irish marriage referendum, U2 switched out the music that opened the shows, and the last song played as they took the stage was “People Have the Power” by Patti Smith. Smith even joined them on stage to close one of the shows with a performance of “People Have the Power” in London UK.


After the show, the first song played in Vancouver and San Jose was “Spiritual High Part II” by Moodswings featuring Chrissie Hynde. But as with the last song before the opening this was changed in Phoenix for the first show that followed the Irish marriage referendum. At that point the band started using “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the end of the shows.

This would continue to be used for the remainder of the first leg, and most of the second leg. However, in London, after Patti Smith joined U2 on stage to sing “People Have the Power”, they would again change the end music. From that night they started using “Waterloo Sunset” by the Kinks to close the show. Another change was made in Glasgow as the band started using “Glittering Prize” by Simple Minds to close the show. At the second show in Belfast, the music was once again switched up and the show closer was Van Morrison’s “Moondance”. In Dublin, the band used three different songs at the close of the concerts, “The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy, “Crazy World” by Aslan (two nights), and “Higher Love” by James Vincent McMorrow.

Mid-Show Break

The intermission video in Vancouver featured a video of punk bands with snippets of various songs. Starting with the show in San Jose, this was replaced with a video of Johnny Cash with “The Wanderer” playing.

On the fourth night in Boston, the Johnny Cash piece was replaced by a barrage of words on the wall, accompanied by Gavin Friday’s recording of “The Fly”, sometimes with an extra verse at the end possibly performed live by Bono. This mix had originally been recorded by Gavin and released on “AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered”, a collection of covers of Achtung Baby tracks released in 2011 through Q Magazine. As the tour moved to Europe, this piece was re-recorded with Bono taking on vocals, but still using the Gavin Friday recording as the base, and still highly featuring Gavin’s vocals in the chorus. Gavin Friday has confirmed that this was re-recorded to feature Bono. In Glasgow audiences got a bit of a surprise, as Bono himself sang over top of this mix, adding another layer on to the song. The Gavin Friday / Bono “Fly” performance has been used every night since its introduction in Boston, with the exception of a single night return to “The Wanderer”.


Prior to the show starting a mix of songs can be heard over the PA, and each night the same songs would be heard but quite often in varying orders. These are the songs we managed to identify in the first portion of the North American leg:

  • Land – Patti Smith
  • Town Called Malice – The Jam
  • Celebrate – Simple Minds
  • Because the Night – Patti Smith
  • Cars – Gary Numan
  • Making Plans for Nigel – XTC
  • I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls
  • Teenage Kicks – Undertones
  • Peaches – The Stranglers
  • Atomic – Blondie
  • Whip It – Devo
  • Lust for Life – Iggy Pop
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash
  • Ca Plane Pour Moi – Plastic Bertrand
  • Airport – The Motor
  • Johnny Was – Stiff Little Fingers
  • Baby Turns Blue – Virgin Prunes
  • Police & Thieves – The Clash
  • Life During Wartime – Talking Heads
  • Public Image – Public Image Ltd.
  • Hong Kong Garden – Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • The Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnymen
  • Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
  • No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley

When the band hit New York at the end of the first leg, they changed up this pre-show music and introduced a number of additional tracks which have been part of the mix ever since, including a selection of songs from the 1990s. Perhaps a subtle move towards experience?

The newer heard songs include the following:

  • 1979 – Smashing Pumpkins
  • Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
  • Last Night – The Strokes
  • Bullet with Butterfly Wings – Smashing Pumpkins
  • You Only Live Once – The Strokes
  • Idioteque – Radiohead
  • About a Girl – Nirvana
  • Where is My Mind? – The Pixies
  • Been Caught Stealing – Jane’s Addiction
  • Even Flow – Pearl Jam
  • You Know You’re Right – Nirvana

These newer songs continue to be mixed with some of the older songs such as:

  • Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
  • Who Is It? – Talking Heads
  • The Book I Read – The Talking Heads
  • Life During Wartime – The Talking Heads
  • Neon Lights – Kraftwerk
  • Town Called Malice – The Jam
  • I Ran – Flock of Seagulls
  • Cars – Gary Numan
  • Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
  • Peaches – Stranglers
  • Baby Turns Blue – Virgin Prunes
And as the show moved back to Europe a few more songs appeared including:
  • The Man Who Sold the World – Nirvana
  • The National Anthem – Radiohead
  • Zero – Smashing Pumpkins
  • Suck My Kiss – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Down on the Street – The Stooges
  • Reptilia – The Strokes
  • Sound and Vision – David Bowie
  • Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
  • Aneurysm – Nirvana

And for Dublin a Disco element appeared with a number of songs appearing to be new on all four nights:

  • Dancing in the City – Marshall Hain
  • La Nuit Americaine – Les Cop
  • The Message – Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
  • Under Pressure – Queen featuring David Bowie
  • Get Down on It – Kool & the Gang
  • Public Image – Public Image Ltd.
  • Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant
  • Oops Upside Your Head – The Gap Band
  • Hot Stuff (12” Version) – Donna Summer

The Dublin shows also introduced a number of David Bowie songs to the premix:

  • Be My Wife – David Bowie
  • A New Career In a New Town – David Bowie
  • Always Crashing in the Same Car – David Bowie
  • What in the World – David Bowie

The full list of what was played through these Dublin preshows can be found here.

Pre-Pre Show:

At the pre-show, they have been playing full albums before the #U2ieTourMix starts. These are played in order, and there have been times that almost a full album has been played prior to starting the preshow mix.

  • Vancouver shows: 77 (Sept 1977) by the Talking Heads (Including “New Feeling,” “Tentative Decisions,” “Happy Day,” “Who is It?” “No Compassion,” “The Book I Read,” “Don’t Worry About the Government,” “First Week / Last Week,” “Pulled Up,” and “Psycho Killer.”)
  • San Jose shows: London Calling (Dec 1979) by The Clash (Including “London Calling,” “Brand New Cadillac,” “Jimmy Jazz,” “Spanish Bombs,” “Lost in the Supermarket,” “Clampdown,” and “Guns of Brixton.”)
  • Los Angeles shows: Marquee Moon (Feb 1977) by Television (Including “Venus,” “Friction,” “Marquee Moon,” “Elevation,” “Prove It,” and “See No Evil.”) – in a strange turn, this album was played after the #U2ieTourMix played, and was followed by “Who Is It?” by the Talking Heads from 77 (Sept 1977) and then “People Have the Power” by Patti Smith, now being used as an opener.
  • Montreal shows: 77 (Sept 1977) by the Talking Heads (Including “Pyscho Killer,” “The Book I Read,” “First Week / Last Week,” “Who is It?) and Marquee Moon (Feb 1977) by Television (Including “See No Evil,” “Prove It,” “Elevation,” “Marquee Moon,” and “Friction”) and Horses by Patti Smith (Including “Gloria,” “Redondo Beach,” “Birdland,” and “Free Money”)
  • Boston and New York shows: The Man-Machine (May 1978) by Kraftwerk (Including “The Man Machine,” “Neon Lights,” “The Model,” and “The Robots) and Crocodiles (July 1980) by Echo and the Bunnymen (Including “Happy Death Men,” “Pictures on My Way,” “Read it in Books,” “Villiers Terrace,” and “Rescue” — The inclusion of “Read it in Books” suggests it was the US version of the album played). The Kraftwerk album is the one pictured in the bedroom during “Song for Someone.”

After this selection of songs from a full album is played, a mix of songs begins including the songs listed above.

Our stories on U2360 Songs and Vertigo Songs are also available.

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